Saturday, December 22, 2007

Truth Bomb Apologetics December Newsletter

A Ministry of Faith Christian Fellowship

“It’s a Wonderful Story”…And so much More!

Stories have the power to communicate profound truths and teach us something different each time we hear them. Such is the case with Frank Capra’s famous Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. Each Christmas I view the movie and am reminded of all I have been blessed with.

However, the danger in watching or hearing a great story multiple times is that the story can become commonplace. Before we know it, the story that used to move us so becomes routine and ordinary and we are no longer moved by it. In hearing the story repeatedly, the account seems to lose the wonder it once held. However, the story hasn’t change.

This loss of wonder is the danger the follower of Jesus Christ faces when hearing the account of His virgin birth. The countless Christmas cards, Nativity scenes, and decorations that consume so much of the Christmas season can slowly and subtly create the false assumption that the virgin birth is no more factual than Jimmy Stewart’s character in It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey.

However, the Bible not only claims the virgin birth occurred, but that it is vital to the redemption of mankind! This month we examine the credibility of these claims and approach the question, “Can a thinking person really believe that Jesus was born of a virgin?”

Laying a Foundation


The account of the virgin birth of Christ is recorded in two of the four gospels, Matthew and Luke.

Luke provides us with not only the account itself, but also communicates his desire to reveal the truth about the life, events, and ministry of Jesus Christ:

“Insomuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:1-4, ESV, Emphasis mine).

It is also important to remember that Luke provides us with a very unique perspective of Jesus’ story and claims when one considers that he was a Gentile, a physician, and the first historian of the early church. There are many who would scoff and say, “historian? Isn’t the Bible full of fables?”

Sir William Ramsey, an eminent archaeologist, once held that Luke's writings were not historically sound. His own subsequent investigation of near-eastern archaeology forced him to reverse his position and conclude that "Luke is a historian of the first rank." [1]

Further, as Dr. Norman Geisler notes, “Ramsey spent twenty years of research in the area Luke wrote about. His conclusion was that in references to thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities, and nine islands Luke made no mistakes! That is a record to be envied by historians of any era.” [2]

Luke was and is a trustworthy source who paid great attention to detail!

For Unto You this Day is Born a Savior, Christ the Lord


Luke writes of the Virgin Birth:

“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them” (Luke 2:4-20, ESV).

Answering Common Objections to the Virgin Birth

Objection 1
Aren’t Miracles Impossible?

Those who dogmatically reject the possibility of miracles do so for a few different reasons:

1) They believe that because the universe is made up of fixed laws that a miracle would “violate” the very laws it operates on.

2) They believe miracles are unverifiable and/or can’t be repeated in a laboratory, therefore, must be impossible or false.

3) To admit a miracle would be irrational, like believing in unicorns or fairies.

Each of these alleged objections do not hold up to fact and/or logic. Let’s briefly examine each of them.

Miracles violate Scientific Laws


It’s important to remember that before someone can start saying things like, “the order in the universe” or appeal to it’s “fixed laws” they must be able to account for who did the fixing! In a universe so finely tuned, is it not rational to believe that there is a Fine turner?

When one appeals to the fixed laws of the universe to object to apparent miracles, they miss understand the science behind that claim and the nature of the God of the Bible.

Science has revealed that the universe exploded into existence out of nothing at some point in the past. Most often referred to as the “Big Bang,” this is when all matter, time, and space came suddenly into existence out of nothing. Logically, the cause of the big bang could not have been within nature because nature did not yet exist when it occurred, therefore, whatever brought nature into existence must be outside of nature and this is precisely what supernatural means! This is indeed what led astronomer Robert Jastrow to say:

“That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.” [3]

Einstein contemporary Arthur Eddington echoed Jastrow’s conclusion:

“The beginning seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look on it as frankly supernatural.” [4]

So we can conclude from science itself that miracles are not only possible, but verifiable and necessary to explain the origin of the universe.

Further, if there is a God who exists outside the natural universe, He is not subject to the fixed laws in which the world operates. He is outside of those laws and therefore not bound to them. Logically then, He is able to intervene in the affairs of the universe when He desires.

Miracles are unverifiable and/or can’t be repeated in a laboratory, therefore, must be impossible or false

This statement is rooted in positivism, a view that says science is the only valid way of finding things out.

In his book, The Truth Behind the New Atheism, author David Marshall explains why this view fails in the face of logic:

“Why believe that only truths grounded in scientific evidence are worth believing? That idea itself can’t be proven scientifically!” [5]

There are many things we believe about our worlds history that cannot be repeated in a laboratory. Am I to disbelieve in Napoleon and Waterloo because I can’t repeat it in a lab? Of course not! This type of thinking is absurd and so is the view of positivism.

So, is there any historical evidence for miracles in the past? Aside from the evidence given above for the origin of the universe, let us briefly look at the historical data for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After all, it has been well said that “His first cry in Bethlehem led to His last cry on Calvary…”

Dr. Gary Habermas of Liberty University has read approx. 2,400 pieces of literature (in German, French, and English) on the resurrection of Jesus from 1975 to the present. Dr. Habermas presents the following facts to prove the resurrection by considering only the data that is so strongly supported historically that even the majority of non-believing scholars accept them as facts. Dr. Habermas is able to prove the resurrection historically without having to appeal to the inerrancy or inspiration of the Bible.

These facts are: a) Jesus’ Death by Crucifixion b) The disciples believed that Jesus appeared to them c) The Apostle Paul was converted after being a persecutor of the church d) Jesus’ brother, James the skeptic, became a believer after the resurrection e) There was an empty tomb

These facts, accepted by the overall majority of critical scholars today, point strongly to the resurrection of the Jesus, God‘s own Son. (6)

When one examines these facts no natural explanation can explain the data. Some events or theories can be measured using the scientific method and others have to be considered with the best historical data available and when one considers the resurrection, the best data says: He rose again!

