Archive for the ‘Preaching the Gospel’ Category

It is important for Christians to understand and note that, when the Bible refers to those who deny the existence of God as ‘fools’ (Psalms 14:1), it is not merely engaging in name calling.  This is the proper term for someone who willfully refuses to acknowledge that which has been so plainly and openly revealed.  Imagine this:

You have agreed to participate in a live formal debate.  After weeks of preparation, the big day arrives and you take your place on stage behind your podium as the auditorium begins to fill with people.  You look to your left and see your opponent behind his podium with a confident look upon his face.  The moderator gives the introduction and then it’s time to start.  Your opponent goes first and begins his opening statement.  His position? That air does not exist (an a-airist?).

Now, what would you say in response to such an obviously absurd position?  Sure, you could produce graphs, charts, tables, and endless other pieces of evidence to show that air does indeed exist (which your opponent may or may not find compelling and which he may even be able to explain away and rebut via his counter arguments), or you could take a decidedly different approach:  You could simply expose the glaring inconsistency of his position by pointing out that, if air did not exist, he could not possibly be doing what he is doing.  You could (and should) draw attention to the fact that, without air, he could not possibly be breathing, and, as a consequence, he also could not be talking since there would be no air in his lungs to create the vibrations in his vocal chords and, therefore, no way to produce the sounds used to form his words.  Not to mention the fact that, if air does not exist, there wouldn’t even be anything to convey the sound waves from his mouth to the ears of his hearers anyway!  In short, his entire ability to breathe and speak (much less to argue) depends completely upon the very thing that he is denying—-air!  He is defeating his own position with every breath he takes and with every word he speaks, since any argument he puts forth AGAINST the existence of air actually turns out to be an argument IN FAVOR OF the existence of air!!

Such is the predicament of the professing atheist.  The Bible teaches that the existence of God is so obvious, that no one has an excuse for denying him (and are, in fact, behaving foolishly if they do so–Romans 1:18-22).  In other words, the evidence is all around us, but there are many who do not wish to accept it, and who will even go to great lengths to deny it.  So what do we do?  I submit that, just as in the example above, we should gently and lovingly expose the inconsistencies of such positions in hopes that the unbeliever will come to see the folly of what they are doing and repent.  For instance, suppose someone puts forth a moral argument against God (e.g. claiming that He is evil, that certain acts in the Bible are immoral, etc.).  Now, we could spend a lot of time and energy providing evidence as to why that is not the case (only to likely have our evidence discarded or dismissed due the presuppositional bias of the unbeliever), or we could simply ask them how they arrive at absolute, objective standards of behavior in a universe without God in the first place.  After all, if God does not exist, there could be no absolute moral Authority and, therefore, no binding standard of behavior by which anyone (least of all, God) SHOULD conduct themselves.  If moral standards are arbitrarily stipulated, then the unbeliever loses any rational foundation for their complaint against God.  In fact, the argument itself reveals the internal inconsistency of their position and, as a result, makes this objection AGAINST God’s existence a valid proof FOR His existence!

Now, let’s suppose the argument comes in the form of a ‘logical’ complaint against God (e.g. the Bible is illogical, Christianity is nonsense, etc.).  Again, much time and energy could be spent providing ample solid evidence to the contrary, only to likely be told “well that doesn’t prove anything.”  Instead of putting God on trial before the unbeliever, the more effective (and Biblical) approach would be to expose the self-defeating nature of such an argument by simply asking how there can exist any objective, universal standard of logic and reasoning in a world without God.  Obviously, if there is no Ultimate Authority, then there can be no absolute standard by which we should think and reason.  Therefore, no thinking or reasoning could ever be said to be ‘incorrect’ or ‘illogical’—just ‘different‘.  This internal inconsistency yet again testifies to the inescapable, self-evident truth of God and that, like the air, one must assume His existence to even begin to argue against it (which makes doing so the very epitome of ‘foolishness’).  To paraphrase Acts 17:28, it truly is IN HIM that we LIVE and MOVE and HAVE OUR BEING!

