Category Archives: Apologetics

When are they going to realize it’s all true?

A new find discussed in an article at Archaeology Archive offers evidence that supports the accuracy of the book of Jeremiah (surprise, surprise)  Read all about it here: Book of Jeremiah Confirmed?

Here’s a snippet:

“Austrian Assyriologist Michael Jursa recently discovered the financial record of a donation made a Babylonian chief official, Nebo-Sarsekim. The find may lend new credibility to the Book of Jeremiah, which cites Nebo-Sarsekim as a participant in the siege of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.

The tablet is dated to 595 B.C., which was during the reign of the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar II. Coming to the throne in 604 B.C., he marched to Egypt shortly thereafter, and initiated an epoch of fighting between the two nations. During the ongoing struggle, Jerusalem was captured in 597, and again in 587-6 B.C. It was at this second siege that Nebo-Sarsekim made his appearance.

He ordered Nebo-Sarsekim to look after Jeremiah: “Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee.” (Jeremiah 39.12)

Leave a comment

Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Of Interest, The Bible

Ministry Review; World Vision

Sponsoring a child in need.  Many times that conjures up old commercials from the 80′s begging for funds… that turned out to be lining the pockets of a few of the people in charge, with no money going to the children.  Also, the old model was based upon the idea that Western outsiders knew best how to help a community rather than the community itself knowing what they need.

Gratefully those days are gone for the most part.  If you wish to sponsor a child there are now an array of charitable organizations that have tossed out the old model, in favor of a new sustainable grassroots model.  Also, with watchdog groups constantly checking on these charities it is far less likely that someone is simply pocketing the money.

One such organization is World Vision International.  Each country that is  a part of WV, has their own website; so for example World Vision US is:  www.worldvision.org  This website is a hub that you can use to get news, learn about the organization, sponsor a child, browse their catalog and send gifts such as goats, chickens, microfinance a loan, etc…  World Vision used to catch a bit of flak for advertising as though your money went directly to the sponsored child, but now they have made it much clearer that your money goes to the child’s community, and not just to the child itself.

Each child that is sponsored is assured to be a part of the programs for education, schooling, etc… and you can send extra gifts to the child’s family or community.  This system tends to work better, since the whole community is involved and less jealousy is likely to occur.  Also, the grassroots touch is that each community gives feedback as to what is needed, and what would most help.  Sustainability is one of the main goals of World Vision and they work to make a perpetual change.

Why do I call this a ministry?  Because they are indeed a Christian organization.  This does not mean that they push or proselytize.  Their belief is that they live out part of Jesus’ message by helping those that need a bit of encouragement or a leg up.  There are some areas in the world where Christianity can be taught, they can hand out Bibles, etc… but there are also some areas where Christianity, it active proselytizing, is not allowed.  They still serve those communities, hoping to make an impact for Jesus based on love and action.

The pros of this ministry; it connects you with an individual child, it is a large organization, so can make a big impact.  They have disaster response that is second to none.  They are so well known, so they are also watch to make sure there is no fraud.

Some cons; each country has its own people in charge (which is good too), but this makes it hard to police and constantly insure no one is conning the system, and that funds are being well used.  (However, the organization does indeed run checks, and takes any reports of problems seriously.)  For us more conservative minded Christians, there is a bit of unease when the “social gospel” is focused on, instead of the more salvational message of Jesus, but that is the purpose of this organization.

I don’t usually like to talk about charitable acts, but yes, we’ve just started sponsoring 2 World Vision children, and I’d love to share my experiences on here, and can wait to start writing letters and sending small trinkets along to them via mail.  If you have any questions, I’ll try to answer them, or point you to a phone number or webpage.  If you have any WV stories to share, I’d love to see them in the “comments” section here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Conversion, Health, Ministries, Of Interest, Reviews

Contract law (or, the efficacy of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection)

The Truth of the gospel is so simple a child can understand it.  However, there is also the meat of the gospel.  The details and teachings that are more complex and also extremely fascinating.  This article is going to discuss the idea of contracts (also known as covenants) and why they are so important.  I felt this was an appropriate topic, since this Sunday is known as Resurrection Sunday.

Contracts are pretty straightforward.  They are agreements between parties that lines out what is expected of each person participating in the contract.  God is a God that uses contracts/covenants to interact with and to guide mankind.  God drafts the contract and then man participates.

The Mosaic Law was a covenant between God and man, or actually a group of men, the Jewish people.  God said if man would flawlessly keep his side of the contract, then the person would inherit eternal life, would have his sins covered.  Mankind, in our fallen state, could not keep that contract perfectly. So, why did God make that covenant if He already knew we’d not be able to keep it?  The answer is simple; to show us that we couldn’t keep it.

