So this weekend is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I am going to see Dr. William Lane Craig debate Sean Carroll at NOBTS.
That may seem somewhat dry and intellectual to some, but I’m telling you nothing has strengthened my faith more than studying apologetics and Christian Philosophy.
This debate is like watching Hulk Hogan or Batman when it comes to debates. Dr. Craig is the heavyweight champion of the world of debates and philosophy.
The debate is about the cosmos. The new tv show which is a reinvention of the Carl Sagan show “Cosmos” purports to be an unbiased look at the cosmos, but that unbiased is kinda laughable. After all the first words I’ve heard from the original series and has been restated about the new series is, “The cosmos are all that there is, was , and always will be.”
That’s a weighty statement. Especially since the idea of the statement fails it’s own naturalistic litmus test. After all the laws of logic and other things are not “natural” they are not material, but no one disagrees that they exist. The law of noncontradiction itself is not something that can be empirically tested, but yet it’s real.
We will dive into this further after the debate.
You have no choices in life, but are strictly determined by your genes to do everything you do. There is no free will.
—-Sound a little silly?
See that’s the problem (one of many) with materialism/naturalism. A worldview that denies the existence of anything immaterial borrows from the immaterial an awful lot to try and prove that there is no God.
Today’s issue is the idea that strict determinism (the idea that there is no libertarian free will) is the way life works. Now call me crazy, but I feel like this is something that just falls apart by being alive. We see and experience the obvious reality of libertarian free will. i am choosing to write this post. You are choosing to read (or not) this post. Free will is an absolute self evident truth.
Richard Dawkins would claim that we are just basically meat machines wired to propagate our own DNA. That we exist with an illusion of free will. Now the problem with this is that there is absolutely no evidence for this claim. The idea that we have no free will is counterintuitive.
That being said, it’s not just the atheist that believes this. I am a Southern Baptist. Over the years the SBC has wrestled the great questions of reformed theology. The questions of the TULIP and other Calvin issues. One thing that some Calvinists hold to is also an idea that there is no free will, but rather God causes everything to be.
This raises a huge problem because it makes God the author of sin and utter cause of evil. Now that seems to directly contradict his moral perfection that is in fact a necessary attribute of God.
So who has it right? Is there free will? Am I merely determined to type this without any choice of my own while at the same time believing that I have the free will to type this even though that’s an illusion that is programmed into me?
I find that too hard of a pill to swallow. After all why would David ask God what the results of his choices be? If there is no choice then what would it matter? Is God the author of all things evil because He enjoys some sort of Cosmic theater?
I think not. I think we can safely lean on the idea that we do in fact have free will. In fact I hope you choose to read this and share it. Although it might be better for me if you had no choice in the matter, and shared it with everyone because you were strictly determined to do so….
My schedule is full for the last week of December, but we still have NEW YEAR’S EVE available! If you would like to find out more information about having the Bryan Drake Show ring in the New Year with your students, then give my team a shout. 615-258-4646
Last year, Karla and I did three shows at two different churches for New Year’s Eve for over 1000 students. It was an incredible time of outreach in which we got to share the Gospel with these students who could have chosen to spend their New Year’s Eve doing something else.
This year, I will be in St. Louis on Dec 30th, but can be almost anywhere for the 31st.
This is your last chance to see a Bryan Drake event before my calendar is blocked off for the majority of January (we’ll be waiting on a baby to make her arrival, so I’m only doing dates that are already on my calendar that month.)
Thanks to everyone who supports our ministry!
To some people out there on both sides of the fence, the idea that science and religion are somehow at odds and incompatible. This notion is touted on the Christian side by young earth creationists and on the atheist side by the likes of Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins.
They set up a choice that basically says, which one are you going to give up? Science or God?
This is what’s known as a false dilemma. A dilemma of course being a choice between two, and only two, options. The problem is however that these two things are in no way contradictory. In fact they are complementary!
Dr. Lawrence Krauss and Dr. William Lane Craig just had 3 lengthy discussions in Australia on this very idea. What becomes evident though is that on Krauss’s purely materialistic worldview he cannot allow any room for God even if He was staring Krauss right in the face. However it becomes quite clear that Krauss and others don’t intend to actually back up the argument of this dilemma, but instead point out red herrings of “atrocities from the old testament” and a regurgitated genetic fallacy argument. (Basically Christians are Christians because they are born in Christian areas. However trying to disprove an idea by showing how it came to be held does nothing to refute the idea. After all we are born into areas that think murdering children is wrong, yet just because we are born into it doesn’t mean it’s automatically a wrong notion)
What actually becomes clear is that there really is no fight between these two. If people like Krauss who claim to be open minded would allow in ideas and evaluate them before ruling them out a priori, then the discussion might actually get somewhere.
