mid-week apologetics booster (3-30-2017)

Good morning friends,

Once again, I had the awesome privilege of serving in AWANA (3rd – 6th grade) last night.  Our Pastor had come to AWANA last week to talk about what a pastor is.  He described that pastor means shepherd and that Jesus is described in Scripture as being the Good Shepherd.  Later in the evening, one of the clubbers asked a really good question.  The question was, ‘If God is a Shepherd, then why does he allow bad people who hurt and kill others?’  It’s hard to give a quick answer to a question like that in a minute during AWANA handbook time, so we decided to show this excellent little ~2 minute video to the clubbers at the start of Counsel Time last night:

This really hit home with the clubbers!  They were able to summarize the message of the video and make additional comments on the topic.  In fact it was so popular, many of them wanted to watch it again!  But when we told them it would take away from their game time, they opted not to 🙂  It was such a blessing to see these precious young clubbers excited and interacting with this topic, thinking deeply about their faith!  We also had a great sword drill during Counsel Time, focusing on God’s faithfulness (e.g. 2 Thess. 3:3).  I pray this prayer for them:

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace. ”  Numbers 6:24-26

Here are your weekly links:

  1. 5 apologetics arguments Christians should avoid: https://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/5-apologetics-arguments-Christians-should-avoid
  2. Watch “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?” on YouTube – this is really good – 4 ½ minutes – cartoon video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyZ1l7faKSw
  3. Spiritual Inventory Questionnaire – I ran into this while searching for some spiritual inventory questions.  It is REALLY extensive (10 pages long), but seems to be really good – note: it is a PDF file: http://www.bethanychurch.com/home/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/1_Personal-Spiritual-Inventory.pdf
  4. Sanctuary Cities in the Bible: https://historyforthechristianfaith.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/sanctuary-cities-in-the-bible/
  5. CE 5: You’re Only Christian Because You Were Born in the West – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/ce-5-youre-only-christian-because-you-were-born-in-the-west-2/
  6. Watch “Tim Keller on evangelism in the 21st century” on YouTube (first step is let ‘em know you go to church): https://youtu.be/DHQBoLo31Ns
  7. The Jihadi Who Turned to Jesus: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/03/24/world/middleeast/the-jihadi-who-turned-to-jesus.html
  8. Is Christianity Jewish?  Dr. Michael Brown:
    1. Watch “Is Christianity Jewish? w/ Dr. Michael Brown 1/2” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/kjkm6XS149s
    2. Watch “Is Christianity Jewish? w/ Dr. Michael Brown 2/2” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/cwDWnXdyV9U
  9. Was Jesus’ Death & Resurrection Copied From Krishna? | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/was-jesus-death-resurrection-copied-from-krishna/
  10. Top 10 Lies Christians Believe: http://www.unsealed.org/2016/05/top-10-lies-christians-believe.html
  11. Christianity is rejected because of dislike rather than rational reasons | Real Life Apologetics: https://reallifeapologetics.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/is-the-rejection-of-christianity-an-emotional-or-a-rational-decision/
  12. The World’s Most Persecuted Minority: Christians | PragerU: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytdMUddGe-U
  13. Tell Someone | Harvest Online Courses – free course with video teaching on evangelism sent to your inbox: https://tellsomeone.harvest.org/register/tell-someone/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=paid&utm_content=harvestamerica&utm_campaign=tellsomeonecourse&hs_fb_account_id=22405970&hs_fb_campaign_id=6052164846641&hs_fb_adset_id=6053392481041&hs_fb_ad_id=6070678863441&hs_parent_creative_id=6070679192041&source
  14. C. Boycott Over Bathroom Bill Fails Magnificently: https://pjmedia.com/trending/2017/03/22/this-just-in-boycott-of-n-c-over-bathroom-bill-dies-with-a-whimper/
  15. How Christianity Led to the Rise of Modern Science: http://www.equip.org/article/christianity-led-rise-modern-science/
  16. Stop Using the Term “Fetus”: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/stop-using-the-term-fetus/

I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.  Galatians 1:11-12

Blessing to you all!

Why Does God allow Evil?

Yesterday at AWANA, our Pastor came in and talked to the clubbers about what a Pastor is.  He told them how a Pastor is a shepherd, and that Jesus is the Great Shepherd.  Later on in the evening, one of the clubbers asked a leader, if God is a good shepherd, why does He allow bad people who hurt and kill others?  The leader didn’t have a good answer at the time.  So I went and did some research this morning.  I found a good article:

https://www.gotquestions.org/God-allow-evil.html 
Question: Why does God allow evil?”

Answer: The Bible describes God as holy (Isaiah 6:3), righteous (Psalm 7:11), just (Deuteronomy 32:4), and sovereign (Daniel 4:17-25). These attributes tell us the following about God: (1) God is capable of preventing evil, and (2) God desires to rid the universe of evil. So, if both of these are true, why does God allow evil? If God has the power to prevent evil and desires to prevent evil, why does He still allow evil? Perhaps a practical way to look at this question would be to consider some alternative ways people might have God run the world:

1) God could change everyone’s personality so that they cannot sin. This would also mean that we would not have a free will. We would not be able to choose right or wrong because we would be “programmed” to only do right. Had God chosen to do this, there would be no meaningful relationships between Him and His creation.

Instead, God made Adam and Eve innocent but with the ability to choose good or evil. Because of this, they could respond to His love and trust Him or choose to disobey. They chose to disobey. Because we live in a real world where we can choose our actions but not their consequences, their sin affected those who came after them (us). Similarly, our decisions to sin have an impact on us and those around us and those who will come after us.

2) God could compensate for people’s evil actions through supernatural intervention 100 percent of the time. God would stop a drunk driver from causing an automobile accident. God would stop a lazy construction worker from doing a substandard job on a house that would later cause grief to the homeowners. God would stop a father who is addicted to drugs or alcohol from doing any harm to his wife, children, or extended family. God would stop gunmen from robbing convenience stores. God would stop high school bullies from tormenting the brainy kids. God would stop thieves from shoplifting. And, yes, God would stop terrorists from flying airplanes into buildings.

While this solution sounds attractive, it would lose its attractiveness as soon as God’s intervention infringed on something we wanted to do. We want God to prevent horribly evil actions, but we are willing to let “lesser-evil” actions slide—not realizing that those “lesser-evil” actions are what usually lead to the “greater-evil” actions. Should God only stop actual sexual affairs, or should He also block our access to pornography or end any inappropriate, but not yet sexual, relationships? Should God stop “true” thieves, or should He also stop us from cheating on our taxes? Should God only stop murder, or should He also stop the “lesser-evil” actions done to people that lead them to commit murder? Should God only stop acts of terrorism, or should He also stop the indoctrination that transformed a person into a terrorist?

3) Another choice would be for God to judge and remove those who choose to commit evil acts. The problem with this possibility is that there would be no one left, for God would have to remove us all. We all sin and commit evil acts (Romans 3:23Ecclesiastes 7:201 John 1:8). While some people are more evil than others, where would God draw the line? Ultimately, all evil causes harm to others.

Instead of these options, God has chosen to create a “real” world in which real choices have real consequences. In this real world of ours, our actions affect others. Because of Adam’s choice to sin, the world now lives under the curse, and we are all born with a sin nature (Romans 5:12). There will one day come a time when God will judge the sin in this world and make all things new, but He is purposely “delaying” in order to allow more time for people to repent so that He will not need to condemn them (2 Peter 3:9). Until then, He IS concerned about evil. When He created the Old Testament laws, the goal was to discourage and punish evil. He judges nations and rulers who disregard justice and pursue evil. Likewise, in the New Testament, God states that it is the government’s responsibility to provide justice in order to protect the innocent from evil (Romans 13). He also promises severe consequences for those who commit evil acts, especially against the “innocent” (Mark 9:36-42).

In summary, we live in a real world where our good and evil actions have direct consequences and indirect consequences upon us and those around us. God’s desire is that for all of our sakes we would obey Him that it might be well with us (Deuteronomy 5:29). Instead, what happens is that we choose our own way, and then we blame God for not doing anything about it. Such is the heart of sinful man. But Jesus came to change men’s hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit, and He does this for those who will turn from evil and call on Him to save them from their sin and its consequences (2 Corinthians 5:17). God does prevent and restrain some acts of evil. This world would be MUCH WORSE were not God restraining evil. At the same time, God has given us the ability to choose good and evil, and when we choose evil, He allows us, and those around us, to suffer the consequences of evil. Rather than blaming God and questioning God on why He does not prevent all evil, we should be about the business of proclaiming the cure for evil and its consequences—Jesus Christ!

mid-week apologetics booster (3-23-2017)

Good morning friends,

I sincerely hope you’re enjoying your week!  I was blessed again to be a Community Judge at a homeschool speech and debate tournament – the Camelback Classic!  What an event and what an encouragement to see these young people so proficiently able to defend the faith and to speak intelligently about current events!  I was judge for 2 different events:

Apologetics – Semi Final Round – Saturday morning.  Here are the questions that I judged:

  1. What does it mean that Jesus Christ is the Mediator?  Why does this matter?
  2. What does John 1:1-3 mean when it says that Jesus is the Word?  Why does this matter?
  3. How would you respond to the common observation: “Jesus was a good man and a good teacher, but certainly not the Son of God”?
  4. What does it mean to call Jesus Christ the Lamb of God?  Why does this matter?
  5. Is the Resurrection essential to the Christian faith?
  6. Compare and contrast the origins of the Quran and the origins of the Bible?
  7. Are Mormons Christians?
  8. What are unique features of Christianity that set it apart from all other religions of the world?

Extemporaneous (Current Events) – Friday morning.  Here were the questions that I judged:

  1. What will be President Obama’s legacy?
  2. Is ‘Alt Right’ the new face of American Conservatism?
  3. Will conservative Republican congressmen scuttle the repeal of Obamacare?
  4. Will punishing the media backfire on President Trump?
  5. Was it wrong for Attorney General Sessions to ask all of the federal district attorneys to resign?
  6. Will President Trump’s affinity for Russian President Putin last?
  7. Will the “Resistance” topple President Trump?

I was greatly encouraged to watch them “make the case”.  My thought was, could any adults get up and give extemporaneous talks on any of these topics?  Maybe, but it would certainly be a challenge.  If you want to be encouraged about the next generation of Christians being raised up, I would highly recommend that you volunteer to be a community judge.  The local events occur in November (Cactus Clash) and March (Camelback Classic).

Here are your weekly links:

  1. The Source of Our Fear When It Comes to Evangelism: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/the-source-of-our-fear-when-it-comes-to-evangelism/
  2. Carbon-14, Radiometric Dating and Index Fossils: http://creationstudies.org/articles/science/geology/196-radiometric-dating-and-fossils
  3. Three Things The Gospel Authors Would Have Never Invented About Jesus – THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/three-things-the-gospel-authors-would-have-never-invented-about-jesus-4/
  4. Watch “G.O.S.P.E.L. – Propaganda (Full Video)” on YouTube this is a “rap” presentation of the Gospel: https://youtu.be/jyYFxp7apl4
  5. Reasons To Believe : 12 Evidences for the Resurrection of Jesus, Part 1: http://www.reasons.org/blogs/reflections/12-evidences-for-the-resurrection-of-jesus–part-1
  6. This Will Help Quiet Pro-Lifers Speak Up | Jim Daly: http://jimdaly.focusonthefamily.com/will-help-quiet-pro-lifers-speak/
  7. Did Jesus & His Disciples Speak Greek? | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/did-jesus-his-disciples-speak-greek/
  8. Patrick: Reclaiming the Great Missionary: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/st.-patrick-reclaiming-the-great-missionary
  9. Answering another abortion argument: http://creation.com/abortion-answer
  10. Bible Contradictions:
    1. HOW TO ANSWER ALLEGED BIBLE DISCREPANCIES AND CONTRADICTIONS: http://christianapologeticstraining.com/how-to-answer-alleged-bible-discrepancies-and-contradictions
    2. Are There Any Errors in the Bible? http://normangeisler.com/are-there-any-errors-in-the-bible/
    3. Watch “Is the Bible Full of Contradictions?” on YouTube – Tim Barnett – we watched this video in our apologetics class Sunday: https://youtu.be/YQgR3BrBhss
  11. This is the ‘Single Greatest Contributor’ to Millennials Abandoning Faith According to New Book – Faithwire: http://www.faithwire.com/2017/03/09/author-reveals-the-single-greatest-contributor-he-says-has-led-so-many-millennials-to-abandon-faith/
  12. Why Apologists are Not Reaching Pop Culture – Free Thinking Ministries: http://freethinkingministries.com/why-apologists-are-not-reaching-pop-culture/
  13. CNN religion quiz needs to take Christianity seriously | Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/03/19/cnn-religion-quiz-needs-to-take-christianity-seriously.html
  14. Here we go again: Will someone please explain Christianity to the Associated Press? — GetReligion: https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2017/3/20/here-we-go-again-will-someone-please-explain-christianity-to-the-associated-press
  15. How to Unmask a Hardened Skeptic: http://www.blogos.org/compellingtruth/skeptic-scoffer.php
  16. Disney:
    1. A Beast of a Decision? Should Christians Watch Disney’s Beauty and the Beast? https://answersingenesis.org/reviews/movies/should-christians-watch-disneys-beauty-and-beast/
    2. Is It Time to Kiss Disney Goodbye? https://answersingenesis.org/family/homosexuality/time-to-kiss-disney-goodbye/
  17. Romans 1:16:
    1. What does it mean to not be ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16)? https://www.gotquestions.org/not-ashamed-Gospel.html
    2. The Power of God for Salvation | Reformed Bible Studies & Devotionals at Ligonier.org: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/power-god-salvation/
    3. Romans – Wayne Barber/Part 5 | John Ankerberg Show: https://www.jashow.org/articles/bible/bible-studies/romans/romans-wayne-barberpart-5/
    4. Watch “I Am Not Ashamed of the TRUE Gospel. (Paul Washer)” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/vwpm1G5pVho
    5. Six Signs That You May Be Ashamed of the Gospel: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/six-signs-you-may-be-ashamed-of-the-gospel/
  18. Watch “An Atheist’s Conversion” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/h4j7FBYXQKs
  19. Watch “Living Waters University, Kevin” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/4Uftyxz0SWk
  20. Watch “I’m A Christian, But I Don’t Read My Bible” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/jvBmRGD8FuI
  21. Watch “I’ve Kinda Given Up On God” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/jPNslXAxAvI
  22. Watch “Ricky Gervais & God’s Existence” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/EM-53Bq_U6M
  23. Watch “Ten of the Top Scientific Facts in the Bible” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/t2sMJMXDiH4
  24. 17 States Force Taxpayers to Fund Abortions. Does Yours? | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2017/03/17/17-states-force-taxpayers-to-fund-abortions-does-yours/
  25. Watch “Nabeel Qureshi // Why I stopped believing Islam is a religion of peace” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/2htOWOF4gqs
  26. Watch “Shabir Ally & Dr.Nabeel Qureshi – What is GOD really like? part 1 of 2” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/dghjlgnZzuY
  27. Ten quick responses to atheist claims | Christian News on Christian Today: http://www.christiantoday.com/article/ten.quick.responses.to.atheist.claims/41439.htm
  28. Don’t All Religions Basically Say the Same Thing? (Quick Video) – Alisa Childers: http://www.alisachilders.com/blog/dont-all-religions-basically-say-the-same-thing-quick-video
  29. Let’s Make Jesus Less … Offensive! | The Stream (Satire): https://stream.org/make-jesus-less-offensive/
  30. Remember Those Exciting “Earth-Like” Planets of the TRAPPIST-1 System? The Honeymoon Is Over | Evolution News: https://www.evolutionnews.org/2017/03/remember-those-exciting-earth-like-planets-of-the-trappist-1-system-the-honeymoon-is-over/
  31. The Shack Author Rejects Biblical Substitutionary Atonement: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=703
  32. Frank Turek podcast and a guy calls and asking about predestination at about 34 minutes into the show. Frank gives interesting analogy about God’s foreknowledge and man’s free will: http://subspla.sh/ohvtxka