What that shows is that we cannot gain eternal life and forgiveness on our own, we cannot fulfill our side of the contract and we are not righteous creatures, but the problem is, God is a completely righteous and just God and can’t just shred the contract, it must be fulfilled in order for there to be room for a new contract.   An example may help: You need to rent a house, so you sign a contract with the landlord to pay $500 per month for a year.  You are legally bound by the statues laid out in that agreement.  The ways you can fulfill your side of the agreement are clearly spelled out.

God set up the contract with man so that it could indeed be fulfilled under certain conditions.  A specific type of sacrifice must be made, and it must be a blood sacrifice.  What is sacrificed must be kin to whatever that sacrifice is going to cover.  The sacrifice must be perfect according to God’s law, therefore the sacrifice had to come from the chosen people with whom God made the covenant.  None of this was designed by accident.  Mankind caused it’s own fall, but God had a plan to redeem us.

The Son of God, Jesus Christ, was that perfect sacrifice.  He was perfect according to the law, and He was human, so He was kin to us, and He was Jewish, from the tribe of Judah.  He shed His blood by spilling it on the Cross.  This is why Jesus proclaimed it finished upon His death.  All debt was paid, all was covered, the contract was fulfilled.  The old covenant was nailed to the cross making way for a new agreement; anyone that trusts on Jesus’ person, life, death, and resurrection to cover all sin will inherit eternal life.

The new covenant, or contract, now hinges on faith.  By responding to God in faith, we sign on the dotted line and become covered by Jesus’ blood, our sin washed away, and we are no longer under the law of the old agreement.  God Himself seals us, and we become indwelt by the Spirit.  This is the only way to Heaven, and a correct relationship with God.  Faith in the Son.

Leave a comment

Filed under Apologetics, Conversion, Theology

Blog comments reminder

It has been awhile since I drew attention to the “Respect” tab at the top of my blog.  Please read it before you comment, it explains the idea of respect, and also the very serious responsibility I have to make sure that the truth is upheld.  This is especially important after I write a post that gets the atheist’s anger stirred up.

Christianity, as contained in the Bible, is indeed the Truth and I say that based on evidence and on a lifetime of research into both Christianity and all other major religions, blind faith is not looked on well here; proselytizing of other religions, including atheism is clearly not permitted.  If you can’t abide by the rules, don’t bother commenting.  You have your own forums and blogs for that.  Logical fallacy in the form of personal attack ad hominem doesn’t add to a conversation.

Don’t feed the trolls.

1 Comment

Filed under Apologetics, Atheism, Christianity, Logic

Book Review; Rob Bell’s “Love Wins”

Ooookkaayy… this should be interesting.  So, my philosophy is not to comment on something either glowingly or negatively unless I’ve read or watched it myself, especially if it is of a controversial nature.  It seemed like everywhere I turned in Christendom people were discussing this book, or warning others not to discuss the book…so I knew I had to read it and review it.  I have to be clear; this is my introduction to Bell.  I have no former gripe or praise for him, no angle to work for or against him.

Hopefully, I’m going to do something a little bit different in this review, as other reviews have already rightly attacked the factual flaws in Bell’s work.  If you want that style of review,  you can get one here: God is Still Holy and What you Learned in Sunday School is Still True: A Review of  “Love Wins.” I don’t agree with everything in the review, but it gives a good overview of many of Bell’s problems.

No, I want to approach this a bit differently and talk about implications.  First, let me say…I can’t believe this book, Love Wins, was actually published…I mean, I get why.  It’s going to make a ton of money, but it’s content is illogical, and its style is unpolished.  I’m really struggling with this review because I can’t believe that people would change their view on God, Heaven, or Hell based on this book.  The “gotcha” questions Bell proposes in the first bit of the book are easily answered by anyone versed in Apologetics, not just well-versed, just versed.  They are “milk” type questions…and are eerily reminiscent of the list of “questions” found on fundamentalist atheist websites.

For example, Bell asks, “What saves someone?”  I answer, and the Bible answers; Grace through Faith.  Bell asks, “Well, isn’t faith an action, and hence a work.”  I answer; No, something can be an action without being a work.  The Israelites were not allowed to work on Sabbath, were they allowed to think?  Sure.  Were they allowed to love?  Sure.  Where they allowed to trust (that’s faith)? Sure.  So, the big answer to all Bell’s rhetorical style questions is; we make it in by grace through faith, and faith is not a work.  QED.