As Keith, the ex-atheist, so accurately pointed out in #10 of his expose’ here:

https://christianammunition.com/2014/06/25/how-to-be-an-atheist/

The ultimate goal of the atheist is not to remain rational or logical in these types of discussions, but to just keep arguing no matter what—due to the emotional nature of their beef with God.  Such is the tell-tale sign of someone who simply has an ‘ax to grind’ and, as a result, cannot ultimately maintain any meaningful rational standard or logical integrity with regards to their argumentation.  Hence, the folly of the unbeliever is exposed for what it really is–suppression of the Truth.  It has been rightly stated that the professing unbeliever cannot find God for the same reason a criminal cannot find a policeman.

I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.        ~C.S Lewis

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(A series of scripted correspondences from a ‘Heavenly helper’ to a Christian Soldier)

[Letter 8]:

Greetings Soldier,

Yes, it really is a lot to take in and learn. However, you will find that the ‘Bible first’ approach to dealing with objections to the Christian faith is the God honoring way of resolving the dispute once and for all. While the old ‘evidence first’ approach accomplishes little more than allowing each side to present their interpretation of the evidence they are disputing–ultimately resulting in a ‘stalemate’—and shamefully allowing the unbeliever to replace God as judge in the process, the ‘Bible first’ approach challenges the very foundation and authority of the unbeliever’s worldview along with the assumptions that it is based upon to show that Christianity is necessarily true by the impossibility of the contrary (rather than only possibly or probably true IF the evidence happens to be correct) and asserts God’s Ultimate Authority over the believer instead of vice versa. Now, I will not pretend as if this approach will not take much intentional, deliberate effort on your part to put into practice and to ultimately master, but I can promise you that the results will be well worth the challenge. Believe it or not, but you will actually come to see objections against the Christian faith as arguments for the Christian faith once this paradigm shift in your understanding of God and His Word as Ultimate Authority is made.

While all sincere Christians would no doubt say that God and His Word are their Ultimate Authority, the problem is, they often do not behave that way when it comes to defending the Faith, choosing to inadvertently grant to the unbeliever certain assumptions about the world and reality that they are not the least bit entitled to, given their professed beliefs. Consider for a moment how you might respond in the following scenario:

You have agreed to participate in a live formal debate.  After weeks of preparation, the big day arrives and you take your place on stage behind your podium as the auditorium begins to fill with people.  You look to your left and see your opponent behind his podium with a confident look upon his face.  The moderator gives the introduction and then it’s time to start.  Your opponent goes first and begins his opening statement.  His position? That air does not exist (an a-airist?).

Now, what would you say in response to such an obviously absurd position?  Sure, you could produce graphs, charts, tables, and endless other pieces of evidence to show that air does indeed exist (which your opponent may or may not find compelling and which he may even be able to explain away and rebut via his counter arguments), or you could take a decidedly different approach:  You could simply expose the glaring inconsistency of his position by pointing out that, if air did not exist, he could not possibly be doing what he is doing.  You could (and should) draw attention to the fact that, without air, he could not possibly be breathing, and, as a consequence, he also could not be talking since there would be no air in his lungs to create the vibrations in his vocal chords and, therefore, no way to produce the sounds used to form his words.  Not to mention the fact that, if air does not exist, there wouldn’t even be anything to convey the sound waves from his mouth to the ears of his hearers anyway!  In short, his entire ability to breathe and speak (much less to argue) depends completely upon the very thing that he is denying—-air!  He is defeating his own position with every breath he takes and with every word he speaks, since any argument he puts forth AGAINST the existence of air actually turns out to be an argument IN FAVOR OF the existence of air!!

Such is the predicament of the unbeliever.  The Bible teaches that the existence of God is so obvious, that no one has an excuse for denying him (and are, in fact, behaving foolishly if they do so).  In other words, the evidence is all around us, but there are many who do not wish to accept it, and who will even go to great lengths to deny it.  So what should you do?  I submit that, just as in the example above, you should gently and lovingly expose the inconsistencies of such positions in hopes that the unbeliever will come to see the folly of what they are doing and repent.  It is important for Christians to understand and note that, when the Bible refers to those who deny the existence of God as ‘fools’ (Psalms 14:1), it is not merely engaging in name calling.  This is the proper term for someone who willfully refuses to acknowledge that which has been so plainly and openly revealed.  Here to serve,

Your Heavenly ‘Angent’

(A series of scripted correspondences from a ‘Heavenly helper’ to a Christian Soldier)