I encourage you to check out the videos of these discussions especially the 3rd dialogue. Check them out at ReasonableFaith.org
Sometimes we are deceived by the very thing we think is telling us the truth. This happens in our world all of the time. We become complacent and are lulled into believing the deception. But stay strong and vigilant, and you can spot a fake…
Funny enough I was listening to a pastor preach on the parable of the Prodigal Son tonight. I noticed something in the story that I have never really thought of before. The younger son when leaving his father basically tells him that he’s better dead than alive. He tells his father he can’t wait for him to die, but rather wants his inheritance now.
Funny enough the father is a clear picture of God, and something I haven’t pieced together before is that the younger son is much like the atheist or naturalist who claims outrage at evil in the world, who clings to logical truths, yet doesn’t believe that God exists. They want the things that God has to offer. Justice, love, reason, morality, good, etc. but don’t want to grant that the source exists.
You say so what? The point is that the son wants all the riches of the father, yet wants nothing to do with him. In fact the son would live as if the father is dead. This is how the atheist cuts his own feet out from under himself. By showing outrage at injustice they are automatically asserting that there is some form of objective justice or morality. This however cannot come from a naturalistic worldview. After all science alone can only tell what is, not what ought to be. Therefore when the atheist makes a claim such as, “Slavery in the Bible is immoral” he has no ground to stand on. He has taken from the father the riches and things that benefit him, yet chooses to live as if the father is dead. On naturalism there is no basis for morality, for justice, for reason. Things just are.
So to say that something ought to be a certain way after all is just one higher primates molecules firing one way or another without any true dignity of humanity. However if the Father does exist…if He is alive, then all of these things have a purpose and a meaning.
Borrowing from theism to try and refute it is just like telling the father you want his riches, but want him dead.
One of the trends that I’ve noticed lately for atheists, mainly the FFRF, to do is to attack a small town usually in the South, for “violating the 1st amendment.” The problems with this are multiple, but let’s deal with just the glaring one.
As they say here in the south, “They don’t have a dog in that hunt!” We are talking about a group based out of Wisconsin who’s entire purpose is to wipe religion (gee I wonder which one…) off the map. They don’t just want an equality of viewpoints, but merely a complete and utter obliteration of Christianity. They attack a small town over some trumped up “complaint” and threaten to sue either a school district, or city council. They use this tactic not because they have any legal legs to stand on, but because they know it’s an effective fear tactic. They know that most of these targets would rather quietly bow to their wishes than have a media backlash.
Behind the Scenes Goliath…
Now I wouldn’t be doing my due diligence if I never even looked into what they claim or profess. However I have. I listen to numerous debates between atheists and Christians. One such popular opponent in these debates is none other than Dan Barker, a very prominent member of the FFRF.
The problem with using him as your go to debater…he’s not very good. I don’t say this in a biased way, but in all fairness he is a terrible debater who basically says the same thing over and over ad nausea. I don’t mean by this he sticks to his guns, but rather he pulls out an irritating and easily defeated point, yet trumpets it about like it’s some unheard of wisdom granted just to him, but when confronted with a more learned Greek student (by many years)…he’s right every time and they are just mistaken every time.
Really? That’s the best argument?
Anyway back from that rabbit trail. I mention all of this to say this. Yesterday Todd Starnes posted a story about a school district in Cullman, Wiscon….no wait that’s wrong, Cullman, Alabama (right in the FFRF’s back yard….) being threatened by the FFRF for what’s known as the prayer caravan. Basically private citizens on their own volition go to each campus during the summer and stand on public outdoor property and pray for the students. How hideous! How vile!
Here is the story:
Yeah that’s it. That’s all they do, yet somehow that’s a violation against the 1st amendment?
Anyway the Superintendent is not caving, is not backing down from these tyrannical atheist bullies, but rather saying, “get over it.” Now that’s what I’m talking about! Stand strong. Yes we are going to be persecuted, and mocked for His namesake, but we are also called to be salt and light. Salt in a wound is not comfortable. Light shined into the darkness hurts people’s eyes at first, but when adjusted to it, that light can grow!