To admit a miracle would be irrational like believing in unicorns or fairies


A very common tactic among modern atheists is to equate belief in God and/or miracles to belief in fairies, unicorns, or, my personal favorite, a “flying spaghetti monster.” However, once again when the evidence is considered, the above comparisons are exposed for what they really are; a dodge:

1) Atheists are not writing books called The Unicorn Delusion, The Flying Spaghetti Monster is Not Great, or The End of Fairies. Why is that? Simply put, the atheists themselves know that this is a ridiculous comparison. This is no more than a tactic to avoid critically examining the wealth of evidence.

2) On average, when a child reaches the age of 10, he or she is able to consider the evidence for Santa Claus, unicorns, or fairies and lose their belief in these fictional beings, however, most sustain their belief in God or a Higher Power.

3) There is no good reason to believe in the mythical figures listed above, however, clearly there is an abundance of evidence of the existence of a Creator if one is only willing to look and, as former atheist Anthony Flew did, “follow the evidence wherever it leads.”

Arguments comparing the existence of God to mythical figures is a great way to avoid examining the evidence, however, they are absurd and intellectually dishonest at best. We will examine this argument further in the January Newsletter.

Objection 2


“Isaiah was not prophesizing about Jesus’ Virgin Birth in Isaiah 7:14!”

Wayne Jackson, of christiancourier.com, shatters this supposed bible difficulty:
“Some, of liberal persuasion, argue that the Hebrew term almah does not mean a virgin, and that this passage refers to some “young married woman known to Isaiah.”
This theory is patently false for the following reasons:

Old Testament usage


The word almah is employed of females seven times in the Old Testament (Gen. 24:43; Ex. 2:8; Psa. 68:25; Prov. 30:19; Song of Sol. 1:3; 6:8; Isa. 7:14).
A study of these contexts reveals that almah is used only of one who is a virgin.

A sign

The conception was to be a “sign” to the house of David. The normal conception of a “young married woman” would hardly be considered a “sign.”

Inspired commentary


The apostle Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14 and affirms that the prophecy is “fulfilled” in the virginal conception of Mary. Moreover, both Matthew and Luke go to great lengths to explain precisely the significance of the term “virgin” (Grk. parthenos).

Parthenos
is found fifteen times in the New Testament. It never denotes a “young married woman,” but refers to a sexually pure person. Those who set aside Matthew’s inspired commentary on Isaiah 7:14, in deference to their own theories (which ultimately find their roots in modernism), are guilty of arrogance to an extraordinary degree.” [7]

Clearly the claim that Isaiah wasn’t prophesizing about the virgin birth of Christ holds little weight, if any.

Objection 3


“The Virgin Birth of Christ is taken from pagan myths”

This claim does not hold up to the facts:

1) The NT was written by those who lived during the time of Christ and is not the result of late myth development. Legends do not develop if the stories are written while eyewitnesses are still alive to refute inaccuracies.

2) The virgin birth records do not show signs of being mythical, nor do they include borrowed elements from known pagan birth myths.

3) Persons, places, and events identified in connection with Christ’s birth are accurate historically. Even details once thought to be errors have been vindicated by research.

4) No Greek myth spoke of the literal incarnation of a monotheistic God into human form. In Christianity the second person of the Godhead became human. In pagan religious gods were only disguised as humans; they were not really human. In pagan myths a god and human invariably mated sexually, which was not true in the Christian account.

5) Greek myths of gods who became human came after the time of Christ, so the Gospel writers could not have borrowed from them. (8)

Why the Virgin Birth is Credible and Necessary


Apologist and author Josh McDowell explains why we not only have a credible record of Jesus’ birth, but why the virgin birth was also necessary:

“The virgin birth is set down in the Bible as a historical fact. The writers who recorded the story were Matthew — an eyewitness to the events in the Life of Jesus — and Luke, the doctor, who presents things in the life of Christ from the viewpoint of His mother, Mary.The passages in both Matthew and Luke are authentic, with no evidence at all that they were later additions to the text. The doctrine of the virgin birth has been believed by the church from its beginning.

Ignatius, who lived at the beginning of the second century, wrote to the Ephesians and said "For our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived in the womb by Mary, according to a dispensation, of the seed of David but also of the Holy Ghost."There are several reasons why the virgin birth was a necessity. The Bible teaches that the Word who became flesh was with God from the beginning (John 1:1). The fact of the pre-existence of Christ is testified many times in the New Testament (John 8:58, Philipians 2:5–11, Colossians 1:15, 16).

When Jesus came into the world, He was not a newly created individual such as we are, but was rather the eternal Son of God. To be born into this world of the virgin Mary required divine intervention, and this is exactly what the Gospels record.

Another reason why Jesus needed to be virgin-born was because of His sinless nature. A basic New Testament teaching is that from the day He was born until the day He died, Jesus was without sin. To be a perfect sacrifice, He must Himself be perfect — without sin. Since our race is contaminated with sin, a miraculous entrance into the world would be required, hence the virgin birth.

Moreover, if Jesus had been sired by Joseph, He would not have been able to claim legal rights to the throne of David. According to the prophecy of Jeremiah 22:28–30, there could be no king in Israel who was a descendant of King Jeconiah, and Matthew 1:12 relates that Joseph was from the line of Jeconiah. If Jesus had been fathered by Joseph, He could not rightly inherit the throne of David, since he was a relative of the cursed line. The virgin birth of Christ is not only a historical fact, but it was also a necessary historical fact when one considers all the data.” [9]

The virgin birth of Jesus Christ is not only credible, but vital in God’s plan for the redemption of mankind!

Book Reviews

What’s so Great about Christianity? By Dinesh D’Souza

I must confess that from the time I was informed about the release of this book I was excited to get my hands on a copy.

Dinesh D’ Souza, a former White House domestic policy analyst, is currently the Rishwain Research Scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is not a theologian or classic Christian apologist, however, he is a respected scholar and has put together a surprising sound argument for the Christian faith.

I feel the strength of this work is that Mr. D’ Souza does not shy away from the difficult arguments that are being put forth by those in the New Atheism camp, but meets them head on, for the most part, and then takes the offensive, exposing the fallacies of the atheist worldview. (Sorry, Mr. Sam Harris, but it’s a worldview whether you think so or not)

D’Souza topples many of the atheist myth stories of the past such as:

a) Science and religion are not compatible.
b) What really happened to Galileo?
c) The violence religion has caused surpasses that of atheism.

