Monday, February 28, 2011

How to Make a Low-cost Ark

You may have heard that our friends at Answers in Genesis have plans to build a life-size replica of Noah’s Ark. This is going to take a lot of work and cost a great deal of money, so I have an interesting suggestion on how to get it built. It may take a longer, but it will save a lot of money and hard work.

The first thing to do would be to set up cameras at a number of different angles, so as to capture the building process from the beginning to the end. When construction is completed, the film can be sped up and the process can be seen in fast motion. This is for more than just entertainment.Once the cameras are in place, wait, and be very patient.

Wait and watch as the process of evolution does its wonderful work. No one has ever witnessed this fantastic scientific phenomenon. This is why the cameras are necessary. Finally, there will be empirical evidence for evolution. Future scientists will be fascinated to see what actually happens, because at present we have no idea how this will begin or what will happen when it does. However, we can hypothesize as to the process. Perhaps an extremely small splinter of gopher wood will appear from nowhere, and over the progression of time, form itself into a larger piece of wood. Maybe the wind and the rain will shape it so that it’s an inch thick, eight inches wide, and eight feet long.

Hopefully, other minute splinters that come from nowhere will form themselves into much larger and thicker wood, shaped for the skeleton of the structure. About 2,000 pieces will be needed and they will need to be uniform in size and shape.

Once this wonderful process has taken place and there is a pile of evolved wood, it will have to form itself into the skeleton of a large boat. When that is completed, the two or three thousand eight-foot outer planks are going to have to somehow secure themselves onto the ship’s outer frame.

The process of sealing the structure will also be interesting. The pitch will have to cover the whole structure. That will evolve from nothing, and get itself up onto the outer frame. If that doesn’t happen, the Ark won’t survive.

Evolution will no doubt work it out through the course of blind chance, hopefully leaving a door that is large enough for more wood to evolve and make it’s way into the belly of the Ark. Then it will need to shape itself into rooms (stalls, pens, coops, nests, cages, and compartments).

Of course, anyone with half a brain knows that an Ark could never build itself… not in a million years. Then how about 4.5 billion years? Believers in evolution believe it could, given enough time. Yes, “time” is their magic wand that makes their unbelievable fairy tale believable.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is God Needy?

From Alvin: 
While sharing the gospel with a professing atheist yesterday, he asked me "Why does God require us to worship Him?  It seems rather egotistical of God to require that we worship Him."  How would you respond to this?  (Actually, he asked “why God needs us to worship Him, but I pointed out that the Bible teaches that God is self-sufficient and doesn't "need" us to worship Him.)  As I understand it, his question is an objection to obeying the first commandment.

Alvin, you are correct in saying that God is self-sufficient and doesn't need us to worship Him. In fact the Apostle Paul boldly proclaims this in Acts 17 as he stood before the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. I don't think it could be said any clearer: "God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.  Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things."

Furthermore, a good in-house point to be made is that worshiping God is for our benefit and fills needs where we are lacking. We are imperfect but God is the Supreme Being, the Almighty, the very essence and standard of perfection. This is why we pray to be transformed to Him and His will! Remember Romans 12:1,2 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." We accomplish breaking out of the worldly mold by being transformed through a renewal of the mind which comes by way of different forms of worship i.e. prayer, song, study, fellowship, meditating on Scripture hidden in our hearts ect. 

So lets take a look at how we can deal with this out on the street. 

Unbeliever: "Why does God needs us to worship Him?"

Street Apologist: Where do you get the idea that God “needs” us to worship Him?

Unbeliever: "Well isn't that what it says in your Bible?"

Street Apologist: Can you please be more specific...Where in the Bible does it say that? 

Remarks: Its already checkmate at this point as they are going to come up empty handed and perhaps tie the knot even tighter around their legs if they attempt to give an arbitrary or speculative response. If they merely put forth an opinion it only makes things worse for them because not only have they revealed their own ignorance of what the Bible actually contains but now they have sliced and diced themselves by taking speculation and conjecture and put it in the place of honest research and evidence and a good soldier for Christ ought to be point these two blunders out. 

At this point in the dialogue it is time for you to switch out of the Socratic method, into a time of pointing out the errors made and put forth positive assertions as to what the Bible really says. 

It would be good for all of you to make yourselves familiar with Acts 17. Make yourselves very familiar as there are a large quantity of questions aimed at the street apologist which will find their answers in Acts 17 much like Romans 1.

So very politely point out. "Sir, I mean you no disrespect right now but I must point out that your challenge has no support in the Bible and furthermore it reveals that you haven't really researched the Scriptures enough to make any further authoritative statements about what it contains." *You can expand on this more if you feel you need to. Then grab a Bible and show them what the Scriptures really say:

"God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things."

Acts 17:24-25

*If you need to expand more on why there is an issue with holding ignorance to the Scriptures while in the other hand critiquing the Scriptures, just help them to see it a different way. I will sometimes ask them what they do for a living and point out my lack of knowledge to their field of expertise. Then I ask them how they would feel, or what they would think If I came walking in after revealing my ignorance and continuing on with an attempt to critique them or what a proper understanding of protocol at work is?  

Or, I might even ask them what they know about being a Navy SEAL? What weapons do we use? What tactics are on hand for a hostage scenario or barricaded shooter?  They don't know if they are not a SEAL and I ask them: "Would you think to critique me on this given your lack of knowledge and the fact I am a SEAL?" Then I help them to see that we have a similar issue going on with their lack of knowledge for what the Bible actually contains and their attempts to critique it. 

Just remember...Once they have pointed out their ignorance of the Scriptures their hopes of playing Rhode Scholar today are over and ought to be stopped.

Posted By: Chad Williams "StreetApologetics"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Scripture Memorization Tip

On a recent episode of "On the Box" (at about the 27:00 minute mark) we received a question from the chat room regarding Scripture memorization. Both Ray and Chad has great suggestions. I would like post here the tip I shared during the show. I'll call it the "Homeschool Memorization Method."I've tried several different Scripture memorization plans and methods. But I always seem to come back to this one.

The Mianos have been a homeschool family for almost fifteen years. I've yet to meet a homeschool family that doesn't have at least one dry erase board somewhere in the house. They serve as modern-day chalkboards, calendars, school schedules, task lists, and note pads.

Several years ago I started to use a dry erase board to help me with my Scripture memorization. This particular method utilizes several different disciplines of learning--visual, auditory, verbal, and written. I have found it to be both a simple and effective method for Scripture memorization. It's not very glamorous, but it works.

First, you need a dry erase board. I picked one up at Staples last night for about $10. The one I am using is 11" x 17" in size. I like this size because it is lightweight, portable, yet with plenty of room to write out longer verses or passages. And, of course, you will need a dry erase pen. Get one with a fine tip, for easier writing and smaller printing. Your total investment will be about $12-15.

Begin by selecting the verse you want to memorize, in the translation from which you read and/or study. I memorized John 17:3 last night, so I will use this verse as an example.