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!  Galatians 1:6-8

Blessings to you all

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 (3-9-2017)

Good morning brothers and sisters in Christ,

I hope this morning finds you content in where God has you, knowing that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).  Here are some things I ran into this week as I’ve been recovering from mononucleosis (I just got the results of the blood test yesterday):

  1. Watch “DEBATE: Was Jesus Raised from the Dead?” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/IW9w6c2RWmA
  2. Answering a Common Question: “I want to learn more about apologetics. How do I get started?” – THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/answering-a-common-question-i-want-to-learn-more-about-apologetics-how-do-i-get-started/
  3. In Indiana, State Senate Affirms Teaching Evidence For and Against Evolution: http://evolutionnews.org/2017/03/in_indiana_stat/
  4. Darwin’s impact-the bloodstained legacy of evolution: http://creation.com/charles-darwins-impact-the-bloodstained-legacy-of-evolution
  5. Former Planned Parenthood director: Why I’m now pro-life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc9VTnJBg1M
  6. Planned Parenthood executive responds to Trump’s offer: http://video.foxnews.com/v/5351320587001
  7. New study: first life pushed back earlier, leaving less time for naturalist magic: https://winteryknight.com/2017/03/04/new-study-first-life-pushed-back-earlier-leaving-less-time-for-naturalism-to-work-magic/
  8. The Beastly Beauty of Disney’s ‘Gay Moment’ – And How We Should Respond – Christians must answer with wisdom to match gay activists’ strategic savvy: https://stream.org/beastly-beauty-disney-gay-moment/
  9. Watch “Kennedy Classics – Liar, Lunatic or LORD?” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/YEHMLF6-zPs
  10. A Curious Clue About the Origins of the New Testament Canon – Canon Fodder: https://michaeljkruger.com/a-curious-clue-about-the-origins-of-the-new-testament-canon/
  11. America’s Godly Heritage (David Barton):
    1. Watch “America’s Godly Heritage 1 – David Barton.flv” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/pme3o0WimkU
    2. Watch “America’s Godly Heritage 2 Barton .flv” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/PEvwu7hRiWg
    3. Watch “America’s Godly Heritage 3 Barton.flv” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/oL4jplZ_PoA
    4. Watch “America’s Godly Heritage 4 David Barton.flv” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/LiudwVNTUWA
    5. Watch “America’s Godly Heritage 5 David Barton.flv” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/6zo5L4f57H4
    6. Watch “America’s Godly Heritage 6 David Barton.flv” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/tTLOrHgANtI
  12. The Truth About America’s History: http://www.cfaith.com/index.php/blog/22-articles/christian-living/21392-the-truth-about-americas-history
  13. Watch “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing (lyrics & chord) Chris Rice” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ax_NMWLEb6U
  14. Watch “ARE YOU TOLERANT? (QUIZ)” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Rt8bJyiUAhY
  15. Watch “Understanding and Sharing Truth in our Culture” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/5ODX5r3d_2I
  16. Watch “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus – Nabeel Qureshi” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/NoJvNFrUZz4
  17. Watch “Kennedy Classics – George Washington: Christian or Deist?” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/3hs98lLmt-U

I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. 1 Corinthians 4:14-16

 

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

This Past Sunday’s Apologetics Class – Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

This past Sunday in our apologetics class, which has students from 7th grade through to adult, we watched the excellent video “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” featuring Answers In Genesis teacher Dr. David Menton.  This was an amazing 1 hour video that covers the many miracles involved in the conception and birth of a child.

Here are the notes for the video.  I passed out a version to the class that had fill-in the blanks, but here is the version with the answers:

Notes for Fearfully and Wonderfully Made – Dr. David Menton

Intelligent Design in the process of conception and birth of a child

He is a former professor at Washington University School of Medicine, and has a PhD, Cell Biology from Brown University, and a BS, Biology and Chemistry, Minnesota State University.

credentials

  1. Psalm 139:13-16 – indeed we are knit, we are woven as the LORD tells us in this verse.
  2. A person, biblically, is someone who is known to God – someone who has a soul.
  3. As the baby is developing in the womb, God is “looking on”.
  4. The eggs leave the ovaries and enter the oviduct every 28 days an egg will be released from the ovary, one month from one ovary, the next month from the other ovary – this is a miracle.
  5. A baby girl, as soon as she comes out of the womb, she has approximately 400,000 eggs ready to go, and no more are made – the new born girl has all the eggs she’s ever going to have.
  6. The scar left behind from this corpus luteum (if fertilization doesn’t occur) is so large you can see it with the naked eye. One scar is created each month (assuming no fertilization).  This is the one scar on our body that gets totally removed.  This is a miracle, the hand of God.
  7. In the case of evolution, if you can’t get the egg down the oviduct, you’re not going to get a second chance to get it down the oviduct. Talk about irreducible complexity!
  8. Cilia – there are trillions of them in the oviduct which move the egg, but they can’t just move back and forth, they have to move like a “wave” in the crowd at a sporting event.
  9. With 30 hours, the first cell division occurs.
  10. The fertilization process is itself incredible. It is important that only 1 sperm fertilize the egg.  There are 3 barriers the sperm has to get through: The cumulus, The shell (zona pellucida), The membrane
  11. When God created the stars, He didn’t have to argue with them!
  12. You’ve probably met a clone in your life (an identical twin), but when God makes a clone, it works!
  13. 5-6 days after fertilization, the blastocyst implants into the wall of the uterus (miracle).
  14. The whole placenta is one cell – the biggest cell in the body. Placenta is called “Super-organ”.
  15. The mother and the baby’s blood never mix.
  16. Alcohol will go across from mother’s blood to baby’s blood “passively”.
  17. The placenta is part of the baby, not part of the mother, but it is not in the baby’s body.
  18. Special jelly that exists nowhere in the body so that when the baby is doing somersaults the blood vessels won’t kink or crimp.
  19. When the placenta “disconnects” during birth, there are 20 blood vessels inside the uterus that spray blood at approximately a ½ quart per minute. This is the biggest wound any human being gets and lives to tell the story.  Little sphincter on mother’s side crimps end of the open vessels.
  20. Haeckel’s Recapitulation – the drawings he made were completely falsified.
  21. “Folds” in the neck of the embryo are not gills and are not used for breathing.
  22. Analogy to someone who built a boat in the basement of their house and couldn’t get it out of the door. Same with baby in the uterus.  Bones in the pelvis widen so head can fit.
  23. Tail bone (coccyx) is not left over from our evolutionary history. Many muscles connected to it.
  24. The birth of every baby is a miracle!
  25. The placenta was doing everything (liver, lungs, intestinal tract, etc.), but after the baby is born all those seems need to be ready to perform their functions.

AWANA Teaching on Titus 3:5

I’ve prepared my monthly teaching for the 5th and 6th grade AWANA clubbers.  This month the verse is Titus 3:5.  Below are the slides and notes I will be using to present this material this coming Wednesday evening.  My timing of this took 17 minutes.  First is the notes for talking about the slide, then the slide image:

Today, we’re going to be talking about one of your memory verses – Titus 3:5.  This is from the Ultimate T&T Challenge Book 1 (Challenge 3:6 – pg. 65)

slide1

Here is that verse – who would like to read it?  “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit

slide2

Now, I’m going to read the verse in context.  “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” This passage was written by the Apostle Paul to Titus, who he calls “my true son in our common faith” (1:4).

slide3

Titus was someone that Paul left in charge of the church he’d established on the island of Crete.  You can see this on the map here.  As you can see, this is in the Mediterranean Sea, just southeast of Greece and southwest of Turkey.

slide4

I want you to notice several things about this passage.  (click) The first part of the passage describes how Paul and Titus used to be before their conversion to Christianity.  Consider verse 3 …

slide5

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.” They weren’t acting very nice – they were disobedient and enslaved by passions and pleasures.   They “lived in malice and envy”.  (click) Do you know what malice is?

slide6

The New Testament dictionary describes Malice like this: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness that is not ashamed to break laws, depravity, evil, trouble.

slide7

But then, God intervened in the situation.  It says, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us”.  So, while we were still sinning and rebelling against God, He stepped into history in the person of Jesus Christ and saved us.  The Bible (click) says “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  Notice that Titus 3:5 says that God saved us “not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy”.  This is very important – we did not and cannot do anything to merit salvation.

slide8

Instead, we are receiving God’s mercy.  That’s the word used in Titus 3:5, and it means that we are not getting something bad that we deserve (punishment).  Mercy is kind of the opposite of grace, which is where we are getting something we don’t deserve (God’s favor).

slide9

The meaning of the word “grace” is unmerited favor from God.  Later in this passage (v.7) it says that we are “justified by His grace”.  There are many places in the Bible that talk about this concept of Grace – the word appears 156 places in the New Testament to be exact.  You need to understand that (click) this is a uniquely Christian concept.  Some people wonder what sets Christianity apart from other world religions.  Outside of Jesus, this is probably the main thing.  No other world religion has a concept of Grace or unmerited favor from God – you always have to do something to please the god of other religions.  Let’s talk about a few of them.

slide10

First, Judaism.  This is the Jewish people – they believe in what we would call the “Old Testament”.  They call it the Tanakh.  Remember, we believe much of what the Jewish people believe, because we also believe what is written in the Old Testament.  However, the Jewish people largely rejected Jesus as their Messiah.  The New Testament talks a lot about the Jews and their beliefs.  They believe that being a Jewish person (a descendant of Abraham) and adherence to the Law is what will get them into heaven.  However, the Bible says “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin” (Romans 3:20)
slide11

Next, Islam.  These are Muslims.  They believe that God will weigh up your good deeds and bad deeds and if your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, you will go to heaven, otherwise hell.
slide12

What about Mormonism?  That’s also referred to as “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” or sometimes abbreviated LDS.  They believe that good works factor into their salvation.  The book of Mormon is what they call their scriptures (which they say is “the most correct of any book on earth”). It says “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”  By the way, who can say that they have done everything they can do?  No one!  Contrast this with the Bible which says “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.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

slide13

Then there’s Hinduism. Hinduism is a very diverse religion that began in India.   They have the concept of Karma and Re-incarnation, which are connected. Karma, is a system they believe in where your behavior, whether good or bad, will affect what happens to you in the future – both in this life and the life to come.  They believe that Karma affects what you are re-incarnated as.  If you’ve led a good life, you will be re-incarnated as a higher life form (click) (maybe a King), but if you’ve lived a bad life, you will be re-incarnated as a lower life form (click) (maybe a bug).  But the Bible says “Man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment” (Heb. 9:27)

slide14

For example, Fakirs are holy men in India.  Here is a fakir sitting on a bed of nails to demonstrate his religious devotion to the gods. They believe that eventually, if you keep living a better and better life each time, you work your way up through the “caste system” to be able to escape the cycle of birth and re-birth and achieve Nirvana. Nirvana, they say, is a place of perfect peace and happiness – it is the highest state that someone can attain, a state of enlightenment, meaning a person’s individual desires and suffering go away.

slide15

Here is a Hindu devotee lying on a bed of nails, being carried by fellow devotees during a religious festival in India. Hundreds of faithful devotees offer sacrifices and perform acts of devotion during the festival in the hopes of winning the favor of Hindu god Shiva and ensuring the fulfillment of their wishes.

slide16

Finally, Buddhism – Buddhism is based primarily on the teachings of Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama – a spiritual teacher from India who lived from approximately 563BC to 483BC). Buddhism incorporates a variety of religious traditions, beliefs and practices. They believe in what is called (click) the “Eightfold Path”.  These are the “works” they have to do to achieve nirvana or the state of enlightenment.  Like Hinduism, they believe in the cycle of re-incarnation leading to nirvana, but they reject the “caste system”.

slide17

So, in summary, all of the other religions we’ve talked about, require man to work (often hard) for their salvation – to please God, but in Christianity salvation is a free gift.

slide18

Think about a gift – like a Christmas gift or a birthday gift.  Do you work for that? No.

slide19

When someone hands you a gift, do you take out your wallet and pay them for it?  Of course not.  That would be an insult!

slide20

So, religion doesn’t save you – Jesus saves you.  Religion is man reaching up to God

slide21

Christianity is God reaching down to men.

slide22

Now, I want to make sure you know that although we’re not saved by good works, that does not mean we’re not to do good works.  Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” and the book of James tells us that faith without works (good deeds) is dead. (James 2:26)

slide23

Now, back to our verse. The passage goes on to talk about the results of our salvation.  It says “so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life”.  What does justified mean? Simply put, to justify is to declare righteous, to make one right with God.

slide24

Justification is God’s declaring those who receive Christ to be righteous. As this graphic shows, justification is where Jesus Christ’s righteousness is credited to us, and our guilt is credited to Jesus as he was on the cross.

slide25

The verse talks about “heirs”…  What does “heirs” mean? The literal meaning of heir is “someone who has been appointed to receive an inheritance.”

slide26

An heir is a person who receives something of value from a father. The Bible sometimes uses the word heir to describe us as recipients of a gift from God

slide27

Let’s wrap this up – our verse Titus 3:5 teaches us:

  1. (click) We can do nothing to merit eternal life (salvation) from God.
  2. (click) We are saved by God’s mercy, which is not getting the punishment we deserve for our sins.
  3. (click) We are justified (made right with God) by His grace (unmerited favor), which is a uniquely Christian teaching – all the other religions we talked about require the person to do good works to be accepted by God
  4. (click) All we can do is choose to receive His salvation by faith.
  5. (click) Since we’ve received this free gift, we can and should choose to thank Him by devoting the rest of our lives to loving Him and others.

slide28

Who has questions either about our passage, what grace or mercy means or about the other religions we talked about?

slide29

mid-week apologetics booster (2-23-2017)

Good morning beloved saints!

