Monday, January 30, 2006
If a person responds favorable to the testimony of his conscience or the the testimony of creation and truly seeks to know God, the Bible says that “God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).” God has many ways of getting the truth about salvation through Christ to those who seek Him. He can send them a missionary (Acts 10), allow them to hear a radio broadcast, give them a dream or vision (Daniel 2, 7), send them an angel (Revelation 14:6) or a Bible (Psalm 119:130), direct them to a website, etc. so that they can know the truth.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
What is the Apocrypha? The Apocrypha is a collection of fourteen Jewish writings that were written down between 200 B.C. and A.D. 100. Eleven of those fourteen books were accepted by the Catholic Church as God-inspired Scriptures and were placed in the Catholic Bible. If you were to open up a Catholic Bible today you would see books in there with titles like Tobit, Judith, First and Second Maccabees and Baruch. Could these books be God inspired Scripture? Not a chance. There are numerous reasons why the early church and believers down through the centuries have rejected the apocryphal books as authoritative or divinely inspired.
1. Neither Jesus nor the New Testament writers ever quoted from the Apocrypha as Scripture.
2. The Apocrypha contains numerous historical, geographical and chronological errors.
3. The Jews themselves never accepted the Apocrypha as inspired.
4. The Apocrypha contains no predictive prophecy to help substantiate it’s claims.
5. The Apocrypha never claims to be the inspired Word of God.
6. The Apocrypha was rejected by many of the leading early church fathers.
7. Jerome rejected the Apocrypha and left them out of His Latin translation of the Bible (the Vulgate).
8. The Apocrypha contains numerous non-biblical and heretical doctrines.
9. The Apocrypha was not formally declared to be authoritative and inspired by the Catholic Church until 1546.
For more explanation on each of the nine reasons above see my study on Roman Catholicism here.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Museum in Florida Displaying Pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls and 1611 Version of the King James Bible
C. S. Lewis, who used this argument often, summarizes it with these words: "Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for these desires exists. A baby feels hunger; well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim; well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire; well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." (Mere Christianity, Bk. III, chapter 10, "Hope")
Monday, January 23, 2006
In his popular, yet highly inaccurate novel, The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown asserts (through a character named Lee Teabing) that the the deity of Christ was an invention of the church at the Council of Nicea.
Here is an excerpt right from the book, “At this gathering [the Council of Nicea] many aspects of Christianity were debated and voted upon – the date of Easter, the role of the bishops, the administration of sacraments, and, of course, the divinity of Jesus….until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet, a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal….Jesus’ establishment as ‘the Son of God’ was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea.” A character by the name of Sophie says, “Hold on. You’re saying Jesus’ divinity was the result of a vote?” Teabing says, “A relatively close vote at that.” (p. 233)
For the person who is unfamiliar with the Bible, church history, or what happened at the council of Nicea this might easily be believed. What was the council of Nicea? The council at Nicea in modern day
In the fourth century there was a man by the name of Arius (256 -336) who was causing some disputes throughout the
Was it a close vote? You tell me. There were 318 bishops that were called to the meeting in Nicea. As for the vote that was finally taken, only five out of 318 dissented; and only two of those five refused to sign the resulting resolutions, which reaffirmed the prevailing view of the church: Jesus was, and is, God.
Hardly a close vote, as Brown suggests in his book!!! Can you imagine a basketball team being beaten 316 to 2 and then the losing team telling people afterwards that, "It was a relatively close game”? This is just one of many inaccuracies in The Da Vinci Code. The movie comes out in May, 2006. For a more thorough treatment on these errors, you can purchase an hour long teaching I did on this topics by clicking here (DVD cost: $12.00).
Friday, January 20, 2006
Mark 16:2 says, "And very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen."
John 20:1 says, "Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb."
So, "Which was it? Did they go to the tomb 'while it was still dark?' or 'when the sun had risen?'"