Write the verse on the board, complete with punctuation; and write the reference before and after the verse.

Recite aloud the verse reference, the verse, and then the verse reference again. Make sure that you not only read each word, but look at each word as you do. Even if parts of the verse are familiar to you, it is important that you look at every word.

Now, erase the first appearance of the verse reference. Recite aloud the verse reference, the verse, and then the verse reference again.

You've already begun the memorization process.

Now, repeat the process, erasing a single word each time, before reciting the verse. Once you've erased everything, including the last Scripture reference, you have recited the verse several times.

The next thing you do is rewrite the verse on the board, just as you had it the first time--reference, verse, reference. Rewrite the verse by memory. Don't look at your Bible. Once you've rewritten the verse, check to make sure what you wrote on the board is correct. And then start the reciting/erasing process again.

Using John 17:3 (ESV) as an example, by following this method you will recite the verse forty-three times. Last night, in about twenty minutes, I memorized John 17:3. An indicator to me that I retained the verse came this morning when I was able to recite the verse from memory.

Give it a try. And let me know how it goes by sharing your comments on this post.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What a Way to Go Home

Never forget how you feared death before you became a Christian. The Bible says that until we come to Christ, we are “subject to the fear of death all of our lifetime.” When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, God places a shield of faith in our hands so that we can combat the sharp and fiery arrows of fear. We can look death in the faith and say, “You no longer have any power over me!”

Having that sort of faith is like two men in a plane. One has no faith in the pilot and one does. The man without faith opens himself to fear. The less faith he has, the more susceptible he will be to fear if there is severe turbulence. However, the man with faith in the pilot will have no fear, as long as he keeps that faith.

He who lives without faith in God is open to fiery darts of terror that will pierce him to the core. I once saw a man like that as he lay on his deathbed. He was consumed with terror. It was a horrible thing to see, and my heart went out to him. He lived his life with his back turned to God, and consequently, when he needed faith most, he had none.

So when you are sharing your faith, don’t hesitate to tap into a powerful evangelistic tool that is often neglected--the sinner’s will to live. He doesn’t want to die. Don’t be afraid to ask him if he is afraid of dying. It can often be a relief to talk about it, because the world avoids the question.

The king of interviewers, Larry King, once said, “Death is the hardest thing to deal with, from an interviewer’s standpoint because no one really knows what’s going to happen, and I don’t care what anybody said, everybody’s frightened.” He says that from the perspective of a man who lives without faith in Jesus. He makes the massive assumption that “no one knows what’s going to happen,” when that’s just not true. Christians know what happens at death. We no longer walk in darkness as do the ungodly. Our understanding is no longer darkened, because we are no longer alienated from the life of God. He is frightened, because he has no faith.

Let me ask you a thought-provoking question. What is the most important moment in the life of any human being? Is it the moment of birth? That certainly is an important moment. Is it the moment he or she is married, or the moment they arrived on a new job? Those are big moments, but the most important moment, without a doubt, is the moment you and I die. That’s the moment for which we all wait with baited breath, and it draws closer and closer, like the ticking of an untimely clock, with every beat of our heart.

Such are fearful thoughts . . . if we have no faith. Never let that happen. Have faith in God. He is trustworthy. If you trust Him, He will be there for you at the moment you pass from this problem and pain-filled life into eternity. Until that happens, seek those who live without faith, and plead with them to get right with God. Let your heart go out to them, to a point where you go out to them, regularly.

Every now and then you and I see faith shine in this dark world. Just after the tragic shooting of 19 people in Tucson, Arizona, one elderly man died while using his body to shield his precious wife. At a news conference, his daughter had a shining faith in her eyes as she boldly proclaimed, “What a way to go home!” How true. How wonderfully true. Those who trust in Jesus don’t die. They go Home.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A View of 'Worshipers' from the Corner

It was a brisk 43 degrees this morning as I made my way to the corner of Bouquet Canyon Road and Newhall Ranch Road, on the northwest side of town. I wanted to carry the cross and do some stoplight preaching, before I headed to church with the family.

Even with the cool temperature, the sun felt warm on my face. The air was fresh and the skies were clear. It was a beautiful morning and I praised God for His sovereign, creative power. He is the greatest artist who, by His grace, allows the rain to fall (and the sun to shine) on the just and the unjust alike.

Being Sunday morning, from the corner it was easy to tell who was heading to worship. And it soon became apparent that people were heading places to worship many different gods.

Certainly, there were those heading to church to worship the one, true God--the God of the Bible. Certainly there were born-again followers of Jesus Christ among the throngs of vehicles on the road, early this Sunday morning. Some of them identified themselves with their waves and thumbs in the air. Others identified themselves as they rolled down their windows to listen to the one-minute preaching of the gospel, and then waved or said, "God bless you, or "Praise God and thank you for preaching."

But then there were the worshipers of other gods--gods of recreation, sport, and fitness. Some towed their gods on trailers--gods made in the image of bass boats and motorcycles. Some road passed my corner on bicycles--atop thousand-dollar gods, wearing the priestly garb of fancy jerseys and colorful helmets. Still others came by my corner at a much slower pace--walking and jogging to make sure they keep their god healthy and trim, presentable before the altar--the mirror.

Then I wondered. I wondered how many of the worshipers of false gods that came passed my corner were also professing followers of Jesus Christ.

Can a true follower of Jesus Christ take a walk, go for a jog, take a bike ride, or even hit the lake for a time before church on Sunday morning? Of course. These activities, in and of themselves, are not inherently sinful for the Christian. But I wonder how many worshipers I saw this morning who substituted corporate worship of the Lord Jesus Christ to worship the other before-mentioned gods.

Does a true follower of Jesus Christ have to worship on Sunday morning? No. Can unavoidable circumstances in life force a Christian to find places of worship that meet corporately on Saturday night or Sunday night, or another time during the week? Certainly.

But I wonder how many followers of Jesus Christ missed church this morning in my area to take to the slopes, because of the snow that fell the night before? How many followers of Jesus Christ missed church this morning because the rain had stopped and the fish would be biting? How many followers of Jesus Christ missed church this morning because now that the weather was clear they had their first opportunity in days to ride their bike or don their jogging apparel?

All tempting activities, I know--and again, activities that, in and of themselves, are not sinful. But as I heard said the other day: "Every response to temptation is an act of worship. You will either worship self, or you will worship God" (Pastor Mark Dutton, Faith Baptist Church).

Do I sit in an ivory tower looking down upon Christians who fall prey to temptations such as these on a beautiful Sunday morning? No. I, too, have sinned in this way. But seeing hundreds of cars pass by my corner during the hour I was there this morning, it provided me with an interesting view of Sunday morning worshipers--worshipers of the one true God, and worshipers of false gods, of many kinds.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Assurance or Arrogance?