You and I have been given the awesome privilege of being an ambassador for the King of kings and Lord of lords.  How’s that going for you?  Here is some material that may help you in living out your calling:

  1. Jesus: history or myth? https://georgesjournal.net/2017/02/19/jesus-history-or-myth/
  2. Are You a Christian? | John Ankerberg Show – John Ankerberg Show: https://www.jashow.org/articles/apologetics-2/are-you-a-christian/
  3. Is Jesus God? https://answersingenesis.org/jesus-christ/jesus-is-god/is-jesus-god/
  4. 3 Reasons Why You Need Apologetics: https://cccdiscover.com/3-reasons-why-you-need-apologetics/
  5. Clarifying Objections against Bible Reliability: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2017/01/clarifying-objections-against-bible.html
  6. Q&A: Are There Transitional Intermediates in the Fossil Record? http://www.reasons.org/articles/q-a-are-there-transitional-intermediates-in-the-fossil-record
  7. Top Ten Convincing Reasons to Believe That Jesus Factually Rose From The Dead!
    1. Part 1: http://chaseathompson.com/2016/05/28/top-ten-convincing-reasons-to-believe-that-jesus-factually-rose-from-the-dead-and-why-that-makes-a-difference-for-you/
    2. Part 2: http://chaseathompson.com/2016/06/01/top-ten-convincing-reasons-to-believe-that-jesus-factually-rose-from-the-dead-part-2-6-10/
  8. “Christ Is The Lord”: Popular Anti-Christian Blogger, The Raving Atheist, Converts To Christianity: https://jamesbishopblog.com/2017/02/16/christ-is-the-lord-popular-anti-christian-blogger-the-raving-atheist-converts-to-christianity/
  9. Do Animals Display Morality? Animals appear to show morality in their behavior. Is this the source of human morality? http://www.reasonablefaith.org/Do-Animals-Display-Morality
  10. Jonathan Sarfati – Does our DNA show that we came from apes? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzmOu1YdFkg
  11. The Radical Conversion Of Jesus’ Brother James | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/radical-conversion-jesus-brother-james/
  12. America’s Changing Religious Landscape: http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/
  13. Same-sex attracted church leader addresses the Church of England – but his message may surprise you: http://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/Same-sex-attracted-church-leader-addresses-the-Church-of-England-but-his-message-may-surprise-you
  14. Shame on the Silent Christian Leaders Who Refuse to Stand Against Government Tyranny | The Stream: https://stream.org/shame-silent-christian-leaders-refuse-stand-government-tyranny/
  15. What is a good process for preparing a sermon? https://www.gotquestions.org/preparing-a-sermon.html
  16. 9 Truths About Sex and Marriage From the First Two Chapters of Genesis | The Stream: https://stream.org/9-truths-sex-marriage-genesis-1-2/

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned — for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.  Romans 5:7-17

Blessings

Apologetics Class Teaching on the Tapestry of New Testament History – Undesigned Coincidences

What follows is the content a Power Point that I will be using to teach today at my Church’s youth and adult apologetics class at 9 AM:

slide1

Scared, aren’t you?  We’re going to try something a little different here today – I hope this works out like I think it will.

slide2

We’re going to start off with a little exercise – a test if you like – to see if we can remember the details of an event that I’m sure we’re all very familiar with.

slide3

It is very important that as you work on this, you work completely independently.  Don’t collaborate, look at each other’s answers or talk to yourself out loud as you do this…  I want to make sure that your work is original – not because I’m trying to test your ability, but just because I want to know what you specifically remember about this event.  The “test” has one question, and here it is (remember, don’t answer out loud):

slide4

Pens down!!!! OK, so, how did you?  Was that difficult?  Let’s go around the room and you can each tell me what facts you included about 9-11-2001 (write the facts on the board).  [Take note of how (hopefully) each person reported different things in the account depending on what they remembered and their individual perspectives.]  Even though the details varied, we all agreed on the big event – that the planes hit the buildings.  If you had just one person write the account, you’d invariably miss some of those details…  But with the multiple independent accounts, just like there’s 4 Gospels, you get a much richer picture of the historicity of what happened on 9/11 and likewise, with the historicity of the events surrounding Jesus.  Everybody agreed upon the big picture, but they differed on the minor details.  We all agreed that each account is an eyewitness account and its an independent eyewitness account.  There’s no way to contrive 4 fictional accounts and have them agree on so much (as the Gospels agree on)!  If they’re true though, it makes sense.

slide5

That exercise will hopefully help drive home the point of this message today, which is the Tapestry of New Testament history – How “undesigned coincidences” point to the historicity of the New Testament accounts.  This is a fascinating area of study and one that rarely gets talked about in Apologetics, but never-the-less, these “undesigned coincidences” that we’re going to be talking about today, show beyond any reasonable doubt that the new testament authors were actually telling the truth – that they really were recording eyewitness testimony of historical events that actually happened.

slide6

As usual, when examining these objections, we want to first take a look at what the skeptics are saying…  Here are a few of them.  First, Sir Ian McKellen of Lord of the Rings fame says, “I’ve often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying, ‘This is fiction’.”

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And of course, our old friend, Richard Dawkins says, “The Bible should be taught, but emphatically not as reality.  It is fiction, myth, poetry, anything but reality.  As such it needs to be taught because it underlies so much of our literature and our culture”.

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Blogger J.M. Green of the “Debunking Christianity” blog says “Claiming the Bible is true because it mentions some historical people and places is like saying that Sherlock Holmes stores are true because they contain descriptions of Victorian London.”,  So, these skeptics, and many others want you to believe that the Bible and specifically the Gospels are nothing more than fiction – something like a historical novel.

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I would like to start by reading a passage to you from the Gospel of Luke …

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This is a wonderful passage from a historian’s perspective because it puts “historical crosshairs” in the biblical text.  By historical crosshairs, I mean that Luke here references real historical figures and their timeframes.  He’s nailing down so many different things historically in this passage.  It is highly unlikely that this writing could be fiction – kind of like a historical novel – because it contains too many historically confirmed characters (give handout). The New Testament writers would have blown their credibility with their contemporary audiences by implicating real people in a fictional story, especially people of great notoriety and power. There is no way the New Testament writers could have gotten away with writing outright lies about Pilate, Caiaphas, Festus, Felix, and the entire Herodian bloodline. Somebody would have exposed them for falsely implicating these people in events that never occurred. The New Testament writers knew this, and would not have included so many prominent real people in a fictional story that was intended to deceive. Again, the best explanation is that the New Testament writers accurately recorded what they saw.

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He’s talking about the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry.  We know from history that the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar is 26 A.D. (he began a co-regency with Augustus Caesar in the year of 12 A.D.)  So you take 12 and you add 14 and a bit to it and you’re into the year 26.  And about a year later than that, Jesus begins his public ministry.  What is the first miracle worked by Jesus in His public ministry?

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It’s in Cana of Galillee…  It’s where He turns water into wine.  Luke doesn’t report this miracle, but John does.

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And right after that, He goes to Jerusalem and He cleans out the Temple for the first time.  Some of the people who’s tables He’s overturning are not happy with Him and they ask Him, “By what authority do you do this?” and He says “Destroy this temple and I’ll raise it up in 3 days”.  That’s probably as much of it as most of us remember.

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But there’s a peculiar finishing line…  In John 2:20, the Jews say to Him “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?”  So, there’s just this strange detail (46 years to build the temple) stuck in there.  What does that mean? Turns out that in the year 18 B.C., Herod the Great began building the Temple.  So, using the Jewish method of reckoning (they count a year even if it is not complete), 46 years means 45 + something, and we move 45 years forward, we find that we’re in the year 27, which is 1 year after the year 26, which is the year that is the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar.  So these 2 verses (from Luke and John) which have nothing else in common, both nail down, with a chronological specificity, that’s really quite remarkable, exactly the right time periods for the beginning of John the Baptist’s and of Jesus’ ministries.

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So, this is one example of what is called an undesigned coincidence… An undesigned coincidence (so-named by J.J. Blunt from his book and first discovered by William Paley) occurs when one account of an event leaves out a bit of information which is filled in, often quite incidentally, by a different account, which helps to answer some natural questions raised by the first.

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JJ Blunt was a Cambridge Professor and a Pastor, who had a kind of detectives eye…  When he looked at the New Testament documents, particularly the Gospels and Acts, he could see that the New Testament documents were true just by reading and comparing them.

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Frank Turek refers to this subject as “Elaborate Testimony” or “Interlocking Puzzle Pieces”.  This refers to evidence that is lying just below the surface of the New Testament narrative.  It is an elaborate series of interlocking puzzle pieces that reveal that the New Testament documents contain independent eyewitness testimony of actual historical events

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This material is so compelling, and yet, so few people know about it, that we really need to highlight it and that’s why I felt it was important to focus on this for one week.  Believe me this is so extensive and in-depth, we could go on about this for a month!

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Now let’s cover another example of one of these “undesigned coincidences”.  It’s one of those things where you see a puzzling statement and you go, “Hmmm, that’s puzzling, That doesn’t make any sense… I wonder why that’s in there?”  Or, it raises a question and then you read another Gospel and it gives you the answer.

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Let’s take a look at Jesus before Pilate – In Luke chapter 23, the Jews accuse Jesus before Pilate.  They say “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.”

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And Pilate asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He answered him, “You have said so.”

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Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man” Now, let’s assume, for the sake of argument that you only had Luke’s account of this incident – Now if this account is not puzzling to you, it should be…  The Jews say Jesus is basically guilty of sedition for claiming to be a king.  Pilate says “Are you the King of the Jews” and Jesus basically says Yes. (He says, you’ve said so – He didn’t try to defend Himself).  Then Pilate said “He’s not guilty!”  Wait a minute!  How could he be not guilty???  He just admitted what Pilate asked Him and what the Jews accused Him of!  It’s puzzling if you just read Luke

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But, if you go over to John…  You see that there’s a missing puzzle piece that solves what Luke says.  Here’s John’s account (starting in verse 33):  Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?“ …  Then if you skip down to verse 36, Jesus says, “My kingdom is not of this world….”  Aha!! – now you can see why Pilate (at least temporarily) let Jesus go and said “I find no guilt in this man”.

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He did so because Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world”, so He’s not claiming to be in some way trying to overthrow Caesar.  That was really the charge that the Jews were trying to bring up – or trying to get Pilate to believe anyway, in hopes that Pilate would do away with him. When Pilate sees he’s saying, “My Kingdom is not of this world”, he’s probably thinking, “He might be a loony or something, but he’s no threat to Caesar! Hey Jews, I find no guilt in him!” But you only get that by reading John!

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So John helps verify, or fill in details that are missing in Luke. He fills in a question that reading just Luke’s account may raise. Now, I say this is “inadvertent” because, its not like John is trying to give a different account than Luke, or that he’s trying to solve what Luke says – he just gives more detail, he just gives a little more of the narrative that actually occurred. Perhaps John actually saw the incident, it doesn’t say he was in the room, but who knows? Maybe he was close enough to see what was going on, or maybe Jesus later told him.

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It’s worthy to note here that John is different than what are called the Synoptics, Matthew Mark and Luke, John appears to have inside information. He’s traveling with Jesus and appears to have a lot of private conversations that the rest of them don’t have, such as the woman at the well, or with Pilate or with the disciples in the upper room, with Nicodemus, they’re more private conversations.  And remember … John is an eyewitness, Luke is not –

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Luke is creating an orderly account. And by the way, he may be creating an orderly account because perhaps the other accounts were not in chronological order. For example, Matthew is more thematic than chronological.  Even though Luke is not an eyewitness himself, he is interviewing eyewitnesses. So he leaves out the details maybe he didn’t know about. John fills these details in so, just reading these two you ought to walk away saying, “they’re witnessing the same event, but one is giving more detail than the other.”

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After you go through these elaborate testimonies, these interlocking puzzle pieces you realize that it would take more faith to believe that these accounts were contrived, than to believe that you actually have four independent eyewitness accounts of the same events and that’s why you get different details.

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Let’s do another one here. It involves Herod Antipas – he’s the son of Herod the Great. After Herod the Great died in 4 BC his kingdom got divided up and Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great, got a portion of the kingdom. This Herod that you read of in the New Testament is the Herod that beheaded John the Baptist and also tried Christ.

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Now, when you read the Gospel of Matthew, you have a puzzle arise, when he talks about Herod. Here’s what Matthew says in Matthew chapter 14 verses 1 & 2 about Herod:

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At that time, Herod the Tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus, and he said to his servants “this is John the Baptist”, (referring to Jesus), “he has been raised from the dead, That is why these miraculous powers are in him.” Now, here’s the question, how would Matthew know what Herod had said to his servants?  Matthew is not in the room when Herod speaks to his servants! You say, well, maybe God told him. Well, yeah, you could say that. You could say this is revelation directly from God, but you don’t need to even go there …

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Because, if you compare Matthew’s account with Luke’s account, you’ll see that, in an unrelated story, there is a detail in Luke that helps us solve the puzzle that Matthew leaves. Here’s what it says in Luke 8:1: “and the twelve were with Jesus, “

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“and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, out of who had come seven demons, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for him from their substance.” There it is!  Just a passing detail! You can see here how it is possible that Matthew knew what Herod said to his servants, because one of his the women traveling with Jesus, is married to Herod’s steward (Chuza). Do you think maybe a little pillow talk may have ensued?

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Herod’s steward Chuza is saying to Joanna, (whisper)this is what Herod is saying about Jesus. He thinks he’s John the Baptist – just resurrected.” That’s why Matthew knows it, because Matthew is following Him around too. The twelve were with Him, as this passage says! This is so inadvertent. It’s such a passing detail! It’s not like Luke says explicitly, “Here’s how Matthew knew what Herod said to his servants about Jesus.” He just mentions that Joanna the wife of Herod’s steward is one of the ones following Jesus and this Chuza guy is one of Herod’s steward. So here, Luke helps solve Matthew.

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Here’s another one – a puzzling question that arises in Luke. Here’s what it says in Luke chapter 9: “And they kept silent and told no one in those days that any thing of what they had seen.” So, what’s the context of this…

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Peter James and John had just seen Jesus transfigured along with Elijah and Moses. And it says, “and they kept silent, and told no one in those days anything off what they had seen.” (Luke 9:36) So, what’s the puzzle (Again, assuming you only had Luke)? Why would they keep silent about this amazing event? They just seen the Transfiguration! Why would they not have told everybody? But, they kept silent, so Luke kind of leaves a puzzle.

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But you go over to Mark, and here’s what Mark account says, “As they were coming down the mountain, He gave them orders not to relate to anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man rose from the dead.“ Mark 9:9. Aha! Now you can see why Luke says they told no one. Mark gives us the command not to tell anyone, but he doesn’t say whether they obeyed it. Luke records their obedience to the command, but he doesn’t tell us what the command was, so Mark gives us what Jesus told them not to do. And Luke records that they obeyed what Jesus said! But, both accounts together give you a more complete picture. The puzzle raised by Luke, is solved by simply reading Mark

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Now, let’s take a look at a puzzle that is raised by Matthew. Matthew records Jesus pronouncing the following judgments. This is in Matthew 11:21 (ESV). He says, “woe to you Chorazin, woe to you Bethsaida, for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” Here’s the puzzle: what mighty works had been done in Bethsaida? Matthew doesn’t record Jesus doing any! It’s kind of a puzzle. Well, in order to answer this one, we’ve got to another puzzle before we answer this one.  So, let’s move over to John for a second, then will come back to Matthew.

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John leaves a puzzle as well, because at the feeding of the 5000, John records Jesus asking Philip in John 6:5, “where are we to buy bread so that these people may eat?” Now here’s the puzzle: why is Jesus asking Philip, a relatively minor character, where to get a lot of money and food , instead of asking a leader, such as Peter or John or perhaps even Judas, because Judas was the keeper of the money, right? I mean, it just seems odd that he would ask Philip. Well, John leaves a puzzle, but Luke solves it.

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And here’s how Luke solves it – inadvertently by the way. Luke, and only Luke, mentions that Bethsaida was the location of the feeding of the 5000. In a passing comment in Luke 9:10, he writes that Bethsaida is the location of the feeding of the 5000. Now in other contexts in John chapters 1 and 12, John records that Philip was from Bethsaida in Galilee. Yet, in John chapter 6, where the feeding of the 5,000 is recorded, Jesus asked Philip where to get food. So, John and Luke interlock to help us solve the puzzle.  Philip is from Bethsaida. He would know where to get food and money because he’s in his hometown! Now, we wouldn’t know that from John alone. John tells us “the who”, while Luke tells us “the where”, thus the accounts are complementary here. These are passing details. John never says that Jesus asked Philip because Philip was from Bethsaida, because he never even says that they’re in Bethsaida! So Luke solves John.

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Matthew leaves a puzzle in his account of Jesus being beat by the Roman guards (this is chapter 26 from verse 57-67). After Jesus basically declares that he is the Messiah, it says (v65) “the high priest tore his clothes and said he has spoken blasphemy, why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy, what do you think?” And they answered, “He’s worthy of death!”

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Then they spit in His face and struck Him with their fists. Others said to Him, “prophesy to us Christ! Who hit You?”

As an aside…  Imagine this… The Creator of the universe putting on human flesh, coming here to earth, living a perfect sinless life in order to save the very people who are beating and spitting on Him! Amazing love…

Now back to the puzzle, why are they asking, “who hit you?” He can see them right in front of him, can’t he? Matthew kind of leaves a puzzle. Why would they be asking him to prophesy? He’s looking at them as they’re hitting him! Well, in order to solve the puzzle, you need to go over to Luke.