So, moving on, what do I mean that I want to approach this review by implications?  I mean, what are the implications IF Bell’s thesis is right?  The implication of Bell’s thesis is that God is a monster…in fact He’d be the very monster Bell decries.  Bell clearly says that love can’t be forced, but the logical implication (reading Bell) is that it can be.  In the end, says Bell, everyone will succumb to God’s love and turn to God willingly.  That is a logical contradiction.  To be free will there must be true choice, but in this case, just by looking at Bell’s title; Love Wins, one can see there isn’t.

“Love wins.”  I didn’t know love was in a competition.  I didn’t know it was out to beat me.  But, I guess I was wrong.  Bell feels that God will so smufficate a person with love, they WILL respond and turn to Him either in this life in the next.  I resent the implication.  I resent his maligning of God’s character and God’s love.  God is not a rapist, nor is He a brainwasher.  Bell’s thesis is creepy in the extreme.  If you want to debate Hell, fine.  Annihilation vs. punishment, fine. Universalism, fine.  I even love to discuss the possibility CS Lewis raises that Hell is locked on the inside. But by claiming that God “wears you down” over long periods of time til you cave…why would anyone think that is acceptable from a Holy Loving God?

Bell’s implication is that God is neither Holy nor really Loving in any true sense, nor Just; He’s just interested in making sure every human being can be put on some Heavenly tally sheet.  Bell’s implication is also that evangelism is pointless, and so is suffering in this life.  What I mean by that is that everything winds up the same for everyone given enough time in the life to come.  A rapist that rejects love and God in this life gets an infinite series of chances to accept God’s gift of salvation, and in fact, will indeed come to accept it because nothing can stand up to God’s love.  We call that brainwashing.  A brainwashed individual is not acting under free will.  Jesus suffered when He observed that He had tried and tried to get through to the Jewish people, but “they would not.”  Why so upset if they were all going to be A-OK through all eternity?

Now, I completely understand someone being frustrated by evangelists trying to scare the crap out of someone to get them to believe in a loving God.  Fortunately I wasn’t raised that way.  For me, it has ALWAYS been about love and choice; true love and true freedom in choice.  I trust God to be just while still believing that Hell is real.  If we want to talk about Him giving every human an equal and fair chance at Heaven, I’m there.  If you want to point out that God doesn’t send anyone to Hell, that they choose it, I’m there.  If you want to point out the Devil is not in charge in Hell, and that it may not be all physical torture and pitchforks, I’m there.  But I draw the line at clearly maligning God, Our Father’s, character.

Briefly; other problems.  Horrible hermeneutics, flawed logic, sloppy writing, and whoever set up the actual book format…well, they shouldn’t win any prizes.  Plus, Bell dances around any reference to eternal contempt for some alongside eternal life for others, and ignores bulk passages that clearly indicate that faith in Christ is required to enter Heaven, that we die and then the judgment happens, etc… Not to mention he tries to describe Heaven, and it’s implications…he should’ve left that to Alcorn’s book “Heaven.”

I love books that make readers consider things from a new angle…this wasn’t one of them.  I’ve read another book recently that I guess I should’ve reviewed instead; “If Grace is True: Why God will save every person” by Gulley and Mulholland.  I didn’t agree with them either, esp. since they deny Christ’s sacrifice was necessary; however, their book was set up logically enough to review in a succinct way.  I feel Bell is theologically and intellectually dishonest, either unconsciously or on purpose.  He seems to be the type trying to “out moral” God…it just won’t work, and this isn’t the reference I’d turn to if I were to try.

3 Comments

Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Ministries, Reviews, Theology, Uncategorized

Quit mourning your faith…

I’ve found that where there is a group of Christians who are gathered together to discuss things such as salvation, sanctification, etc… with outsiders to the faith, that there is a tendency to grow very very serious indeed, not just over the subject matter (which is indeed serious), but also in manner, and word, and countenance.  I think that can very easily give outsiders the wrong impression of what it is like to be a Christian.  After all, Christ came so that we may have life, and have it more abundantly.

When there is a group of believers that have become used to singing the old tried and true hymns, but have…grown old with them, oftentimes the singing becomes more of a dirge.  There remains no overflowing of joy or even realization of what the words are actually saying, or their implications of the GOOD NEWS of the gospel.

Why do Christians tend this way, when it is a very very joyous thing to be a Christian?  God is not some cosmic killjoy, nor do we earn extra brownie points the more we walk around with a frown on our faces.  To many outsiders this is a poor witness.  I don’t mean to imply we should be walking around with big silly grins on our faces (if that calls to mind a certain highly popular motivational speaker in the Christian world *cough*Osteen*cough* it is unintentional), however, one of the fruits of the Spirit is Joy.