We received the following email from Mary:

"I was listening to the show today, and want to ask about an answer to a question. If a believer sins, and dies in his sin, how could Heaven be their reward? Why then, are there so many warnings in the Bible, written to believers, about not sinning? Don't do it, don't do it! If you think you're standing firm, be careful. You will fall. So it is possible for a believer to sin. And the wages of sin is....?

"Until Jesus comes for us, we are still in this body of flesh. I can't find it at the moment, but I know there is a scripture that talks about how a person who has known and tasted the grace of God, lived in the Spirit, and then walked away, how it is impossible for them to be saved again. How it would have been better for them to have never known the truth. Also a scripture about being blotted out of the book of life. I think to believe 'once saved, always saved' would be a sort of arrogance. I've never understood that... I never want to take God's grace for granted.

"Love your show, love your sense of humor. :)

"Oh, one other question. When you go to Israel, are you going to open air preach there? (just askin'...)"

Great questions, Mary. I would like to first answer your last question. Because of the laws in Israel and the current very high tension and political unrest throughout the Middle East, we will have to be very strategic in all of our evangelism efforts, not just open-air. We're still working out the plan for communicating the gospel during the trip. So, your prayers are appreciated.

Now to your other questions. Let's take them one at a time.

You wrote: "If a believer sins, and dies in his sin, how could Heaven be their reward?"

Believers do sin. James, writing to the Jewish believers dispersed abroad because of the relentless persecution of the Roman government, wrote: "For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body" (James 3:2). The Greek word translated "stumble" can also be translated "err," "sin," and "transgress." James is clearly referring to sin, here, and not a literal, physical stumbling or falling.

When James writes that the person who does not stumble is "a perfect man," he is speaking hypothetically. He is not say that there are such people (aside from Jesus Christ). He is merely suggesting that if there could be found a person who never sins with their mouth, they would be a perfect person.

And if anyone, believer or unbeliever, asserts that they are without sin, then they are a liar. "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us . . . If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us" (1 John 1:8, 10).

There are many other verses throughout the New Testament that make it clear that Christians do sin.

That being said, while it is true that Christians sin, that does not mean the Christian "dies in his [or her] sin," as some use the phrase.
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience--among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:1-7).
The unbeliever is spiritually dead--spiritually dead because of their sins against God. Therefore, when they die a physical death and they stand before God to give an account for their lives (Revelation 20:11-15), God will see them as they are--clothed only in the filthy garments of their sin. They die both physically and spiritually in their sin and pay the eternal, just consequences for their sin--eternity in Hell.

The born-again follower of Christ, on the other hand, dies a physical death, but not a spiritual death. Paul, in the above passage, explains the reason for the hope that every Christian has--the hope of not dying in sin and facing God's wrathful punishment, but rather the hope of an eternal, heavenly reward. Paul wrote: "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 2:4-6; emphasis added). It is God's grace, made manifest through the gifts of repentance and faith He gives to the Christian, and not our ability to repent of every known and forgotten sin, that saves the Christian.

The Christian can face physical death without fear. The Christian can face death without worrying about any sin in their lives, past or present, which they have not yet confessed or for which they have not yet repented. The Christian's heavenly hope, their assurance of salvation, is not based on any acts or works they perform, including the acts of confession and repentance. The Christian's heavenly hope--the hope of "an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading" (1 Peter 1:4)--is placed squarely upon the finished work of Christ on the cross, and God's all-powerful, sovereign ability to guard and keep the Christian's salvation (1 Peter 1:5), which has been purchased and secured by Christ's sacrificial death on the cross (Romans 3:21-26).

Mary, you then ask: "Why then, are there so many warnings in the Bible, written to believers, about not sinning? 'Don't do it, don't do it! If you think you're standing firm, be careful. You will fall.' So it is possible for a believer to sin. And the wages of sin is....?"
"Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy'" (1 Peter 1:13-16).
While the penalty for the sins of the Christian has been completed paid for by the propitiation of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-26), that in no way gives the Christian a license to sin. And anyone who professes to be a Christian and thinks otherwise is likely a false convert--one who wantonly tramples underfoot the blood of Christ and His sacrifice on the cross (Hebrews 10:26-31). As the above passage makes clear, God has set apart His people and, therefore, commands them to live holy lives, pleasing to the Lord.

God's mandate for the Christian to live a holy life, pleasing to the Lord, is not a prescription for salvation, but rather a description of a saved life--a life that has been changed by the grace of God alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. A Christian will want to live a holy life, not in order to earn salvation, but because he or she is so grateful for the gift of salvation given to them by God.

For Christians, the many warnings in the Bible to believers to which you refer, Mary, should not be seen as the angry pronouncements of Judge communicating to criminals, but the loving counsel of a loving Father given to His beloved children.

Yes, for the unsaved, the "wages of sin is death" (Romans 3:23). But for the saved, "the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 3:23).

Mary, you wrote: "Until Jesus comes for us, we are still in this body of flesh. I can't find it at the moment, but I know there is a scripture that talks about how a person who has known and tasted the grace of God, lived in the Spirit, and then walked away, how it is impossible for them to be saved again. How it would have been better for them to have never known the truth."

This is the passage of Scripture to which you are referring:
"For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned" (Hebrews 6:4-8).
The people to whom the writer of Hebrews is referring are unbelievers who may have made a profession of faith in Christ, but were not saved. They had been exposed to the truths of God's Word regarding the gospel and salvation, but made little more than an intellectual assent to the truths they heard. When the writer of Hebrews says that these folks "...tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit..." he is referring to unbelievers who partook in fellowship and corporate worship with real Christians. They tasted and shared in what true Christians experienced, but never themselves truly experienced the blessings of God. Theirs may have been an emotional experience as they were in close proximity to Christians worshiping God, but not a relational one as experienced by those who have been saved by God.

So, again, the people to whom the writer refers in the above passage are not born-again Christians who have lost their salvation, but false converts who never truly received salvation. And, sadly, as is so often the case, false converts who turn away from Christ thinking they had "given Jesus a try," only to become disappointed and disgruntle with harder hearts toward the things of God, rarely come to genuine repentance and faith.

Mary, you also wrote: "Also a scripture about being blotted out of the book of life."

The other verse you referenced is either Exodus 32:33 ("But the Lord said to Moses, 'Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book.") or Psalm 69:28 where David prays to God about his enemies ("Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous").

