If you can’t dictate the terms to a McDonald’s cashier, what makes you think you can do so with God?

If you authentically seek God on his terms, you will find him. If you think you get to sit in judgement of the real God, you will not find him.  If you “seek” a god of your own making, you will not find him – except in the mirror, and as you know that god has rather limited powers.  If you think that pretending He doesn’t exist will make him go away, you are mistaken.

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 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, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

 

Romans 9:20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?

That may sound obvious, but think about how many people insist that all religions lead to God.  Lots of false teachers in churches will tell you such things.  People claim that they wouldn’t believe in a God who says that homosexual behavior is a sin or who sends guilty sinners to Hell, as if not liking someone makes them disappear.

An acquaintance once noted that he would never believe in a God that would send his Jewish friend to Hell.  What was lost on this college-educated person is that whether he liked God or not, if the one true God will send non-believers to Hell then that is what will happen.  God is not going to disappear because this guy doesn’t like his terms and conditions.  And being in Hell with his friend is not going to make it better for either of them.  Side note: If the subject weren’t so serious it would be amusing how certain people are that they will be happier in Hell or that they get to spend time with friends and family there.

They don’t recognize the absurdity of thinking something doesn’t exist just because they don’t like it or the idea that they can tell the real God what He must be like.

What if you went to a company for a job and demanded that they hire you on your terms?  Hey, go ahead and ask for a million dollar salary and unlimited vacation.  Ridiculous, eh?  But only a tiny fraction as ridiculous as thinking you are going to tell God how things must be.

Or tell the cop who pulled you over that you set the speed limits today and that he is wasting your time.  Or pretend that he doesn’t exist because you don’t like him.

Or tell your teacher that she has to give you an A+ even though you won’t come to class, do homework or take tests.

Or if you are still at home, tell your parents that you set the rules now.

Better yet, go to McDonald’s and tell the cashier to give you your entire meal for $1 because you set the prices and see how that works.

If you can’t dictate terms to the person barely and momentarily higher than you on the cosmic organization chart, what makes you think that the one true God must answer to you or that pretending He doesn’t exist will make him disappear?  

God sets the terms, not us.  His first commandments make that explicit.  Better yet, the first verse of the Bible makes that clear.

What makes anyone think they get to dictate the terms of the universe and eternal life to the one true God?  Pride.  Satanic pride (“Did God really say . . .?”).

Be bold in prayer, but know that God still sets the terms.  Ask tough questions, but know that God is ultimately just and all-knowing (also see Job 38).  Seek him earnestly, but humbly and on his terms.

Where do you find his terms?  In the Bible.  They are indescribably generous.  All you have to do is repent and trust in Jesus.  No good deeds required – though in response to his mercy and grace and by the power of the Holy Spirit you’ll be inspired to do good deeds.  Better yet, not only are all your sins forgiven but God will credit Jesus’ perfect righteousness to your account.  It is the ultimate trade, but that is the only way to get there.

If you “seek” a god of your own making, you will not find the one true God.  If you’ve been doing that, stop kidding yourself.  Eternity is a mighty long time to regret your foolish pride.

If you authentically seek God on his terms, you will find him.

Acts 17:26–27 (ESV) And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us . . .

 

Luke 11:9-13 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

If you are a believer, try using this line of thinking when sharing the Good News with others.  Ask someone what they think happens when they die, then use the 10 Commandments to point to their sinfulness and need of a Savior.  Explain how God sets the terms of engagement and how remarkably loving and generous they are.  Note how these same terms applied to you and how grateful you are for them.  If they start judging God or pretending that they can ignore him if they don’t like his ways, use any of the examples above to push a reset button on them.  They may not repent and believe on the spot, but you will disarm them of a really bad line of thinking and hopefully plant a seed that someone else will water.

Even if abortion becomes illegal, we’ll still need Pregnancy Resource Centers

Pregnancy Resource Centers (aka Crisis Pregnancy Centers) do great things for women, babies and their families — all for free!  They are the anti-Planned Parenthood in every way.  As I like to say, they save lives today and for eternity by giving women a real choice (life for their children!) and by sharing the Gospel of Jesus with anyone willing to hear it. We’ve supported them with time and $$ for over a decade because of the effective work they do.

Just knowing they exist can save lives.  A friend’s son got his girlfriend pregnant and the father of the girl got out a gun and threatened to kill himself if she didn’t have an abortion.  Fortunately, things calmed down.  A mutual friend knew about Care Net Pregnancy Center and called me for information.  Long story short: They ended up having the baby and got married.  They’ll have challenges in life, like everyone does, but in this case no one got killed.  And Care Net was a big part of that.  And the friend who knew enough about Care Net to refer them there was a big part of that. 

So even if you don’t support the centers with your time or money, please pray for them and know where they are.

But even if abortion became illegal, we’d still need these centers.  Why?  Because crisis pregnancies would not go away.

Having said that, I’m thrilled with the legislative progress the pro-life movement* had made.  Abortion clinics are closing all over the country because of new restrictions.  If abortions were really just 3% of the business of groups like Planned Parenthood, why would that impact them so much?

Electing truly pro-life people matters.  Look how aggressively Obama has tried to export abortions, require taxpayer-funding of abortions, etc. and consider how McCain and Romney – even with all their faults — wouldn’t have done that.

Incremental gains such as waiting periods, late-term abortion bans, fetal pain laws, etc. save real lives and remind people that the unborn are human beings.  Pro-abortion groups fight every restriction because they know that each one risks exposing their foundational lie.

Abortions kill over 3,000 innocent human beings per day in the United States.  What political issue could be more important?

The Wintery Knight hasn’t brought out Scheming Unborn Baby for a while, so I’ll note that he says, “Fighting abortions is a multi-front war: Pregnancy Resource Centers, legislative battles, educating people on pro-life reasoning, biblical reasoning and more.  We are winning, so don’t give up!  Every life counts.”

Unborn baby scheming about early church traditions

So please consider supporting Pregnancy Resources Centers with your time, money and prayers. At a minimum, at least know the location of your nearest center so you point people to it when they have a need.  It is a matter of when, not if, you’ll encounter someone in that situation.  

* Or call it anti-abortion if you like.  Abortions kill innocent human beings, and I’m anti- that.

Planned Parenthood’s deadly argument from silence

As always, remember that forgiveness and healing are possible for those who have participated in the abortion process.

Planned Parenthood kills babies for a living, they systematically hide rape, incest and sex trafficking, they encourage kids to have all sorts of out-of-wedlock sex and pretend that it can be done without risks, they would rather destroy a breast cancer charity than part ways amicably, they commit Medicaid fraud, they teach kids the joys of BDSM, and so much more. Their leaders and abortionists get rich off* of death and misery, aided by your taxes.  They use some of that money to fund propaganda telling women that if they aren’t willing to kill their children that they can’t be equal in value to men.