The difficulty is solved when we realize that the women, whether they had stayed in Jerusalem or Bethany, had to walk quite some distance to reach the grave. It was dark when they left the place in which they were staying, but when they arrived at the tomb, the sun was beginning to shine. John was referring to their DEPARTURE ("still dark"). Mark was speaking of their ARRIVAL ("sun had risen"). This is one of a couple of plausible solutions. For more help with apparent contradictions in the Bible, I highly recommend everyone own a copy of The Big Book of Bible Difficulties by Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. This book addresses just about every apparent contradiction, or error in the Bible. It is excellent.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
I explained to Jennifer that this close-minded, uncritical attitude toward faith is exactly the opposite of what the Bible advocates. I told her that 1 Thessalonians 5:21 tells us to "examine all things" and to hold fast to that which is good. I told her of the Bereans in Acts 17:11 and how the Bible commends them for daily examining the teachings of the apostle Paul and critically holding them up the light of the Scripture. God wants us to question what we hear and what we are taught. The apostle John said, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 Jn. 4:1)." How do you test the spirit of one who is making some spiritual claim? Isaiah tells us how. He says, "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word [the Word of God, i.e., the Bible], it is because there is no light [truth] in them (Isaiah 8:20). Hold up everything you hear to the inspired, infallible Word of God, and you'll quickly discern truth from error. Jennifer was excited to hear these Scriptures and then gladly accepted the book and some of my notes on Mormonism. Say a prayer for Jennifer tonight.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Another closely related and popular sentiment in our society today is, "There are no absolute truths." Yet, this statement, "There are no absolute truths" is an absolute statement which the skeptic claims is true. If their statement is true, it is an absolute truth and there "There are no absolute truths" is false. Both statements ("All truth is relative" and "There are no absolute truths") are self defeating. If you have the opportunity to talk to someone who thinks this way, point out to them that the logical end of their beliefs is that they cannot believe anything at all, including that there are no absolute truths. Nothing can be true for the relativist, including relativism.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Friday, January 13, 2006
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Monday, January 09, 2006
Let us suppose that you are a better than average reader and that it takes only one minute to read each page; and let us supppose that you read non stop until you get to page Z. Then, if there are only ten pages to complete before page Z, it will take you ten minutes to get to page Z. How long will it take if you must first read twenty pages? 20 minutes. How about fifty pages? 50 minutes. A hundred pages? A 100 minutes. Ten thousand pages? You can do the math. The important thing to realize is that in every case, no matter how long the book is, there is always only a finite amount of time that it will take to read it. But let's suppose we add an infinity of pages to the front of this book. When will you get to page Z if you must first read all of those pages? The answer is: Never. So if you find yourself reading page Z after completing all the pages before it, you know you've read only a finite number of pages.
The same sort of thing holds for the series of events making up the total history of the universe. Take some event in the actual history of the universe, like your birth. That event can occur only if a finite number of events must occur first. If an infinite number of events must occur before your birth, then you would never have been born. So, either we are halluncinating regarding the fact of your birth, or only a finite number of events occurred prior to your birth. If only a finite number of events occurred before your birth, then the universe has not always existed but had a beginning. Since we are not hallucinating, the universe must have had a beginning. This poses a problem for the atheist. How does something that begins to exist come into being apart from a creator?
(Thank you to R. Douglas Geivett for his helpful insights on this topic in TO EVERYONE AN ANSWER, edited by Francis Beckwith, William Lane Craig, and J. P. Moreland, chapter 4, 2004, p. 65)
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Friday, January 06, 2006
If we reject the idea that there must be an uncaused cause, or Creator, of the universe, we are left with having to believe that everything that exists came into being from nothing and by nothing. But this is absurd. Even atheists have problems with the absurdity of this. Atheistic philosopher, J. L. Mackie, from Oxford said, "I myself find it hard to accept the notion of self-creation from nothing, even given unrestricted chance." David Hume, one of the most ardent skeptics of Christianity ever, said, "I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause." Things that arise, or begin to exist (i.e. the universe), must have a cause. Everybody intuitively knows this. Faith in an uncaused, eternal, power outside of the universe, that brought the universe into existence is absolutely reasonable. I don't have enough faith to believe that nothing brought the universe into existence. I don't have enough faith to be an atheist.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
1. Something exists.
2. Nothing does not produce something.
3. Something must have always existed.
4. The universe has not always existed.
The background radiation echo, the motion of the galaxies and the second law of thermodynamics all point to the fact that the universe began to exist at a finite point in time.
5. Therefore there must be an eternal power beyond the uinverse that caused the universe to come into existence.
If you were a skeptic, or are a skeptic, how might you seek to refute this line of reasoning? I'd be interested to hear. For more on God's existence see my study here.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
- "Jesus never said He was God."
- "All religions are basically the same."
- "The Bible has undergone corruption and cannot be trusted."
- "The Bible is full of contradictions."
- "Darwinism has disproved God's existence."
Many Christians are left speechless at such words. This need not be the case. Rather than go into defensive mode (i.e. trying to explain the ways that Jesus did claim to be God, or how the manuscript evidence proves the Bible has not undergone corruption), go on the offense. Put the burden of proof back upon the person who is making the assertion. Ask a simple question or two like, "How did you come to that conclusion?" or "Why should I believe that to be the case?" or "What evidence do you have that that is actually true?" Simple questions like these can accomplish three things:
1. They help build relationship. Nobody likes to sit through a one-sided monologue.
2. They help buy you some time to think of how to respond to the issue.
3. They help expose the fact that most skeptics and unbelievers do not really know why they believe what they believe. Once they see that that is the case, they may be more open to hearing what you have to say. For more help answering skeptics genuine questions see my new book, ONE MINUTE ANSWERS TO SKEPTICS' TOP FORTY QUESTIONS. Click here.
Monday, January 02, 2006
If you need help with this issue, Gary Habermas has written a great book on this topic, THE HISTORICAL JESUS: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ. Click here to buy from Christianbook.com.