Stand strong when the enemy attacks, don’t back down. Paul, Peter, James, and the others stood strong even unto death. Do I think that’s where we are headed in the near future? No, but if we live with the mindset of, “I’m not backing down” we can do great things for the kingdom.
To start off I need to be fair. The reason that I wrote part 1 of this series was out of a response to athiests on twitter and Facebook espousing one thing with their mouth, yet living out a completely separate idea. At its core, this is hypocrisy no ifs, ands, or buts.
Now here’s where I have to be fair. The only reason that I am even able to notice this hypocrisy is not because it’s only on their side of the fence. No in fact quite the opposite. The problem generally occurs on our side of the fence. On one hand we espouse the love of Christ, yet don’t live it out. We talk about one thing and live another. I am not saying Christianity is about being sinless (completely different theological discussion), but it is about keeping the flesh at bay on a daily basis. The second we’ve “beat” the flesh in one aspect of our life, is the second it sneaks in for another chink in our armor. Like Amalek in the OT would attack the weak rear of Moses’ people, our flesh will never rest, never sleep, and never stop fighting for dominance in our life.
That is why we have to be diligent in being the face of Christ, not just the words. What good are empty words without hands and feet?
So yes there is hypocrisy on the side of the atheist, which we will dive in to more next time, but before we can do that we have to make sure our flesh isn’t the one in the captain’s chair. We have to make sure that our flesh isn’t driving our Apologetic either.
Grace and love. That’s what has to come through, or there is no point in even starting the discussion. We aren’t doing Apologetics to win a fight or points, but to lead people to Christ.
Just wanted to catch everyone up on what’s been going on with us lately. This spring we had a chance to be in front of 20,000 jr. high students on the Presence Tour. It was awesome to see God move through so many lives all across the country. Apart from the tour we’ve seen over 120 people come to know Christ. That is the fuel that keeps us moving ahead.
Lately some of my first students I taught when I was a jr. high pastor have been coming over to talk all things apologetics/theology/anything else. It’s so awesome to see the passion that these students have for God’s word. Starting at their age as early adults, they are in a position to turn the tide in this dark world. After all we are the light of the world, a city set on a hill. We have to keep shining no matter how dark or occluded it gets.
Last but not least we are super excited about our new promo video and can’t wait to show it to you. Hopefully you should be the first to see it next week if all goes to plan. The rough draft looked great! It’s the vision that Karla, Gresham, and I had in order for it to be used as promo for us yes, but also as a ministry tool for pastors and youth pastors. So stay tuned to find out more.
Check out SmashMagic.com to see how you can bring us in next year for the 3rd year of the Smash Magic Tour!
Apologetics tuesday will continue this week! Sorry for the lull.
We also have some very exciting news that I can only tease right now….
Hmmmm…..what else? Oh yeah the nerd side of me is about to burst at the seems because of Man of Steel this week. Not gonna lie I’ve watched the previews waaaaay too many times ha ha. It’s gonna be fun.
Well anyway check out the new video and keep up with us on facebook and twitter to see where we will be!
What if you were called a hypocrite? The burn and sometimes shame that comes with that name is enough to change someone’s behavior sometimes. But what if you didn’t even know you were being one?
Webster’s defines the term Worldview as:
[count] : the way someone thinks about the world
What I have noticed, is that Christians have taken a lot of flak over the years for being “hypocrites” according to the world. Now understand much of this kind of name-calling is on point, but others call tough love hypocrisy. They call not condoning, or not “tolerating” sin a type of hypocrisy. The problem is that there is no merit for the claim of hypocrite in this case. We are called to love our neighbors. We are not showing love if we allow the people we care about to continue in harmful behavior.
Now here is where it gets interesting. On the other side of the worldview fence, the atheist side, there is an almost completely unknown battle of self. Atheists claim to hold a worldview of just naturalism. That only matter matters. This can’t make sense in so many ways.
To try and attack Christianity the naturalist has to borrow so many things that cannot exist on his own worldview. He uses logic, appeals to morality, appeals to reason, but unfortunately on a naturalistic worldview, these things just aren’t real. To not believe in objective morality in words, and then turn around and talk on Facebook or Twitter about how evil Chick-fil-a is doesn’t make any sense.