One problem is that there is a certain fringe segment of the Christian population who has perverted that aspect of the Spirit into some dog and pony show with people laughing and rolling around on the ground/in between the pews.  The joy that scripture speaks of is a calm assured hope and happiness, not some flashy, extremely weird, occurrence.

So, that being said…lighten up people.  If you are a believer, your sins have been forgiven you, you have a whole eternity of joy and peace and fellowship in front of you, Jesus has freed us from the law, we are now enjoying a personal relationship with God Himself.  Smile a little.  There is a time and place for solemnity and also mourning, but there is ALSO a time and place for joy, laughter, hugs, praising with happy, excited voices, jokes, and just flat out enjoying the life that God gives us, not in a worldly way, but in a way full of grace and peace.

Often atheists especially have a dim view of what it must be like being a Christian, well, let me tell you about my life.  I’m surrounded by friends and family who I know will be with me through eternity, I laugh, watch TV, watch movies, lift the occasional glass of alcohol of my choice, eat what I want, listen to what I want, dance, sing, live my life with the assurance that I’m loved by the Creator of the world, not only that, I have a personal relationship with Him that is very fulfilling and life-giving, esp. when I get to work for Him in some capacity here on Earth.  I go hiking, admiring the work of His hands, I make jokes, and use Facebook, I play XBOX, and write science fiction, and on and on and on.

This world is indeed corrupt and flawed, there are rough times and times to mourn and cry…my family and friends, and God Himself are there for that too.  However, God is truly good, and the news of the gospel is truly good…let’s not be so slow to show the relief and joy and happiness that God brings.

2 Comments

Filed under Apologetics, Atheism, Christianity, Humor, Uncategorized

Building Noah’s Ark…

The folks behind The Creation Museum are building a full-sized replica of Noah’s Ark. It looks to be an awesome undertaking, and you can follow all the news about it, as well as their progress at this site: Ark Encounter.

Leave a comment

Filed under Apologetics, Ministries, Of Interest, Uncategorized

2 Adams, 2 Gardens, 2 Examples…

The Lord seems to love patterns, and order, and what I call “bookends.”  Bookends are ideas, teachings, people, places, etc… that are set up in such a way to show God’s plan, and to communicate important ideas to us.  Certain things just “seem to work out” in order to convey to us important truths and also, as always, to point us to God.  The bookends I’m interested in today are the two Adams; Adam and Jesus, the first Adam, and the Last Adam, and also the two gardens; the Garden of Eden, and the Garden of Gethsemane.

In the beginning we have Adam.  Adam was given charge over the earth, and placed in the Garden of Eden.  The Garden of Eden is where we witness the first act of putting our own wills, the human will, over the will of God, and we witness the outcome of committing that sin.  The first Adam, in the Garden, had a chance to follow God’s will, he had the chance to faithe in God and to trust that when God tells us His will on a matter, we’d better listen.

Adam was told not to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.  He did it anyway.  The world was affected by his lack of faith in God.

In the beginning we have The Word.  The Word became flesh and came and dwelt with us; Jesus is His name.  We have a variety of scripture recording Jesus’ faith, and His following of the will of His Father.  However, the clearest picture we have, the clearest model we have for the Faith of Jesus, is what occurred in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus is talking with His Father, and asks that if there is any other way of completing His mission of saving us and restoring the universe to it’s proper state, that His Father would take away the cup of what was to come.  And then He gave us the clearest picture of what Adam should have said, but didn’t, “not My will, but Thine.”

Jesus came here to give all for us; to fix our mess that started in Eden.  In the Gethsemane we witness a decision to follow the will of The Father, no matter what, the world was also affected by that decision.  Perfect faith in God.

2 Adams, 2 Gardens, 2 choices.  We can choose to be as Adam in Eden and have a lack of faith in God.  Or, we can choose to be as Jesus in Gethsemane and put our faith in God.  The choice is ours, and the outcomes are serious depending on which role model we choose.  As for me, Gethsemane is not an easy place to be, faith isn’t easy…but it’s worth it.

2 Comments

Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Musings, Uncategorized

Feedback; The Bible…

I had a recent question on my stance on the Bible; here is the link to a previous article on my blog: The Reliability of The Bible.  I encourage all the new readers to my blog (hello, BTW!) to utilize the “search” function on the side of the page when looking for certain topics.  As always, comments welcome…

2 Comments

Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, The Bible

Feedback; What evidence is out there?