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Here’s Luke’s account (Luke 22:63-65): “Now the men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating Him. They blindfolded Him and demanded, ‘Prophesy, who hit You’? And they said many other insulting things to Him.” So in Luke’s account, he gives the detail that Matthew doesn’t give. What’s the detail? That he was blindfolded! That’s why they were asking, who hit you? You don’t get that just from Matthew’s account. This is just kind of inadvertent, it doesn’t appear to be contrived, that Luke would solve a puzzle that Matthew leaves. So here we have another internal, undersigned coincidence, or interlocking puzzle piece.

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Now we’re going to look at some interlocking puzzle pieces from non Christian writers, these are called extra-biblical writers – writers such as Josephus, Tacitus and Sutoneous.

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If you go to Matthew, he says this: Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus were in Egypt, to avoid Herod (the homicidal maniac), who is trying to kill the babies in Palestine. Then Matthew says that Joseph had a dream in Egypt, to return to Israel with Mary and the Child Jesus. But when Joseph heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there.

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Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth , this is in Matthew chapter 2. Now here’s the puzzle piece. Why is Archelaus so scary? Why would Joseph want to avoid Archelaus ? Matthew doesn’t explain! He doesn’t even say who Archelaus is! He just says, when Joseph heard that Archelaus was reigning there, he was afraid, so he went north, he went up to Galilee. Galilee is north of Jerusalem. He didn’t go to the Jerusalem area, he went to Galilee. Well, who can actually tell us why Archelaus is so scary?

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Josephus, the Jewish historian, who lived from about 37ad – 100 ad. He tells us that

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Archelaus was one of the sons of Herod the great (older brother of Herod Antipas), and that Archelaus got a piece of Herod’s Kingdom, which happened to include Jerusalem. And even before he’s completely installed by Cesar, he decides to assert his authority. There’s a disturbance at the temple.

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Archelaus orders Roman troops into the temple, and he actually slaughters 3000 Jews. Passover was cancelled because of what Archelaus had done!

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So, imagine, Joseph is on the road from Egypt back up toward Israel, and there are Jews, who were at the Passover, returning to their homes maybe in Egypt, and they’re coming down from Israel, and

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Joseph says, why are you guys coming down from Passover? Why aren’t you still at Passover? We can imagine them saying, haven’t you heard? Archelaus ordered troops into the temple, and 3000 of our brethren have been killed! Passover has been cancelled! So, Joseph is thinking to himself, I left Israel to escape a homicidal maniac! I’m not going to go back there to another homicidal maniac the son of the first homicidal maniac, I’m going to go to another district, where he’s not in charge.

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So he goes to Galilee. Now, Matthew doesn’t give you all this detail, he just tells you the truth, that Archelaus was someone to be avoided, and that Joseph was afraid of him! Josephus gives us the detail! Josephus is writing probably 40 years after Matthew. How could Matthew control with a Jewish historian writes 40 years later? Mathews dead! He can’t! That’s why this is an undesigned coincidence. That’s why this is an interlocking puzzle piece. This elaborate testimony can’t be explained by some sort of contrivance. So Josephus comes in and actually verifies what Matthew is saying.

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And how about Jesus going to the temple at 12 years old? Luke says, every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was 12 years old, they went up to the feast according to the custom. Now, here’s the question: why did his parents go without him, and then bring Jesus when he was 12? Why didn’t they bring Jesus when he was 10 or 11? Well, I think Josephus has the answer again. Josephus says this: in the 10th year of Archelaus government both his brother and the principal men of Judea and Samaria, not being able to bear his barbarous and tyrannical usage of them, they accused Archelaus before Caesar.

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Caesar, upon hearing what certain accusers of his had to say, and what reply Archelaus could make, banished Archelaus to Vienna, a city of Gaul. Gaul is present day France. So, the reason His parents are bringing Jesus to the temple when he is 12, is because that’s the year that Archelaus is no longer in charge. That’s what it appears to be anyway, we are reading between the lines here. Again, this is from Josephus, 30 years after Luke is writing! How could Luke control what Josephus says 30-40 years later? He can’t!

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So we’ve got Josephus not only verifying Matthew with regards to Archelaus – he solves a puzzle in Luke as well, it seems, as to why Jesus’s parents would wait until he was 12 to bring him to the temple. That’s the first year Archelaus  is not in power. They’ve been avoiding Archelaus for Jesus’s first 12 years, now Archelaus is deposed by Caesar, so, hey, now we can bring Jesus to the temple this year.

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Now how about another undersigned coincidence. Why did Claudius order the Jews out of Rome? In Acts 18, of course written by Luke, it says after these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth and he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome. So there is this kind of parenthetical comment, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome. That’s why Aquila and Priscilla where in Corinth, because they had been basically booted out of Rome by Claudius. The puzzle is this: who’s Claudius and why did he command and all the Jews to leave Rome? In other words, Luke doesn’t tell you who Claudius is or why he commanded all the Jews to leave Rome.

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But Suetonius, a Roman historian, writing about the 12 Caesars, (you know there were 12 Caesars, he did biographies of them) – he’s writing about 117 AD. Luke is writing about 60 AD (the book of Acts), no later than 62 AD. So writing 50 something years later, along comes the Roman historian Suetonius, and

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in the section on Claudius, Suetonius writes this: “the Jews at Rome had caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, so, Claudius expelled them from the city.” What? That’s why Luke parenthetically notes that Priscilla and Aquila were in Corinth because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart Rome. Now why do you think you would have commanded the Jews to depart Rome? Maybe the Jews were not happy that the Christians we’re claiming that Jesus was the promised Messiah! And so there was a disturbance there. You know there was a disturbance wherever Paul went, particularly when he went into the synagogue. The Jews didn’t like what he was saying. They may have tried to beat him… Or they may have tried to kick him out… There was a disturbance. Claudius said get these people out of my city! By the way, we know that there was a church there (in Rome). That’s why Paul wrote the book of Romans!

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He’s writing to the church at Rome! And, non Christian writers will tell you that Christianity spread rapidly as far as Rome. Why? Because there is a resurrection! So, now you have another outside source , Suetonius, who affirms Luke when he gives us the explanation as to why Luke would say that Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome. Amazing – these are eyewitness details that are not contrived, as if the writers were writing fiction.

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How about another external elaborate testimony? The question is, did Herod really kill John the Baptist? Now, which Herod? Herod Antipas, another son of Herod the Great, who beheaded John the Baptist and he also tried Christ. Whenever you see Christ is on trial, before Herod, this is the Herod – Herod Antipas. Here’s what Mark says about Herod beheading John the Baptist: the king, Herod Antipas, was greatly distressed. Because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her, so he immediately sent an executioner.  By the way, who’s “her”?  We’ve got to set the context here. Do you remember that Herod’s wife Herodias used to be married to Herod’s step brother, and he, Herod Antipas, got Herod’s step brother’s wife to marry him and John the Baptist said, this is an illegitimate marriage, you shouldn’t be doing this.

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And so, when, her daughter, Salome, danced for Herod Antipas, he said, “Wow, that’s very pleasing to me, I’ll give you up to half of my kingdom, what do you want?” So her mother said tell Herod that you want the head of John the Baptist on a platter. And here’s where we pick it up in chapter 6 of Mark. Herod was greatly distressed because she said give me John’s head on a platter, but because of his oaths & his dinner guests he did not want to refuse her so he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John head.  And the executioner went and beheaded John in brought back his head on a platter and he presented it to the girl and she gave it to her mother. Now, Mark does not say who the girl was. Who does? Josephus does! So, here, we have an event that is in the New Testament that Josephus says actually occurred and he actually gives us the name of the girl who danced, the daughter of Herodias, Herod’s illicit wife. In fact, Josephus also confirms that this actually occurred, 40 years later in antiquities, the 18th book. It says “now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God and that, very justly, as a punishment against what he did against John, called the Baptist, for Herod killed him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue both as to righteousness to one another and to piety toward God and so to come to baptism.” So here’s Josephus, again, writing 40 or so years after Mark telling us that Herod killed John the Baptist. The woman who was the daughter of his wife, whose name was Salome.   And that he was judged because of this and that John was a good man, and actually got the Jews to live a more virtuous life, and actually baptized them. All this comes all from Josephus! Now, how could Mark, or Luke, or Matthew, (who tell us to same story basically that Herod executed John the Baptist), could they get Josephus to confirm what they said, when Josephus lived long after they died? They couldn’t! That’s why these are undesigned coincidences, uncontrived!

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How about the Bible, in its discussion of money? Do you remember when Jesus was about to be trapped? By the Pharisees, and they come to him and asked, should we pay taxes to Caesar? By the way, there was a dual taxation in that culture. There was taxation from the Romans, and also taxation from the Jews, for the temple tax. So there’s a double taxation going on. In the New Testament writers know about this! How would they know about this? Unless they were there, or had access to eyewitness testimonies. How would you know there was a double taxation system? There was also a dual system of justice. Remember, Jesus is tried twice. He’s tried by the Jews and the Romans. How would they know that? If they’re just making all this up? It seems to take more faith to believe that all this was just invented, when they got it all right, there is a dual taxation system, there is a dual system of justice.

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Anyway, the Pharisees say to him, should we pay taxes to Caesar? They’re trying to trap him, and he says “show me a denarius. Whose image and description does it have?” And they said, Caesar’s, and he said to them, “then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” And if you look at archaeology, you can see these coins have been discovered. And on the denarius, it had a picture of “Augustus Tiberius Caesar”, and it said, “Son of the divine Augustus”. Now of course, that’s blasphemy to the Jews, that a man is divine? You shall have no other gods before me Exodus 20:3 says, one of the ten commandments, so that would’ve been blasphemous,

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but you find these coins, and yes, Caesar’s image is on the coin, and so Jesus, brilliantly, says, “well give to Caesar what is Caesar’s then”. This is Caesar’s coin, not gods.

By the way, Caesars image was on the coin as archeology reveals, but whose image is on you? God’s image! So, give to God what is God’s. Are you truly giving to God you? That’s really what we’re here to do, to know God and to make Him known! Are you an ambassador for the God who created you? Give to God what is God’s!

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Also, Josephus confirms that Matthew is correct about the temple tax, because in Matthew 17, Peter is asked if Jesus pays the two drachma tax, the temple tax. Well, Josephus tells us in antiquities 18, that every Jew paid the two drachma tax each year as an offering to God. That’s about 2 days wages.

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And the coin that Peter found in the fish is called a stator. A stator coin is worth about four drachma. So when Jesus says to Peter, throw your hook in the water, the fish you pull out we’ll have a coin in there and it will pay the temple tax for me and you, four drachma, they actually have found these coins. They’re called stator coins, so archaeology confirms the coin Peter found in the fish mouth.

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Also, Tacitus another secular writer, a Roman senator and historian, actually confirmed that a denarius was a day’s wages, which is what Jesus says in Matthew chapter 20. Tacitus actually points out that denarius was a day’s wage in one of his works called annals. So now you have not only Josephus and Suetonius confirming Matthew Mark and Luke, now you have Tacitus telling us that something is right in Matthew regarding the use of money,

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so the Bible is on the money! I’m telling you, there’s too many details like this for this to be invented friends! this is a witness detail.

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That was a lot we covered and I guarantee you – there is at least 10 times as much information out there on this subject.  We’ve reviewed examples of both internal and external “undesigned coincidences”.  When you look at all these undesigned coincidences, these interlocking puzzle pieces, they present a very compelling argument that the writers of the Gospels and Acts really were recording independent eyewitness testimony of actual, historical events.  I think the conclusion is unavoidable – they were telling the truth!

Stephen Meyer interview by Frank Turek on Cross Examined

1 Peter 4:12-16

I was listening to the CrossExamined radio program with Dr. Frank Turek from October 24th 2013.  He was interviewing Dr. Stephen Meyer about his book Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design.

During the conversation, Frank tells about a construction analogy from Stephen’s book.  Reading from the book, Frank says (at about 14 minutes into the podcast):

“At a construction site builders will make use of many materials: lumber, nails, drywall, piping and windows, yet building materials do not determine the floor plan of the house or the arrangement of the houses in a neighborhood… in a similar way DNA does not itself direct how individual proteins are assembled into these larger systems and structures.”

Stephen then begins to expound on this whole idea by explaining the necessity of ‘epigenetic’ information in “building an animal”:

“In…

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Questions (with answers) for AWANA

Next Wednesday, we’re going to have a question and answer session in our 3rd – 6th grade AWANA club.   If the clubbers are not asking any questions, we can use some of the following questions as starters…  In preparation for that I’ve attempted to give some answers to these questions:

  1. What about those who have never heard of Jesus Christ?
    1. First of all, everyone has a knowledge of God. Since there is a creation, there must be a Creator (Romans 1:18-25, Romans 2:14-15, Psalm 19:1-3). So since everyone has knowledge of God they can’t make the excuse that they don’t know that He exists. But God also promises us in His word that if we seek Him, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13, Matthew 7:7, Hebrews 11:6, Acts 17:26-27). And that starts with the realization that God exists because of the creation that we all can see. See the case of Cornelius in Acts 10.  He knew God existed, but He didn’t know anything about Jesus, and God heard his prayer and sent Peter to him to share the Gospel about Jesus. Jesus said “anyone who comes to Me I will never drive away” (John 6:37b). So the offer is open to everyone. There are also many cases of people who receive dreams about Jesus in countries where it’s illegal to preach about Jesus (e.g. Middle East), and therefore no one would have ever known about him.  Anyone who responds to the light that they have (who seeks), will be given more…
  2. Is Christ the only way to God?
    1. What do you think Jesus said on this topic? (John 10:7-9; 27-33; 12:44-48; 14:6, Matthew 7:13-14; 24-27; 28:18-20, Mark 14:61-63). Now it’s clear that Jesus thought that He was the only way to God. So we have to ask ourselves the question: was Jesus lying? Or was he just a lunatic? If neither of those two things are true then Jesus really is who He said He was. Jesus was the most honest man and He definitely was not crazy. So the only option left to us is that Jesus was in fact the Lord of the universe that He claimed to be and the only way to God. We also need to ask ourselves, did any other religious figure claim to pay for our sins? Jesus was the only one who even claimed to be the Savior of the world paying for the sins of all who believe in Him. Buddha, Muhammed or Krishna didn’t do that, only Jesus did.
  3. Why do the innocent Suffer?
    1. First of all, biblically, there are no innocent people. The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Ecclesiastes 7:20 says that there is not a righteous man on Earth who does what is right and never sins. Nevertheless we have the problem of human suffering and pain. If there’s a good God, who is all-powerful, then why doesn’t He stop it? Well, just because He hasn’t stopped at yet doesn’t mean that He’s not going to stop and in the future. In fact God promises in His word that one day there will be no more death, suffering, crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away (Revelation 21:4). So for those who want to be part of God’s family, their suffering will end. And we must also remember that everyone dies. Whether they die at the age of 2 or 82, everyone dies. No one gets out of this life alive. The person making the charge that there can’t be a good God who’s all-powerful because evil exists – they are basically saying that they know better how to run the universe than God. But we are all limited human beings. God has all the knowledge in the universe. We only have a very small fraction of the knowledge in the universe. So how do we know that God doesn’t have good reasons for allowing evil and suffering to exist? For example, we look at Job who went through incredible suffering. Satan had asked God’s permission to harass Job, and God allowed it. He wanted to show the Job was his faithful follower and that he would remain faithful to God. There was also a time in the gospels where the disciples asked why this man was born blind. Was it because of his sin or because of his parents sinned? Jesus answered them that it was neither for his sin nor his parents sinned but that the glory of God may be manifest in this situation (John 9:1-3). Jesus also allowed Lazarus to suffer and die, so that later he could raise him from the dead displaying the glory of God. We have bad things happen in our world like the 9/11 tragedy. But many people returned to church and came to Christ during that period of time. God often does use tragedy to get us to turn to Him. C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” So while we don’t have all the answers we can trust in One who is infinitely more wise than we are and be sure that He has good reasons for allowing evil and suffering to continue.
  4. How are miracles possible?
    1. If you believe in the first verse of the Bible which says “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth”, then why is it unreasonable to believe that God, who created the heavens and the Earth, could perform miraculous actions inside the heavens and the Earth that He created? He set up the rules. The laws of physics and chemistry are descriptions of how nature normally works (as far as we know). God, being the creator of those natural laws can intervene to suspend or alter those laws since He Himself create created and sustains them. I’m a computer programmer. I create web pages and other programs for people to use. I can control how those web pages and programs behave. I can make a program (that I created) behave differently. No user of the program can do that – only me, the creator of the program can do that. This would seem miraculous to the average user of my program, but since I am the creator of that program I can make it do whatever I want. In the same way God is the all-powerful creator of this universe and He can make it behave however He wants. There’s no logical contradiction here.
  5. Isn’t the Bible full of errors?
    1. The person who asks this question should be required to give an example of such an error. I have a book called “The Big Book of Bible Difficulties”, where answers to many challenges and questions about the Bible are found. If there’s a specific contradiction or error that a person’s concerned about we can address that particular issue. Remember the Bible has been analyzed, questioned and attempted to be destroyed for over 2000 years and no one has been successful yet, so it’s highly unlikely that someone in 2017 is going to come up with the one error or contradiction in the Bible that makes it impossible to believe it’s true. If it is God’s word, it will continue to stand the test of time (as it has for 2000 years).
  6. Isn’t Christianity just a crutch because it makes weak people feel better?
    1. We could ask the same question about atheism, which is non-belief in God. Isn’t an atheist just believing something that makes him feel comfortable? Because if there is a God, that person would be accountable to Him and would have to answer for their behavior in this life. That’s uncomfortable for many people, so we could say that a person who doesn’t believe in God, holds that belief because it makes them feel comfortable. They don’t want to go to hell, they don’t want to think about hell, so they give the excuse that there is no God. Then they tell the Christian “You only believe in God because it makes you feel comfortable”. But actually we have many reasons for believing in the existence of God (existence of the universe, argument from design, evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, etc.) The atheist would have to be explain those things somehow without the existence of God, which would be very difficult. So I reject the charge that Christianity can’t be true because it makes us feel comfortable.  Yes, it does make us feel good and comforted, but that’s no reason to think it is not true.
  7. Won’t a good and moral life get me to heaven?
    1. My question to the person asking this question is: how moral you have to be? How many good things do you have to do to get to heaven? The biblical answer is that you would have to be 100% perfect. And there was only One who was ever perfect, and that was Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The Bible describes the human condition accurately – it’s depiction of humanity makes sense with what we actually see in the world. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Everyone here is told a lie. Everyone here has dishonored their parents at some time. Everyone has failed to do everything that they should to help those in need. So we’ve all sinned. Even if you’ve only sinned once that’s enough to condemn you. The Bible says “For whoever keeps the whole law in yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10), so if you’ve ever lied (even once) you’re guilty of breaking all of the law of God. The Bible also says or if you know the good you ought to do and don’t do it that’s sin (James 2:14). It also says that anything that doesn’t come from faith is sin (Romans 14:23b). So all of us are condemned, it is impossible for any of us to be good enough to merit eternal life in heaven. Our only hope is God’s mercy.  Like the tax collector in Jesus’ parable, we must say “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13), then Jesus will say as He said of the tax collector “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.” (Luke 18:9-14)
  8. Who made God?
    1. This question misunderstands the nature of God. One of the attributes of God that makes him God is the fact that He’s eternal. So the questioner has a wrong concept of God to start with. Part of how we define God is that He is eternal – that He had no beginning and will have no end (1 Chron. 29:10, Nehemiah 9:5, Psalm 90:2; 93:2, Isaiah 44:6-8; Habakkuk 1:12, John 1:1, Hebrews 13:8, Revelation 1:8). We and every other created thing had a beginning. So it’s very hard for us to conceive of someone who had no beginning. But that is in fact what Christians call God. So, the questioner has the wrong view of the Christian God. However we also have to look at the scientific evidence which tells us that the universe that we live in began to exist. Therefore, based on the law of cause and effect, something or someone had to create it. That someone Who created it is God. Now, if we ask who created God, then we would also have to ask who created whatever created God. And then who created that, and then who created that, and you would never end. There has to be an Ultimate Cause of everything – Aristotle called it “the unmoved Mover”.  That ultimate cause is what we call God.

I pray that this session goes well, and that clubbers would get answers that satisfy their curiosity.

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

Apologetics Class 2/12/2017

Yesterday our topic was abortion.  Here were some videos we watched in class:

  1. The 180 Movie (~ ½ hour): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y2KsU_dhwI
  2. The S.L.E.D. Test (total of 9 ½ minutes):
    1. Introduction: http://subspla.sh/cd6e7d6
    2. S – Size: http://subspla.sh/52200fa
    3. L – Level of Development: http://subspla.sh/c03b7b5
    4. E – Environment: http://subspla.sh/469db33
    5. D – Degree of Dependency: http://subspla.sh/fcd0a3f
    6. Conclusion: http://subspla.sh/60e03e2
  3. Trotting out the toddler: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ktPmgBX_FU

Unfortunately, all the people making the argument in these videos are men.  However, there are many strong pro-life women.  In some quick research, I also found this video from a woman abortion survivor to the Australian parliament:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOWMmx6eBjU

Very powerful.

This was not necessarily a “traditional” Biblical apologetics issue, but it is a moral issue that certainly flows from our Christian worldview.  There are a few Bible verses I quoted in the class, which are relevant to this issue:

  1. Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations”.  This tells us that God forms us in the womb.
  2. Psalms 139:13-16For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,  your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”  Again, here we are told that God is the one ‘knitting us together in our mother’s wombs.
  3. Finally, I referenced how the baby John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb: “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy SpiritLuke 1:41.  This tells us that John was a human person – a baby, not just a fetus, when he was in Elizabeth’s womb.

It was a good class and we had a good discussion at the end.

After the class, I was talking to one of the students (a female student who is a senior in high school).  She expressed a few different concerns regarding the topic and the video:

  1. She might be considered hateful by others if she tries to convince them about the pro-life view.
  2. She’s concerned that the woman that have abortions do not feel loved, but rather, judged by Christians – that we need to show them more love and less judgment based on the situation they’re in
  3. It would be more effective to have women make these arguments for the pro-life position, since they’re in a position to know more about the special burdens and trials of pregnancy and childbirth

By the way, I do agree with all those points.  Part of my purpose in showing the videos in the class, was not only to equip the students to make their pro-life case, but at a minimum to convince them personally that the pro-life position is the Christian position and the most logical/moral position.  So, my biggest concern is that the students are personally convinced and have a chance to think through the issues their selves in a safe environment where they can ask questions.  So, I hope that at least watching these videos has had an impact on their personal views.

That being said, I completely understand that it is a daunting task, as a senior in high school, to go out and convince others of that position.  My hope is that the students would be able to stand up and say “I’m pro-life” if the issue ever comes up and will be able to defend their views if someone asks them why they’re pro-life.  That’s defensive apologetics – giving a reasoned answer for your views when challenged, and not being persuaded by the pro-choice view because you’ve taken the time to think deeply about the pro-life view.

I did share with this student the one pro-life video by a woman (15 minutes), who happens to be a survivor of an abortion that she would possibly be interested in watching:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOWMmx6eBjU

She did watch it and said “I watched the video and it was really powerful and got me to think more about abortion.”

I also shared with her some links to several female bloggers that blog about pro-life issues:

http://www.lifenews.com/author/mallory-quigley/

http://www.lifenews.com/author/kristan-hawkins/

http://www.lifenews.com/author/cora-sherlock/

http://www.lifenews.com/author/rebeccataylor/

It was a great class and I think it was a divine appointment for this particular student, because she had just been struggling with this issue.

Conversation at St. Vincent de Paul Saturday February 11th

This past Saturday at St. Vincent de Paul, where our church volunteers once a month to feed the homeless, I had a conversation with a guy who was with another group volunteering there.  He was a parent of one of the girls on a high school sports club. Right off the bat, another Christian brother and I were talking with him and we let him know that we were Christians. That opened up the conversation for spiritual topics.  So, my friend asked him if he goes to church, and he said, “Well not so much anymore because we’re really busy, we’ve got the girls going to Lacrosse, we have a lot of other things going on, so we don’t really have time.”  I followed up with a question, “So then, would you consider yourself to be a Christian?”  He said, “Oh definitely!”  I filed that in my back pocket. Not much else was said right then, but I knew that since we’d both been assigned to work on the garbage, I would be having a lot of time to talk to him.

At one point during our shift when there was a lull in our garbage work, I asked him about his spiritual journey. He repeated the statement about him not having enough time to go to church. I replied, “Well, it’s only one hour a week, and we have a 168 hours a week. The truth is, we make time for things that we want to make time for. I’m not trying to convict you – I was there too and I know that life does get busy – I understand that. But, consider this: 100 years from today, we will not be concerned at all about what we’re concerned about today. Things that concern us today will be just a distant memory.” He replied, “Yeah because I’ll be dead.” And I said, “Well, you said you were Christian, so as Christians we believe in the afterlife, so actually you won’t be dead, you’ll be alive and you’ll be in one of two places either heaven or hell. So it’s important for us to have an eternal perspective as we go through life.  We sometimes need to back up and just take a look at the big picture and realize that we’re all going to die one day. With everything we’re doing in life, we need to ask whether it will matter 100 years from today.  Am I spending my time on things that will matter eternally?”  He seemed to acknowledge that without much to say in return, but I could see that I made him think about it.  That was pretty much all I said related to spiritual things.  We talked about all sorts of other things including career and how he thought it was so good to be doing this volunteer work.  He thought it was good for us and it makes us feel good as well.  He mentioned that it was good for his daughter, who was there, to see that.

So I hope that this conversation I had with this fellow will make some impact on him and get him to reconsider his priorities in life.

In Jesus’s Holy and Precious Name I pray, Amen!

AWANA Teaching on Joshua 1:8

Last Wednesday evening I had the awesome privilege of teaching about 10 fifth and sixth graders as I do once a month.  The purpose is to take one of their memory verses and expound upon it so that they understand it at a deeper level.  The topic I chose for that evening was Joshua 1:8.  Below is the content of the Power Point I used to present along with the comments that I made:

slide1

Today, we’ll be looking at one of the verses that you are memorizing.  It is from book 2 challenge 4:2, Joshua 1:8

slide2

Would someone like to read this verse? “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8)

slide3

First of all, who is speaking in this verse? I’ll give you a hint – it is not Joshua or Moses. Look at the context…  (click) Verse 1 of this same chapter says “After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, (click) the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide”  So, when we read verse 8, these are the direct words of the Lord spoken to Joshua.

slide4

“Book of the Law”. The Bible. Do not let it “depart from your mouth” and “meditate on it day and night”.  Read/memorize Bible daily.

slide5

the reasons why we are to meditate on God’s Word day and night  – “so that you may be careful to do everything written in it”.  That’s obedience.  That’s action.

slide6

Result :  “Then you will be prosperous and successful”. Do you think that God is saying to Joshua that he will get a lot of  money and no longer have any problems in life? No, He’s not telling Joshua that. We can be prosperous and successful in God’s sight by reading, memorizing and obeying His word.  This may include riches and it may not.

slide7

In summary, Joshua 1:8 is the LORD telling Joshua (and us) that

1.the Bible is His word

2.We are to be

  1. reading it
  2. memorizing it
  3. Talking about it
  4. Thinking about it
  5. Obeying it
  6. Result will be blessing by God.

slide8

Now, I’ve been telling you that the Bible is God’s Word, but, so far, I haven’t given you any evidence for that belief.  Why should we believe the Bible is God’s Word?  What makes it more special than any other book?  How do we know it is not just a book of fairy tales and fables?

slide9

(hold up the Bible)

1.great privilege to have the Bible.

2. Many died to get this message to you (could’ve saved their lives by denying Jesus)

3.We don’t really appreciate what we have.

4.This is the Word of God He inspired men to write.

slide10

What we mean by inspiration of Scripture:

1.Men wrote the Bible

2.Not inspired like music or artwork

3.But the wrote what God wanted them to write

slide11

Americans becoming more skeptical lately – each generation…

slide12

Will give several lines of evidence that Bible not man’s word, but God’s word.  Hope you walk away convinced, not become “statistic”.

slide13

1.The Bible is indestructible

2.Many attempts to destroy the Bible in history

slide14

1.Before Christ, Jewish people under Antiochus Epiphanes.

2.Known as “the madman”

3.Persecuted Hebrew people.

4.Attempt to destroy copies of the Old Testament.

slide15

1.Maccabees says Antiochus Epiphanes attempted to destroy Scriptures by fire.

2.Wasn’t successful

slide16

We know we possess same Scriptures today because of the Dead Sea Scrolls – contain every book of the Old Testament except Esther.

slide17

1.Roman emperor Diocletian, known for persecution of Christians.

2.No tolerance for Christianity,

3.Called it a “cult”.

slide18

Diocletian’s initiated the most terrible of all the persecutions of the early Church.

slide19

1.302 A.D. he (Diocletian) told his government “to tear down the churches to the foundations and to destroy the Sacred Scriptures by fire”.

2.Massacred town because they where Christians.

3.Didn’t wipe out Christianity because of faith, perseverance and courage of the early Christians.

slide20

As the Word of God says: There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.

slide21

And “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever”

slide22

1700’s in France, Voltaire hated Bible.

Within 100 years Christianity would be gone

50 years after his death, his house used by Geneva Bible Society for printing Bibles

Now, 91% of American homes have at least 1 Bible, and 47% of Americans read the Bible at least once a week

slide23

The Bible best selling book of all time. “the Bible is the best-selling book of the year, every year.”

The Bible most stolen book as well.  In the United States alone, 50 Bibles are stolen every minute.

The Bible most read book of all time and remains the most important book of all time.

The Bible is amazing and could not have survived all these years without God’s direct involvement

slide24

1.Bible has consistent message.

2.Its human authors:

1.Lived in different places,

2.Spoke different languages,

3.The message of the Bible in one sentence is “Through Jesus, God is restoring everything that sin destroyed”.

4.Couldn’t be true without God directing things

slide25

1.The Bible is not a single book, but actually 66 individual books

2.written

1.on 3 continents,

2.in 3 different languages,

3.over a period of approximately 1500 years,

4.by 40 authors

5.who came from many walks of life (shepherds, kings, scholars, fishermen, prophets, a doctor, a military general, and a Pharisee)

3.One unified book from beginning to end without contradiction.

4.This is evidence of Bible being God’s Word.

slide26

2,500 prophecies in Bible, 2,000 of which already have been fulfilled to the letter—no errors.

slide27

This document (show document) contains 60 of the prophecies fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth (there are actually over 300 in total). This chart shows 8 of them.  As you can see, many of these prophecies are not something a human being could have caused to happen.  For example:

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.Burial (Isaiah 53:9)

The odds of 1 man fulfilling just 8 of these prophecies are 1 in 1000000…. (lot of zeros) – essentially impossible, which shows that God had to be involved…

slide28

1.Take 10^17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep.

2.“Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state.

3.Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one.

4.What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man.”

slide29

Question:

Who, in all the history of the world,

1.Born of a virgin;

2.A descendant of Abraham;

3.from the tribe of Judah;

4.from the line of David;

5.was both God and man;

6.was born in Bethlehem;

7.was preceded by a messenger, and visited the Jerusalem temple before it was destroyed in A.D. 70;

8.died in A.D. 33;

9.rose from the dead (Isa. 53:11)?

Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the only possible candidate. Only he hits the bull’s-eye.

slide30

There are many other prophecies that I could tell you about.  Please be sure that you can trust in the Bible, which is the Word of God.   He proves that He is the Author of it by fulfilled prophecies contained in the Bible

slide31

The 4th reason we know that the Bible is the Word of God is it’s reliability as a historical document.

slide32

A reliability of a historical document is judged by a few things:

1. Does it contain eyewitness testimony?  The New Testament consists of 27 books that were written by 27 authors who were either eyewitnesses to Jesus or interviewed eyewitnesses of Him

2. How early are the copies we have?  Any writing of history is judged by how close the writing is to the events it records.  The New Testament events all occurred in the first century (0 – 100 A.D.) and all of the writings were written in the first century.

3. How many copies do we have?  Historical documents are viewed as more reliable if they have more copies of them.  The reason for this is that mass printing wasn’t invented until 1440 A.D., by Johannes Gutenberg.  By the way, the first book printed on the printing press was: The Bible. But before that, people (called scribes) had to copy the writings by hand so that they could be distributed to other areas.

slide33

27 New Testament books by 9 authors (eyewitnesses or interviewed eyewitnesses)

slide34

1.Why don’t we have more written about Jesus?

2. 10 non-Christian writers who mention Jesus within 150 years of his life.

3.By contrast, over the same 150 years,  there are 9 non-Christian sources who mention Tiberius Caesar, the Roman emperor at the time of Jesus.

4.Jesus is actually mentioned by one more source than the Roman emperor at the time.

5.If you include the Christian sources, authors mentioning Jesus outnumber those mentioning  Tiberius 43 to 10!

slide35

the number of manuscripts compared to other ancient documents and the time gap from the events.

slide36

1.Wrap-up / Summary / Purpose:

1.understand Joshua 1:8

2.Overview of the reasons why we believe that the Bible is the Word of God.

3.Increase your confidence and faith in the Bible

4.Give you information to respond to challenges you hear

slide37

We talked about 4 lines of evidence that the Bible is God’s Word.  They are:

1. Indestructibility – we reviewed the examples of Antiochus Epiphanes, a few of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, as well as Voltaire

2. The Consistent Message of the Bible – 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.  The consistent message of the Bible throughout is “Through Jesus, God is restoring everything that sin destroyed

3. Fulfilled Prophecy –Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled over 300 prophecies from the Old Testament.  Many of those could’ve been fulfilled only by Jesus and many are not things that a mere human could arrange.  The fact that men wrote down hundreds of years ahead of time what was going to happen in the future, this shows God’s intervention.

4. Historical Reliability – the Bible is historically reliable.  We can be sure that we have the text of the Bible that was written down in the first century.

slide38

I hope that your faith has been made more sure by this information and that you’ll now be able to contend for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints!  Are there any questions that you have on this material?

mid-week apologetics booster (2-9-2017)

Good morning,

Hey everybody, I wanted to pass on a wonderful and encouraging opportunity for you.  A homeschool speech and debate club is looking for community judges for an upcoming competition.  The name of it is the Mars Hill Speech and Debate club.  The event is March 16-18 and they have a lot of different time slots to be filled.  It is on the west side of town, so it is quite a drive for many of us, but it is worth it…  In the past, I’ve done the Christian Apologetics events where the students are given a topic and have to prepare an impromptu speech to defend the Christian position.  It was so encouraging to see these young people defending their faith and so knowledgeable about such critical matters.  If you want to be encouraged and amazed, I would encourage you to attend.  You can find out more at: https://camelbackclassic2017.homeschooldebate.net/ .  You can look for a Judges link at the top of the page.  I blogged about an event I participated in November 2015, you can read about that to get more details on my experience.

Here are your weekly links:

  1. There’s No Good Reason to Deny the Early Dating of the Gospels: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/theres-no-good-reason-to-deny-the-early-dating-of-the-gospels/
  2. Who Is Jesus, According to Other Religions? http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/who-is-jesus-according-to-other-religions/
  3. Is salvation by works true? https://carm.org/is-salvation-by-works-true
  4. Why believe in Christianity over all other religions? https://carm.org/why-believe-christianity-over-all-other-religions
  5. World Religions: https://carm.org/world-religions
  6. How to Prevent Losing Another Generation: https://answersingenesis.org/christianity/church/how-prevent-losing-another-generation/
  7. Report: Christians Were Persecuted In Every Corner of Globe in 2016 – Leah Barkoukis: http://m.townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2017/02/05/open-doors-persecution-of-christians-report-n2280204
  8. William Murray, Son of the Founder of American Atheists, Converts to Christianity | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/william-murray-son-of-the-founder-of-american-atheists-converts-to-christianity/
  9. Jesus isn’t the means to something wonderful: http://adam4d.com/jesus-isnt-the-means-to-something-wonderful/
  10. Evidence for the Historical Jesus – free eBook from Dr. Gary Habermas: http://www.garyhabermas.com/Evidence/

Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else–to the nearby villages–so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”  Mark 1:38

Blessings to you all!

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

Hi Friends,

Below are some links for you to take a look at:

  1. A must-read series of posts on cosmic fine-tuning by Allen Hainline: https://winteryknight.com/2017/01/29/a-must-read-series-of-posts-on-cosmic-fine-tuning-by-allen-hainline-4/
  2. Requiring Young Christians to Raise the Bar: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/requiring-young-christians-to-raise-the-bar/
  3. Clarifying Objections against Bible Reliability: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2017/01/clarifying-objections-against-bible.html
  4. Video: Evolution- A Theory in Crisis by Dr. Thomas Woodward: http://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2017/01/video-evolution-theory-in-crisis-by-dr.html
  5. Creation Is the Foundation: http://www.icr.org/article/9800
  6. The Beginning of Knowledge: http://www.icr.org/article/9803
  7. Major Evolutionary Blunders: Evolutionary Psychology for Serious Tabloid Readers: http://www.icr.org/article/9805
  8. The Atheist Delusion Movie (2016) HD – 1 hour – I would highly recommend watching this movie – the main thesis is that as a book requires an author, so DNA, the book of life, which is more complex than a book, needs an author: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChWiZ3iXWwM
  9. The Top Three Reasons the Bible Is Reliable (Video): http://coldcasechristianity.com/2015/the-top-three-reasons-the-bible-is-reliable/
  10. The Trinity is Not A Problem, It’s A Solution: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/the-trinity-is-not-a-problem-its-a-solution/
  11. Responding to National Geographic’s “Gender Revolution”: https://answersingenesis.org/family/gender/responding-national-geographic-gender-revolution/
  12. The Hidden Faith of Silence: http://www.equip.org/article/the-hidden-faith-of-silence/
  13. A Simple Reason Why The Qur’an Cannot Be The Word of God: http://crossexamined.org/simple-reason-quran-word-god/
  14. Answering questions about suffering: http://www.bethinking.org/would-a-good-god-allow-suffering/answering-questions-about-suffering

Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.  James 3:11-14

Blessings

mid-week apologetics booster (1-26-2017)

Hello friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. If we can’t see God, how can we know he exists? – Christian Research Institute: http://www.equip.org/bible_answers/if-we-cant-see-god-how-can-we-know-he-exists-/
  2. Faithful Thinkers: Your Challenge Does Not Apply- The Strawman: http://lukenixblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/your-challenge-does-not-apply-strawman.html
  3. When was the Bible written and who wrote it? | CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: https://www.carm.org/when-was-bible-written-and-who-wrote-it
  4. Are We 99% Chimps? http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/30394
  5. Why Are There So Many Atheists on College Campuses? https://chab123.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/why-are-there-so-many-atheists-on-college-campuses-3/
  6. GARY HABERMAS AND JAMES CROSSLEY DISCUSS THE MINIMAL FACTS CASE FOR THE RESURRECTION: https://winteryknight.com/2017/01/05/gary-habermas-and-james-crossley-discuss-the-minimal-facts-case-for-the-resurrection-3/
  7. A Christian’s Rebuttal to “Why I Am Not a Christian” by Bertrand Russell: https://sjthomason.wordpress.com/2017/01/22/a-christians-rebuttal-to-why-i-am-not-a-christian-by-bertrand-russell/
  8. Is apologetics relevant to today’s Church? http://www.christianweek.org/apologetics-relevant-todays-church/
  9. 5 Reasons To Believe Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John Wrote The Gospels: http://reasonsforjesus.com/5-reasons-to-believe-matthew-mark-luke-john-wrote-the-gospels/
  10. Video: Understanding Greg Bahnsen by Kenneth Samples: http://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2017/01/video-understanding-greg-bahnsen-by.html
  11. When Someone You Love Says, “I’m Gay”: http://www.equip.org/article/someone-love-says-im-gay/
  12. Watch “Believing Means Behaving Alistair Begg” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/3kpvq8FJ45U
  13. Watch “True & False Conversion” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/r_vRvn0rRFY
  14. Watch “The Way of the Master – “The Greatest Gamble”” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/4uIZkYqkKqM
  15. Planned Parenthood / Abortion:
    1. Planned Parenthood’s Most Misleading Statistic: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/planned-parenthoods-most-misleading-statistic#When:2017-01-24T06:10:00+00:00
    2. 5 Reasons Planned Parenthood Must Be Defunded ASAP | Daily Wire: http://www.dailywire.com/news/12178/4-main-reasons-planned-parenthood-needs-be-amanda-prestigiacomo
    3. Money to Planned Parenthood Pays for Abortion. Period: http://www.newsmax.com/t/newsmax/article/736192
    4. How Much Cash Did Planned Parenthood Clear Last Year? The Answer Will Disgust You. | Daily Wire: http://www.dailywire.com/news/11723/how-much-cash-did-planned-parenthood-clear-last-amanda-prestigiacomo
    5. New Video Destroys the False Claim That Abortion is Just 3% of What Planned Parenthood Does | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2016/09/14/new-video-destroys-the-false-claim-that-abortion-is-just-3-of-what-planned-parenthood-does/
    6. Watch “Ben Shapiro: The Truth About Planned Parenthood” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/RhoFNmMeO8k
    7. Watch “Debunking Planned Parenthood’s “3%” Abortion Myth” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/qtgqxvaV-8U
    8. Birth control leader Margaret Sanger: Darwinist, racist and eugenicist – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/margaret-sanger-darwinian-eugenicist
    9. Writer Tells Abortion Activists: If Your Sex Life is None of My Business Stop Demanding I Finance It | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2017/01/17/writer-tells-abortion-activists-if-your-sex-life-is-none-of-my-business-stop-demanding-i-finance-it/
    10. Abortion Justifications Flip Moral Reasoning Upside Down | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/blog/abortion-justifications-flip-moral-reasoning-upside-down#.WIO38stlDqB
  16. Global Warming:
    1. Notes from the Great Global Warming Swindle movie: http://wp.me/p4WCk1-hT
    2. Inconvenient Question: Gore asked about failed ’10-year tipping’ point – Refuses to answer, enters SUV in snow | Climate Depot: http://www.climatedepot.com/2017/01/22/inconvenient-question-gore-asked-about-failed-10-year-tipping-point-refuses-to-answer-enters-suv-in-snow/

When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.  Hebrews 6:13-15

Global Warming Notes from “The Great Global Warming Swindle”

These notes are from the movie the Great Global Warming Swindle.  They are notes I took and in some cases, quotes taken from the scientists interviewed in the movie.  I can’t remember who said what, so I’m not quoting the individual source, nor am I actually putting quotation marks around the text because I’m not sure I got the actual wording correct.  My notes are following this:

The earth’s climate is always changing. There’s nothing unusual about the current temperature.  There were periods in the Earth’s history where we had three times as much CO2 as we have today and there were also periods in its history where there was 10 times as much CO2 as we have today.  None of the major climate changes in the last thousand years can be explained by CO2

Climate scientists need there to be a problem in order to get funding. Tens of thousands of jobs depend on global warming right now. It’s a big business! The whole global warming business has become like a religion and those who disagree are called “heretics”.

We can trace the current warming period back 200 years to the end of a very cold period of Earth’s history known as the little ice age. In the 14th century Europe plunged into the little ice age. We know this from the old illustrations and prints of the Thames River. These showed that Thames would freeze over, showing people ice skating on it. Prior to the little ice age there was a period known to climatologists as the “medieval warm period” which peaked around the year 1200 to 1300 AD. Wherever this warm period is described in written records, it appears to be associated with riches and prosperity. This was the great period of cathedral building in Europe. There’s also evidence in London of vineyards at that time.

There was also a very warm period during the Bronze Age known to climatologist as the “Holocene Maximum”. The polar bears obviously survived that, they’re with us today. They are very adaptable.

Climate variation in the past was purely natural, so why do you think it would be any different today? Industrial growth has changed our lives, but has it also change the climate?

Anyone who says the carbon dioxide is responsible for most of the warming of the 20th century, hasn’t looked at the basic numbers.  Since the mid-19th century the Earth’s temperature has risen just over a half a degree celsius. However, this warming began before cars and planes were even invented. Most of the rise in temperature occurred before 1940 when industrial production was rather insignificant. After the Second World War, during the “post-war economic boom” where man-made CO2 emissions were increasing dramatically, in theory, temperatures should have risen as industrial production rose. However, the temperatures actually fell for four decades to 1975.

CO2 forms only a very small part of the Earth’s atmosphere. Percentage of the overall atmosphere is .054%. Since not all CO2 is originated by humans, the portion that we are responsible for is a much smaller percent. The atmosphere is made up of a number of gases, a small percentage of those gases are what we called greenhouse gases, of the very small percentage of those greenhouse gases, 95% of it is water vapor.  CO2 is part of the remaining 5% of those greenhouse gases.

If its greenhouse warming you get more warming in the troposphere then you do at the surface. If there were no greenhouse gases the rays of the sun would bounce off the Earth back into outer space and the Earth would be cold and uninhabitable. But greenhouse gases trap some of that heat in the troposphere. All the models calculate that the warming should be strongest as you go up into the atmosphere away from the surface of the Earth, the maximum warming at the equator should take place at an altitude of about 10 kilometers. However, what we’ve seen through weather balloons and satellites is that the Earth’s upper atmosphere is not warming as fast as the surface. The theory is fairly straightforward it says that the upper atmosphere should warm faster than the Earth’s surface. That tells us that what you’re seeing is warming that is not due to greenhouse gases. Most data shows a gradual decrease in warming with altitude. So in a sense you could say that the hypothesis of man-made global warming is falsified by the evidence. Therefore the recent warming in the earth took place at the wrong place and at the wrong time. It took place in the early 20th century and at the surface of the Earth, the very opposite of what should have happened according to the theory of man-made global warming.

The evidence presented in Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” shows correctly that there is a correlation in the data taken from the ice core surveys between carbon dioxide levels and temperature. Al Gore States in his movie (as he looks at the correlated graphs of CO2 and temperature) but there is one correlation that’s very obvious: when the temperature gets higher there is more carbon dioxide. There is something in the ice core data that he fails to mention: the link is the wrong way around. CO2 increases lag behind the temperature increases by about 800 years. So temperature is leading CO2 by about 800 years. There been several major ice core surveys in all of them show the same thing so obviously carbon dioxide is not the cause of that warming. The ice core survey data shows exact exactly opposite of what the theory of man-made global warming predicts.

Carbon dioxide is a natural gas produced by all living things in few things annoy me more than hearing people talk about carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Humans are not the main source of carbon dioxide. Humans produce a small fraction, percentage wise, of the CO2 that is found in the atmosphere. Volcanoes produce more CO2 each year than all  human sources put together (this includes factories etc.) and more still comes from animals and bacteria which produce 150 giga tonnes of CO2 compared to 6 Giga tonnes from humans. Another large source CO2 is dying leaves, but the largest source by far of CO2 is the oceans. If you heat the surface of the ocean, it tends to emit carbon dioxide. Similarly if you cool the surface of the ocean, the ocean can dissolve more carbon dioxide. So the warmer the oceans are, the more carbon dioxide they produce and the cooler the oceans are the more they consume. Oceans are so big and so deep they take literally hundreds of years to warm up and cool down. This time lag means that oceans have what scientists call a memory of temperature changes. This explains why there is an 800 year lag between the temperature increase and the increase in carbon dioxide.