I will defer to the wisdom and discernment of Charles Spurgeon regarding his interpretation of Psalm 69:28.
"Though in their conceit they wrote themselves among the people of God, and induced others to regard them under that character, they shall be unmasked and their names removed from the register. Enrolled with honour, they shall be erased with shame. Death shall obliterate all recollection of them; they shall be held no longer in esteem, even by those who paid them homage. Judas first, and Pilate, and Herod, and Caiaphas, all in due time, were speedily wiped out of existence; their names only remain as by-words, but among the honoured men who live after their departure they are not recorded. 'And not be written with the righteous.' This clause is parallel with the former, and shows that the inner meaning of being blotted out from the book of life is to have it made evident that the name was never written there at all. Man in his imperfect copy of God's book of life will have to make many emendations, both of insertion and erasure; but, as before the Lord, the record is for ever fixed and unalterable. Beware, O man, of despising Christ and his people, lest thy soul should never partake in the righteousness of God, without which men are condemned already" (Spurgeon, Charles. "The Treasury of David," Volume 1; Book 3, p. 184).
Lastly, Mary, you wrote: "I think to believe 'once saved, always saved' would be a sort of arrogance. I've never understood that... I never want to take God's grace for granted."
I appreciate that you do not want to take God's grace for granted. No one should. And anyone who does should examine themselves to see if they are even in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). But it is not arrogant for the Christian to have assurance of his or her salvation--so long as that assurance is built solely upon the grace of God and the finished work of Jesus Christ, on the cross. If any person, whether or not they profess faith in Jesus Christ, places any assurance upon their own goodness, merit, or some perceived innate ability to please God, then the only assurance they should have is that they are lost and bound for Hell.

But again, the Christian's hope of salvation, the Christian's assurance is built upon the Rock of our salvation--Jesus Christ.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
The apostle Paul placed his assurance nowhere else but upon Christ alone.
"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).
And let us not forget the assuring words of Jesus.
"So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, 'How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.' Jesus answered them, 'I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand" (John 10:24-29).
Mary, I hope I've answered your questions. And thank you for watching "On the Box."

Monday, February 14, 2011

How to Prosper, Biblically

            I’m not a fan of the prosperity message. For many years I have watched slick preachers, who rarely preach about sin, righteousness and judgment, and only exalt the cross as a means of gain, and it irks me. If planting “seeds” in bank accounts never fails to bring prosperity to the sower, how come I always have to plant seed in their soil? However, underneath the preaching of prosperity, there is a legitimate biblical principle of sowing and reaping. 

            Psalm One tells us that if we do certain things, we will prosper. We tend to think of prosperity as being only in the realm of finances. However, I think that the Christian man or woman should prosper in marriage, in vocation, and also in the endeavor of evangelism.

            Those who care about the salvation of the lost know the will of God. They, like John, are close enough to Jesus to hear His heartbeat. It was love for the lost that drove the Savior to the cross, and it’s love for the lost that should drive us to take the cross to a dying world. So if we want to reach this world with the message of everlasting life, we need to fulfill the requirements of Psalm One, and meditate on the Law of God daily.

            Do you do that? Do you read your Bible every day, without fail? I have, for nearly 40 years...and there’s been a simple key that has helped me to do that. Discipline. I open my Bible daily, no matter how I feel. I do it because I love God. I do it because I need to feed on the Word of God. I do it because I want to prosper when it comes to reaching the unsaved.    

            So here is some practical advice that has put my Bible-reading on steroids. For many years I would wake up during the night and read my Bible. Turning lights on in the middle of the night while in bed can be annoying to your spouse, but I found a way around that. I have had a iPod for a couple of years and because it has an inbuilt backlight, I don’t need to turn the light on at all. But here’s what I did that has really helped me. I permanently unplugged my 18 inch adjustable goose-neck lamp, and secured it to the table beside my bed. Then, using Velcro, I suck my iPod on the flat bulb.

            In the middle of the night, I pull the lamp around in front of my face, pull up the Bible app, put it on “scroll,” and feed myself in bed. So, if you have an iPod, you have no excuse. You can daily feed on the Word of God, keep your hands warm. your spouse happy and you can expect your endeavors to reach the lost, to prosper. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Did God Waste His Creation On Us?

We received the following email from Chris, in Phoenix, AZ:

"Was the universe made just for us? According to the Bible it seems like we are the center of attention. If the universe was made just for us, then why is it so big? Clearly, if Judgment Day is supposed to happen sometime in the near future, then I doubt we will have time to really explore it. So wouldn't it basically be a wasted creation? And why also does the universe appear as if it is in the middle of a long ongoing process rather than something that was created only 6,000 years ago?

Thanks for your email, Chris.

The universe was not "made just for us." God does all things for His glory. And creation declares His glory. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork" (Psalm 19:1) And He doesn't share His glory with anyone or anything. "I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols" (Isaiah 42:8).

You wrote: "According to the Bible it seems like we are the center of attention." Again, God does not share His glory with anyone. Instead of the "center of attention," a better way to describe the human race is as the pinnacle of God's creation.
"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

"And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth'" (Genesis 1:26-28).
You wrote: "If the universe was made just for us, then why is it so big? Clearly, if Judgment Day is supposed to happen sometime in the near future, then I doubt we will have time to really explore it. So wouldn't it basically be a wasted creation?"

The universe is indeed BIG. Some astronomers believe the universe is about 150 billion light years across, and expanding. That means it would take 150 billion years to traverse the universe, if one could travel 186,000 miles per second. To put that in perspective, it takes light approximately nine minutes to travel from the Sun to Earth. If we could travel at the speed of light, it would take us approximately 4.3 years to reach the nearest star outside our solar system--Alpha Centauri. Traveling at the same speed, it would take approximately 100,000 years to travel from one end of the Milky Way galaxy to the other.

Today, estimates are as high as 170-200 billion galaxies in the known universe. The number of stars in each galaxy ranges from 10 million in the smallest galaxies to 100 trillion in the giants. Keep in mind that our Sun is relatively small in size compared to other stars.

So again, Chris, the universe is very big--in all likelihood much larger than the finest astronomers realize. As far as seeing all of it, let alone exploring all of it, that will likely never happen--certainly not in our lifetimes. Does that mean God wasted His time? Not at all.

If your perspective is that God created the universe for your use and entertainment (of course you must presuppose that God exists to even make an argument against God. And God not doing things the way you like it is not an argument against God's existence), then I can see why you might think God wasted His time in making a universe too large for us to explore and fully enjoy. But once again, God created all things for His glory, not for our personal enjoyment. And as Creator, God can do whatever He wants with His creation.
"But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, 'Why have you made me like this?' Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable us" (Romans 9:20-21)?
In your last question you wrote: "And why also does the universe appear as if it is in the middle of a long ongoing process rather than something that was created only 6,000 years ago?"
"Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature" (Genesis 2:7).
Adam, the first human being, was not born into existence as a baby. He was created and brought to life as a man. God, who spoke the universe and all of creation into existence, did so in six days. "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day" (Genesis 1:31). God did not take billions of years to form the stars, the planets, other celestial bodies, the Earth, and life on Earth. He did it in six literal days. So, how should we then expect the universe to look? Should we expect, in the beginning, to see all aspects of creation as if they were in their infancy? Or should we rather, in the beginning, see all aspects of creation formed and mature?

Now that I've answered your questions, Chris, I have a few questions for you.