[Letter 11]:

Greetings Soldier,

Your recent enquiries reveal a deep thirst for knowledge and an eagerness to put what you have learned thus far into action. Needless to say, the Heavenly Hierarchy is pleased with this! Regarding your question about whether unbelievers (whom we know to be living in willful denial of God’s revealed truth) are necessarily lying when they profess to believe the things they say they do: the answer is ‘no’—they are not necessarily lying but are often ‘self-deceived’. Remember, satan does have the ability to blind the minds of those who deny God in order to keep the Gospel from reaching their hearts. One of the ways he accomplishes this task is by means of cultivating and promoting an attitude of ‘willful ignorance‘ (merely one form of self-deception) on the part of the unbeliever with regards to things concerning God, Christ, and the Bible.  It has been rightly stated that one will not receive into their heart as true that which their mind rejects as false. Therefore, it is the concerned Christian’s urgent duty to engage in pulling down such ‘intellectual strongholds’ through the bold presentation and declaration of the truth in order that the unbeliever might be freed from the captivity of satanic deception and granted repentance unto salvation by God the Father, through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Understood in this light, Christ’s declaration in John 8:32–‘you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free’–is received with a new and fresh appreciation in the mind and heart of the Christian.

In response to your second question: ‘yes’ I do advocate trying out these arguments online. There you will find no shortage of anti-Christian blogs, posts, and websites where you may engage the unbeliever, expose the error of their worldview, and enlighten them with Biblical truth. Be forewarned, though, that unbelievers do not take kindly to having the basis of their worldview challenged and exposed in this way and you will almost certainly encounter hostility like you never have before. In truth, this is really a positive, since it is a sign that the arguments have struck a nerve and are provoking some discomfort in the unbeliever’s state of mind. Besides, any reaction is always preferred over apathy (since apathy is but one sure sign of intellectual and spiritual ‘deadness’). So long as there is passion and/or zeal present (even misguided passion and/or zeal), then there is hope of a genuine conversion; after all, who can forget the grand transformation that took place when a certain misguided zealot named Saul was converted into that radical new creature in Christ—the Apostle Paul! If you are interested in beginning a conversation on the Dialogue.org site you mentioned, then I suggest you simply state your position plainly as to how Christianity provides the foundation for preconditions of intelligibility and then challenge the unbelievers there with a few direct questions about how those things are reconciled within their worldview. The purpose of this is twofold: it will provide the unbeliever with an opportunity to tell you about their worldview so that an internal critique of it can be performed, while providing you with the opportunity to plainly demonstrate to them how and why Christianity alone provides a rational, internally consistent, foundation for the preconditions of intelligibility required to hold a discussion in the first place (knowledge truth, logic, etc.). For example, you could begin with something like this:

*’Isn’t Dialogue.org great?! We have a place where anyone can come and argue any point about virtually any topic! However, an astute debater will find that the very concept of ‘debate’ assumes the existence of logic, truth, and knowledge. Since laws of logic are abstract, universal, invariants and truth and knowledge are certain by definition, each of these concepts can be (and are) made sense of in the Christian worldview (since they reflect the absolute, immaterial nature of a Sovereign God who has revealed Himself to mankind such that we can be certain of who He is).One should ultimately ask, though, how any non-Christian can rationally account for any of these concepts apart from the God of the Bible. Well?’

This should elicit enough response from the other side to keep you busy for a while and provide you with plenty of hands on practice in evaluating non-Christian worldviews for the presence of arbitrariness, inconsistency, and the preconditions of intelligibility. Have fun,

Your Heavenly ‘Angent’

*To see this approach utilized at a real online debate site, check out: http://www.debate.org/forums/Religion/topic/55783/

(A series of scripted correspondences from a ‘Heavenly helper’ to a Christian Soldier)

[Letter 18]:

Greetings Soldier,

Regarding your last correspondence; I assure you that you’re doing fine. No need to be concerned about the empty allegation that you are engaging in a double standard or being ‘unfair’ in your requests for the unbelievers to provide their worldview’s objective, consistent basis for the existence of preconditions of intelligibility (which must be appealed to and utilized in order to even begin to hold a rational discussion). Besides, as should be crystal clear by now, the unbeliever has no way of justifying such an allegation to begin with, since there can exist no objective standard of logical ‘fairness’ in a worldview without God. Not only that, it should also be pointed out that you have already provided the justification for how abstract, universal, invariants are justified in the Christian worldview, from the get go (as they are a reflection of the abstract, universal, invariant nature of the God of the Bible). Perhaps it would be helpful to remind those making the allegations of how discussions work: you provide your logically defensible argument, they provide theirs, and THEN they are compared and contrasted via internal critique to see whose is true.