The current warming appeared long before people had cars and electric lights. If CO2 doesn’t drive Earth’s temperatures, what does? The common belief that CO2 drives changes in temperature is at odds with much of the scientific data. Humans that are 6 ½ – 7 billion in population are minor compared to the effect of the Sun.

Climate forecaster Dr. Piers Corbyn has had great success in predicting the Earth’s weather patterns by looking at solar activity. Sunspots we now know are intense magnetic fields that appear at periods of increased solar activity. For many years in the past people have observed sunspots and counted them with the belief that more sunspots led to increase in temperatures. One scientist in 1893 observed that during the little ice age there were no sunspots recorded. In 1991 a study was done that correlated sunspot activity with the temperature on Earth and a strong correlation was found. With respect to the history of the 20th century, solar activity increased strongly to 1940, and then dropped sharply to the 1970’s, then rose again after that. They then analyzed 400 years of solar activity against temperature data and once again they found that variations in solar activity were intimately linked to temperature variation on Earth. It was the Sun, not carbon dioxide or not anything else, that was driving temperature variations on Earth.

The sun also affects us indirectly to through clouds. We know the clouds have a cooling effect. A study was done that attempted to correlate cosmic rays with cloud formation in ultimately temperature. Since clouds have a cooling effect and they are caused in part by cosmic rays, what they found was that as cosmic rays went up, the temperature on Earth went down. The climate was controlled by the clouds, the clouds were controlled by the cosmic rays, and the cosmic rays were controlled by the sun. The sun is an incredibly violent beast it’s throwing out great explosions an endless solar wind that’s forever rushing past the Earth. We are in a certain sense inside the atmosphere of the sun. When comparing the temperature in the arctic with the CO2 levels they are not obviously correlated, however when comparing the solar activity and the temperature of the arctic they are correlated. The sun is driving climate change, the CO2 is irrelevant.

In the 1970s the media was reporting the threat of global cooling in the imminent Ice Age.

The politicization of this topic began with Margaret Thatcher. She didn’t trust oil and she didn’t trust coal so she thought we had to really move ahead with nuclear power. The UK’s Met Office led to the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC. Once the Berlin Wall came down and global communism was failing, a lot of the peaceniks and Marxists moved over into the environmental movement to cloak an agenda that actually had more to do with anti-capitalism. If I wanted to do research, from anywhere 1990 onwards, let’s say on the squirrels of Sussex, I would write my grant saying I want to investigate the nut gathering behavior of squirrels with special reference to the effects of global warming. That way, I get my money. If I forget to mention global warming I might not get my money.

A large amount of the money in the 1990s started to be invested into the development of computer models to predict global temperature changes. The question is, how accurate are those models? Climate models are only as good as the assumptions that go into them, and there are hundreds of them. All it takes is for one of them to be wrong for the forecast to be off. All models assume that man-made CO2 is the cause of climate change rather than the sun or the clouds. The analogy that I would use is that my car is not running very well, so I’m going to ignore the engine, which is the sun and I’m going to ignore the transmission, which is the water vapor, and I’m going to look at one nut on the right rear wheel which is the amount of man-made CO2 in the atmosphere. The science is that bad!

It is one of the features that long-range climate forecasts are only proved wrong long after people have forgotten about them. Therefore, there is a danger that modelers will be less concerned about creating a forecast that is accurate than creating one that is interesting. So there’s a bias toward producing results that are dramatizable. To the untrained eye computer models look impressive.

If you’re an environmental journalist in the global warming story goes in the trash, then so does your job. It really is that crude! And the reporting has to get more and more hysterical. It is now common in the media to lay the blame for every storm or hurricane on global warming. Every meteorology textbook will tell you that the primary reason for weather disturbances is the temperature difference between the tropics and the poles. But theoretically, in a world where global warming is increased that temperature difference between the tropics and the poles would decrease, thus making it possible to have less violent storms.

We happen to have temperature records going back thousands of years in Greenland. Greenland was much warmer even a thousand years ago than it is today, yet it didn’t have a dramatic melting event. There’s a huge amount of natural expansion and contraction that happens in the arctic ice levels seasonally. People forget that ice is always moving. Images and videos showing ice breaking away from glaciers is cited as being evidence for climate change, but this is as normal as leaves falling on an autumn day in England. A scientist refers to it as “the spring break up”.

Sea level changes over the world are governed fundamentally by two factors: 1) local factors, the relation of the land and sea which more often has to do with the land rising or falling then with the sea. But with regards to 2) worldwide changes that is through the thermal expansion of the oceans, it has nothing to do with melting. That’s an enormously slow and long process.

It is also said that the global rising temperatures even a little bit will cause the northward spread of insect borne diseases such as malaria. However, mosquitoes thrive in very cold conditions. For example, mosquitoes are very abundant even in the arctic.

IPCC has censured the comments of contributing scientists. There are people who are “specialists” but don’t agree with the polemic and resigned from the IPCC, and there are a number of them that I know of who are simply put on the author list and become part of this list of the world’s 2500 top scientists, even though they do not agree with the conclusions of the IPCC report. One of these scientists even had to threaten to sue the IPCC to get his name removed.

Research related to man-made global warming is now one of the best-funded parts of science. Scientists who speak out against man-made global warming have a lot to lose. It is a common theory that those who do not agree with the theory of man-made global warming are being paid off by the oil and gas companies. The ones interviewed on the show said that that is false. Anyone who looks at this coolly and rationally and says let’s see how much merit this idea really has will be ostracized. Climate scientists who have been skeptical about the theory of man-made global warming and not only ostracize but they even in sometimes receive personal attacks and even death threats. They are even treated almost as if they were a holocaust denier.

The developing world is now coming under intense pressure not to develop. Policies being pushed to supposedly prevent global warming are now having a disastrous effect on the world’s poorest people. The “precautionary principle” is that we ought to impose draconian measures even if global warming is wrong, just in case it isn’t. They never talk about the benefits of using fossil fuels, but rather just talk about the risks of doing so. They never talk about what the implications are if you don’t use fossil fuels. People in Africa have no access to electricity in certain parts, so they must burn dried wood or dried animal dung in their huts, and as a result 4 million children die each year from the results of this indoor smoke. Many millions of women die early from cancer or lung disease as a result of the smoke. To a third world country, they know that they have moved to the “next level” when they have electricity, that is what they define as development. No electricity means that they have no refrigeration & food cannot be kept.  We in the west cannot begin to imagine how hard life is without electricity. Africa has coal and Africa has oil, but environmental groups are campaigning against the use of these cheap energy sources. Instead, they say that Africa and the rest of the developing World should use solar power and wind power. They showed a clinic in Nairobi Kenya which is powered purely by 2 solar panels. The solar panels allow the doctor to use either the lights or the refrigerator, but not both at the same time. Wind and solar power are notoriously unreliable as a source of power. They are at least three times more expensive than conventional forms of electricity. The rich countries can afford to engage in some form of experimentation with these renewable technologies but for Africa they are at the “stage of survival”. The idea that the world’s poorest people should be restricted to using the world’s most expensive and inefficient forms of electrical generation is the most morally repugnant aspect of the global warming campaign. One of the most pernicious aspects of the modern environmental movement is this romanticization of peasant life and the idea that industrial societies are the destroyers of the world. The environmental movement has evolved into the strongest force there is for preventing development in the developing countries. I think it is legitimate for me to call them anti-human.

The theory of man-made global warming is now so thoroughly entrenched the opposition so thoroughly silenced, it seems invincible. The global warming alarm is now “beyond reason”.

mid-week apologetics booster (1-19-2017)

Good morning friends,

Here are some links to equip you:

  1. 5 Ways Christian Parents Fail to Prepare Their Kids to Engage with Questions of Faith and Science: http://christianmomthoughts.com/5-ways-christian-parents-fail-to-prepare-their-kids-to-engage-with-questions-of-faith-and-science/
  2. The Spiny Postage Stamp: http://www.creationmoments.com/radio/transcripts/spiny-postage-stamp-0
  3. What the Case Looks Like When Young People Are Your Jury | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/what-the-case-looks-like-when-young-people-are-your-jury/
  4. 7 Tips For Apologetics Judo – Intelligent Christian Faith: https://intelligentchristianfaith.com/2015/06/14/philosophical-judo-apologetics-as-a-martial-art/
  5. Watch “Ravi Zacharias – Jesus Among Other Gods” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Q0QM-DaOZtM
  6. Should Students Be Exposed to Evidence Against Christianity? – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/should-students-be-exposed-to-evidence-against-christianity
  7. The Great Separation: http://gracegems.org/Ryle/great_separation.htm
  8. How Geographic Separation Affirms the Reliability of the New Testament | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/how-geographic-separation-affirms-the-reliability-of-the-new-testament/
  9. Problems with the Book of Mormon | CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: https://carm.org/problems-with-the-book-mormon
  10. Breaking the Materialist Spell: http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/30355#.WHkA5t6avQU.twitter
  11. evolution
  12. Minuscule Erosion Points to Hawaii’s Youth | The Institute for Creation Research: http://www.icr.org/article/9751
  13. Christians Who Accept Millions of Years Undermine God’s Word | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2017/01/16/christians-who-accept-millions-years-undermine-gods-word/
  14. christian-persecution
  15. Climate Change: What Do Scientists Say? | PragerU: https://www.prageru.com/courses/environmental-science/climate-change-what-do-scientists-say
  16. Do 97% of Climate Scientists Really Agree? | PragerU: https://www.prageru.com/courses/environmental-science/do-97-climate-scientists-really-agree
  17. Fossils Reflect Life’s Original Diversity | The Institute for Creation Research: http://www.icr.org/fossil-diversity
  18. Luke Barnes discusses the fine-tuning of the fine structure constant: https://winteryknight.com/2017/01/08/luke-barnes-discusses-the-fine-tuning-of-the-fine-structure-constant-2/
  19. What’s Apatheism? https://jamesbishopblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/11/whats-apatheism/
  20. Atheism Became Way More Popular During The Obama Era | The Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/12/atheism-became-way-more-popular-during-the-obama-era/
  21. What is the Geneva Bible? https://www.gotquestions.org/Geneva-Bible.html
  22. Watch “[official] Q&A with Tim Keller – Reason for God? Belief in an Age of Skepticism” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/L9jHlrMRJAo

For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged. 2 Corinthians 12:20-21

Blessings

Conversation at St. Vincent de Paul Saturday

Our Church volunteers once a month at St. Vincent de Paul dining room for the homeless.  Each month our Church collects clothing and then brings them there and hands them out to the clients.  This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to work with a young guy from a local company.  We both worked at the front lobby hanging the clothes we’d collected to homeless people.

While I was talking with him I asked him if he and his wife who was there (but working in another area) were Christians or had any church background. He said, “Well I’m a Lutheran. But my wife is an atheist or agnostic.” I asked him why she was an atheist or agnostic. He said well, she’s never really thought that there was any proof for God. So, I asked him how much she ever looked into any evidence for God? There are many books are there that describe the evidence for God in great detail. He said no probably not, she really doesn’t think it’s that important. I said, “Well each of us is going to have to give an account of himself to God. You won’t be able to point to anyone else being there or your parents or anything like that. We all have to stand before God alone and give an account.”

During the course of the conversation, I found out that this guy, who said he was Lutheran and went through confirmation, doesn’t go to church and doesn’t read the Bible.  He did say he does pray though.  I showed him some of the tools I’ve written that help you stay connected to God’s word on your phone:

  1. Nuggets (Web): http://coolgadgetssoftware.com/nuggets_mobile_app/web/index.html#/nugget/y
  2. Memory (Web): http://coolgadgetssoftware.com/nuggets_mobile_app/web/memory/
  3. Bible Nuggets (Android Native App): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=cg.biblenuggets&hl=en

I showed those to him and explained the basic purpose as well as (he was in IT too, so I also talked about the technology involved). I was hoping he would ask how to get them, but no, he didn’t.  I will pray that Paul would come back to the faith of his youth and that his wife would find Christ too.

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

Conversation at work…

Right before I left the office I had a conversation with an associate, who I’ve known for years, but have only had very casual conversations with – I don’t know much about her.  I asked her what she was doing for the weekend and she talked about going to see a movie. She said which one she was going to see, and it was about an African-American girl who was hired by NASA. That was one my wife saw recently, so I was vaguely familiar with it. Then she said that she wouldn’t go see this one called Silence where Liam Neeson was a missionary in Japan and apparently the missionaries were killed by drowning. A friend had told me about that Thursday night at Bible study, so, again, I was vaguely familiar with it. She said she can’t watch horrific things like that on screen.  I felt maybe this was an opportunity to turn the conversation to something spiritual, so I asked her if she had ever seen “The Passion of the Christ”. She said, no, she can’t watch that. Then she brought up this question, “I’m a Christian, but I still don’t understand why God had to make his Son go through such a horrific, torturous death.” (I can’t remember the exact words, but that was the gist of it) She surmised that it was to show the depth of his love for us (or something like that). I wanted to interject, but unfortunately, she immediately kept talking with no break and eventually went on to a different subject.  I was so disappointed, because I so wanted to talk about that great question.  I wanted to say that the level of suffering that Christ had to go through was a statement on the severity of God’s hatred for sin and the cost necessary to pay the penalty sin deserved. But unfortunately the subject changed very quickly and it would’ve seemed unnatural to redirect back to that.  I hope to be able to revisit that conversation with her at another time.

Then she started talking about Donald Trump and how she’s not going to watch the inauguration. However, she didn’t sound like she was extremely opposed to him. She was just strongly against his constant tweeting and lashing out in retaliation against his enemies.  She said she cringes every time he does that. I said that reminds me of this Bible verse that says “a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Prov. 15:1)  She replied, “That’s nice…”  I went on to say that first off, he needs to have his twitter access removed, which is not to say he shouldn’t tweet, because it is harder for the media to “twist” a tweet.  On the other hand, he could give an hour speech and they will find one or two sentences in there to focus on to make him look bad.  So, I think twitter is a good thing for him to get around the media and go directly to the people with his message.  However, I think what he needs is an “editor” for his tweets.  Then, when he wants to send a tweet, he needs to send it to someone (the editor) and that person needs to decide whether it will actually be posted, and if so, how it will be worded.  The editor needs to be someone he trusts – a person who really understands him and can communicate exactly what he wants to say, but in a more gentle way.

I said to her, “As a Christian, I cannot and will not defend Donald Trump – from what I can see, he’s not a godly man and I’m not even sure he is a Christian, but I get the feeling that he will defend me.” She seemed to agree with that. She talked a little bit about a friend of hers who got to go to some meeting where Trump met with a bunch of Christian leaders and how he seemed to listen to them and be concerned about their issues.

Then, she brought up the concern that she couldn’t understand some of Trump’s cabinet nominations.  Specifically, she brought up Ben Carson for housing (I added that specifically, it was HUD – Housing and Urban Development), saying that she didn’t think his medical experience qualified him for that.  She also brought up Rex Tillerson and was concerned about his involvement with Russia.  She went on to complain about how she couldn’t imagine Trump meeting with heads of State in any kind of diplomatic sense to make peace. I told her that he has met with heads of state as the CEO of his business, to which she responded that that was on his own agenda and for his own gain.

At least during this conversation, I found out that this associate of mine was a Christian and maybe, just maybe, I opened up the door for future conversations focusing more on Christianity (rather than politics).

God is Worthy of Worship

You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.  -Revelation 4:11

Everything that we look at – everything on the earth, everything in the sky and in outer space, the water that we drink, the food that we eat, the sun that we look at in the sky, the hydrological cycle that created the clouds that we see in the sky, the air that we’re breathing, the matter that was made available to produce the cars that we drive to work in every morning – it was all created by God and designed by Him for our use and enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17b). So if that’s true, is it not the most important thing to get to know, to worship, to be reconciled to that Being that created all of this?