On one hand you have completely denied that morality exists, yet for some reason you are in a position to judge the morality of another’s actions? This is a complete and total fallacy. It makes no sense, yet this is happening all around us all the time. At the same time these people are calling Christian’s hypocrites, their own lives live out a hypocrisy that is completey unknown to them. They espouse one worldview with their mouths, but in their hearts they cannot fight down the knee-jerk reaction to the evil world around us, so they blindly shoe-horn morality, logic, math, reason, and a host of other things into a worldview that doesn’t actually allow them, and then claim them as products of that worldview.
The hypocrisy is not so cut and dry as they see it. They claim the actions of Christians are hypocritical while at the very same moment committing hypocrisy. It’s crazy how onesided and blinded certain people are while at the same time claiming “open-mindedness”
What atheist hypocrisy have you run across?
How old is the Earth?
Some people say that it is very young, only about 6000 years.
While others would say that it is very old.
The main question to consider in all of this however (and slightly overlooked by both sides sometimes) is this most important question…
In the grand scheme of eternity and kingdom work, does it matter how old the Earth is?
Think about it for a second. Before we dive in to looking at the two sides (as if it were just that easy and 2 sided) we need to remember one very important thing. Much like the talks about end times, once saved always saved, women’s role in ministry or discussions on the genre and structure of Biblical texts, this is an in-house debate for Christians. What I mean by that is, this is something that we need to discuss and dialogue about amongst each other, but when it comes to being in front of atheists and other non-believers, this should not be our hobby-horse or main focus.
Breaking Fellowship?-Not necessary.
The problem really comes in when the two sides start attacking each other in front of others. This doesn’t happen too often thankfully, but again much like any of the other topics listed above, there are multiple viewpoints each with their own merits.
I have personally seen one side tell the other side that if they don’t agree with them, then they have a very low view of scripture. This is particularly evident when it comes to the age of the earth argument.
Young earth creationists (I’ll call them YECs) think that OECs have a low view of scripture because they are not reading the 7 days of creation as literal seven days. However the OEC’s would argue that they are in no way diminishing the scripture because of the Hebrew language and the genre of the Pentateuch.
But before we even look at the merits of either side we have to note that there are multiple YECs and OECs views. For instance a YEC might hold the view based on modern cosmology and physics that the universe is in fact around 13.6 billion years old, with a relatively young earth. Likewise many OEC might take the view of a very old earth with 7 literal days of creation with ages in between the days.
So just in the last paragraph alone you see that the issue is not so cut and dry as we tend to think it is.
What’s important to remember is that neither view diminishes what Christ did on the cross for us. Neither view keeps Him in the grave. That is why this is an in-house debate, because if we are honest with ourselves, at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter how old the earth is if Christ is risen. That’s the central claim to our faith not the age of the earth or the timing of the rapture.
To the culture we live in truth has become whatever you want it to be, as long as it makes you feel good.
What’s true for you isn’t true for me
There is no truth
–These are the buzzwords of the postmodern, everything is relative culture that we find ourselves in.
The problem is that this may sound great on paper, but it doesn’t work in reality. Take for instance the phrase, “There is no truth.”
That may be the postmodernist’s go to phrase that makes everybody happy and warm fuzzy on the inside. It means that anything we want to believe or put stock in is true, or that any interpretation that you have of any set of values, written works, or ideas is just as valid and binding as the author’s original intent.
There is a glaring problem with that statement though. It’s self contradictory. The phrase makes a liar out of itself basically.
Think about it for a second.
Postmodern Thinker: There is no truth.
Me: …Is that true?
PT: …uhm yes…
Me: …So that’s a truth then?
PT: well no because there is no truth…
Me: So it is NOT true?
PT: …well no, I mean yes, I mean…(Head Explodes)
You see when you start to actually try to make sense of this nonsense it falls apart miserably.
The second phrase.
That may be true for you, but not for me.
Okay much more simple approach. THis is generally used as a cop out for, “I don’t believe what you do, but clearly you do. So even though we both can’t logically be right…we both are?”
How about this try the practical approach to this phrase.
Officer: Do you know how fast you were going?
PT: No sir.
Officer: You were going 70mph.
Pt: well sir that may be true for you, but for me…I was going 35mph.
And after you make your phone call to get bailed out, you realize how foolish that idea is.