There are two things you know--two things which you already knew before you emailed us your question. The first is this. You know that God exists.
"For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, has been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse" (Romans 1:19-20).
If you doubt or deny the existence of God (which you didn't state in your email, but I presumed from your questions), it is not because you lack sufficient evidence or even belief. Your denial of God's existence is merely an attempt to suppress the truth.
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth" (Romans 1:18).
And what is unrighteousness? It's sin. And what is sin? And what is sin? It's the violation of God's Law. And this brings us to the second thing you know, which you knew before you sent us your email. You know that you have sinned against God, for God has already written His Law on your heart.
"They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus" (Romans 2: 15-16).
You know that it is wrong to lie, steal, look with lust (sexual desire), take God's name in vain, and dishonor your parents. No one had to teach you that these things are wrong. Your conscience either convicts you when you do any of these things, or you try to manipulate your conscience in order to justify what you know in your heart is wrong.

Since you already know God exists, and since you already know that you have sinned against God and will one-day give an account of your life before Him; here's my first question.

If on that day when you stand before God, if He finds you guilty of breaking His Law and sinning against Him, what should He do with you: Heaven or Hell? I think you already know the answer to this question.

Because God is good--because He is holy, righteous, and just--He must punish sin. And the punishment God has ascribed for sin is eternity in Hell.
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

"But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).
That is the bad news, Chris. If God gives you what you deserve for your sins against Him, you will spend eternity in Hell.

I don't want that for you, Chris. And that is why I am going to share good news with you.

While it is certainly true that God is holy, righteous, and just; He is also merciful, loving, and kind. God, the One about whose glory all of creation testifies, the One who "upholds the universe by the word of his power" (Hebrews 1:3), has provide the only way for you to escape His holy and righteous wrath against your sin.

2,000 years ago, God the Father sent His Son to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus, born of a virgin, was fully-God and fully-Man. He lived the perfect, sinless life that neither you nor I can live.

About 30-33 years into His earthly existence, He voluntarily went to the cross. He suffered and died a horrible, bloody death at the hands of sinful men--a death He did not deserve. On the cross, Jesus took upon Himself the punishment we rightly deserve for our sins against God. Three days later He forever defeated sin and death when He rose from the grave. He is alive, today; and He will return at a time of His Father's choosing.

God humbled Himself to take on the form of human flesh (His creation) and to suffer and die at the hands of His creation. "For our sake he [God the Father] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

What God commands of you, Chris, is the same thing He commands of all people everywhere (Acts 17:29-31). God commands that you repent--that you turn away from your sin and turn to God. He commands that you repent and believe the gospel--the good news of Jesus Christ; and by faith alone, receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

No, my friend, God did not waste His creation on us. God created the universe for His glory and, by His grace and mercy, He allows us to see and contemplate not only the beauty, intricacy, and grandeur of what He made, but the greatness and holiness of the One who made it all. And He is so very gracious and kind that He has allowed you to hear His gospel, today.

Repent and believe the gospel, while God has given you time.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Charming Little Pup

I have to admit, this is not a cute puppy. There's nothing in the dog that draws out affection. His teeth are yellow and crooked. Half of them are missing. His skin is wrinkly, and his ears look like the dried pig's ears they give to dogs to chew on. He is balding, and what is left of his hair is thin and grey. His eyes are not bright and wide, his nose is dry and crusty, and he's sitting with his ugly foot in his ugly mouth.

Nope, he's about as cute as a wart...and it looks like he's got a few of those pushing through too.

Such is our state before God. There's nothing in us that it likeable and that draws His affection toward us (see Isaiah 64:6). We are selfish, hateful, blasphemous, self-righteous, ungrateful, wicked, and even repulsive. The best of us is one ugly puppy. The Bible teaches that nothing in us is desirable and worthy of His love. That comes solely because He is love and because of His mercy.

Look at this verse: "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (Romans 5:10, NKJV).

Not only were we not attractive to God, but when we were blasphemous enemies of God, Christ died for us (see Roamns 5:8). This is hugely consoling for the Christian because it means that if I live to get old, when my hair grows thin, when my ears become long and floppy, my teeth become yellow and fall out, my skin gets wrinkly, my eyes fail, and my mind goes--when I'm just one ugly puppy, He is still the lover of my soul. His love isn't dependent on me. It is dependent on Him. How cool is that!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What To Do About My Homosexual Friends

We received the following email from Barbara:

"I have friends who I met during high school who are now homo/bi sexual. Ironically, all of them were 'straight' when I met them. At any rate, I have shared the Gospel with them. I was previously told to just stop talking to them all together. But how then do I show God's love by just leaving their life all together? I want to do right by God so I'm confused as to whether or not I remain in their lives, show Christ's love, continue to preach the Gospel, or do I at some point give up and walk away (yet pray for them privately)?"

First, Barbara, I would like to apologize for taking so long to answer your question. We get a lot of questions (for which we are thankful), and we would like to quickly answer all of them. But it's a challenge to accomplish that. Again, we're very thankful for the opportunity. Be that as it may, there is an obvious sense of urgency and deep emotion in your question. So, again, I apologize for the delay.

Barbara, I disagree with the counsel you have been given--the counsel to stop talking to your unsaved friends and just walk away from relationships you have had since high school. In this regard, your homosexual friends are no different than any of your other unsaved friends, whether they be liars, thieves, adulterers, fornicators, or blasphemers. While certainly different sins have different consequences in this life (a liar will likely not suffer the same earthly consequences as a murderer), all sin is a violation of God's holy moral standard, and is detestable in His sight. Why, then, would you walk away from your homosexual friends and not walk away from your other unsaved friends who may lie, lust, and blaspheme?

Some Christians will read the above and, in opposition, may cite 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. But this passage does not present a prohibition of having friends that are unbelievers. Rather, it presents a prohibition of entering into spiritual enterprise with unbelievers (i.e. a believer entering into a marriage with an unbeliever, or Christians joining with members of other religions for ecumenical prayer and worship).

Other Christians may cite James 4:4, for the same reason. But again, this verse is not a prohibition of having friends that are unbelievers. Rather it is a warning to avoid being captivated by worldly systems that oppose the authority of God, and to avoid desiring anything the world has to offer over the lordship of Christ in one's life.

But listen to the counsel of the apostle Paul:
"I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. 'Purge the evil person from among you'" (2 Corinthians 5:9-13).
The only reason to separate yourself from your friends who are unbelievers is if those relationships, in any way, come between you and your worship of and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. Barring that, let Matthew 22:36-40 serve as your barometer for how you should treat and interact with your unsaved friends.
"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."
Love your unsaved friends as you love yourself.

But whether or not you should continue to proclaim the gospel to them is another matter. Your unsaved friends love their sin (Job 15:16), no matter what their particular pet sin is, and they hate God (Romans 1:30).