But wait — they have found religion!  Rather, they have rehashed their “religious” talking points from their “chaplains.”  Their main argument is that the Bible doesn’t specifically mention the word abortion, therefore it can’t be a big deal.  And if you aren’t sure about that, they’ll refer you to one of their chaplains false teachers.  Via An Open Letter to Cecile Richards « Alliance Defending Freedom Blog.

Planned Parenthood has published a “Pastoral Letter” which tells women:“The truth is that abortion is not even mentioned in the Scriptures—Jewish or Christian—and there are clergy and people of faith from all denominations who support women making this complex decision.”It appears that this letter is no longer available on your website, but an archived version can be found here for your reference page 3.

The argument that the Bible never said anything about abortion  (or homosexual behavior, etc.) fails on several levels. If a church leader uses it you can be confident that he or she is ignorant and/or malicious.  Just because it doesn’t mention every type of killing doesn’t mean that those forms are acceptable.  It doesn’t say it is wrong to bomb abortion clinics, but I think Richards would agree with me that no one should do that.

The Alliance Defending Freedom folks had a great suggestion for Richards.  I doubt she’ll take them up on it. But they did call her bluff.  Does she really want to refer to the Bible?  We’d love to have that conversation all day, every day.

While I disagree with Planned Parenthood’s exegesis of Scripture, I am not writing to debate that point. Instead, I write to express my agreement with Planned Parenthood, reflected in the publication of this pastoral letter, that for many women their religious beliefs will be very relevant to their decision about whether to have an abortion.On that common ground, on behalf of Alliance Defending Freedom, I would like to offer Planned Parenthood one free copy of the Bible for every Planned Parenthood facility in the country. Planned Parenthood could place these Bibles in their waiting rooms and permit women the opportunity to explore for themselves what the Jewish and Christian Scriptures have to say about abortion.

There is no doubt that we are on opposite sides of this theological and moral question. But as we are in apparent agreement that Scripture and its teachings or lack thereof in your view on abortion would be relevant to many women’s abortion decisions, making these Bibles available to those women would certainly benefit your potential customers.

To allay any concerns you might have, the Bibles Alliance Defending Freedom would provide to Planned Parenthood would be new unmarked copies. For instance, we would not highlight Psalm 127:3 “Truly children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward”, Psalm 139:13 “You knit me together in my mother’s womb…”, Psalm 22:10-11 “You have been my guide since I was first formed . . . from my mother’s womb you are my God” or Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart”.We would not dog-ear Exodus 20:13 “You shall not kill”. Nor would we even place a bookmark at Luke 1:41, 44 where the “baby [John the Baptist] … leapt for joy” in his mother’s womb when the baby Jesus was nearby in Mary’s womb.Rather, we would make these Bibles available, unedited and without emphasis of any kind, allowing those women visiting a Planned Parenthood facility to review them themselves.

* Cecile Richards, the leader of PP, makes over $500,000 per year.  Killing babies is a big business.

The ignored privilege: Life

The “check your privilege” nonsense taking over college campuses ignores a couple obvious things.  One is that anyone attending college in the U.S. is pretty privileged to begin with.  They are the 1%, especially when you look around the world.

Another is that they were actually privileged enough to be born.  This post from a secular pro-life organization nails it.  Via Check Your Born Privilege:

Chances are, if you’ve been exposed to the writings and ideas of the modern progressive social justice movement, you’ve encountered the concept of privilege—a common term used to describe the favorable treatment of certain groups by society as held in contrast to the discrimination faced by other groups. Common examples given of privilege are white privilege, male privilege, Christian privilege, heterosexual privilege, cisgender privilege, able-bodied privilege and class privilege.

Members of privileged groups are reminded of their favored status and encouraged to “check their privilege” by comparing their experiences to the average experiences of members of oppressed groups and recognizing the social, political, and economic inequalities that exist in the lives of the latter. Towards this end, activists write up privilege checklists that outline specific examples of privilege for a certain privileged group. Privilege checklists have been written for almost every possible group of people—except for one group.

The unborn have been left behind by progressive social justice movement. They aren’t even considered to be people. In an attempt to raise awareness of this injustice I have compiled a checklist for born privilege—the privilege experienced by individuals who are already born.

  • No one tells your bereaved parents that they can always try again, that you weren’t a “real baby”, or that it was a good thing that you died because you probably were defective anyway.

  • Society doesn’t believe that ending your life is the best solution to the problems and challenges that you might face in the future.

  • The law doesn’t deny you personhood based on age, personal appearance, size, level of development, degree of dependency, or current temporary lack of consciousness.

  • The law protects your life, even if your mother wants to end it.

  • Society doesn’t try to justify killing you based on the hardships experienced by your mother. Instead, we try to help both you and your mother through your hardships.

  • People who fight for your basic, most fundamental right to live are almost universally supported and encouraged. No one accuses them of being religious theocrats who just want to force their beliefs on everyone else and who want to oppress women. (Note: This privilege is obviously not experienced by death row inmates.)

  • Your right to live is almost universally acknowledged and respected by everyone, regardless of religious beliefs or lack thereof. (Note: This privilege is obviously not experienced by death row inmates.)

  • There is not a dedicated movement of people who honestly believe that only through having the right to kill you, an innocent human being, can women achieve equality with men and be liberated from the bonds of patriarchal oppression.

  • No one denies that you are, in fact, a human being.

  • The UN and various NGOs do not suggest that the killing of people like you is an important and acceptable way to reduce world overpopulation.

Kermit Gosnell was not alone

The media and the pro-abortion lobby tried to pretend Kermit Gosnell, the worst serial killer in U.S. history, didn’t exist.  Then they tried to pretend that he was an exception.  But people who kill babies for a living are capable of anything.  Here’s another Gosnellt-type, via Douglas Karpen Snipped Babies’ Necks Worse Than Gosnell, Is Anyone Noticing?.