D’Souza goes on to crush the alleged new challenges from the atheist camps such as:

d) The world would be better off without religion
e) Man is simply matter
f) Atheists are just as, if not more, moral than Christians

As much as I enjoyed this book, I cannot highly recommend it due to Mr. D’Souza’s sloppy scholarship regarding the evolution vs. intelligent design (ID) debate.
I was impressed with the research, documentation, and evidence this book provided, but when this topic was approached I felt it was dodged or just dogmatically accepted. D’Souza writes of the intelligent design scientists:

“While the debate goes on, it seems improbable that the small group of intelligent design advocates is right and the entire community of biologists is wrong.” [10]

With the many credible arguments coming from the ID camp, I was disappointed that Mr. D’Souza didn’t put forth a more in-depth analysis as to why the ID camp is skeptical of evolution.

Overall, this book is a great tool for responding to the village atheist near you, however, for an atheist who is sincerely seeking truth, I still say the best book out there is I Don’t have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman Geisler and Roman Turek.

Article of the Month

http://www.pluggedinonline.com/movies/movies/a0003536.cfm

An in-depth, eye-opening review of the movie The Golden Compass, the latest atheism evangelism tool.

Website of the Month

http://www.christiancourier.com/search?query=virgin+birth

Wayne Jackson puts forth a great online resource to strengthen Christians in what they believe. I have found the articles on this particular site to be in-depth and easy to understand.
This link will take you to the articles available on the virgin birth of Jesus, however, I encourage you to bookmark this site and use it as a tool to answer questions you or someone you know may have.

Explorefcf.com Apologetics Update

- We added two new articles to our blog: Jesus vs. Giuliani and Agnostic and/or Atheist Evangelism.
- We also added Apologetic Research and Top Christian Scholar link pages to our blog.

Apologetic Verse for the Month

“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”
- Proverbs 18:13, ESV

If we want others to hear the gospel and consider it, we should be willing to listen to their hurts, failures, and heartbreaks and really try to understand their viewpoint.

Next Month

We take a look at some of the most common arguments coming out of the modern day camp of atheism and how the follower of Christ can respectfully, but boldly, respond.

Prayer Requests

1) Those who don’t know Christ- Please pray for those in your family whom have not made the decision to accept Jesus’ gift of salvation. Pray that God will give you an opportunity to share His love with them.

2) Cancer victims- Please continue to lift-up those who are struggling with cancer. Pray that God will somehow use these situations for His glory, although in our finite, human minds its sometimes hard to imagine how.

3) The homeless- Please pray for those without a home to celebrate Christmas in. Pray that God will provide for them. Let us reach out where we can.

4) Impact Thursdays- Please pray that the Lord will send forth laborers into the harvest (Matthew 9:37-38).

5) Truthbomb Apologetics Ministry- Pray that God will guide us in the material we present and help us to reach those who are truly seeking answers about God, Jesus, and His Word. We must have God leading the way!

6) “Hot Topic” Sundays- Pray for Pastor Vance as he researches and answers questions; that God will minister to and through him.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

Resources

1) W.M Ramsay, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament p. 222; quoted in Bruce, F. F. The New Testament Documents - Are They Reliable?, p. 91.
2) Norman Geisler, Alleged Errors in Luke, Bake Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, p. 431.
3) “A Scientist caught between Two Faiths: Interview with Robert Jastrow", Christianity Today, August 1982.
4) Arthur Eddington, The Expanding Universe, p. 178.
5) David Marshall, The Truth Behind the New Atheism: Responding to the Emerging Challenges to God and Christianity, p.29.
6) Gary Habermas and Mike Licona, The Case for the Resurrection, p. 75
7) Wayne Jackson, Did Isaiah Prophesy the Virgin Birth of Christ?, http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/read/isaiah_714_did_isaiah_prophesy_the_virgin_birth_of_christ, June 2002.
8) Norman Geisler, Divine Birth Stories, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, p. 201-202.
9) Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Answers to Tough Questions Skeptics Ask About the Christian Faith, 1980.
10) Dinesh D’Souza, What’s so Great about Christianity?, p. 146.



Thursday, November 29, 2007

Jesus vs. Giuliani

During last nights CNN/YouTube Republican debate in St. Petersburg, Florida, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was asked, regarding the Bible, “Do you believe every word of this Book?” Giuliani’s reply was as follows:

"The reality is, I believe it, but I don't believe it necessarily literally true in every single respect," said former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is Catholic. "I think there are parts of the Bible that are interpretive; I think there are parts of the Bible that are allegorical; I think there are parts of the Bible that are meant to be interpreted in a modern context. I don't believe every single thing in the literal sense of Jonah being in the belly of the whale," he added. [1]

Interestingly enough, Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Mormon, when asked the same question answered:

"Yeah, I believe it's the Word of God," Romney said. "I might interpret the Word differently than you interpret the Word, but I read the Bible and I believe the Bible is the Word of God. I don't disagree with the Bible. I try and live by it." [2]

Giuliani and Romney are certainly correct when they quip that “the Bible is interpretive” or “I might interpret the Word differently than you interpret the Word,” however, I want to know what the RIGHT interpretation is!

The danger of Giuliani and Romney’s comments is that they can imply, to the honest seeker of truth, that God has not made things clear or that truth is what you want it to be.

If the God of the Bible does indeed exist (and we have good reason to believe He does), then it’s completely rational to believe that He is able to preserve and provide us with a trustworthy account of His plan for mankind and redemption.