It’s pretty speak to make us feel better about the fact that there are in act truths out there. Some of the most important truths out there are moral truths. Things that are objectively right and wrong. If there is no objective truth, then things like murder, rape, theft–they aren’t really wrong, but merely a personal preference.
You can see the danger that this kind of thinking leads to.
What “truth” claims have you heard from postmodernism? Sound off below.
This is one of my favorite tricks of all time, that I have decided to teach on my DVD. Classic!
If you want to learn this and much more check out the DVD at,
We just celebrated the greatest news known to mankind. That He is alive. That simple fact changes everything. It isn’t minuscule or obscure, but it changes absolutely everything.
Check out this video I shot about what The Resurrection does.
One of the coolest things has happened lately. When I was a Jr. High Youth pastor, I started getting in to Apologetics. I tried teaching about it and weaving it in to my messages almost on a weekly basis. My students got in to it, but I could never really tell how much.
Flash forward 5 years later and now these same students, in their first year of college now, are diving head first in to the study.
Now if you have been following us you know that the tour we have been on has kept us very busy and which is awesome. However we have recently got to be at a small group Bible study at our home church which these students also attend. They started asking questions and furthering discussion about apologetics and evangelism and philosophy which made my head spin in a good way.
It’s just like building muscle. You have to apply the skills that you have learned in the correct way in order to grow stronger and deeper in your study and understanding of scripture. If you are lazy at the gym you won’t grow, likewise in your spiritual life.
What I discovered is that this time to get together with other believers and chew on ideas and discussion has furthered and deepened my own passion for study. The thing that really awes me though is the intensity in which this next generation is focusing on sharpening their faith and really taking 1 Peter 3:15 at its word and being ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us.
So how does this apply to you? Are there certain questions or concerns that you have been hearing lately that trouble you? Old advice might say to bottle that up and not to worry about it. On the contrary though I’m encouraging you to actively grow and learn from these questions.
After all 2 Cor 10:5 says
5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Take those thoughts captive. Renew your mind.
Friends or Enemies?
So today is a quick post to get you thinking. Some people I’ve talked to have an aversion to apologetics because they fear that it creates a “win the argument not the person” mentality. This is a slightly unfair criticisms since this is not what the approach to apologetics should be at all.
As you know one of my hobby horses is evangelism. Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone we encounter as commissioned to us by Jesus himself in Matthew 28. What I have discovered is that using apologetics IN evangelism is a very useful tool for some people.
There are really only two kinds of disbelief. Those who do so out of scientific knowledge and those who have an emotional block. You may be tempted to say that only the scientific doubter would be the person who could be reached with apologetics, but you’d be thinking too small. When it comes down to it, it is the Holy Spirit who does the work in someone’s life to make them new, but using something such as the moral argument to help people understand the true hopelessness without God can be an effective bridge to sharing the Gospel.
We will dive more in to this at another time, but I wanted to let you know that apologetics and evangelism can definitely go hand in hand.
If you have been in a philosophy class for more than a month, then you have heard this argument presented.
One of the oldest arguments about morality comes from Plato’s dialogues. A student named Euthyphro asks Socrates if the gods will something because it is good, or is something good because the gods will it to be good?
Let’s break down these two “horns” of the dilemma.
1. Do the gods will something because it’s good?
This means that there is some concept of universal good that is outside of God that he just ascribes to. This means that God is in essence unnecessary for morality.
2. Is something good just because the gods will it?
This basically means that God can just will whatever He wants to be good or evil. For instance if today God willed murder and rape to be moral and kindness to be evil, then it would be. That God can choose on a whim what’s good and what’s bad, and that He can change it at any time arbitrarily. This is clearly not the God that we see.
This presented through the ages by atheists against God and biblical morality because it’s presented as a real dilemma. The problem is that it isn’t a real dilemma at all. An actual dilemma means that you are presented with two and only two options that you must choose between.
di- “two” + lemma “premise, anything received or taken,”
However it’s not an actual dilemma at all. A false dilemma is a situation where there are only two options presented, but they are in fact not the only two options available. This is known as splitting the horns.
So what is the answer then?
The true answer is that “the good” that Plato wrote about is in fact grounded in God’s nature. Or to say it as @ReasonableFaith ‘s Dr. William Lane Craig says it, That something is good because God IS good. Things like love, compassion, justice, kindness are part of God’s unchanging nature. They are not arbitrary, but they are also not from something external either.
God is Himself the good and is the source of our moral duties.