Edge continued to reveal even more mind-blowing information about Karpen’s actions:She described how some babies would emerge too soon and would be alive, moving, and breathing. She also told of how Karpen would sometimes deliver the babies feet first with the toes wiggling until he stabbed them with a surgical implement. At the moment the toes would suddenly splay out before going limp. Sometimes he would kill the babies by ‘twisting the head off the neck,’ according to Edge.But not all the babies came out intact. When there was difficulty, Karpen would dismember them, a process that was, according to the surgical assistant Deborah Edge, a bloody mess.‘Sometimes he couldn’t get the fetus out,’ she explained. ‘He would yank pieces – piece by piece – when they were oversize. And I’m talking about the whole floor dirty. I’m talking about me drenched in blood.’The U.K.’s Daily Mail describes the women’s tragic account of one baby who attempted to hold on for dear life at Karpen’s clinic, and failed.The women described one occasion where a fetus that Karpen thought was dead suddenly ‘opened its eyes and grabbed the doctor’s finger’ after he wrenched it from the womb. However, it met a similar fate to the other fetuses at the clinic, the women said.Breitbart also reported on the video expose of Karpen’s clinic which demonstrated that Karpen purposely risked the lives of women who came to him for abortions.Rodriguez also accused the abortionist of showing disregard for the safety of his patients. She indicated that he would sometimes insert the instruments through the woman’s stomach if it was the easiest way to kill the baby.Edge also claimed that she routinely observed Karpen ‘hurting patients on the table’ and not telling victims of botched abortions that he had lacerated their cervix or uterus.A third former employee, Gigi Aguilar, alleged, ‘If he had a patient that asked a lot of questions, he would prefer for them to be put to sleep.’‘The women who go there had no idea what they were getting themselves into,’ Edge said.The numbingly ugly truth about Douglas Karpen’s clinic demonstrates that, despite claims from Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and other abortion supporters, Kermit Gosnell was not alone. He was not an aberration. When women, doctors, and clinic workers are sucked into the lie that abortion is just a matter of simple “choice,” they are all too often blinded to the fact that it never ends there. Gosnell, Karpen, Nicola Riley, LeRoy Carhart – and others – demonstrate that abortion is nothing but the horrific taking of innocent children’s lives. Such a “choice” should never be allowed in a civilized society.

 

A great pro-life book for kids 5-10

The Miracle is a book for kids ages 5-10 that has a simple and accurate pro-life theme, namely that “you are you” from conception.  Few kids are reading embryology textbooks at that age, so stories like this are a great way to educate them about this critical fact.

This Amazon reviewer described it well:

It is a beautifully written story in which a mom answers her young daughter’s questions about the beginning of life. The little girl asks “Wasn’t I just a part of you, until I was born?” The mom answers “Oh no,” YOU were always YOU.”
The photographs set in nature are the perfect visual background for the explanation of the miracle of life’s beginning told after the discovery of a blue speckled egg. This is a wonderful book for moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas to share with youngsters to help them understand the beginning of life.

You can get the book here and also check out the author’s other books (Founders’ Fables is another good book teaching basic political and economic principles of our Founding Fathers).

You can also get the book on Amazon.

 

Jump start your prayers

prayer2.jpgIf you struggle with how to pray then I encourage you to find a devotional or something to get you started.  I get a daily prayer in my email each day that I really enjoy (click the link to subscribe).  I love how he prays scripture back to God.  It is a great way to get my mind in the right place.

Here’s a sample:

Daily Prayer Day 144

I DRAW NEAR TO YOU, GOD

As I approach Your throne of grace today, I am grateful that You care about the things that concern me and that You want me to offer them up to You.

May I be strong and courageous, being careful to obey Your word; may I not turn from it to the right or to the left, that I may act wisely wherever I go.  (Joshua 1:7)

Take a moment to share your personal needs with God, including your physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual concerns.

THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE

I know that You alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.  (Psalm 83:18)

God placed all things under Christ’s feet and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.  (Ephesians 1:22-23)

I LISTEN TO YOUR WORDS OF TRUTH

We have known and have believed the love God has for us.  God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.  In this way, love has been perfected among us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears has not been perfected in love.  (1 John 4:16-18)

MY RESPONSE TO YOU, LORD

I will be strong and courageous, being careful to obey Your word; I will not turn from it to the right or to the left, that I may act wisely wherever I go.  (Joshua 1:7)

I want to be above reproach, blameless as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not fond of dishonest gain, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sensible, just, holy, and self-controlled.  (Titus 1:6-8)


Lord, I thank You that You are the Most High over all the earth and that You placed all things under Christ’ feet.  I ask fir the grace to abide in Your love, to obey Your word, and to be above reproach.

“And what if we picked the wrong religion? Every week we’re just making God madder and madder.”

Someone Tweeted this today so I thought I’d rerun it with some bonus features.

_____

The title is from the episode of The Simpsons where Homer decides to stop attending church.

Marge: I can’t believe you’re giving up church, Homer.

Homer: Hey, what’s the big deal about going to some building every Sunday?  I mean, isn’t God everywhere?  And don’t you think that the Almighty has better things to worry about than where one little guy spends one measly hour of his week? And what if we picked the wrong religion?  Every week we’re just making God madder and madder.

Bart: Testify!

Marge: [Groans]

In one of those odd ways where someone speaks some truth without knowing it, it reminds me of this important passage:

1 Corinthians 15:12–18 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.

So the Apostle Paul seems to agree with Homer, at least in one sense: If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, we are misrepresenting God – and that’s never a good place to be.   And the writers even have Homer realizing that not all religions are the same.  How do you discern which is right?  Look at the facts.

But the evidence points to the fact that He did rise from the dead, and that changes everything.

—–

As I noted in a recent post, Christianity is unique in that it is testable and falsifiable.  You can research the truth claims yourself.  Christianity involves knowledge, truth claims and faith in evidence.  Many people think religions are just a matter of opinion or are the result of “blind faith,” but that is the opposite of Christianity.

There are all sorts of apologetics resources (see the links to the right of this blog) or even simple things like the minimal facts approach, where nearly 100% of historical scholars from 1975 – present agree with the following statements and 75% of the same scholars agree that the tomb was empty:

  • Jesus really lived and was killed on a Roman cross.
  • Jesus’ disciples believed He appeared to them.
  • Jesus’ brother, James, went from being a pre-crucifixion skeptic to a post-crucifixion church leader.
  • The Apostle Paul believed Jesus appeared to him and he wrote most of the books attributed to him, including Romans, I & II Corinthians, Philemon and others.  He converted from persecuting Christians to being the greatest evangelist ever, despite nearly constant challenges, persecution and ultimately dying for his faith.

The Christian view that the physical resurrection of Jesus best accounts for these facts is highly supportable and logical.

This explains those who reject God.

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 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, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Romans 2:15-16 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.

This sums it up as well:

To defy the Creator’s commands, you must ignore His exclusive right to rule His own creation as He wishes. You have to exalt yourself to a level of imaginary importance that would make Him at least second in command–if you are that generous–and place yourself first in command over the part of His creation you want to control–in this case, yourself. The arrogance of such a feat is astounding…No wonder there is a Hell! — Jim Berg

It is foolish and rebellious to think that you get to define whether God exists and what He must be like. Repent and believe while you still have time. Eternity is a mighty long time to suffer for your pride.

Disappointing: “God’s Not Dead” appears to have missed an opportunity

Spoiler alert: Skip this post if you don’t want to know too much about the God’s Not Dead movie

Note: I haven’t seen the movie and probably won’t, but this review seemed pretty thorough and came from a site that would presumably be predisposed to like a production like this.  Go ahead and see it if you like, but either way I encourage you to use it as a springboard to candidly discuss the points of the movie, the gaps and how we could be more effective in sharing the Good News.  My goal with skeptics isn’t to fully address every item in their Big Book O’ Atheist Sound Bites, but to give thorough, meaningful answers to a couple key questions to remove some barriers and then encourage them to read the word of God, which will do the real work.  