It is a common misconception that the Bible we have today is a translation of a translation (on and on) and as a result, inaccurate. However, when on considers the findings of archeology, this misconception crumbles. Year after year we find more copies of original manuscripts from earlier dates. There are even fragments that date to the time of the apostles’ death, long before there were “translations.” The modern translations we have today can be compared and confirmed with the early Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. [3]

Jesus authenticated the Old Testament (OT) accounts time after time. He referred to Adam, Jonah, Moses, etc. as historical figures and not imaginary friends. Jesus was telling the truth or lying. He believed it or He had no clue what He was talking about. As C.S. Lewis said, “He was Lord, a Liar, or a Lunatic.” Jesus’ view of the OT was total trust. Jesus was a “Biblical literalist.” Perhaps it would be a more logical decision to trust the words of Jesus.

It is often said that “the Bible can be interpreted so many different ways and everyone reads it differently.” There are certainly issues in the Bible that are difficult to study without considering culture, context, and the what, why, who, when, and how questions that you would use while studying any other historical text, however, the main issue has been made VERY clear: “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; But the wrath of God abides on him”
(John 3:36, NKJV).

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, when asked the same questioned regarding the Bible, answered much the same way as I firmly believe Jesus would:

"It's the Word of revelation to us from God Himself," Huckabee said. "The fact is when people ask if you believe all of it, you either believe it or you don't believe it." [5]

With Jesus, there is no middle ground:

“The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: 'I know your deeds that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:14-16, NASB).

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

Resources:

1) Joe Kovacs, Giuliani: Jonah of the Bible not Really Swallowed, http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=58938, Nov. 2007.
2) Ibid., Nov. 2007.
3) Glenn Miller, http://www.christianthinktank.com/thumbs.html, thumbs #5. For further study, see Lee Strobel’s The Case For Christ.
4) Josh McDowell and Don Steward, “How did Jesus view the Old Testament,” Reasons Skeptics should consider Christianity.
5) Ibid., Nov. 2007.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Truthbomb Apologetics November Newsletter

A Ministry of Faith Christian Fellowship

Introduction: Atheism Strikes Back?

The recent barrage of books written by atheists would seem to indicate that anti-theism is back with a vengeance. With titles like, The God Delusion, God is Not Great, and The End of Faith, non-believers have forged a full-frontal assault upon theism (belief in God).


The “New Atheists,” as they are called in the media, fail to present any arguments that one would not find in the writings of Jean-Paul Sartre, Freidrich Nietzsche, or Bertrand Russell, influential atheistic thinkers of the past, so what makes “New Atheism” any different than “Old Atheism?”


What is the “New” Atheism?

Simply put, their approach. Atheists in the past have attacked theism on the basis of error and their efforts have obviously failed as theism continues to be the predominate belief throughout the world. The new approach is not to attack religion on a factual basis, but actually attempt to prove that religion (in particular Christianity) is evil and the cause of most, if not all, of the problems in the world.


With sharp tongues, witty insults, and shallow philosophy, these guys hate all things religious and aren’t afraid to let you know.


Who are the “New” Atheists?

In Sam Harris’s speech at the Atheist Alliance Conference in Washington, D.C. on September 28, 2007, he introduces us to the new atheists:


“While it is an honor to find myself continually assailed with Dan [Dennett], Richard [Dawkins], and Christopher [Hitchens] as though we were a single person with four heads…” [1]

A “single person with four heads” indeed. These four men, and a few others, have one single goal in mind: wipe religion off the face of the earth. So let’s meet them…


Sam Harris (http://www.samharris.org/)


Sam Harris is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, The End of Faith and Letters to a Christian Nation. He is a graduate of Stanford University and has studied both Eastern and Western religious traditions. He is currently completing his doctorate in neuroscience.


Kerby Anderson, of Probe Ministries writes of Harris:


“He goes beyond the traditional argument that suffering in the world proves there is no God. He argues that belief in God actually causes suffering in the world. He says, “That so much of this suffering can be directly attributed to religion—to religious hatreds, religious wars, religious delusions and religious diversions of scarce resources—is what makes atheism a moral and intellectual necessity.” He argues that unless we renounce religious faith, religious violence will soon bring civilization to an end.” [2]


Richard Dawkins (http://richarddawkins.net/)

“Faith is on of the world’s great evils, comparable to the small-pox virus but harder to eradicate.” [3]

Author of The God Delusion, Oxford Biologist Richard Dawkins has been one of the leading proponents for Darwinism and atheism for many years. He is beloved by his fellow atheists and know as, “Darwin’s Rottweiler.”

Anderson writes of Dawkins:

“He says that religious belief is psychotic and arguments for the existence of God are nonsense. He wants to make respect for belief in God socially unacceptable.
He calls for atheists to identify themselves as such and join together to fight against the delusions of religious faith. He says, “The number of nonreligious people in the US is something nearer to 30 million than 20 million. That’s more than all the Jews in the world put together. I think we are in the same position the gay movement was in a few decades ago. There was a need for people to come out.”
Like Harris, Dawkins does not merely disagree with religious faith, but he disagrees with tolerating religious faith. He argues that religious people should not be allowed to teach these religious “myths” to their children, which Dawkins calls the “colonization of the brains of innocent tykes.” [4]

Christopher Hitchens (http://www.hitchensweb.com/)

Christopher Hitchens is a British-American author, journalist and literary critic. He has been a columnist at Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, The Nation, Slate and Free Inquiry. He has recently debated theists Alister McGrath, Dinesh D’Souza, and Douglas Wilson on the topic of God, Christianity, and Secularism and is the author God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

These quotes from Hitchens speak for themselves:

“All religions and all churches are equally demented in their belief in divine intervention, divine intercession, or even the existence of the divine in the first place.” [5]

"It would be horrible if it were true that we were designed and then created and then continuously supervised throughout all our lives waking and sleeping and then continue to be supervised after our deaths-if that were true, it would be horrible.” [6]

Daniel C. Dennett (http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/incbios/dennettd/dennettd.htm)

Author of Breaking the Spell, Freedom Evolves, and Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, and other well know publications, Mr. Dennett is an outspoken atheist and advocate for the “brights” movement.

“We brights don’t believe in ghosts or elves or the Easter Bunny-or God.” [7]

“Daniel Dennett is another important figure and author of the book, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. He does not use the harsh and critical rhetoric of the others, but still is able to argue his case that religion must be subjected to scientific evaluation. He believes that “neutral, scientifically informed education about every religion in the world should be mandatory in school” since “if you have to hoodwink—or blindfold—your children to ensure that they confirm their faith when they are adults, your faith ought to go extinct.” [8]

Is Atheism a Religion?