How have you heard this presented before?
So I have been doing a weekly series about apologetics for the last few months. If you look back at the previous posts you’ll see the different variety of subjects discussed, but what I want to know is what kind of tough questions have you been faced with? Maybe in talking with friends or family you have been hit with a statement or an argument that throws you a little bit.
What questions have you heard? What we will do is take some of the questions you guys send in and address them as they come in. Don’t be shy or think your question may be too easy or too hard or too crazy, anything is on limits. This is an opportunity to strengthen your faith and better equip yourself to defend your faith!
Let us know!
This is a classic Torn and Restored Card trick done in a very visual way backstage on the CIY Believe Tour.
The tour has been awesome so far!
Check it out and see more soon.
So it’s been a short break from Apologetics Tuesday, but I wanted to make a short addition to the last entry about embarrassing testimony. The reason I even thought to add this today is because last night after the show I met a girl who was a Messianic Jew who took exception to something I said in the show.
In the show I mention that the idea of a dying Messiah is completely and totally non Jewish. Through the literature, it’s clear they were looking for a Davidic King Messiah, or a priest in the order Aaron to come and bring sweeping reforms to the Roman rule that they were under. They also held a belief that there was no resurrection of the dead before the general resurrection at the end of the earth. That’s why when Jesus who was supposed to be the Messiah died, it put a pretty embarrassing detail that the disciples had to deal with on their shoulders. If Jesus was dead, how could he be the real messiah? However Jesus vindicated His claim of Messiah and of being God when He rose from the dead. If you were going to make up a story about a Messiah, then you would never have him die. Secondly you wouldn’t come to adopt a belief so incredibly un Jewish that He had risen the dead before the general resurrection, unless something happened that truly changed your mind i.e. He rose from the dead.
Her main point was to show that I was wrong for making that claim about the Jews not believing in a dying and resurrecting messiah because even though there was no literature showing that Jews in the 1st century believed this, that they actually believed it. The problem with this idea though is that there is no literature showing this. Even Jesus’ closest disciples didn’t expect Him to die. Paul and the other disciples go back to the scriptures after the Resurrection to see how wrong they were.
So again these embarrassing and somewhat bizarre details actually historically lend credibility to the narrative that Jesus Rose from the dead.
So here is a video of one of my absolute favorite card tricks of all time. Check it out, and visit the new subscription page at BryanDrakeShow.com/Subscribe
…rules the culture we live in. Any opinion you have can easily be called offensive by someone else. The word tolerance has had a drastic redefinition by those wanting to harness your opinions. Used to the word meant that you clearly disagreed with something, yet “tolerated” a viewpoint that wasn’t your own. Today tolerance means that if you don’t agree with a certain view you are hateful and intolerant.
A lot of this attention is aimed at Christians and our goal to be more like Christ and be less like this sinful world. But there is the word, sin. That’s the one that sets the internet ablaze by armchair atheists looking for an emotional axe to grind to support their chip laden shoulder against God. They begin to quote verses (albeit very out of any historical or even sequential context) like they were Sunday school teachers. Verses about stoning your neighbor for working on the sabbath, or verses about permission to own “slaves”. NOw I’m not going to get into these issues today on this blog, but if you want a quick and awesome read that can help you with some of the most difficult passages in the Old Testament, check out Paul Copan’s Is God a Moral Monster? You will love it!
But back to the buzzword, sin. In this cultural and political landscape should we even be talking about sin anymore? Isn’t that an outdated notion that people came up with to scare their children into being good, like Santa? This is what a relativistic culture would like us to believe. If you are able to denounce the idea of objective morality, then you can basically say that only Hitler, murderers, and rapists, are sinners and everything else is just a matter of opinion. This idea of acting like sin doesn’t exist is an absolute rebellion against a loving God. Ironically the fact that we identify our sinfulness and evil in this world is actually some of the best evidence that God exists, and that we need Him.
Keep it Fluffy Keep-em Coming
The fear comes though from many pastors and youth pastors in the form of, “Well I shouldn’t talk about sin because I don’t want to run anyone off.” To some that notion sounds just fine because hey why would you want to run anyone away from God? This is an absolute red herring. Yes I agree your first step in evangelism shouldn’t be the Westborough Baptist approach, that’s not winning anyone to the kingdom, but what tends to happen is this mindset, “I’ll get them involved wit church and then start to breach the topic of sin and redemption.” Also a great notion that is following Jesus’ own example with the woman at the well. We sometimes forget the fact that Jesus pointed out her sin, but it was after showing compassion and His true nature of Messiah. What happens though is that we take the mindset above, yet we never quite broach the subject of sin. We talk about the love of God, but never His justice. Truthfully though we see the ultimate demonstration of Christ’s love for us while we are sinners, its when we are aware of our sinful nature. Romans 5:8 clearly says this.