And remember that apologetic reasoning isn’t just important for addressing legitimate questions of non-believers as we seek to point them to the truths in the Bible, but also to strengthen the faith of believers.  So it is important to always use good arguments and to consider the counter-arguments.

 —–

When I first heard of God’s Not Dead I thought it might be a good opportunity to present some key apologetic arguments in a movie.  Sounds like the effort may end up being counterproductive.  Apparently they used arguments that weren’t fleshed out very well and that atheists could easily refute.  If Christians new to apologetics try to use the arguments presented by the movie, they will probably fail with the atheists and may end up with less confidence themselves.  Yes, we have been given the truth, but if you love people you won’t send them off with a false sense of confidence and pretend that they can be white-hot apologists in one easy lesson.

There are multiple subplots in the movie which are all introduced in its first few minutes, but not developed immediately, and it seems to take a while before the details emerge allowing the viewer a chance to catch up. However, the main story is that Josh, a college freshman, is taking an Introduction to Philosophy class from an infamously atheistic professor, Dr. Radisson (played by Kevin Sorbo who is known for his role on the TV show Hercules, among other roles). The very first class, the professor stands up and gives a short discourse about the virtues and intellectual superiority of atheism. He then gives the class their first assignment. He passes out blank papers, and demands that each student write “God is dead” and sign their names in order to get a passing grade. Josh refuses, so the professor forces him to take an alternate assignment; Josh will be given time in the next three lectures to prove the existence of God. If the students in his class are convinced, he passes the assignment. If not, he fails the semester, and thus his chances at a prestigious law degree.

This “hostile atheist professor” is a pretty common scenario, though usually not in such a heavy-handed way.  I am a big believer in equipping kids to stay strong in their faith when they leave your house.  But you can’t give them superficial or partial arguments.

And you should never expect some sort of immediate and across the board conversion of a group of people even if you make sound arguments.  The Holy Spirit goes where He will. We can honor God by stating the truth about him regardless of whether He has made them spiritually alive and they accept the truth.

I don’t want to be too hard on the movie, because there is only so much you can cram into two hours.  But it sounds like they could have used better arguments and that they made the characters and scenarios a little too extreme.  I would have stuck with things like the cosmological, design and moral arguments.  These are very sound yet also accessible to the average person.  But I would not have missed the opportunity to work in the minimal facts* arguments.  Consider the benefits of that:

  • You would be talking directly about Jesus, not some generic god.
  • You would point to facts that the history professors on that very campus would agree with (e.g., Jesus really lived and died on a Roman cross, that Paul was a convert and wrote extensively about Jesus close to his death, etc.).
  • You would be bursting the myth that we have a blind faith.
  • You would be talking about the crucifixion and why it occurred, and the resurrection and what that meant.

And I definitely wouldn’t have missed an opportunity to highlight Romans 1, which would demonstrate that in the Christian worldview no amount of arguments will work on people who are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness and that God will judge them based on Christ’s standards, not their’s.

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 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, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Romans 2:15-16 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.

We know why atheists hold their worldview, but all they have to explain our worldview is their beloved Darwinian evolution (however they are defining that this week). And if the manifestation of their theory is the cause of our trust in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, why are they so angry about the outcome?

Whether you see it or not, be sure to be prepared to address the topic when it comes up.  Point them to resources like Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent DesignDarwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design or Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels, or to my favorite apologetics blogger, the Wintery Knight.

You can remind people that Christianity is a faith based on real events in history.  We readily concede that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then we are completely wrong about God (1 Corinthians 15).

But we have great reasons that He did rise from the dead, that He is fully God and fully man, that if we repent and believe in him we can be saved from our sins and have his righteousness imputed to us, that He is the only way to salvation, and more!  Point them to the word of God and trust him with the results.  And don’t be surprised if they dislike you even more after you share the truth in love.

———-

*Summary of the “minimal facts” approach: Nearly 100% of historical scholars from 1975 – present agree with the following statements:

  • Jesus really lived and was killed on a Roman cross.
  • Jesus’ disciples believed He appeared to them.
  • Jesus’ brother, James, went from being a pre-crucifixion skeptic to a post-crucifixion church leader.
  • The Apostle Paul believed Jesus appeared to him and he wrote most of the books attributed to him, including Romans, I & II Corinthians, Philemon and others. He converted from persecuting Christians to being the greatest evangelist ever, despite nearly constant challenges, persecution and ultimately dying for his faith.

75% of the same scholars agree that the tomb was empty.

None of the alternative theories can be true in light of these facts.  The physical resurrection of Jesus best accounts for these facts.

Why is the primary lie of the gay lobby so effective?

Because they combine it with some truth.

First, the lie:

Agree with us and it will cost you nothing while helping others.

What’s not to like?  Well, lots, if you give it a little thought.

It will make you more popular with the world, because you’ll be perceived as loving and tolerant instead of hateful, but it denies the truth in many ways.  Their agenda has and will continue to cost people their personal liberties, religious freedom and parental rights — and those are design features, not bugs.

And it doesn’t even help those it claims to.  Gays have 40+ times higher rates of Syphilis and HIV, partly because 62% of men who know they are HIV-positive have unprotected sex with men. Violence is higher in LGBTQ relationships.  Even gay leaders wouldn’t want gays around their teenage sons, because they know how predatory that culture can be.  People can and do change sexual preferences.  They are not “born that way,” and even if they were it wouldn’t justify the behavior any more than being born lustful, greedy, angry, etc. justifies those sins.

And of course, that lie explicitly denies the word of the one true God.  To teach the opposite is hate, not love. Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people* (religious or not) can see these truths:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind.

Then why do so many people believe the lie?  Because it is packaged with some true messages.  Satan is evil, but he isn’t stupid.  Jesus rightly called him the father of lies, but that doesn’t mean Satan won’t gladly tell some of the truth to help sell the lies.  People have known for millennia that homosexual behavior was wrong.  God specifically says that you have to suppress the truth in unrighteousness to deny his existence, and one of the ways that rebellion manifests itself in in homosexual behavior.**

See how their truth and lies combination works:

Lie: Agree with us and it will cost you nothing while helping others.

Truth: Disagree with us and we will hurt you.  We will relentlessly mock you in government schools, the media and entertainment.  Like the blind men of Sodom, we will persist no matter what until everyone affirms us.  Not just tolerates, but actively affirms.  Silence will be interpreted as disapproval, and it will cost you your job, business, reputation or even your freedom.  We will not quit until all churches must “marry” same-sex couples and hire actively LGBTQ people.  It will be illegal to quote many parts of the Bible.  It will usher in legalized polygamy, polyamory, pedophilia and more [click any of those links to see how they are already being normalized].  We pretended that we were against those but we never really cared.  We favor anything that rebels against God.  But don’t feel too threatened.  We’ll help you convince others that the Bible doesn’t really say homosexual behavior is a sin, that it doesn’t harm people, etc.

