Sunday, October 19, 2014

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Apologetics from the Pulpit

When talking to pastors and church leaders I have noticed that sometimes they are not sure how to share apologetics from pulpit.  The follow are examples of how apologetics can be shared to a Sunday morning congregation.

Arguments from Morality

Is Jesus the Only Way to Heaven?

Investigating the Resurrection

Courage and Godspeed,

Friday, October 17, 2014

Video: The Pastor and Christian Apologetics by William Lane Craig

In this video Dr. William Lane Craig shares at a pastor's conference why all Chrisitans need to be trained in apologetics.

Craig contends that apologetics aids in:
  • shaping culture
  • strengthening believers
  • winning unbelievers
This is an outstanding message to send to your pastor or youth pastor.

Courage and Godspeed,

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Walter Martin on the Rise of Cults

"The rise of the cults is 'directly proportional to the fluctuating emphasis which the Christian church has placed on the teaching of biblical doctrine to Christian laymen. To be sure, a few pastors, teachers, and evangelists defend adequately their beliefs, but most of them–and most of the average Christian laymen–are hard put to confront and refute a well-trained cultist of almost any variety.'" [1]

Courage and Godspeed,

1. As quoted by Charlie Campbell here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Article: What Every Christian Should Know about Paul by Eric Chabot

In this featured article, Eric Chabot of the Christian Apologetics Alliance writes of the Apostle Paul:

"Given that historians look to those who are contemporaries of the events, Paul is an important resource for what historians can know about Jesus of Nazareth. Furthermore, the earliest documents we have for the life of Jesus are Paul’s letters. Paul was a very competent rabbi who was trained at the rabbinic academy called the House of Hillel by ‘Gamaliel,’ a key rabbinic leader and member of the Sanhedrin.  Both Christian and non-Christian scholars have come to have great respect Paul."

He then continues by listing some very basic things that he contends all Christians should know about Paul.

You can checkout this excellent article here.  For more from Chabot, see here.

For more great resources checkout the Christian Apologetics Alliance.

Courage and Godspeed,

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Video: Defending the Resurrection of Jesus

In this short video, Doug Powell argues for the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus and also deals with the following common objections:

1. Swoon Theory
2. Twin Theory
3. Hallucination
4. Wrong Tomb
5. Stolen Body
6. Legend
7. Quranic Account
8. Biblical Account

I also encourage you to checkout Powell's unique book Resurrection iWitness.

Courage and Godspeed,

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Fifth Gospel

This past weekend at the National Conference on Christian Apologetics, hosted by Southern Evangelical Seminary, I heard Bobby Conway speak about his new book; The Fifth Gospel.  The inspiration for his book came from the following words of nineteenth-century British evangelist Rodney Smith:

There are five gospels:  Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the Christian. But most people never read the first four.

Conway spoke about five ways, based on his reflections of Matthew 5:13-16, by which the follower of Christ can be that fifth gospel.

1. Serve as cultural preservers (i.e. preserving culture from moral decay).
2. Carefully guard character.
3. Focus on standing out not fitting in.
4. Seek to awesomely display God’s greatness.
5. Aim to see others powerfully glorify God.

This book sounds like it will give the follower of Jesus practical ways to not only speak apologetically but live apologetically.

Stand firm in Christ,

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering

Chapter Thirteen: Trusting

“If God were small enough to be understood, he wouldn’t be big enough to be worshipped.” – Evelyn Underhill

Dr. Keller begins this chapter with the narrative of Joseph from Genesis, then asks, “What does this have to do with how we face disappointment, pain, and suffering?  Everything.”  In all those years when everything was going wrong for Joseph, wasn’t God there?  Of course he was, and he was busy.  He was hidden, but he was in complete control.  Just think about what would have happened had Joseph not ended up in Egypt?  The spiritual corruption that would have occurred to Joseph and his family – not to mention the starvation of so many people.  Joseph would have been devoured by his pride, his brothers by their anger and their father by his idolatrous love for his youngest sons.  After twenty or so years of silence for his prayers, Joseph, in a dungeon, seeks God’s help to interpret a dream.  He is still trusting God.  His relationship with God has remained, and we must do the same.