Of course, because the unbeliever has no rationally defensible argument or justification to support their belief in abstract, universal, invariants (logic, truth, knowledge, etc.) there can really be no discussion at all, since they must borrow these concepts from the Christian worldview in order to even begin to levy any argument against the Christian worldview. Needless to say, in doing so, they are assuming the truth of the very thing they are trying to refute and, subsequently, destroying their own position. This only further substantiates the undeniable reality that Christianity is true by the impossibility of the contrary (since the contrary position cannot be rationally defended and always ends in some form of absurdity). Don’t ever be shy about exposing this for the unbeliever’s own benefit. Here to serve,

Your Heavenly ‘Angent’

As we draw nearer to the time of Christ’s return, God has assured us in His Word that we can expect to see an increase in those defecting from the Christian Faith and also a general departure from the sound foundational doctrines of Christianity.  The Apostle Paul writes of this in 1 Timothy 4:1-2:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

And again in 2 Timothy 4:2-4:

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables

Now more than ever, we are seeing an obvious attempt by satan to undermine the revealed Truth of God’s Word.   Through the spirit of error (I John 4:6), he has caused many to forsake sound Biblical doctrine in exchange for ‘fables’—or made up, false human notions.  With access to information all around us, you don’t have to look very hard to find examples of where this has occurred.  In fact, I ran across an online article awhile back which was dedicated entirely to disproving the existence of the Trinity.  The article was written by a well-meaning, professing Christian name Bobby who was also offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who could prove otherwise.

I have had face-to-face encounters in the past with others who embrace this type of anti-Trinitarian theology as well, and am familiar with the types of arguments that are normally used in support of this un-Biblical position.  Interestingly enough, Bobby’s article contains some of those same arguments, as well as some new ones.  I put forth a response on his site and thought it might be helpful to repost it here for the benefit of those who may be dealing with this (and similar) doctrinal issues as well.   If you haven’t encountered this ‘doctrine of devils’ yet, you probably will at some point.  Here is my response to Bobby as originally submitted (with minor edits):

Bobby, my name is Mike and I happened across your articles on the internet today. You have certainly done a lot of work and research in compiling the information you have posted. I commend you for your desire for truth, as that is the mark of a Christian and is something that should grow more intense in us as we grow in the Lord. With that said, I am a born again Christian who happens to hold to the doctrine of the Trinity and see it as an essential part of true Christian theology. I am not interested in the $10,000 reward that you have offered, but I do see some fundamental problems in the arguments that you have presented against the doctrine of the Trinity as they are based on flawed premises. If I may elaborate:

 1st:  You said: “I am a father, a son and a husband. But, none of these TITLES is my name, and I am NOT three different people! These are separate and distinct positions, roles or offices that I occupy and function in, as ONE PERSON! At times I speak and function as a father. At times I speak and function as a son. And at times I speak and function as a husband.”

Your analogy here is a false one, as at no time are you your OWN father, son, or husband. Jesus claimed that God was HIS father many times while on earth and even AFTER He was glorified in heaven (which means He was no longer in the flesh–Rev. 3:5, 12). Likewise, God Himself announced openly that Jesus Christ was HIS son numerous times, and this is confirmed over and over again in the Scriptures . Unless you are arguing that Jesus was His own father and God was his own son (which is absurd and un-Biblical), this argument has no merit. Besides, Jesus Himself stated that if you are married, then you and your wife are ‘one flesh’. Surely, you don’t take that to mean that you and her are the same person do you? Rather, you understand Jesus to mean simply that the both of you are ‘one’ in unity. The same type of consistency must be applied to our understanding of the relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (the term ‘Trinity’ literally means Tri-unity or ‘Three in unity’).