Here’s just one recent example: LGBT Activist Declares: ‘We Need to Start Making Their Lives a Living Hell’

It’s time that the LGBT community forms a new organization that targets homophobes, bigots, religious zealots, religious fanatics, and all other assholes who are against equality, and human and civil rights for all people.
By targeting these bigots, and publishing every little detail of their sex lives, or personal lives, taking pictures through their windows, and getting the pics out on the internet, showing every little thing that they do, including how they wipe their asses when in the bathroom, or for that matter if they’re wiping their asses in the kitchen — we’ve got to catch it on camera.
The time to just sit back and take it, are over with for the LGBT community. We need to get rid of bigots like these homophobic religious assholes, and if it means exposing every little thing about them, then that’s what we need to do.
We need to start making their lives a living hell by constant observation and publishing pics and articles every time they fart, or spit, or even look cross-eyed. It’s obvious these bigots only understand one thing, and that is persecution, discrimination and bigotry.
Here come the LGBT bigots, gonna prey on the religious zealots, fanatics, and bigots who think their shit don’t stink, and think they can control everyone else’s life.
LET’S GET RID OF THESE BASTARDS ONCE AND FOR ALL!!!!

Can’t you just feel the love and tolerance?  That’s just one of the countless things the mainstream media will never tell you.  If they did, do you think it just might change the support for “same-sex marriage?”

That’s their combined message, and that is why so many people conveniently believe the lie.  Don’t give in.  Or if you have given in, come back to the truth and help others do the same.  If you really love God and your neighbor you’ll speak the truth.  In the next post I’ll explain an easy but provocative way to do it.

P.S. Their agenda is propped up by all sorts of other lies as well, such as Matthew Shepard’s murder, tipping hoaxes, birthday party snub hoaxes, etc.

——–

* The three general types of pro-gay theology people:

  1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God.” (Obviously non-Christians)
  2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling the theological Left.” (Only about 10 things wrong with that.)
  3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

** Romans 1:18–20, 26-28 (ESV) 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

Responses to common atheist objections

I thought I’d share this thread from a recent commenter on the How many translations did your Bible go through? post.

Thanks for returning to comment. You seem unwilling to carefully study the arguments for and against your position, and you continually offer logical fallacies as arguments. The primary way you do this is by misstating your opponent’s views and then attacking that position. But that doesn’t prove anything.

You just said that the evil committed in the name of Christianity, was violating its basic tenets. Well, the same goes for atheism. Pol Pot, Hitler, and Stalin were just insane people, simple as that. They have nothing to do with atheism.

What grounding do you have to claim they were insane or that they did anything wrong? In a Darwinian worldview they were obviously the most fit for a time.

Also, there are a lot of atheists who haven’t killed anyone.

That’s not much of an accomplishment, but I’m glad to hear that.

The people you mention are violating atheists basic tenets as well. I’m an atheist, and I haven’t killed anyone. Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are atheists, and they haven’t killed anyone. There are a lot of atheists in the world, and we’re just as moral as you are.

But atheism has no core tenets other than insisting that there is no God. We agree that murder is wrong, but your worldview can’t explain why.

This is a quote by Richard Dawkins.

“Do you really mean to tell me the only reason you try to be good is to gain God’s approval and reward, or to avoid his disapproval and punishment? That’s not morality, that’s just sucking up, apple-polishing, looking over your shoulder at the great surveillance camera in the sky, or the still small wiretap inside your head, monitoring your every move, even your every base though (Richard Dawkins)”.

Dawkins commits fallacies similar to yours. First, the reward for being good is legitimate because it is innately tied to the act. There is a reason that students who study hard are rewarded with better grades, why employees who perform well are rewarded with promotions and raises, etc. There is nothing wrong with avoiding sin so as to avoid punishment. What could be more logical than that?

Dawkins’ argument, even if true, wouldn’t disprove God.

Christians love making the argument that you can’t be moral without God. Dawkins states that if you can only be moral because God’s watching you, that’s pretty sad.

Atheists love making the false argument that Christians love making the argument that you can’t be moral without God. There have been nearly 3,000 posts on this blog plus tens of thousands of comments. Please find where Christians have made that claim. You’ll be looking a long time. What you will find is that we say that without God you can’t logically ground morality. It isn’t that you can’t be moral if Darwinian evolution is true, it is that there would be no such thing.

Jesus did not rise from the dead. Your “evidence” aka, Bible is false and is full of contradictions.

We have much more evidence than the Bible, though of course that is part of the evidence. You have already demonstrated that you’ve never studied the Bible seriously. You are just repeating atheist sound bites. There are answers to all your alleged contradiction claims (though I doubt you could name 3 supposed contradictions without having to search for them).

Most scholars believe that the gospels are written between 70-100 A.D. That’s plenty of time to get facts wrong.

There are many good reasons to believe that the Gospels — at least the first three — were written before that. Please see http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2008/06/25/when-was-the-new-testament-written/ — that is, if you are truly interested in facts and logic.

And it is fallacious to say that just because things could be wrong that they must be wrong.

Also, how come there isn’t one contemporary eyewitness for Jesus Christ? Everyone claims that there are several eyewitness, yet all of the writings are after Jesus died. Isn’t that a little odd?

I don’t follow . . . if nearly 1/3 of the Gospel texts address the last week of his life and if the entire religion is based on him dying for our sins and rising again, and if the Bible records that his earthly ministry was the last three years of his life, and if the Bible records that his followers didn’t realize He’d die and rise from the dead, then exactly why would you expect the writings to occur before He died and rose again?

Atheism does have really good arguments, but you’re too blinded by your faith to see it.

I could say the same about you regarding Christianity, only I’d have the truth of the Bible to back me up: Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 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, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

But you have nothing in atheism to back up your statement. If your worldview is true, then random chemical reactions are solely responsible for my conversion from atheism to my belief in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Why be so mad at your own worldview if it is the “obvious” cause for Christianity?

It’s funny how you say that I’m the one who’s been conditioned to repeat soundbites. Christians are told from birth not to question the dogma of their religion. Even questioning their religion is considered a sin.

Once again you show that you haven’t read the book. Please note these two teachings then reconsider your statements:

Acts 17:11 (ESV) 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV) 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.

Christians are specifically told to use good discernment in testing truth claims.

No, I haven’t come up with excuses to avoid the Bible. I have looked at the evidence and drawn my conclusion that the Christian God is no different than any other myth. The truth is that we don’t know what created the universe. It may have been a “God”, or something else. The point is we don’t know.