I had some feedback awhile ago, and the email contained a question about evidence.  What evidence is out there that someone can read or know that would support that idea that Christianity is “it?”  Meaning, evidence that supports the idea that Christianity is true.  Obviously, for this site, find the “apologetics” link off to the side, and you can review what I’ve posted so far in that section.  I always welcome questions, so if there is something you’d like me to covers, feel free to comment.

First, I have to make a couple of things clear.  Christianity’s job, as a religion, is to point to Christ.  Christianity is only true because it is based on Truth, and Christ is Truth.  Religion doesn’t save you; Jesus does.  So, anything and everything that is presented as evidence ultimately points to Christ.  Anyone who wants to understand Christians should learn of Christ, and further, He invites everyone to do just that.  The sign we are promised is the sign of Jonah, in Christian terms, it is Jesus Christ and His resurrection.

If non-believers (and even believers) would keep that fact in mind, a lot less confusion would occur in my opinion.  One of the things that can contribute keeping non-believers in a state of non-belief is their cries of “hypocrisy!” when it comes to Christians.  Well, sorry, Christians solid in their faith will admit we are nothing but a bunch of sinners who slip and stumble and fall…but we have a Shepherd that forgives us, and picks us again.  It’s the Shepherd you need to be examining, not the flock.  Look to Christ; He’d the only human who lived a perfect life, and who is not a hypocrite, including everyone reading this (that includes me in case anyone was wondering).

This same idea hold true for anyone who has either been hurt by a certain church, or another person claiming to be a believer.  Unfortunately not everyone who claims to be Christian is, and again, even those that are can and do slip and fall and sin.  Mere humans will disappoint, there is no doubt about it, but Christ never will.

So, that’s issue number one; Christ.  Who do you say that He is?  If you are one of those people who tries to convince themselves that Christ never even existed, well, you have to be honest enough to really, truly look at the evidence of His existence (just as in introduction, Tektonics has an article discussing this idea of the Christ-myth).  If you are one of those people who tries to paint Christ as a good and wise teacher, you have to be honest enough to admit that He didn’t leave that option without you also believing His other teachings; that He’s “it,” and there’s something wrong with the world and all of us that only He can fix.  One good source for this idea, including the evidence for the resurrection can be found here:  The Resurrection by Dr. Gene Scott.

Second, we have the Bible.  Before anyone jumps on me about “circular logic” and using the Bible to prove the Bible, please read my post on Biblical Reliability.  In that post you will find other links, and also different books you can research.  There are many reasons why you can trust the Bible, take some time to study them; historical reliability, archaeological reliability, prophetic reliability, its internally consistent, etc…  This is were evidence for Christ, and evidence for the Bible intersect, for example; all the Messianic prophecies that are contained within the Bible, and Jesus fulfillment of a substantial number, and His future fulfillment of the rest.  Fulfilled prophecy in other areas is also very interesting and enlightening to study.

There are also personal evidences.  I don’t go into them very much on my site, or on other forums because most non-believers want “external” evidences, or claim they do at least.  Evidence that can be researched by them that is more “objective.”  However, the transforming power of Christ, and the Holy Spirit in our lives is some of the dearest evidences we Christians have, and are usually happy to share when asked.  I know that for me, my life would look and be totally different without Christ and the Holy Spirit interceding for me, guiding me, etc…

Which brings me to my last point in this particular post; no amount of evidence in the world, from fulfilled prophecy, to archaeological and historical evidences will sway you if you are not willing to have your heart softened.  All of creation screams out that there is a Creator behind it all…and yet, some people don’t like to retain God in their knowledge.  Looking into all of this is not time to cop an attitude, this kind of thing requires great thought, and a willingness to admit when one has been wrong.  Discussions happen between people, and it’s so much easier to cling onto a set of beliefs when you are dialoguing…but this type of research into the very truth of our world is something to be done soberly, and with true searching.  You don’t constantly have to talk to another human about it, but it’d be nice if you’d talk to Him about it, and ask Him to help believe in Him if He’s really there, ask Him for His grace; don’t do it on a website, don’t do it to try to prove a point, don’t do it to mock…go somewhere by yourself, be honest, and simply ask for help to believe in Him.

Recently I had the honor to “witness” an agnostic finally connect with God.  She said it wasn’t any one thing anyone had said to her, but rather, she woke up one night, and just knew.  After that realization that there was a God, and Jesus was Who He claimed to be, everything everyone had told her all fell into place and it all made sense, it all clicked; the Gospel message, all the apologetics, etc…  Seek Him diligently and honestly, you won’t be disappointed.

2 Comments

Filed under Apologetics, Atheism, Christianity, Conversion