Not only did He create all that we see, but He also has created in us a conscience, and that conscience bears witness to the fact that we are all guilty (Rom. 2:14-15) – that we’ve done things wrong (Rom. 3:23) – that one day, we’re going to have to an give account for our lives (Rom. 14:12). We’re going to have to answer for all the bad things we’ve done. We may not be Hitler, we may not be Jeffrey Dahmer, we may not be Charles Manson… Nevertheless we are guilty for every time we’ve lied, stolen, lusted, not honored our parents, not loved God with all our hearts, souls and minds – above everything else. We may think, well lying is not that bad, but the Bible says lying lips are an Abomination to the Lord (Prov. 12:22). We’re not going to be judged on our standards or what we think is ok and not okay. We’re going to be judged on the standards of the Lord God, Who created all this, Who is immensely powerful and intelligent beyond belief.

But also He’s just (2 Thess. 1:6a). He will judge the world in righteousness, the Bible says, by the Man whom He has ordained, and He is given assurance of this to all by raising Him (Jesus) from the dead (Acts 17:30-31). So the resurrection is the authenticating sign declaring Jesus as the One who has been given the authority to judge the world (John 5:22-23).

Be reconciled to Him today, before it’s too late (2 Cor. 5:18-21). You don’t know if you’ll have tomorrow or even the next moment (Ps. 144:4, James 4:14). The Bible says today is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2b). Today means now! Is Nike famously said “Just Do It!”

mid-week apologetics booster (1-12-2017)

Good morning all you who call on the Name of the Lord!

I hope you’re enjoying your life in Christ as you live out your calling as His ambassador.  I like what Greg Koukl tells us in his Tactics book (which is currently $2.99 on Kindle) as he describes the “Ambassador Model”.  An ambassador of Christ should possess:

  1. Knowledge – An accurately informed mind
  2. Wisdom – An artful method
  3. Character – An attractive manner

The goal of these weekly emails is primarily to help you with item #1 – knowledge.  However, all 3 tenets are important in becoming an effective ambassador for Christ.  The Tactics book is a good investment for $2.99 and remember, if you have a smart phone (iPhone or Android), you have a free Kindle app on your Phone (or Tablet).

Here are your weekly links to help you build up your knowledge, leading to an accurately informed mind:

  1. 5 Things Christian Parents Must Do to Raise Godly Children in a Secular World: http://crossexamined.org/5-things-christian-parents-must-do-to-raise-godly-children-in-a-secular-world/
  2. Are Young People Really Leaving Christianity? | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/are-young-people-really-leaving-christianity/
  3. Do I have to belong to a church to be a Christian? | CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: http://carm.org/do-I%20have-to-belong-to-a-church-to-be-a-christian
  4. God’s Hiddenness Is Intended to Provoke Us | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/gods-hiddenness-is-intended-to-provoke-us/
  5. Pro-life Persuasion Always Succeeds | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/article/pro-life-persuasion-always-succeeds#.WHAgdMtlDqB
  6. 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Christian Apologists – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/5-new-years-resolutions-christian-apologists/
  7. Opinions or Truth: Which Shapes You? – BELLATOR CHRISTI: https://pastorbrianchilton.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/opinions-or-truth-which-shapes-you/
  8. Six Fossil Timers Stun Secular Scientists | The Institute for Creation Research: http://www.icr.org/article/9753
  9. Blinded by evolutionary brainwashing – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/ainsley-chalmers-interview
  10. If Naturalistic Evolution Is True, People Are Not Equal | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/blog/if-naturalistic-evolution-true-people-are-not-equal#.WHE1d8tlDqB
  11. Atheist Astrophysicist Explains Her Journey To Jesus – Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/atheist-astrophysicist-explains-her-journey-to-jesus/
  12. Popular Atheist Blogger, Leah Libresco, Converts to Christianity – Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/popular-atheist-blogger-leah-libresco-converts-christianity/
  13. New Report Lists 50 Hardest Countries To Be A Christian In- Muslim Countries Make 9 Of The Top Ten And 75% Overall | Walid Shoebat: http://shoebat.com/2017/01/11/new-report-lists-50-hardest-countries-to-be-a-christian-in-muslim-countries-make-9-of-the-top-ten-and-75-overall/
  14. Christians the most persecuted group in world for second year: Study | Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/01/06/christians-most-persecuted-group-in-world-for-second-year-study.html
  15. “I Got Gay Married. I Got Gay Divorced. I Regret Both.” | Denny Burk: http://www.dennyburk.com/i-got-gay-married-i-got-gay-divorced-i-regret-both/
  16. An Explanation of “Worldview” | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/blog/explanation-worldview#.WHV2E8tlDqB
  17. 5 Royal Problems with MacroEvolution | CrossExamined Podcast: http://player.subsplash.com/xfn4kbl
  18. On the Origin of Human Mitochondrial DNA Differences, New Generation Time Data Both Suggest a Unified Young-Earth Creation Model and Challenge the Evolutionary Out-of-Africa Model: https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/mitochondrial-dna/origin-human-mitochondrial-dna-differences-new-generation-time-data-both-suggest-unified-young-earth/
  19. Was Hitler a Christian? http://www.equip.org/article/was-hitler-a-christian/
  20. Twelve Points that Prove Christianity is True: http://www.lifestyleofpeace.com/2016/12/twelve-points-that-prove-christianity.html

“He made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding. When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. “Every man is senseless and without knowledge; every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. His images are a fraud; they have no breath in them. They are worthless, the objects of mockery; when their judgment comes, they will perish. He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these, for he is the Maker of all things, including the tribe of his inheritance — the LORD Almighty is his name.  Jeremiah 51:15-19

Blessings to you all!

AWANA Teaching on John 5:24 and conversation with clubber

Once a month I get the awesome privilege of teaching our 5th and 6th graders.  I go in-depth on 1 or 2 of the verses that they are covering in their handbooks.  This past Wednesday was one of those mountain top experiences, which reminded me why I’m there every Wednesday night from 5:30-7:30. I had chosen John 5:24, from the T&T Ultimate Challenge Book 1.  As usual, I made a power point presentation (link to PDF ‘handouts’ below):

Teaching on John 5:24

And here is the link to the actual PowerPoint presentation:

PowerPoint Teaching on John 5:24

The clubbers seemed to receive the teaching pretty well.  The message was about the urgent need to believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins.  After explaining what the verse meant, I started to challenge them a little bit. Why is it so necessary to believe in Jesus, which may seem strange to non-believers?  We talked through why Jesus is the only answer for our sin problem.  I made use of arguments presented in Greg Koukl’s excellent book Tactics.  After the message was complete, one of the clubbers, Crystal (not her real name) a 6th grader, came up to me and said, “Mr. Steve, what if we believe in Jesus and it’s not true?”  In response, I asked her, “If that’s the case, what have you really lost if you believe in Christianity and it’s not true?” My answer: nothing!  Nevertheless, I do believe that Christianity is true, and there’s a lot of evidence for it being true.  She brought up the “Big Bang” and told me that she thought that was evidence against the creation story in the Bible.  I assured her that the Big Bang was not evidence against Christianity, but rather, it provides strong evidence that a Creator God does exist.  Since counsel time was over and it was now handbook time, I told her that we could talk later at the end of the night.

So, after the night was over, I sat down with Crystal while her dad waited outside the door of the classroom. I asked her what specifically are her questions regarding Christianity and why she is having doubts about it. She told me that sometimes she doesn’t know if God is real. She said that when she reads the Bible, she likes the stories, but she doesn’t know if they are true. I asked her to clarify more. She talked about the miracles, like turning water into wine, or walking on water. I asked her, “If God created the universe, don’t you think that he could modify whatever He wants inside the universe?” She agreed that yes that was true. I also tried to make her see that the Universe came into existence, and someone outside of the universe must have started it.  I said, “Think about it – someone had to start the Big Bang. Universes don’t just pop out of nowhere, like a rabbit out of a hat.”  She liked that analogy and it made her laugh. We also talked about how the Bible, in addition to being the Word of God, is also another written report of history. I said, “I haven’t seen or met Jesus personally (physically). But I haven’t seen George Washington or Abraham Lincoln either. I believe what I believe about them because I read what someone else wrote about them.” That point really seemed to hit home with her.  She felt a lot better after our talk.

So, when we were finished with our short talk, we went out to see her dad.  I heaped praise on Crystal about how we really enjoy having her in the AWANA club and her participation and behavior.  I mentioned to her dad that sometimes we have some pretty deep talks and this was one of those nights.  Then Crystal piped in and told him about how she was having some doubts about Christianity, and our conversation really helped her.  In her own words, she summarized what I talked about regarding God being the cause of the universe – that universes don’t just pop out of nowhere.  She also told her dad how it made a lot of sense that even though we don’t see Jesus ourselves, we are reading the writings of those who have seen Him – just like we haven’t seen George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, but we can know they existed and what they did because of people who wrote about them.

I congratulated Crystal for bringing up her doubts to me.  I told her she should not be ashamed or feel bad about having doubts – everyone has doubts at some time or another and I would much rather have her asking questions rather than being apathetic about her faith.

I think next week I will have a little gift for Crystal.  I’ve been saving these “Student Editions” that I found (at very cheap prices) at the Goodwill books section:

  1. https://www.amazon.com/Case-Christ-Student-Journalists-Investigation/dp/0310745640/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483706800&sr=8-1
    caseforchrist
  2. https://www.amazon.com/Case-Creator-Student/dp/B0064FMWSI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1483706877&sr=8-2
    caseforcreator
  3. https://www.amazon.com/Children-Demand-Verdict-Answering-Questions/dp/1600980120/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1483706916&sr=1-1
    childrendemandvertict

I think she will benefit greatly to have those children / student versions of great books by world class apologists.

I pray for Crystal that she will seek and find answers to her questions and that in getting the answers she needs, she will be satisfied, and will grow in her faith.  I think a possible result of this could be that she could be the one in the future giving the answers to someone else who’s struggling with the same doubts.  I’ll end with the famous apologetics verse:

but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.  1 Peter 3:15

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 (12-29-2016)

Good morning brothers and sisters,

As we are on the cusp of a new year, resolve to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).  Here are some links that may help you in that:

  1. Jesus: the Antidote | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/articles/jesus-the-antidote#.WGPQUMtlDqA
  2. 15 of the Greatest Pro-Life Quotes of All Time: http://www.lifenews.com/2013/09/03/15-of-the-greatest-pro-life-quotes-of-all-time/
  3. Resources to Help You Respond to the Problem of Evil: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/resources-to-help-you-respond-to-the-problem-of-evil-free-bible-insert/
  4. Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes: No, Christmas Is Not Based on a Pagan Holiday: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2015/12/no-christmas-is-not-based-on-pagan.html
  5. Jesus, Mystery Religions, and Logical Fallacies – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/jesus-mystery-religions-and-logical-fallacies/
  6. Top 10 Apologetics “Tips” of the Year – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/top-10-apologetics-tips-of-the-year
  7. Why People Sometimes Disagree About the Evidence for Christianity: http://pleaseconvinceme.libsyn.com/why-people-sometimes-disagree-about-the-evidence-for-christianity
  8. 15 New Apologetic Readings for 2017 | THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2016/12/26/15-new-apologetic-readings-for-2017/
  9. P. Moreland Answers Three Important Questions: http://crossexamined.org/j-p-moreland-answers-three-important-questions/
  10. What Happens When We Divorce Faith from Reason? http://roblundberg.blogspot.com/2016/12/what-happens-when-we-divorce-faith-from.html
  11. Debating Atheists: Introduction (part 1/5): http://pleaseconvinceme.com/2016/debating-atheists-introduction-part-15/
  12. Is Buddhism Compatible with Christianity? | CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: https://carm.org/is-buddhism-compatible-with-christianity
  13. Tyson Says Chances of Intelligently Designed Universe “May Be Very High”: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/12/10_of_our_top_s103386.html
  14. Pastor, Am I a Christian? – NYTimes.com: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/opinion/sunday/pastor-am-i-a-christian.html?_r=0&referer=https://t.co/3B0jCgUnxD
  15. Science nudges atheist toward God | The Seattle Times: http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/science-nudges-atheist-toward-god/
  16. Does Bill Gates believe that God exists? – Quora: https://www.quora.com/Does-Bill-Gates-believe-that-God-exists
  17. Here’s the Most Popular Fast Food Restaurant by State, Can You Spot the 1 Thing That Stands Out? http://www.youngcons.com/heres-the-most-popular-fast-food-restaurant-by-state-can-you-spot-the-1-thing-that-stands-out/
  18. Portrait of a Real Man by Dr. Tony Evans:
    1. Part 1: https://youtu.be/gwOAmBBqaYo
    2. Part 2: https://youtu.be/Kvhfmk5pdNk
    3. Part 3: https://youtu.be/Nx1h6JeXRHg

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.  Isaiah 12:2

Blessings

mid-week apologetics booster (12-22-2016)

Good morning,

I sincerely hope and pray that you’re experiencing “the hush” rather than “the rush” of Christmas.  Many of us will be interacting with unbelieving family and friends over the upcoming week, so it would be a good time to prepare ourselves to defend what we believe (Jude 3, 1 Peter 3:15, Col. 4:5-6, 2 Cor. 10:5):

  1. Atheist gets her PhD in astronomy and astrophysics and finds evidence for God: https://winteryknight.com/2016/12/15/atheist-gets-her-phd-in-astronomy-and-astrophysics-and-finds-evidence-for-god-3/
  2. How To Answer, “Can You Be Good Without God?”: http://www.dyerthoughts.com/home/how-to-answer-can-you-be-good-without-god
  3. Islam vs Christianity Infographic: https://www.jashow.org/articles/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Infographic-copy-new-small.pdf
  4. Kirsten Powers: Becoming a Christian Ruined My Love of Christmas: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/december-web-only/kirsten-powers-becoming-christian-ruined-my-love-of-christm.html
  5. The Star of Bethlehem Documentary 2007: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGUlWa2r-bk
  6. Why Are There Four Versions of the Sign on Jesus’ Cross? | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2015/why-are-there-four-versions-of-the-sign-on-jesus-cross/
  7. The Magical Moral Mystery | Andy Bannister: http://www.andybannister.net/the-magical-moral-mystery/
  8. Watch “Scientism vs Christianity? – JP Moreland, PhD” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/GsiKRZikxvo
  9. Watch “Craig Hazen: Was Jesus an Advocate of Blind Faith? – Biola University Chapel” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/6QzvOn3I-YY
  10. Is Atheism a religion? http://creation.com/atheism-a-religion
  11. The Flood Was Global | The Institute for Creation Research: http://www.icr.org/noahs-flood
    fb_img_1482107647092
  12. Yes, the Christian Worldview Is Supported by the Evidence – Cross Examined: http://crossexamined.org/yes-christian-worldview-supported-evidence/
  13. Why Are You A Christian? http://christianapologeticsalliance.com/2016/12/18/why-are-you-a-christian/
  14. Detecting Design — Photos, Stories, and Thoughts: http://www.daviddesonier.com/apologetics/2015/12/5/when-to-infer-design
  15. A Christmas Quiz: https://www.probe.org/a-christmas-quiz/
  16. Reasons To Believe : Darwin’s Problem: The Origin of Language: http://www.reasons.org/articles/darwins-problem-the-origin-of-language
  17. Watch “Nabeel Qureshi: Fulfill Your Ministry – Fall 2016 Commencement Address” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/7-UMwe0YWIc
  18. Watch “The Case for Christ Official Teaser Trailer (2017)” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/v16Alm20K0o
  19. Thoughts on why the Electoral College System is a good thing: https://1peter41216.wordpress.com/2016/12/19/electoral-college/

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  1 Corinthians 10:31

Blessings to you all and Merry Christmas