We can use logic and facts to demonstrate that it came into being at a point in time, and it is obvious that whatever created it had to be more powerful and significant than what was created.

It’s pretty sad how Christians preach about love of their God. If their love doesn’t work then they preach about eternal damnation.

That is another one of your made-up claims. We preach the entire truth of God. We do love him, and for good reasons. He is a God of love, but will also punish sin as any just judge would. And we love our neighbors, so we tell them the truth about Jesus: He died on a cross for the sins of all who would repent and believe in him. If you want to pay for your own sins for eternity, that is your option.

That doesn’t sound like a loving God to me. Why aren’t you afraid of Zeus, Allah, or any other Gods that have been worshiped throughout history?

Because I have good reasons to believe that those are false.

It’s because you have been brought up from birth to believe in a certain God. If you haven’t been brought up, you’ve been indoctrinated in some form.

Then you are an atheist because of where you were born, right? You know nothing of the Bible. I’m a Christian because God made me spiritually alive and turned me to him through his Word. He does that all over the world every day. People convert from all sorts of belief systems to Christianity.

Just because you believe in Christianity, it doesn’t make it right.

I agree with you. That is another made-up argument on your part.

Christianity is based on geography, and nothing else.

No, it is based on trusting in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and in repenting of sins. Really, read the book. Eternity is a mighty long time to regret spouting atheist sound bites in rebellion against your creator.

The incoherence of the “Christian” Left

Even if you just refer to the Tiny Bible of the Theological Left as common ground, it is easy to show how the Christian Left doesn’t understand or believe the few parts of Bible they claim to like.

False teachers from the “Christian” Left typically deny that Jesus is the only way to salvation, even though there are well over 100 passages teaching the opposite.  Here is another example of their incoherence.  They try to dismiss Paul and the Old Testament (as if that is something a real Christian would ever do!) yet claim to hold to the Gospels.

But consider what Jesus taught about parents in Matthew:

  1. He is obviously in agreement to honor your parents.  Matthew 15:4 “For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.'”
  2. But you must always put Jesus over any other person, including the parents you are commanded to honor.  Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
  3. Those who do his will are really his family. Matthew 12: 46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

There is no way to reconcile those passages from the Gospel of Matthew with the teaching that other religions can lead you to salvation.  The theological Left (read: wolves in sheep’s clothing) would have you believe that Jesus taught that you must love him more than anyone else, including the parents you are commanded to honor, and be willing to give up your life for him, yet you could still worship in another religion.  You must love him much more than your parents and other loved ones, but you could love Buddha, Allah, etc. more than Jesus.

That is ridiculous, as are most things they teach.  Run, don’t walk, from any “Christian” leader who denies that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  If they can’t get the simplest essential of the faith right, then they shouldn’t be trusted on anything.  Pick almost any passage that they claim to agree with and see what I mean.  There is almost always something there that they hate but can’t see — as if their eyes hadn’t been opened to it.

The Tiny Bible of the Theological Left: Read it all in 5 minutes!

I came across this from 2011 and wanted to re-post it.  It started off as a tongue-in-cheek exercise, but I just kept thinking of more and more examples until my fingers cramped from typing so much.  Seriously, the more you think carefully about what they teach and claim to believe about the Bible the more obvious it is that they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.  

—–

There used to be a video store near us that rented movies with objectionable parts removed so the whole family could watch them.  I remember thinking, “What a time saver — you can watch Pulp Fiction in 5 minutes!”

In the same way, you can read the Theological Liberal Bible in about that time, and that is barely an exaggeration (although in this case there are no objectionable parts — at least to believers!).  Thomas Jefferson famously made his own religion with his “Jefferson Bible.” Theological Liberals just go many steps further.  I’m pretty sure this post is longer than their Bible.  Seriously, think about all the things they have to leave out:

First, they must delete the many warnings against false teachers.  There are loads of those, even in the Sermon on the Mount that they think they like but don’t really understand.

Matthew 5:17–18 has to go from the Sermon on the Mount because it shows how Jesus fully supported all the Old Testament.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Then they need to delete various passages that warn not to add or remove anything from the word of God.

They must cut the 100+ passages passages explicitly or implicitly teaching that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  You can’t have that while you’re busy teaching that all religions lead to the one true God.

They must delete the ~3,000 verses and surrounding texts that claim to directly speak for God.  In their hypocrisy many will claim that God is still speaking to them – such as with the UCC slogan “God is still speaking;” – but they don’t believe the original claims made in the Bible.  They treat it as a purely man-made book.  Why should we believe He is speaking to them in a reliable way?  Are we to believe that God has always been a 21st century far Left politician and was just waiting until the culture drifted his way before He was brave enough to speak?

All the claims that the Bible is the word of God have to be cut.  Psalm 119?  Gone.  2 Peter 3:16?  Gone.  And so on.

The beginning of Genesis must go, because they worship Darwin more than God and they “know” how we really came into being.

The countless passages in the Old Testament commanding us not to worship other gods.  For those of you who have actually read the Bible, you know how hard it is to go more than a couple pages without that warning or without reading about the horrible consequences of disobeying it.

The whole book of Joshua, because they think it would have been genocidal for God to clear out the promised land — even if the Canaanites had sacrificed babies and committed other atrocities for 400 years.

The messages about Adam & Eve, Sodom & Gomorrah, Noah and Jonah have to go, of course — as well as Jesus’ unapologetic commentary on them and his treatment of them as real events.

The whole Exodus passage, because they can’t believe that those miracles happened or that God would judge Pharaoh and the Egyptians.  And most of the wilderness experience and the Tabernacle creation must be removed, because they don’t think God really did miracles like providing manna or gave guidance to the Israelites.

The whole book of Judges, because they think God wouldn’t really punish Israel for cycle after cycle of turning from him and worshiping false gods.

Psalm 139 is out, because it teaches how we were knit together in our mother’s wombs by God.  And the same goes for all the other passages acknowledging the humanity of the unborn, such as when John the Baptist kicks in the womb of Elizabeth when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, comes to visit.

All the do not murder / do not shed innocent blood passages have to be cut to support unrestricted abortion rights.

The book of Daniel, plus all other prophetic works, because their stunning accuracy leads theological Liberals to say they must have been written after the fact.  They seem to think that the proper Christian worldview is that Bible writers were big liars, so how could you possibly include those books?  After all, their god could never know the future like the God of the Bible.

Most or all of Paul’s letters, because they think he was a homophobic misogynist who could not have spoken for God.  There goes nearly half the books of the New Testament plus a big chunk of Acts.

The story of Abraham almost sacrificing Isaac, because they think God wouldn’t do that.

All the animal sacrifices, because PETA opposes those and God wouldn’t really command blood to be shed as payment for sins.

All the passages about God having the Northern Kingdom and then the Southern Kingdom taken into captivity for disobeying him and worshiping other gods, because the god of liberal theologians would never do that!

The beginning of the book of Acts, because it has Jesus there after a physical resurrection.

All the passages about judgment and Hell (that’s a whole bunch of the red letters, btw).

All the Gospel presentations in Acts, because they never mention how much God loves us unconditionally but they continually mention that Jesus died and rose again for our sins and that we are commanded to repent and believe.

1 Corinthians 15, because it claims that Jesus was physically resurrected.

Most of the passages about the crucifixion being God’s idea, because that would be divine child abuse.

All the claims for Jesus’ divinity.

All the claims for the virgin birth.

All Jesus’ miracles, because they “know” those couldn’t have really happened.

All the Gospel accounts of Jesus rising from the dead.

All the passages saying Jesus died for our sins.

All the passages about sinners and how humans can’t be good on their own.

All the passages about Satan and demons (there are more than you might think).

Most of the passages about human sexuality, marriage and parenting, because they view that version of God as homophobic, misogynistic and hopelessly politically incorrect.

All passages about God’s wrath.

They even have to take out Leviticus 19:18 (” . . . love your neighbor as yourself”) because they dismiss the rest of Leviticus with their flawed “God hates shrimp”argument.

Pretty much all of Revelation, and especially chapters 2-3 where Jesus addresses the faults of many churches.

And so many more!  Truly, they are the original Dalmatian Theologians, claiming that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots, or Advanced Dalmatian Theologians, where God is also changing spots and adding/removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling theological liberals and progressives.

Leave a comment with others I missed and I’ll update the post.

So what’s left? Roughly a dozen verses, which they take out of context or just plain misinterpret.  Examples:

  1. Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that you be not judged. They don’t have time to read the next 4 verses that explain how He meant not to judge hypocritically – which, ironically, is exactly what they do when they use that verse in isolation to judge you.
  2. Matthew 5:39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. They use that to oppose capital punishment, among other things, even though it is hard to turn the other cheek if you are the victim of murder and to apply it would mean you’d oppose not only capital punishment for murderers but any punishment at all.
  3. Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ They love mentioning the least of these to justify asking Caesar to take from neighbor A to give to neighbor B, but of course that isn’t what Jesus meant.  And they ignore the other language of eternal judgment in the passage.  Oh, and they are pro-legalized abortion and pro-taxpayer-funded abortion, which means they are pro-abortion.  I can’t reconcile that with helping the “least of these” or with loving your neighbor.

Seriously, we have a precise, highly technical theological term for people who hold those views about the Bible: Non-Christians.  Run, don’t walk, from their “churches.”  Highlight their errors until your throats are raw and your fingertips are calloused.  It is the loving thing to do for scores of their church members headed towards Hell.  Jesus didn’t die on the cross for us to ignore those who claim his name then lie about him.  He didn’t call us to be politically correct.

Helping teens respond to questions about their faith — part 3

My friend Edgar asked for my opinion on some questions from some of his Sunday School students.  I see the same sorts of questions from adults as well.  My goal is to provide some brief, concrete answers.

First, I think it is important to have a game plan with questions like this.  Whether answering a skeptic or equipping a believer to answer the skeptic, my goal is always to give clear, thoughtful answers that address the question and then point to the word of God as quickly as possible.  When in doubt, I’d rather someone read the Bible than listen to me.  God’s word made many promises* about what it will accomplish but contains no such promises about anything I say.

I highly recommend reading Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions to learn how to navigate conversations like these (only $2.99 for the Kindle edition — you can’t afford not to buy it!).  The burden isn’t all on you, and the conversations don’t have to be hostile.  There are many ways to ask polite questions to get people thinking more carefully and to highlight their errors.

Here is the third question:

How do you deal with questions around homosexuality? This is a tricky subject because this is a high school audience and sexuality has to be taught respectfully and with sensitivities to the teens and young ladies in the classroom.

This is a huge and contentious issue, and one that Satan is using to keep people from the faith and to divide entire denominations.  Many people use the homosexual issue as an excuse not to even consider Christianity.  That may tempt some people to gloss over the topic or misstate what the Bible says.

Yes, we should be sensitive with it, but when you consider about how aggressively the world pressures us with its false views I think we should be more bold in equipping young people about the details.

Make no apologies about what the Bible really says, because it couldn’t be more clear.  Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people** (religious or not) can see these truths:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).planned
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind.

Then there is the question of love.  If you really love people you won’t affirm behavior that is spiritually, emotionally and physically destructive.

But do you have to convert people to your views on homosexuality before sharing the Gospel with them?  No.  Of course you shouldn’t water down the truth, but what you really want to do is share the Gospel and let God do his work on their hearts.  As I noted in this post, you don’t have to fix someone’s sins before telling them the truth about Jesus.  The point is to let Jesus do that!  We should approach all people with humility, because we all have temptations that we’ve given into.

It is easy to quickly affirm what the Bible says (“Yes, homosexual behavior is a sin”) but then shift to the Gospel (“But even if it wasn’t a sin you would still be a sinner in need of a Savior . . .”).

Don’t be shy about pointing out the lies of the LGBTQ movement.  People aren’t “born that way,” and even if they were that wouldn’t justify acting on the behavior.  Quoting the Bible doesn’t make LGBTQ people commit suicide any more than saying “don’t get drunk” makes alcoholics kill themselves.  “Same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron and those unions can never produce children or ever provide a mother and a father to a child, so the government has no good reasons to get involved in those relationships.

Make no mistake: The LGBTQ lobby wants to silence Christians.  Lots of us may end up in jail before this is over.  It may not be long until you won’t be employable if you don’t affirm the lie that the behavior isn’t sinful.

Here are some links that go into more detail.  This is a crucial issue so I encourage people to read them.  Feel free to use the PowerPoint slides if you like (I prepared them for a series of Sunday School lessons).

Problems with pro-gay theology  

Responding to Pro-Gay Theology  

Responding to same-sex marriage arguments

PowerPoint slides: Refuting pro-gay theology

Remember that if people are sincere in their questions and aren’t just using them as excuses to justify their rebellion against God then it is completely legitimate to let them do some of their own homework, such as reading a book like Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God.

If they don’t want to do more work or read the Bible, it may be pearls-before-swine time and you should obey Jesus’ command to move on.  Pray for them and perhaps God will make them spiritually alive in the future.  You will have done your work as an ambassador and an apologist (defender of the faith):

2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

1 Peter 3:15–16 (ESV) but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

* Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Isaiah 55:10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

** The three general types of pro-gay theology people: 1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God” (obviously non-Christians) 2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling theological Liberals” (only about 10 things wrong with that) 3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

Helping teens respond to questions about their faith — part 2

My friend Edgar asked for my opinion on some questions from some of his Sunday School students.  I see the same sorts of questions from adults as well.  My goal is to provide some brief, concrete answers.

First, I think it is important to have a game plan with questions like this.  Whether answering a skeptic or equipping a believer to answer the skeptic, my goal is always to give clear, thoughtful answers that address the question and then point to the word of God as quickly as possible.  When in doubt, I’d rather someone read the Bible than listen to me.  God’s word made many promises* about what it will accomplish but contains no such promises about anything I say.

I highly recommend reading Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions to learn how to navigate conversations like these (only $2.99 for the Kindle edition — you can’t afford not to buy it!).  The burden isn’t all on you, and the conversations don’t have to be hostile.  There are many ways to ask polite questions to get people thinking more carefully and to highlight their errors.

Here is the second question:

If God is morally good, all loving and kind, why did he command the stoning of people, or the annihilation of entire peoples (man, women, children, babies, etc)? Why does God allow evil at all?

This is a great opportunity to ask clarifying questions.  Typically, it will highlight that the skeptics know very little about the issues they are questioning.  They are often just repeating sound bites they have heard from Richard Dawkins and the like.

I encourage you to never dodge this topic!  At a minimum you have an opportunity to share this truth: God used the most evil act in history to bring about the greatest good in history.  Jesus was the perfect man (far beyond our comprehension) but was betrayed, given an unjust trial, brutally beaten and then nailed to a cross like a piece of meat until He died.  That was the most evil act in human history.  Yet it brought about the greatest good: The salvation of countless sinners who could never be reconciled to God on their own.  So never underestimate God’s ability to appropriately punish and redeem evil. (Hat tip to John Piper)

Then you can ask questions like this:

  • Who was stoned, and why?  Do you understand the context of how the Jews were set apart as special people and were to be a witness to the world?
  • Who was annihilated?  (No “entire peoples” were annihilated, and there was no genocide, though the inhabitants of the Promised Land were supposed to have been completely eliminated in a one-time cleansing.)
  • Why did God command the land to be cleared out?  (The skeptic probably doesn’t know that God had given them 400 years to repent, yet they continued to offer child sacrifices and more.)
  • If God were to eliminate every bit of evil from the universe at midnight tonight, where would you be at 12:01?  Remember, you would be judged based on his standards.  You don’t get to compare your best traits to your neighbor’s worst traits.
  • Do you want God to completely remove your ability to disobey him?  That would make a great prayer!
  • Do you think you are in a position to sit in judgment of God?  If there is a God, would we be in a position to dictate the terms and conditions to him?
  • Would a loving and kind God let sins like child sacrifice go unpunished?  (Young children were literally placed on burning hot statues to be killed.)

Those kinds of questions can provide opportunities to point to what the Bible really says, and can put God’s actions in perspective.  One of our biggest problems is always looking at things from our viewpoint, and forgetting that ultimately it is all about God and his glory — and rightfully so!

Remember that if people are sincere in their questions and aren’t just using them as excuses to justify their rebellion against God then it is completely legitimate to let them do some of their own homework, such as reading a book like Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God.

If they don’t want to do more work or read the Bible, it may be pearls-before-swine time and you should obey Jesus’ command to move on.  Pray for them and perhaps God will make them spiritually alive in the future.  You will have done your work as an ambassador and an apologist (defender of the faith):

2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

1 Peter 3:15–16 (ESV) but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

* Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Isaiah 55:10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Helping teens respond to questions about their faith — part 1

My friend Edgar asked for my opinion on some questions from some of his Sunday School students.  I get the same sorts of questions from adults as well.  My goal is to provide some brief, concrete answers.

First, I think it is important to have a game plan with questions like this.  Whether answering a skeptic or equipping a believer to answer the skeptic, my goal is always to give clear, thoughtful answers that address the question and then point to the word of God as quickly as possible.  When in doubt, I’d rather someone read the Bible than listen to me.  God’s word made many promises* about what it will accomplish but contains no such promises about anything I say.

I highly recommend reading Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions to learn how to navigate conversations like these (only $2.99 for the Kindle edition — you can’t afford not to buy it!).  The burden isn’t all on you, and the conversations don’t have to be hostile.  There are many ways to ask polite questions to get people thinking more carefully and to highlight their errors.

Here is the first question:

What do I say to an atheist friend when he says he can be good without God?

This is a classic question.  Remember that we know the truth about atheists: Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 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, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

So you can approach the conversation with the confidence that deep down they know the truth.  They can’t go three sentences without making moral claims that assume an objective morality  — that is, that some things are always wrong — e.g., torturing babies for fun.  Side note: Sometimes atheists will rationalize that some things are acceptable for perpetuating the species (rape, abortion, etc.), but you can eliminate those arguments by adding “for fun” to the deed in question. Everyone knows those are wrong — or if they don’t, you should probably leave the room for your own safety!

One of the techniques from the Tactics book is to ask questions such as, “What do you mean by that?”  So in this case you could ask the person what he means by “good.”  That puts the burden on him to define the terms, and he is likely to tip his hand by pointing to some universal moral truths.  After all, if there is no God, then the universe came from nothing, life came from non-life and it evolved to everything we see today.  Therefore, there is no ultimate meaning or accountability in life.  If you steal from or kill your neighbor that wouldn’t be immoral.  Why should you care if he thinks it is immoral?  He just evolved to think that way, but you obviously would have evolved differently.  Sound bites about “human flourishing” or the like just assume that human flourishing is a moral good.  But they have to prove that, and simply coming up with a new phrase assumes what they should be proving.

You could tell him that technically he could do some good thing without God, but he would have no grounding to say the act was truly good.  If Darwinian evolution was true, then real morality is a fiction invented by these random chemical reactions in our brains.  He may think something is “good” but there would be no logical grounding for it.

You can also point out that the existence of evil is proof of God’s existence, not the opposite.  Remind them that all sins against an eternal and holy God will be judged perfectly and that they can pay the penalty for their sins themselves for eternity or they can trust in Jesus’ sacrifice on their behalf.

You can also remind them of how they won’t be judged based on how their best traits compare to their neighbor’s worst traits.  Every one of their thoughts, words and deeds will be judged on the standard of Jesus — Romans 2:15-16 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.

Remember that if people are sincere in their questions and aren’t just using them as excuses to justify their rebellion against God then it is completely legitimate to let them do some of their own homework, such as reading a book like Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God.  If they don’t want to do more work or read the Bible, it may be pearls-before-swine time and you should obey Jesus’ command to move on.  Pray for them and perhaps God will make them spiritually alive in the future.  You will have done your work as an ambassador and an apologist (defender of the faith):

2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

1 Peter 3:15–16 (ESV) but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

Summary: Can people be good without God?  Technically,  they can do some good things but they can’t explain how they would qualify as truly good in a godless universe.  And in a more meaningful sense, they aren’t good at all.  They need Jesus.

Romans 3:9 For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

* Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Isaiah 55:10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.