Although most atheists despise and deny this, there is reason to believe that atheism is indeed a religion.

Consider the following comments by Matthew Slick of carm.org after attending the 33rd Annual Atheist Convention:

“While sitting in the crowd, listening to speakers, and watching the atheists' reactions, it dawned on me how utterly religious they seemed to be. No, I'm not saying they believe in a God and I'm not saying atheism is a religion. But, they sure acted as though it were. Let me explain.

As I sat there, watching, taking notes, listening, I formulated a list that I think is accurate and representing what I saw at the convention. Please take a look.


1. Creed
A. No God, anti God, Pro-homosexuality, anti-Christianity.
B. Atheism is a belief. I know that many atheists will disagree with this, but the atheists gathered around a common belief of no God or lack of God and the need to increase what they perceive as separation of church and state in America.


2. Crisis
A. Created a problem and offered a solution. The problem was religious oppression in society with atheistic ideals as the solution.


3. Assemblies
A. Gathered in groups with meeting times. Now, atheists don't meet nearly as frequently as Christians do in their churches. But, they do have state meetings, national meetings, and regular gatherings.


4. Pulpit
A. The lectern from which speeches were made, their ideas were promoted, and their reasons for their belief system were validated.


5. Evangelistic
A. The atheists sought converts to their cause. They frequently spoke about getting the idea of atheism out into society, and to move people away from theism.


6. Celebration over converts
A. Rejoiced when converts to their belief system were announced. There was applause and excitement when there were announcements about people who had "come out of the closet" an announced their atheism.


7. Zealous for their cause
A. They wanted their cause and belief system expanded to the extent of changing America to reflect their thinking.


8. Exclusive
A. Only they have the truth. The atheists repeatedly spoke of how atheism was the truth and that theists and deists were ignorant of facts and reason.


9. Us against them mentality
A. There was a profound description of the division between atheism and theism with the atheists being the ones who were defending themselves against the intrusive theists.


10. Concerned about public image
A. This is normal. They were very concerned with how they were perceived and wanted to change their negative reputation.


11. Lack of critical thinking
A. This is common everywhere. Though they thought they were rational, by far most of the arguments and comments weren't.


12. Misrepresentation of opposing views
A. Again, another common trait among people who gather in groups, have a common ideology, and see others as being less enlightened.


13. Voting block
A. The atheists mentioned voting as a group in order to progress their cause in society.


14. Infighting
A. This is normal for groups. We don't all see eye to eye. But, they all held to atheism even though they had disagreements about some particulars.


15. Money
A. They didn't have tithing, but there were plenty of things for sale. And, let's not Forget to mention how they sought donations to help cover the costs of promoting atheism, paying speakers, renting facilities, etc.


I think it rather ironic that those who are against religion so much, are in actuality so religious themselves.” [9]


One can’t help but to think of the old saying, “If it walks like duck, sounds like a duck, and swims like a duck…” I think you get the point!


What Impact will New Atheism Have?

I wholeheartedly believe that the New Atheism presents nothing that the follower of Christ need be afraid of. Dennett, Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, and others do not present new arguments critiquing religion and many of their arguments have been criticized by non-believing scholars and authors.



Theodore Dalrymple, a non-believer, writes of their attacks upon theism:


“The curious thing about these books is that the authors often appear to think that they are saying something new and brave. They imagine themselves to be like the intrepid explorer Sir Richard Burton, who in 1853 disguised himself as a Muslim merchant, went to Mecca, and then wrote a book about his unprecedented feat. The public appears to agree, for the neo-atheist books have sold by the hundred thousand. Yet with the possible exception of Dennett’s, they advance no argument that I, the village atheist, could not have made by the age of 14.” [10]


The overall impact of these “New Atheists” is hard to predict, however, it is sufficient to say that the arguments they present are old, repackaged ones with some playground insults added for spice. Their hatred for religion makes them difficult to be taken seriously. While reading their arguments you can’t help but sense that their difficultly with accepting the claims of Christianity lie more in the fact that they don’t want it to be true.


How the Christian Should Respond

Quite simply: Biblically! Sam Harris writes in his book Letters to a Christian Nation:


"Thousands of people have written to me to tell me that I am wrong not to believe in God. The most hostile of these communications have come from Christians. This is ironic, as Christians believe that no faith imparts the virtues of love and forgiveness more effectively than their own."[11]


Harris is right to find this behavior from Christians ironic because he understands that it is not consistent with what we say we believe. The Bible gives clear instructions regarding responding to those who attack or persecute us:



  • “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44, NKJV.

  • “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15, NKJV, Emphasis mine.

This verse is clear that we need to be ready to give an answer concerning our hope (Christ) by being able to present an intelligent defense of what we believe with meekness and fear (or reverence). No matter what the new atheist crowd is preaching, God still loves them! Amazing!

What impact would it have if all those who truly follow Christ began to lift these guys up in prayer daily and they were able to see the love of Christ in His followers? I realize that hardened hearts are sometimes beyond reach, but we must remember that Jesus said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26, NKJV, Emphasis mine.


Movie Preview-Parent Warning!


Outspoken author and atheist Phillip Pullman’s book series His Dark Materials is about the death of God, his anti-Christian views, and has been called, by Pullman himself, “atheism for kids.” [12]


In the latest attempt by the atheist crowd to evangelize the culture, this time their target is children. The Golden Compass will be released on December 7th and boasts Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman and Kevin Bacon.