It is at this point of the book that you will find what I consider to be some of the most wonderful words of wisdom and encouragement.  “[Very] often God does not give us exactly what we ask for.  Instead he gives us what we would have asked for if we had known everything he knows.  We must never assume that we know enough to mistrust God’s ways or be bitter against what he has allowed.  We must also never think we have really ruined our lives, or have ruined God’ good purposes for us…Ultimately, we must trust God’s love.”  As Paul explains in Romans chapter 8, “neither death nor life, not heaven or hell, nothing can separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Nothing.  All the powers of evil inside of you and all the powers of evil outside of you cannot separate you from the love of God.  Once you give yourself to God through Christ, he is yours and you are his.  Nothing can ever change that.”

Against the background of Joseph we can understand the words of John Newton as he wrote to a grieving sister, “Your sister is much upon my mind.  Her illness grieves me: were it in my power I would quickly remove it: the Lord can, and I hope will, when it has answered the end for which he sent it…I wish you may be enabled to leave her, and yourself, and all your concerns, in his hands.  He has a sovereign right to do with us as he pleases; and if we consider what we are, surely we shall confess we have no reason to complain: and to those who seek him, his sovereignty is exercised in a way of grace.  All shall work together for good; everything is needful that he sends; nothing can be needful that he withholds…

[There] can be no settled peace till our will is in a measure subdued.  Hide yourself under the shadow of his wings; rely upon his care and power; look upon him as a physician who has graciously undertaken to heal your soul of the worst of sicknesses, sin.  Yield to his prescriptions, and fight against every thought that would represent it as desirable to be permitted to choose for yourself.

When you cannot see your way, be satisfied that he is your leader.  When your spirit is overwhelmed within you, he knows your path: he will not leave you to sink.  He has appointed seasons of refreshment, and you shall find that he does not forget you.  Above all, keep close to the throne of grace.  If we seem to get no good by attempting to draw near him, we may be sure we shall get none by keeping away from him.”

I cannot help but continue with the words of Dr. Keller himself.  “Imagine you have been an avid follower of Jesus.  You’ve seen his power to heal and do miracles.  You’ve heard the unsurpassed wisdom of his speech and the quality of his character.  You are thrilled by the prospect of his leadership.  More and more people are flocking to hear him.  There’s no one like him.  You imagine that he will bring about a golden age for Israel if everyone listens to him and follows his lead.

But then, there you are at the cross with the few of his disciples who have the stomach to watch.  And you hear people say, ‘I’ve had it with this God.  How could he abandon the best man we have ever seen?  I don’t see how God could bring any good out of this.’  What would you say?  You would likely agree.  And yet you are standing there looking at the greatest, most brilliant thing God could ever do for the human race.  On the cross, both justice and love are being satisfied – evil, sin, and death are being defeated.  You are looking at an absolute beauty, but because you cannot fit it into your own limited understanding, you are in danger of walking away from God.

Don’t do it.  Do what Jesus did – trust God.

Again and again in the bible, God shows that he is going to get his salvation done through weakness, not strength, because Jesus will triumph through defeat, will win by losing, he will come down in order to go up.  In the same way, we get God’s saving power in our life only through the weakness of repentance and trust.  And, so often, the grace of God grows more through our difficulties than our triumphs.”

Next week Chapter Fourteen: Praying

Until then, don’t take my word for it, read the book – don’t wait for the movie,
and have a little hope on me,

To learn more about Timothy Keller and his work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, you can check out his 
personal website, his Facebook page or the church homepage.

Keller, Timothy (2013), Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering. Penguin Group. ISBN 978-0-525-95245-9

Friday, October 10, 2014

Ravi Zacharias on Reaching Others with the Gospel

"How do you reach a generation that listens with its eyes and thinks with its feelings? I believe the strident attacks of the antitheists and other factors such as globalization have made apologetics and critical thinking an indispensable need for our times. Thus, we must understand the other worldviews we encounter and be a patient listener to someone of another faith. But first we must know how to defend our own beliefs, for if we cannot answer the skeptics’ genuine questions, we will confirm in their minds the faulty idea that Christianity is intellectually flawed. So it is important to know how to defend what we believe and to do this with gentleness and respect, recognizing the significance of God’s transforming grace in our own lives."

Courage and Godspeed,

1. Ravi Zacharias, "Think Again: The Gentle Goldsmith," Dec. 14, 2012.