 

 2nd:  You seem to be arguing that since the word ‘Trinity’ is not found in the Bible, then it therefore cannot exist. Using that same logic, one could argue that neither the Bible nor grandfathers can exist either, since neither of those words is found in the Bible. Surely, you would agree that such a conclusion is absurd, no? Hopefully you can more clearly see the problem with your argument as well. Although the word ‘Trinity’ is not mentioned in the Bible, the concept of ‘three in one’ is (1 John 5:7; Eph. 4:4-6; ). Not to mention the litany of times that Jesus used the terms ‘we’, ‘us’, and ‘our’ to describe Himself in relation to the Father along with the crystal clear instances at Jesus’ baptism and Stephen’s stoning where all 3 are present and individually recognized and described.

 

3rd:  You said:  “Unauthorized changes were made in 325 A.D. when Emperor Constantine and his “scholars” introduced the doctrine of the “trinity” to the world, and established it as the official doctrine of the church of Rome … with the emperor being its head.”

I would say that this is the most troubling argument of all. Here, you are asserting that, at some point in time, the Bible was changed and is therefore not accurate in its description of the Triune nature of God. If that’s the case, how do you know that any of what the Bible says is reliable? How do you know that Jesus really was the Son of God who was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead on the third day if the Bible isn’t reliable and doesn’t really mean what it says?   With all due respect Bobby, it seems all too easy for those who disagree with what the Bible says to somehow try to undermine its authority in order to validate their own doctrines and beliefs. Ironically, this is exactly what counterfeit cults such as Jehovah’s witnesses and Mormons (which you oppose in some of your other writings) do to try and justify their doctrines. Perhaps you should give this some serious thought.

 As a born again Christian, I hold the Bible to be the infallible, inspired Word of God.   It is my ultimate authority and the foundation of my reasoning.   The Bible is the lens through which every Christian should interpret the world around us, and not vice versa. I’m sure you would agree that, never should we try to make the Bible ‘fit’ our individual beliefs, but rather we should adjust our beliefs to fit the truth of the Bible. I do not deny that there are some difficult doctrines in Christianity, but the doctrine of the Trinity is undeniable IF we study Bible in a consistent, straightforward manner and interpret Scripture in light of other Scripture. One God existing in 3 persons is not in any way unfathomable, as Even H2O exists in 3 totally distinct, different forms at certain temperatures, yet it still remains H2O at all times.   As I mentioned previously, I appreciate your zeal for the Lord and your obvious knowledge of the Word of God. I do not doubt your sincerity as a Christian, but simply hope to provide you with some food for thought and some items to consider with regards to this crucial topic.

In Christ,

Mike

 

 

 

 

 

…Or at least that’s what I’ve always heard about the value of a picture.  That being the case, I thought it would be worth sharing the story behind the photo that you see as my avatar and blog header here.

A few months ago, our Christian men’s group went on a camping trip to one of the national forests around our area and, as I was packing for the trip, I felt compelled to bring along a few gospel tracts as well (for a trip to the middle of the woods??)…..I soon found out why.

As we arrived at our campsite and began to set up camp, a young man from another site walked in carrying a large bottle of wine in one hand and a can of beer in the other. He asked one the guys in our group if anyone had a corkscrew he could use to open the wine. He was given a pocket knife and then knelt down on the ground, poking and prodding at the cork on the wine bottle, trying to open it. I went to my tent and grabbed a couple ‘million dollar’ tracts that I took over to him and used to strike up a conversation. The young man told me that he had been attending church for some time, but quickly confessed that he would go straight to hell if he died, because of his sinful lifestyle. I couldn’t believe it! I was able to share the Gospel with him and then asked if I could pray for him—he agreed.  While I was praying with the young man, one of the brethren captured a photo (unbeknownst to me at the time) of that moment.

After we prayed, he told me that his girlfriend was back at his camp at that she needed to hear this as well.

They returned a few minutes later and we were able to preach the Gospel to her also, using the 10 Commandments to convince her of her sin and that she too was in need of God’s forgiveness!! This was truly one of the most unique and encouraging witnessing encounters I have ever had. The way I see it, people have been wandering into the Enemy’s camp for ages—thank God that He saw fit to allow at least a couple to wander into His camp that day!  I hope that you are as encouraged and inspired by this as we have been here.  To God be the glory!!