It’s themes are not just anti-Christian, but pro-atheism. Brent Brozell III of townhall.com writes of the film:


“But buyer beware: Narnia it's not. It's the anti-Narnia. Instead of a Christian allegory, it's an anti-Christian allegory. The author of "The Golden Compass," Philip Pullman, is an atheist who despises C. S. Lewis and his much-beloved Narnia series. "I thought they were loathsome," he said of those books, "full of bullying and sneering, propaganda, basically, on behalf of a religion whose main creed seemed to be to despise and hate people unlike yourself."
This book and movie is only the first in his trilogy, titled "His Dark Materials," that gets more and more anti-religious in each book. Pullman hates orthodox religion and "those who pervert and misuse religion, or any other kind of doctrine with a holy book and a priesthood and an apparatus of power that wields unchallengeable authority, in order to dominate and suppress human freedoms." [13]


Be sure that you get informed regarding the themes of this movie and let us use it as an opportunity to share Christ with others. Like Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, this presents a great opening to communicate the gospel.

Book Reviews

  • The Real Face of Atheism by Ravi Zacharias

Ravi Zacharias is one of the best apologetic speakers that I have ever heard. His God-given ability to connect matters of the intellect to matters of the heart is astounding.

In The Real Face of Atheism, a revised version of his earlier work, A Shattered Visage: The Real Face of Atheism (1990), Dr. Zacharias attempts to expose the hopelessness of atheism and explain how a worldview based on belief in God is the key to fulfillment.

While reading this book, I sensed that Zacharias was weaving a tapestry of well presented arguments in an attempt to construct an overall “quilt” to challenge atheism at it‘s core. While many of the quotes and arguments were compelling, I failed to see the final piece come together. Those who want a great work that is geared more specifically toward the “great” atheists of the past and their objections should checkout Dr. Zacharias’ prior work, Can Man Live Without God?

One memorable quote within the pages of this book comes from English Journalist, Steve Turner, addressing the naturalists claim that “chance” can account for the universe and the moral law:

If chance be the
Father of all flesh,
Disaster is his rainbow in the sky,
And when you hear
“State of emergency!”
“Sniper kills Ten!”
“Troops on Rampage!”
“Youths go Looting!”
“Bomb blasts School!”
It is but the sound of man
Worshipping his maker. [14]

If one takes the time to read this book and excavate specific arguments and powerful quotes from it’s pages, it can be a great tool. However, I felt it failed to present an overall cohesive argument for theism.

Article of the Month

http://webmail.localnet.com/horde/services/go.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.christianitytoday.com%2Fbc%2F2007%2F002%2F1.21.html- Alvin Plantinga, arguably the best philosopher defending the faith, shows why Richard Dawkins book, The God Delusion, is overflowing with poor arguments and even poorer philosophy. As Plantinga puts it, “The God Delusion is full of bluster and bombast, but it really doesn't give eventhe slightest reason for thinking belief in God mistaken, let alone a "delusion."

Website of the Month

http://webmail.localnet.com/horde/services/go.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.christiancadre.org%2Fnewatheism.html- This site meets the challenges presented by the so-called "New Atheism" with scholarly responses and great book reviews.

Truthbomb Apologetics Update

  • We officially named the ministry Truthbomb Apologetics with the idea that truth speaks for itself and has a way of not leaving the receipted the same.
  • Our Apologetics Blog is up and running. To check it out, please see: http://www.truthbomb.blogspot.com/ Keep checking back as we will be building it gradually.
  • We added a section on Freemasonry to our “Answers” page at http://www.explorefcf.com/

Apologetic Verse for the Month

“Let your light so shine before mean, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

-Matthew 5:16, NKJV, Emphasis mine.

The most powerful apologetic is the Christian life lived out consistently.

Next Month

Next month, with the Christmas season upon us, we take a closer look at the story of the Virgin Birth, apologetic style.

In January, we will continue our study of the “New (no really) Atheism” as we analyze some of their main arguments and how followers of Christ should respond to them. Stay tuned!

Prayer Requests

1) United States Military Branches
Regardless of where you stand on the war against terrorism, please pray that God will protect our men and women in uniform and bring them home safely.
2) The “New” Atheists
One thing I admire about Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris is their commitment to their cause and their zeal while communicating it. Let us share the truth, answer arguments, and pray for the lost with even more zeal!
Pray that God will draw these gentlemen to Him so that their zeal can be used for His purposes. Like Paul, pray their eyes will be opened.
3) Impact Thursdays
As we go out into the surrounding community to share the gospel, pray that God will speak through us and that He will prepare their hearts to hear the gospel. Also, pray that God will send forth laborers.
4) The Grieving
With the Christmas Season upon us, many will be reminded of a failed marriage, lost love one, or broken relationship. Pray that God will comfort and heal those in these situations and open their eyes to Jesus; the only One who can shine light into darkness.
5) Truthbomb Apologetics Ministry
Pray that God will continue to guide, grow, and use this ministry for His glory and His kingdom.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

Resources

1) Sam Harris, Speech: The Problem with Atheism, http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/sam_harris/2007/10/the_problem_with_atheism.html 2) Kerby Anderson, The New Atheists, http://www.probe.org/commentaries/the-new-atheists.html, Jan. 18, 2007.
3) Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, p.330-331.
4) Ibid., Jan. 18, 2007.
5) Christopher Hitchens, “Bush’s Secularist Triumph," Slate.com, Nov. 2004
6) “When Christopher Met Peter,” a conversation between Christopher Hitchens and Peter Hitchens, The Guardian, May 2005.
7) Daniel Dennett, “The Bright Stuff,” New York Times, July 2003.
8) Ibid., Jan 18, 2007
9) Matthew Slick, http://www.carm.org/atheism/atheism_religion.htm, 2007.
10) Theodore Dalrymple, City Journal, “What the New Atheists Don’t See,” Autumn 2007. Available at: www.samharris.org/site/full_text/what-the-new-atheists-dont-see, Emphasis mine.
11) Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation: A Challenge to the Faith of America, 2007.
12) SRN administrator, http://spiritual-research-network.blogspot.com/2007/11/golden-compass-philip-pullmanss-books.html, November 2007.
13) Brent Bozell III, "The Christmas Crushing Movie," http://www.townhall.com/columnists/BrentBozellIII/2007/11/09/the_christmas-crushing_movie, November 2007.
14) Zacharias, Ravi, The Real Face of Atheism, p. 133-134.