If we are spoon-feeding a sugary sweet gospel of, “God loves everybody and wants you to be the best person you can be no matter what situation you’re in now” without a call to change and repentance clearly seen in the apostle’s, John the Baptist’s, and Jesus’ ministry, we are doing students a huge disservice.
Power Over Sin
For it is God who has the power to break the bonds of sin no matter what they are. God in his awesome power can forgive and change any heart willing to follow him. 1 John 1:9 tells us so. Don’t get caught up in the notion of, “they’re born that way, so maybe they can be the best gay Christian, or adulterous, or drug dealing, or partying, or lying Christian they can be.”
God can and will change us, temptation will always be there which is why serious discipleship needs to take place. Matthew 28, the Great Commission doesn’t stop with making disciples and baptizing them, but the last part is the part we stop with too often.
20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [b]always, even to the end of the age.
We have to continually study the word together and learn how to be like Christ more and more everyday. Our first response to this culture should in fact be the unconditional love of Christ, followed by a call to repentance as seen in Christ’s own example.
Have you heard others water down the gospel beyond recognition?
How do you feel about the idea of sin?
No I’m not talking about suggestion in the sense of, “maybe you should try the crab bisque”, but rather in the sense of psychology and dealing with the conscious mind.
A definition of suggestion is
The act of focusing the conscious mind of the subject upon a single dominant idea.
The idea that your brain can be so focused on an idea that it can cause a change in your own physical body or stimuli. Perhaps causing your hands to do something or your mind to forget certain words in an experiment. Here is a simple example that everyone can try that involves your hands and suggestion.
Give it a shot and let me know how it goes for you.
So we have had a short break from our “Can We Trust the New Testament” series because of Christmas and New Years. The last time we looked at the evidence we talked about the idea of certain types of criteria that are examined anytime an ancient source is examined to trust its historicity.
We have already covered early, and enemy attestation, and today we are going to look at embarrassing testimony.
Now this isn’t the type of embarrassing we think of when you do that thing where you’re walking down the sidewalk and do the slight trip only to notice everyone saw it. This type of embarrassment comes from including certain elements in the Gospel narratives that would be considered embarrassing for the writers.
There are two very clear examples of this in the passion narrative in the Gospel of Mark.
First is the burial of Jesus in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. For the Jews at this time (Which the writer of Mark was) the Sanhedrin (council who tried and sent Jesus to Pilate) basically orchestrated a judicial murder of their Messiah. The sentiment toward the Sanhedrin would have been very negative. So one has to wonder why if Mark was just merely making up the story of Jesus’ resurrection why on earth would he make up a story where a member of the very same council who killed Jesus suddenly does right by Jesus. Giving Jesus his own brand new tomb was an awfully nice gesture, but why would Mark make that up?
That’s why embarrassing testimony is so important, is that it lends credibility to the narrative. Surely if Mark were making this up he would have had someone not on the Sanhedrin give Jesus their tomb.
Even more telling, are Jesus’ first witnesses to His resurrection. The Gospel of Mark shows that a group of women discovered the tomb empty, and were the first witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection. Now in our culture today, nothing would be wrong with this notion at all, and will cause you to overlook this if you aren’t careful. Looking at 1st century story through the lens of the 21st century is anachronistic.
However in the 1st century according to ancient historians including Josephus, the testimony of women meant nothing. Critics try to claim that this isn’t true pointing to events such as the destruction of Masada in which women were used as witnesses, but the problem with this is that they were only used as a witness in this case because they WERE the only witnesses that survived.
Surely if Mark was making up this story, he would have made male disciples the first discoverer’s of the empty tomb. But he didn’t.
In fact what this shows is that the first witnesses to the empty tomb actually were Jesus’ women disciples.
That covers two clear examples of embarrassing testimony in the Gospel account. There are numerous other examples including the disciples doubting Jesus and running away from Him, as well as not realizing what He was telling them.
Next up Eye-witness.