If your unsaved friends are willing to talk to you about spiritual matters, and if they can do so without mocking your Lord and Savior or your faith in Him, then continue to share the gospel with them, when you believe it is appropriate to do so. However, if your unsaved friends are hostile to Jesus Christ and His gospel, if they mock your Lord and Savior and your faith in Him, then I believe Jesus' admonition in Matthew 7:6 applies. Jesus said, "Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you."

Pastor John MacArthur explains the verse well. He wrote:
"Dogs and swine represent those who, because of their great perversity and ungodliness, refuse to have anything to do with the holy and precious things of God except to trample them under their feet, and turn and tear God's people to pieces.

"There will be times when the gospel we present is absolutely rejected and ridiculed and we make the judgment to turn away and speak no more, deciding that we should 'shake off the dust of [our] feet' (Matt. 10:14) and begin ministering somewhere else. There will be times when those to whom we witness will resist the gospel and blaspheme God, and we speak words of judgment. Like Paul, we must then say, in effect, 'Your blood be upon your own heads! I am clean. From now on I shall go to the Gentiles" (Acts 18:6). When people not only reject the gospel, but insist on mocking and reviling it, we are not to waste God's holy Word and the precious pearls of His truth in a futile and frustrating attempt to win them. We are to leave them to the Lord, trusting that somehow His Spirit can penetrate their hearts--as He apparently did with some of those who first rejected the preaching of Paul and the other apostles--or leaving them to the just judgment of God" (The MacArthur New Testament Commentary--Matthew 1-7, p. 438-39).
If you ever reach or have reached the point where continuing to share the gospel with your unsaved friends is futile, then, yes, pray for them (1 Thessalonians 5:17; James 5:16-20). And continue to love them, seeking every opportunity to serve them and to let your light shine before them (Matthew 5:14-16; Matthew 5:43-47; Romans 12:20). Maybe God will answer your prayers and use your love for them as an instrument to soften their hearts of stone--preparing them to not only hear and understand the gospel, but to repent and receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

And remember, Barbara, through it all God is sovereign and salvation is of the Lord (Psalm 37:39).  He will show mercy on whom He chooses to show mercy (Romans 9:14-16).  Stay faithful.  Stay prayerful.  And stay watchful.  God, by His sovereign grace and mercy, continues to allow your unsaved friends to steal His air with every breath they take.  Maybe He will save them yet.

I hope this helps, Barbara.

Atheists...Where's Your Foundation?

Before constructing a building a wise man will first consider what is before him and then build upon a solid foundation (Lk. 14:28-33; Matt. 7:24-27). And so it is in science before we do any talk about origins, evolution, the effects of gravity, thermodynamics, or any laws for that matter; we ought to consider the principle foundation and backbone of science -on which all science stands- known as the “uniformity of nature.”

When we use the term uniformity of nature, that is to say, the laws of science will continue to operate in a consistent and unchanging fashion. Take for instance the law of gravity. Gravity operates in a consistent and unchanging fashion. Would any rational human being put into practice skepticism on this? Not if their cognitive faculties are functioning properly! In fact when I was a Navy SEAL it was a healthy fear and respect for the unchanging consistency of gravity that would caused us to wear not one but, two parachutes when we did HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) jumps out of airplanes.

Ok, so gravity operates in a consistent and unchanging fashion today and it will tomorrow but, have you ever wondered why? That is to ask, what in a so-called accidental and random universe is causing this accidental and random chance environment to behave in a law-like and invariant (unchanging) fashion? How does an accidental and random chance process -not only bring forth- but, consistently account for futuristic certainty of these scientific laws?

On any atheistic worldview (system of thought), there is no explanation as to why the laws of science will operate tomorrow like they do today! The uniformity of nature is merely assumed on the various atheistic worldviews, never accounted for! Friends this is a tremendous issue and embarrassing one for atheists because this means that before they perform any scientific experiment they must first start with an unaccounted for principle! They have no positive reasons as to why the laws of science will operate tomorrow like they do today and on such assumptions laws are really only so-called laws which are subject to change! On the assumptions of atheism it is perfectly within the realm of possibilities that perhaps the so-called law of gravity will have an opposite effect in 5 seconds and go back to the alleged normal 7 seconds later.

At this point you might be wondering how do atheistic scientists confront the fact that they rely on the uniformity of nature with no accountability or justification for such a principle that is inconsistent with their unbelieving worldview? The answer: They don't! When confronted with this notion they get uncomfortable and just push it out of their minds with a "one day science will have the answers" but, that just plays into the hands of a logical fallacy known as begging the question, because it is the very principle foundation of science in question! 

In their refusal they won't acknowledge that God is the controlling influence that causes the universe and laws of science we discover to operate in a uniform fashion (Rom. Gen. 8:22; Heb. 1:3). In doing so they play the part of a fool (Ps. 14:1) and they don't practice what they preach. They betray their professed disbelief in God every-time they flip on a light switch or squeeze a toothpaste bottle with the expectation that paste will come out! In this sense they are inconsistent and rely on the very God they deny. "Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" 1 Cor. 1:20

It has been well stated by Greg Bahnsen:

"Whenever an unbeliever wants to brush his teeth and squeeze the toothpaste tube and expect that the future will be like the past, whenever the unbeliever thinks that there is more to our thinking than just the chance combination of molecules, that unbeliever is giving evidence he or she does not really follow their own worldview. They're borrowing our worldview! And yes they want to insult God, but even as a little girl could not slap her father's face unless she was sitting on her father's lap; the unbeliever cannot slap the face of his or her heavenly Father unless God where holding them up to do it! And the day is coming -the bible tells us- that God will finally say you don't want me...then your will be done! And at that point it will be the crack of doom

Posted By: Chad Williams "Street Apologetics"

Stoplight Preaching

Kevin St. John, an Ambassadors' Academy grad, leads one the Ambassadors' Alliance's allied ministries--Calgary Peacemakers. In the following video Kevin and his team give a demonstration of a variation, of "stoplight preaching."

Many Christians who desire to share the gospel live in small communities or in communities where there are no places where large crowds of people gather. They don't have places like Hollywood Boulevard, Third Street Promenade, or Huntington Beach where tens of thousands of residents and tourists gather every day. Still other evangelistic Christians live in areas where good weather is something to talk about, because it is such a rarity. Yet they want to preach the gospel in the open-air.

"Stoplight preaching" is one way to herald the gospel in areas where it is difficult to find and/or draw a crowd. As the name implies, "stoplight preaching" is a format designed for presenting the gospel in one minute or less, at locations where people gather for a relatively short period of time (i.e. crosswalks at busy intersections, bus stops, and train stations."

Here's the audio for my "stoplight" gospel presentation:

If you have difficulty with the embedded player above, you can listen to and/or download the audio, here.

And here's the text:

"Folks, be careful on the road today. 150,000 people die every day; many of them on roads like this.

"When we die, we are going to stand before God and give an account for our lives. Because God is good, He is going to judge each of us according to the perfect, moral standard of His Law. If we've ever lied, stolen, taken His name in vain, He will find us guilty of breaking His Law. And because God is good, He must punish our sin; and the punishment God has ascribed for sin is eternity in Hell.

"But God is also merciful, loving, and kind in that He provided one way to escape that punishment; and that was through the gift of His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ: fully-God and fully-Man, without sin. He died a horrible, bloody death on the cross that He did not deserve in order to take upon Himself the punishment we rightly deserve for our sins against God. And then three days later He forever defeated sin and death when He rose from the grave.

"What God requires of you and me is that we repent--that we turn from our sin, and by faith and by faith alone, receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Jesus said, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'

"So, please, repent and believe the gospel while God has given you time. And be careful on the road today."

Now, go out and give it a try! And may the Lord bless your efforts!

Monday, February 7, 2011

“I Like Everything You Said, But….”

I had just finished open air preaching, when a sincere Christian approached me, said that she really loved what she had heard, but disagreed with one thing I had said. A young man had heckled me while I was speaking, and said that he didn’t like Christianity. This was because he had been brought up a Catholic, and said that he left after 18 years. I replied that I wouldn’t have waited for 18 years, and that I would leave any institution that was filled with pedophiles.

According to the young lady, I was turning people away from the truth by saying such a thing. I reminded her that Jesus continually railed against religious hypocrisy, and if anything was hypocritical it was professed men of God, molesting children and not being prosecuted or even reprimanded for doing so.

In recent years in the U.S. there have been more than 10,000 allegations of pedophilia among Catholic priests. Of these, 6,700 were investigated, and 1,872 priests were found guilty of molesting children. Thousands more cases were not investigated because those who were accused of pedophilia had died. Many other cases were reported in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia. So I hadn’t said anything anti-Catholic. I was simply stating a commonly known fact, and saying that I would have left earlier than my anti-Christian heckler.

When my sincere Christian critic argued that pedophiles were in the entire Church, not just in the Catholic church, I pointed out that she was saying what I was saying, but in a broader sense. Amazingly, she agreed with my point, and conceded the argument.

Most people believe that Roman Catholicism is “Christian,” and you can’t blame them. Every Christmas and Easter the secular media parade the pope as being the leader of the Christian Church. But ask a Catholic if he’s a Christian, and many will answer “No, I’m a Catholic.” They see the difference, and those who know the way of salvation and what the Catholic church teaches, also know the difference.​

Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s minister of propaganda, noted in his diary in 1939: "The Fuehrer is deeply religious, but deeply anti-Christian. He regards Christianity as a symptom of decay. Rightly so. It is a branch of the Jewish race." Hitler told General Gerhart Engel: "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so." Those who don’t see the difference between Catholic and Christian, say that Adolf Hitler was a Christian. Those who know their Bibles, know better.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Do Not Fear.....Evangelism

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Open-Air at the NoHo Metro Station

Friday, February 4, 2011

Atheist Tactic

From Ed:
 "First I’d like to thank you, for rich programming that you all offer.  I’ve only recently discovered your You Tube Channel, but enjoy the show every day.  I recently encountered an atheist, who claimed that the story of Jesus Christ is the same story of Hare Krishna.  Further, he claimed that the story of Hare Krishna, occurred several hundred years prior to the birth of Christ.  I later did some research online, and saw some sites supporting this story.  How do I address this claim?  Again, thank you for all the work you do, and God Bless you all."

Ed I am very pleased this issue has been brought to light as this is a tact I see many atheists using often across the internet and on the street! So lets take a look at this question broken down into the two claims that the atheist has made. I will give a bit of a commentary and time willing I will give an example of how I might engage this on the street.

(1) I recently encountered an atheist, who claimed that the story of Jesus Christ is the same story of Hare Krishna.

Look, take heed to what I am about to share! My beloved readers, I am about to unveil one of the most common tactics that atheists will use in an attempt to throw smoke in the air, evade the Gospel truth and take pop shots at you from a safe position. I was just on an atheist website the other day following a thread in which atheists were schooling each other in how to successfully pull this tactic off with a Christian. So here it is: When the atheist engages with you they will sometimes throw out an old debaters trick in which they will attempt to divert all attention off of themselves, remove all the burden of giving any account for why they believe what they believe! How? At some time in your interaction, the atheist will use a variation of:

"Well, 'what about Buddha' 'What about Muhammad' 'What about Mormons' 'What about Gandhi' 'What about Krishna?!" 

If you even give an inch here by addressing any one of the above you will be going down a rabbit trail that will truly never end! Do you really think the atheist will be satisfied when you defuse Buddha? Do you really think the suppressor of truth is going to just lay down now that you have untangled Krishna? No! They will go on and on boundlessly without any limits! Throwing their smoke up in the air they slide their personal views out of the equation and play peanut gallery as you deal with an endless barrage of phantom worldviews. Beware of this slight of hand as they are no longer representing themselves or even properly representing the pseudo worldviews that they attempt to collide into you! They are very comfortably out of the battle, in a safe place, no dog in this fight, but they certainly can play constant critic now from their non-existent position! So don't go chasing rabbit trails! You need to call them out, right up front! Are you a Hare Krishna, a Muslim, a Mormon, a Buddhist ect? They are not, they are atheists remember?! So let them know "sir if you aligned yourself with any of these I would be more than happy to dialogue on such issues but you don't and neither do I so I would like to engage with you and your beliefs rather than talk about a belief system that has no real representation today!" 

(2) he claimed that the story of Hare Krishna, occurred several hundred years prior to the birth of Christ. 

If for some reason you have taken the bait and stepped into the ring on this sweat! Ultimately there is a ready response that will take down and bring to submission the stronghold of all other works righteousness belief systems. 

The key in dealing with counterfeit beliefs is knowing the original! You don't need to have your doctorates in comparative religions, you don't need to be a Walter Martin (a personal hero in the faith), you don't need to have an exhaustive understanding of the ensemble of false systems of thought out there. You only need to know one thing in order to spot a counterfeit of any kind and that one thing is know the original!  

Speaking of exposing counterfeits, knowing the original is the same tact that U.S. Banks take in training their employees to take on the task of identifying and jettisoning counterfeit notes out of circulation. Above and beyond the man hours spent in learning to identify -the countless and ever changing- counterfeits; they put preeminence on handling and knowing the original so that when they encounter a counterfeit the differences will stick out as the idiom goes: like a sore thumb!

So know the Gospel truth which is the power of God (Rom. 1:16), fall in love with the uniqueness of Christ who is truth incarnate (Jn. 14:6) and know Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16) which is our sword (Heb. 4:12) and weapon that brings down every stronghold captive to Christ (2 Cor. 10:3-5).  There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). It is the differences that make all the difference between the true Gospel and false gospels (Gal. 1:8,9), and a great launching point in engaging with false systems of thought is to point out that all other religions and false systems of thought put man at the center of the arena as a works righteousness belief system. So be quick to point this out! Whatever it may be, whether Krishna, Buddha, Muhammad or any other: "The major difference is that they are works righteousness belief system and Christianity is not!" They don't have a coherent basis for Justice, Mercy, Grace, Salvation, Preconditions of intelligibility ect. A good way to to expose this is by affirming the impossibility of the contrary to Christianity. This will turn things around and cause your opponent to be required to give an account as to how whatever false system of thought they bring up could possibly account for such things. 

I should also point out that you ought to at least have the atheist shoulder the burden of representing whatever false belief system it may be that they posit. Let the interrogation begin as you probe and compare against the false solutions for sin, salvation, grace, ect. You have got a real winner on your hands with Christ so let that light so shine (Matt. 5:16), and under that light false systems of thought will be exposed (Jn. 3:20). 

Below is a treat for you folks as I was able to get you a sneak peak at some unseen footage of our upcoming The Way of the Master episode: "Zurich" in which Ray has an encounter with a group of Hare Krishnas! 

*I uploaded a low resolution for the web...The full episode will be available in HD soon here.  

Posted by: Chad Williams "Street Apologetics"

Should I Dust Off My Feet?

We received the following email from John (not his real name):

"Thank you for all you do to reach the lost and to disciple the body of Christ! You have impacted me in more ways the words will ever say so 'thank you very much.'

"I have an interesting situation. I was truly and soundly converted after listening to 'Hell's Best Kept Secret' back in 2003. (It took a few rounds before I thought of the teaching as God revealing the truth to me--that I had never repented of sin and put my faith in Jesus Christ.)

Anyway, after years of growth and learning so much from you guys and many other sound, biblical teachers I'm daily confronted with this one fact: my wife and, actually, two of my children (adults now) along with their spouses and/or significant others are false converts. It seems to plague me sometimes because I am very concerned for their salvation. Yet, they are under the teaching of these preachers that not only shy away from teaching about sin, Hell and repentance but mock those that do. I have even been the brunt of that same kind of belittling talk with these same family members when I try to share the truth. I'm called 'religious' or 'fundamental' or even 'mean-spirited' because I'm convinced that they don't know of the danger of the position that they are in. It is a very difficult position to be in I must say.

"However, I feel that this has helped my walk and to get more and more into prayer because I know that I cannot effect change in their hearts; only God can. I guess here's my question: Am I only relegated to that (prayer) for them now? It seems like any time a conversation about the Lord comes up I'll maintain Biblical truth but get ridiculed or mocked. I wonder if saying anything at all is worth it or if in maintaining my stance becomes a hindrance to them. I almost wonder if Jerusalem has dried up and it's time to move on to Judea and Samaria now.

"What are your thoughts on this?"

John, we are always so very encouraged to hear testimonies of how God has used "Hell's Best Kept Secret" to bring people to genuine repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I feel for you, John. While my wife and daughters are all born again, most of my extended family is lost, but of the mindset they are right with God. Some have created gods in their own imagination to suit themselves, and others participate in false religions. They (at least some of them) see me as "judgmental" and "mean-spirited," especially when I dare to suggest that what they believe is not true, according to the Word of God.

While we can't know a person's heart with certainty, anyone who mocks a biblical presentation of the Law and the Gospel is not bringing forth fruit in keeping with repentance (Matt. 3:8); and they are likely believing a different gospel (Gal. 1:6-9)--one that cannot save them. They should examine themselves to see if they are even in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5).

It's a painful situation to sense that those closest to you are deceived, comfortable in their sin and religion, living in a state of false conversion. You want to take them by the shoulders and plead with them, weeping, until they come to their senses and come to a knowledge of the truth. You realize there is nothing you can do to save them, because salvation is of the Lord (Ps. 3:8; 2 Thess. 4:13). But the thought of someone you love perishing in their sin (Luke 13:1-5) and spending eternity in Hell (Rev. 20:11-15) is, at times, just too much to fathom.

Now, to your questions.

You ask, "Am I only relegated to pray for them now? It seems like any time a conversation about the Lord comes up I'll maintain Biblical truth but get ridiculed or mocked."

The dictionary defines the word "relegate" this way: "to assign to an obscure place, position, or condition;" and "to move to a position of less authority, importance, etc.; demote." John, not to kick you when you're down, but never underestimate the power of prayer. Remember, "the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working" (James 5:16b). Don't relegate yourself to pray for your lost loved ones. Instead, be resolved to pray for them. Prayer is powerful. God hears the prayers of His people (Prov. 15:8).

If your family continues to mock you when you present biblical truth to them, there may come a point, if it hasn't already come, when continuing to present them with the Gospel will be akin to casting your pearls before swine (Matt. 7:6).

I appreciate what Pastor John MacArthur has to say about this. He wrote:
"Because of this principle Jesus Himself did not do miracles for unbelievers (Matt. 13:58). Respect for what is holy, not merely contempt for dogs and swine, motivates the principle of loving enemies (Matt. 5:44). That verse governs dealings with one's enemies, while this principle governs how one handles the gospel in the face of those who hate the truth" (The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, p. 44).
John, you also wrote: "I wonder if saying anything at all is worth it or if in maintaining my stance becomes a hindrance to them."

John, the hindrance in your loved ones' lives is not your stand for the truth. It's their love of sin--a love that allows them to justify trampling under their feet the blood of Christ (Hebrews 10:26-31). And it's that love of sin that makes the cross foolishness (1 Cor. 1:18) and a stumbling block (1 Cor. 1:23) to them.

You have no choice but to maintain your stance for Christ (Matt. 10:32-39). At the same time, you can be strategic about how you do that. The time may be upon you when, at least for now, you stop heralding the Gospel to your family. But be watchful (1 Cor. 16:13) for opportunities to speak the truth in love (1 Cor. 16:14).

Being strategic in your approach can include the following:

1. Start reading the Bible to your wife, as a time of devotion. Don't treat as a time between teacher and student, but as a time of husband nurturing his wife. Answer her questions as they come, but otherwise let the Word of God speak--praying that the Holy Spirit would allow her to see and understand with spiritual eyes.

2. Point her to solid teachers. Allow her to listen to them on her own. Tell her that you would like to hear her thoughts about the message(s).

3. Be salt and light in your wife's life (Matt. 5:13-16). Let her continually see you live for Christ, as one who truly loves his Savior. Serve her, with love for her, as one who has been freed from the bonds of sin (Gal. 5:13).

3. Apologize to her and your kids--not because you are wrong regarding your biblical positions, but because of any argument you have had as a result (Eph. 4:30-32).

4. And through it all, you must continue to love your wife the way the Lord loves the church and gave Himself up for her (Eph. 5:25-28). You must love her and die to yourself for her, regardless of her responses to your kind actions or genuine faith. Outdo her in showing honor. And, if/when she responds inappropriately, don't respond in like manner (Rom. 12:9-19).