***If you do not wish to receive this newsletter in the future, please send me a blank email at answers@explorefcf.com.



Sunday, October 21, 2007

Critical Book Review- It Is No Secret

I wrote the following book review for Rhonda Byrne's, "The Secret," a few months ago and recently have seen the book and DVD popping up in stores such as OfficeMax, Wal-mart, and Target once again(or maybe they never left!). I once again wanted to encourage readers of this book to proceed with caution and to encourage the believer in Christ to challenge their non-believing friends with the Gospel, which should NEVER be a secret!

It Is No Secret

The classic hymn, “It is no Secret” includes the following line:

“It is no secret, what God can do. What He’s done for me, He’ll do for you”

If Rhonda Byrne, best-selling author of The Secret, would have penned these words the classic hymn may be changed to something like as follows:

“It is no secret, what god can do. Just ask him or her, because god is YOU!”

After reading some excerpts from Byrne’s book, it almost makes me miss Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code! Almost…

The author, Rhonda Byrne, learned the “Law of Attraction,” in which The Secret is based on, from a book written in 1910 by Wallace Wattles entitled The Science of Getting Rich. Apparently, Byrne was at a crisis point in her personal and professional life and was given Wattles’ book. The book promises that by using the “Law of Attraction” that the reader can attract anything that he or she wants -money, love, success, health, weight loss, anything! So Byrne’s book is nothing more than an old (we’ll get to that later) false teaching repackaged and cleverly sold as The Secret.

How The Secret or “The Law of Attraction” Works

According to Byrne’s writings, every object and mind in the universe operates on its own frequency, and minds can attract matter. She writes: “Thoughts are magnetic and thoughts have a frequency. As you think, those thoughts are sent out into the Universe, and they magnetically attract all like things that are on the same frequency. Everything sent out returns to its source. And the source is you.” She goes on, “You are the most powerful magnet in the Universe! You contain a magnetic power within you that is more powerful than anything in the world, and this unfathomable magnetic power is emitted through your thoughts.”

Albert Mohler, in his blog, writes the following: “If you learn to operate by the Law of Attraction, she (Byrne) promises, you can attract anything you want. Success, riches, material objects, weight loss, acclaim…all these are to be yours if only you believe. Food doesn’t make you fat- thinking food makes you fat makes you fat. You are not sick; you only think you are sick. Reverse the thought and you will be well. If you are not rich it’s because you are trapped in negative mental patterns.” (1)

In Byrne’s view, your thoughts, quite literally, create your reality.

The Secret: You are God

There are many TV preachers and self-help authors/speakers today who are very vague when they refer to God and His nature. However, Rhonda Byrne is very clear regarding her belief about who and what she believes “God“ to be:

“You are God in a physical body. You are Spirit in the flesh. You are Eternal Life expressing itself as You. You are a cosmic being. You are all power. You are all wisdom. You are all intelligence. You are perfection. You are magnificence. You are the creator, and you are creating the creation of You on this planet.” (2)

Yes, you read that correctly! Further, as if our culture needed anymore reason to be self-centered, consider this teaching from the book:

“The earth turns on its orbit for You. The oceans ebb and flow for You. The birds sing for You. The sun rises and it sets for You. The stars come out for You. Every beautiful thing you see, every wondrous thing you experience, is all there for You. Take a look around. None of it can exist, without You. No matter who you thought you were, now you know the Truth of Who You Really Are. You are the master of the Universe. You are the heir to the kingdom. You are the perfection of Life. And now you know the Secret.” (3)

When I was a child, I enjoyed the cartoon He-man and the Masters of the Universe and upon reflection, He-man’s famous words do fit quite well with The Secret’s main premise: “I have the power!” Unfortunately, those who are mislead by the teachings in The Secret will eventually find that there is no more truth in this book than there is in Eternia, the make-believe land that He-man inhabited.

The Reasons this Teaching is Dangerous

1. One of the most exciting things I experienced when I became a Christian was the freedom that Christ brings when He shows you that you simply can’t live a life pleasing to God outside of Him and His sacrifice on the cross. You are to give Your life back to Him and trust fully in Him and what He did on the cross; trust Him to live through you.

However, The Secret teaches something different entirely. You are God. Your destiny is up to you. Brian Flynn, former New Ager, in his article, A New Secret or an Old Lie, exposes the fallacy of this type of thinking:

“When you are told that you are God and you are in charge, then you are responsible for everything that occurs in your life good and bad. Therefore, if you have any sickness, disease, relationship problems or financial problems it is your fault…The Universe didn’t fail me. I failed the Universe. It was this belief system that left me chronically depressed. I fear that many will buy The Secret, follow the steps and when their dreams don’t come true it will leave them further depressed and dissatisfied than before.” (4)

2. Byrne’s teaching is eclectic, meaning that she believes all religions are all equally valid regarding their authority and teach mostly the same things. This presents a belief that is quite contrary to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Himself who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father, but through me (John 14:6).” If all religions are equally valid and all are a path to heaven, then Jesus’ sacrifice was unnecessary!

In his review of The Secret, Donald S. Whitney explains the seriousness of adopting such a belief system:

“There’s no mention of sin in The Secret. The cause of all the problems in the world and in our individual life is merely bad thinking, specifically the failure to recognize and appropriately use the law of attraction. Therefore the solution to everything lies within us. And that, of course, eliminates the need for a Savior, a Substitute, or a Sacrifice. The cross and resurrection of Jesus become irrelevant.” (5)

Whitney also points out that there is no a single reference to death or the afterlife in the book. One of the contributors to The Secret writes, “no one will stand in judgment of [your life], now or ever.” (6)

The Christian Response

On the surface, it seems The Secret’s teachings would be hard for anyone who was a sincere thinker to take seriously, but the reality is many ARE taking this book seriously and placing their faith in it. This is clear evidence, as Pastor Dave Vance of Faith Christian Fellowship, has stated, that people are seeking and searching for the “something” that will fill the void in their life and heart. As followers of Christ we have the very thing they seek; Jesus Christ and His gospel.

In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, Paul explains exactly what the gospel is:

“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you-unless you believed in vain. I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep (NKJV).”

Notice in these verses, Paul reminds us what the gospel is and follows with evidence to remind us that our faith is grounded in the fact of the resurrection and in the person of Jesus Christ. Let us follow Paul’s example and share the gospel with those around us who are seeking the truth.

Conclusion

The Secret is a very old lie wrapped-up in a new package offered by the same old serpent. Let us revisit the Garden of Eden:

“And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die. Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:2-5, NKJV, Emphasis mine).”

I close with the words of Donald Whitney:

“The Secret to everything is God Himself. And God, the “Great Secret,” has been revealed in Jesus Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). God has freely told us in the Bible everything we need to know about discovering the unlimited “treasures of wisdom and knowledge” found in Christ. And He remains an unknown Secret only to those who will not look for Him there.” (7)

Some won’t look not matter what we do, but let’s make sure that they have the opportunity by pointing them to the cross.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

Resources:

1) http://www.albertmohler.com/blog_read.php?id=907, It’s All About You? The Truth about “The Secret,” by Albert Mohler.
2) Rhonda Byrne, The Secret, p. 164, Emphasis mine.
3) Ibid., p. 183, Emphasis mine.
4) http://onetruthministries.com/TheSecret.htm, A New Secret or an Old Lie? by Brian Flynn.
5) http://biblicalspirituality.org/secret.html, A Review of The Secret by Donald S. Whitney, Emphasis mine.
6) Ibid., p. 177, Emphasis mine.
7) ) http://biblicalspirituality.org/secret.html, A Review of The Secret by Donald S. Whitney.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Explorefcf.com Truth Bomb Apologetics September Newsletter

The following is a monthly E-newsletter put out by Truth Bomb Apologetics, a ministry out of Faith Christian Fellowship, located in Williamsport, MD (see www.explorefcf.com for more information). The purpose of these letters is to evaluate, critique, and present truth claims as they relate to God. Also, to keep the body of Christ up to date on apologetic happenings.

Explorefcf.com Truth Bomb Apologetics Newsletter

Hello everybody! This is the first of hopefully many update letters regarding what is going on in the world of apologetics and information regarding the "Discover Truth" and "Define Truth" sections of our website. The updates will consist of website additions, articles, and book reviews/previews. I hope this aids you in being able to "give an answer for the hope that lies within you" (1 Peter 3:15).

What is Apologetics?

The word "apologetics" is derived from the Greek word "apologia," which means to make a defense. It has come to mean defense of the faith. Apologetics covers many areas: who Jesus is, the reliability of the Bible, refuting cults, biblical evidences in the history and archeology, answering objections, etc. In short, it deals with giving reasons for Christianity being the true religion. We are called by God to give an apologia, a defense: "but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence," (1 Pet. 3:15).

Taken from: http://www.carm.org/dictionary/dic_a-b.htm#_1_9

Book Preview

I am extremely excited to inform you that Lee Strobel has a new book out entitled, "The Case for the Real Jesus." Here is a description from Strobel's website (leestrobel.com):

"Has modern scholarship debunked the traditional Christ? Has the church suppressed the truth about Jesus to advance its own agenda? What if the real Jesus is far different from the atoning Savior worshipped through the centuries?

In The Case for the Real Jesus, former award-winning legal editor Lee Strobel explores such hot-button questions as:

• Did the church suppress ancient non-biblical documents that paint a more accurate picture of Jesus than the four Gospels? • Did the church distort the truth about Jesus by tampering with early New Testament texts? • Do new insights and explanations finally disprove the resurrection? • Have fresh arguments disqualified Jesus from being the Messiah? • Did Christianity steal its core ideas from earlier mythology?Evaluate the arguments and evidence being advanced by prominent atheists, liberal theologians, Muslim scholars, and others. Sift through expert testimony. Then reach your own verdict in "The Case for the Real Jesus."

Article of the Month

"Why I Believe The New Testament Is Historically Reliable" by Gary Habermas

Dr. Gary Habermas, expert on the resurrection, explains why the New Testament we have today is historically accurate and trustworthy.

Click here: http://www.apologetics.com/default.jsp?bodycontent=/articles/historical_apologetics/habermas-nt.html

Website of the Month

http://www.carm.org/- Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry

This month's site is one I encourage you to check out for a few reasons: 1) The website defines apologetics and why they are necessary 2) It is easy to use when you are researching answers to questions you or someone else may have.

Matthew Slick (author) covers varies topics including why the Bible can be trusted, how we know Jesus rose from the dead, and why Christianity is the only way to God. He also provides apologetic dialogues, answers to Bible difficulties, and research links.

Explorefcf.com Apologetics Update

We have added a "links page" to inform the believer to present truth or discover truth regarding the Christian faith. The sections include Atheism, Authority of the Bible, the Baha'i faith, Buddhism, Evidence for Creation/Intelligent Design, General Apologetics, Hinduism, Islam, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormonism, New Age Movement, the Resurrection, Roman Catholicism, Scientology, Seventh Day Adventist, and Top Christian Scholars.

Most recently, we have added sections for evangelism, Bible study tools, theology, and topics for youth. When you visit the site, scroll over “Explore Faith” and then “Define Truth” and click on the “Answers” section. There you will find the links!

Prayer Requests

1) Erin and Todd Vogtman- Please pray for the continued health of their unborn baby and the preaching opportunities that God is sending Todd’s way .

2) The "B" -family- God's direction for their life and job difficulties.

3) The Youth of FCF- That God will raise them up to be a mighty force for Him in this Tri-State Area.

4) Richard Dawkins- Oxford evolutionist and author of “The God Delusion,” Professor Dawkins continues his attacks on all those of faith, but most specifically, the Christian faith. Please pray that God will open his heart and his eyes to the truth that can only be found in Christ Jesus, Our Lord.

5) Anthony Flew- Once an atheist, Anthony Flew (80 plus years old) embraced deism (the belief that God exists, but is no longer involved in the world) after examining the new evidence from Intelligent Design. He has come along way, but has not accepted Christ as His Savior. Pray that he will!

Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross