Category Archives: Apologetics

Contradictions in the Bible?

Do you ever find yourself questioning things about the Bible and God but are not sure who you should ask? Here at the John Ankerberg Show our motto is Real Answers to Real Questions.  We believe there should be a safe place to ask your questions, and we want to be able to provide resources that will help as you work through those questions.  

Each week we are addressing some of our most asked questions. This week we would like to address the question: Is the Bible Really Filled with Contradictions?  In this brief article Dr. Dillon Burroughs addresses many of these “contradictions” and offers practical steps for how to approach things that appear contradictory or uncertain in the Bible.


Is the Bible Really Filled with Contradictions?
By: Dr. Dillon Burroughs

Skeptics often accuse the Bible of being filled with contradictions. The Freedom from Religion Foundation even states, “Paul said, ‘God is not the author of confusion’ (1 Corinthians 14:33), yet never has a book produced more confusion than the Bible!” What truth is there to this accusation?

 

The Professor: Why Are You a Christian? – When Challenged, Can You Defend Your Faith in Christ

by Ray Bolin

Over the last ten years, I have used a very effective technique to help teens realize their unpreparedness for the step toward college. It seems our young people are heading into public and even Christian colleges thinking they are ready for the challenge to their faith that higher learning can be.

Probe Ministries has sponsored a college prep conference since 1991 that was designed to help young people gain some insights and even some knowledge on how to address the intellectual challenges that college will provide.

If you remember the thousands of college radicals who protested and picketed in the ‘60s and ‘70s, they found their push for change was not very effective. Instead, many of them stayed in college, obtained Masters Degrees and PhDs. After all, it was easier than getting a real job! As a result, they are now your children’s professors!

The college campus was an anti-Christian breeding ground several decades ago and now it is even worse. Christianity is not so much openly mocked as it is marginalized and deemed a false and mischievous mythology.

If you haven’t already heard some of these statistics, you need to hold onto your hat.

In 2007, LifeWay surveyed 23- to 30-year-olds and found that seventy percent had taken at least a one year break from church during their college years.{1} Now, almost two-thirds of these return to some level of church attendance, but mainly to please family or friends who encouraged them to return. That means that most of our churched youth are making many of their life decisions, including marriage and career, apart from a church context. Even many who return carry numerous scars from bad choices during those years.{2}

With this statistical background, it’s plain our young people need some preparation before going on to college or the military. But as most parents of teens know, just telling them they need this is less than likely to be convincing.

Enter the Professor. The technique I mentioned at the beginning is to impersonate an atheistic college professor doing research on the religious beliefs of young people. Sometimes the students know I am playing a role with them, but occasionally I play the professor and the students are none the wiser…

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The Professor: Why Are You a Christian? – When Challenged, Can You Defend Your Faith in Christ

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism Part 2: God — Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

Most people you know believe in a god—since about 90% of Americans do. References to God are ubiquitous in our culture, but not everyone who talks about “God” is talking about the God of the Bible. 21 more words

via Moralistic Therapeutic Deism Part 2: God — Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

Why I left the Word-Faith Movement

by J. Brian Huffling

When I was about fourteen I started listening to teachers such as Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Jerry Savelle, and Creflo Dollar. I had grown up going to church, albeit a very liberal church, but these guys were different than what I was used to. They had passion, zeal, and spoke with power and authority. They taught very differently than what I had heard before, but they used Scripture to back everything up (well, and some direct revelation from God, so they said). They taught that Jesus had secured our physical healing for this life, that we had power over sickness and the devil, that we could transform our finances through our faith, and that we could even use faith the way God does—the God kind of faith. I really enjoyed listening to these teachers, particularly Copeland and Duplantis. I even was able to meet Duplantis and his wife at a meeting in Charlotte, where I gave him a letter thanking him for teaching the truth. Little did I know at the time that I was being sucked into a heretical mess. Since I did not know much at the time about orthodox theology, much of what was said sounded biblical and right. After having spent over a decade of learning theology in college and seminary (long after I left the movement), I began to realize how dangerous their doctrines really are. Let’s look at some of the main teachings of the Word-Faith movement.

God

While the orthodox, traditional view of God among Christians is that God exists as an immaterial being, one in essence with three persons, Word-Faith teachers state that God is a physical being who lives on a planet called heaven. According to Copeland, God stands around 6’2″ around 200lbs. Not only that, God is the “greatest failure in the Bible” since he lost more than any other being at the fall. Further, God has to use faith to do things, like create. God used the “force of faith” that according to Copeland “is a physical force” that is “perceptible to the touch.” We can use this same faith with our positive confession in order to bring about realities. However, our confession also can bring about sickness, disease, and death…

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Why I left the Word-Faith Movement

10 Biblical Reasons God Allows Suffering

by Sean McDowell

The existence of human suffering is arguably the most common and difficult problem raised against the existence and goodness of God. It is a particularly thorny issue because people experience it both emotionally and logically.

The problem of suffering has been with us since the Garden of Eden and it will be with us until Christ comes back. But suffering is not just a problem for Christians. Every belief system has to account for suffering in some fashion or another.

The purpose of this post is not to attempt a theodicy, that is, a defense of why God allows suffering. Many fine books have done this, including the classical book The Problem of Pain, by C.S. Lewis or Why Does God Allow Evil? by Clay Jones. Rather, I simply want to highlight ten ways the Bible addresses suffering. These answers are not exhaustive, but they provide some biblical perspective for the inquisitive believer and non-believer:

1. Suffering is the result of mankind’s sin and rebellion against God (Genesis 3). Mankind chose to reject God’s one command, the world became corrupted by sin, and humans have suffered ever since.

2. God’s chosen people (the Hebrews) suffered when they disobeyed the Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 28).

3. People sometimes suffer from the wrong choices of other human beings, even though God uses the resulting suffering for good (Genesis 50:20)…

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10 Biblical Reasons God Allows Suffering | SeanMcDowell.org

A Crash Course in Christian Doctrine

by Lindsey Medenwaldt

Before we start diving into world religions, it’s important that we have a firm grasp of what Christianity teaches. It is fairly common knowledge that when federal agents train to spot counterfeit money, they study the real thing first. The theory is that if the agents become very familiar with genuine money, they will be able to spot a counterfeit a mile away. This is true of Christianity. If we study God’s word and are completely in touch with the truths found in Scripture, we will be able to spot heresies and errors in our own churches, as well as other belief systems. It’s exciting to think about world religions, but let’s make sure we understand basic Christian beliefs before we dive into other beliefs.

How easy is it for you to tell others what you believe about God, creation, or Jesus? Can you adequately explain the Trinity? What about the afterlife? How is it that we are saved? Some of you may already know all of the Christian answers, and that is awesome! For those of you who struggled a bit to come up with a response, this article is for you! Here’s a crash course in the fundamental beliefs of Christianity, complete with some Scripture references to help you out.

Founding. As you likely know, Christianity was founded around AD 30, after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Middle East. Jesus was the founder, but Christianity was carried forth by his disciples and other followers, like Peter and Paul. Yes, Jesus was Jewish, and most of the early church consisted of converted Jews, but his followers were (and are still) called Christians.

God. If someone were to ask you to describe God, what would you say? No seriously! Before you read the rest of this, turn away from the computer and see if you can describe God.

What’s the first thing that came to mind? Some people can’t get past visualizing a big bearded man in the sky. To understand God, it is important that we understand the orthodox attributes ascribed to God. While knowing these attributes cannot replace a personal relationship with God, a personal relationship should always start with knowing the one with whom you are having this relationship. Here are the main attributes described in the Bible…

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A Crash Course in Christian Doctrine | Mama Bear Apologetics

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What Scale Will God use on Judgment Day? — The Cripplegate

One of my favorite ways to explain the Gospel these days is to use the scales analogy. It wasn’t too long ago that a Muslim explained to me that on the day of judgment (Qiyamat) scales will be brought before each human being, and, like measuring grain, all of the good deeds that someone has…

via What Scale Will God use on Judgment Day? — The Cripplegate

CultureWatch: On Moral Absolutes and Discerning Right from Wrong

There is perhaps no greater need today in the West than for people to be able to distinguish right from wrong. Most folks have altogether lost their moral compasses and are simply roaming aimlessly in an ethical no-man’s land. Moral absolutes have been jettisoned and relativism reigns.

This is always a recipe for disaster. And we have seen it occurring throughout human history. There has always been a connection between the abandonment of morality and the abandonment of God. When we declare the nonexistence or the inconsequentiality of God, we lose the basis for moral absolutes.

In his 2005 book Unspeakable, Os Guinness describes our modern world without God: “What was once unimaginable becomes thinkable and then fashionable. What used to be abnormal is now normal. Where we were shocked, we are now indifferent. What started as soft-core ends as hard-core.”

Here he is simply repeating the wisdom of the prophet Isaiah. Two and a half millennia ago he offered this sombre warning: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).

Most of the great thinkers since that time have made the connection between God, moral absolutes, and the state of a nation. Numerous quotes could be offered here. Plato for example knew that some objective basis of morality was needed.

He wrote: “Any system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.” The classical philosophers spoke of the importance of cultivating virtue, both private and public. As Aristotle said, “Happiness does not consist in pastimes and amusements but in virtuous activities.”

Sir Francis Bacon made this declaration: “All good moral philosophy is … but the handmaid to religion.” And John Locke said this: “To give a man full knowledge of morality, I would send him to no other book than the New Testament.”

The Irish political theorist and philosopher Edmund Burke put it this way: “Manners [morals] are more important than laws. Upon them, in great measure, the laws depend.” President George Washington said it this way: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

President John Quincy Adams concurred: “There are three points of doctrine the belief of which forms the foundation of all morality. The first is the existence of God; the second is the immortality of the human soul; and the third is a future state of rewards and punishments.”

In 1835 Alexis de Tocqueville made this observation: “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

C.S. Lewis said this: “There is no escape… If we are to continue to make moral judgments (and whatever we say we shall in fact continue) then we must believe that the conscience of man is not a product of Nature. It can be valid only if it is an offshoot of some absolute moral wisdom, a moral wisdom which exists absolutely “on its own” and is not a product of non-moral, non-rational Nature.”

The great scientist Albert Einstein got it right when he said:

Science has provided the possibility of liberation for human beings from hard labor, but science itself is not a liberator. It creates means not goals. Man should use [science] for reasonable goals. When the ideals of humanity are war and conquest, those tools become as dangerous as a razor in the hands of a child of three. We must not condemn man’s inventiveness and patient conquest of the forces of nature because they are being used wrongly and disobediently now. The fate of humanity is entirely dependent upon its moral development.

Or as Martin Luther King Jr stated, “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”

Such quotes could be repeated at length. The wisdom of the ages needs to be applied to the modern dilemmas we now find ourselves in. Everyday individuals and high-powered leaders both need to get back to morality, which means getting back to God.

The reason I have all this on my mind of late has to do with what I read in my daily Bible reading. This morning the familiar words of Solomon struck me with renewed force. Israel’s King David had died and Solomon was newly established on the throne (1 Kings 1).

In 1 Kings 2 we read about him subduing his enemies and securing his kingdom. God then appears to him in a dream and asks him what he would like. Most of you would know how the story goes. Instead of wealth or power or other selfish things, he asked for wisdom so that he might rule his people rightly.

We read about this in 1 Kings 3:5-10:

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.

“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.

God did indeed answer this request, and in the very next chapter we encounter the very familiar story of his wisdom being applied to the case of two women and a baby they were fighting over. In 3:28 we read about the outcome of his ruling: “When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.”

And at the end of chapter four we read more about how Solomon’s wisdom became known even to the surrounding nations. As we find in verse 34: “From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.”

Wow, we sure can use that sort of wisdom today. We sure need this sort of moral discernment that can distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong. That is in such short supply today. We all need it, and our political leaders certainly need it as well.

But very few seem to have it. Part of the way to get back to greatness as a people and as a nation is to have the ability to tell the difference between truth and error, between what is right and what is wrong. Would that more people – and more leaders – make the sort of prayer that Solomon did.

We sure need it bad right now.

[1297 words]

The post On Moral Absolutes and Discerning Right from Wrong appeared first on CultureWatch.

TruthXchange: When Psychological “Science” Defines Biblical Cosmology

When Psychological “Science” Defines Biblical Cosmology

The great danger is that the state, in classic Marxist fashion, and in the name of psychological science, will take on the religious role of defining the “true” mystery of human life and will impose that definition on other religious views of human life, punishing by the power of the state those who disagree. A totalitarian state always claims religious authority.

Assembly member Evan Low (D-Cupertino), Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, has recently introduced Assembly Bill 2943, declaring “homosexual conversion therapy” a fraudulent and therefore unlawful practice in the state of California.

Advertising or practicing such therapy would be fraudulent practice under the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and treated as consumer fraud. As a lawyer of the Alliance Defending Freedom noted, “the breadth of this censorship is staggering.” This bill not only limits personal choices at the deepest level but closes off debate regarding the nature of existence.

Speaking of fraud, the CA bill is based almost entirely on what some consider to be a fraudulent report of the American Psychological Association Task Force of 2009, entitled: “Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation.” (The page numbers in this text refer to the full report, which you can download here, on the right side of the webpage.)

A now deceased, highly respected clinical psychologist, Joseph Nicolosi (who saw hundreds of homosexual clients in his long career and saw many of them abandon their unwanted homosexual desires), wrote an essay on the APA report entitled “APA Task Force Report—A Mockery of Science.”

In this article he points out a series of scientific anomalies:

  • The Task Force was composed entirely of activists in gay causes.
  • In choosing members for this committee, the APA rejected the application of every practitioner of sexual-reorientation therapy.
  • Prior to any research, the committee stated as “scientific fact” that homosexual attractions and behavior are no different from those of heterosexuality.
  • The Task Force did not study individuals who reported treatment success.

This report by the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologists in the United States, knew what it would find before it began and thus concluded what the members had presupposed, namely that same-sex attractions, behavior, and orientations per se are normal and positive variants of human sexuality. In other words, they do not indicate either mental or developmental disorders. This deeply flawed report recommended “that researchers and practitioners investigate…treatments for sexual minorities that do not aim to alter sexual orientation” (7). This conclusion is what AB 2943 now proposes as state law.

Denial of therapy for those who seek it is hardly “democratic,” especially since therapy works in a number of cases. Reparative therapist, Dr. David Pickup, a licensed Marriage and Family Counselor, recently declared in public that every week, at the end of the counseling process, he sees once-homosexual men delivered from homoerotic feelings. Dr. Pickup lectured at the Nov, 2017 MassResistance Teens4Truth Conference in Ft. Worth, TX.

If the bill is applied, such therapy as that of Dr. Pickup or Dr. Nicolosi will be punishable by law: such is the power of this ideology and its intention to silence all opposition. Based on a mockery of science, the bill will become a mockery of Constitutional law. Why? Read on.

Kevin Snider, of the Pacific Justice Institute, a lawyer and professing Christian, sees where all this is going. He cites Supreme Court Justice Jackman who wrote in 1943:

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be the orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.

Snider concludes: “This bill will suck the state deeper into the black hole of political and religious orthodoxy.”[1] The great danger is that the state, in classic Marxist fashion, and in the name of psychological science, will take on the religious role of defining the “true” mystery of human life and will impose that definition on other religious views of human life, punishing by the power of the state those who disagree. A totalitarian state always claims religious authority. Marx claimed that “Communism begins where atheism begins.”[2] A few elements will show just how ultimately “non-scientific” and perversely religious this approach is.

  1. In its report, the APA includes a “Resolution Rejecting Intelligent Design as Scientific and Reaffirming Support for Evolutionary Theory” (19). This resolution is completely sure that there is no original divine rationality. It puts in its place chance evolutionary irrationality, and then expects one to accept this explanation on the basis of totally believable human rationality. The resolution, trying to sound objectively scientific, is in fact a religious affirmation of monumental faith, and a prodigious sign of human hubris, especially since scientists know so little about origins. How could one keep a straight face and even threaten punishment for those who refuse such a preposterously silly argumentation? As human beings, we are faced with only two logical choices: Oneism (the material cosmos miraculously, by accident, creates itself) or Twoism (an intelligent, personal Creator made the cosmos and is separate from all things created).[3]
  2. A similar religious commitment is expressed in the report’s understanding of ethics. It declares that counselors “strive to provide interventions that are consistent with current ethical standards.” By this, the committee means standards based on an evolutionary, changing view of ethics. One is forced to ask: Who decides? Who establishes what is ethical? How can the notion of ethics exist in an impersonal, evolving universe? These are massive religious questions that go unanswered by the APA report.
  3. The APA, seeking to show a certain openness, admits that “psychology can explore and understand religious beliefs and faith in an evidence-based and respectful manner.” It even says: “psychology has no legitimate function” in “arbitrating matters of faith and theology” or to “adjudicate religious or spiritual tenets.” However, the APA report seems to weigh in on one side of the religious debate about homosexuality, arguing that while some religious options see homosexuality as a sin, a “growing body of evidence” suggests that other “religious denominations’ beliefs and practices have changed over time, reflecting evolving scientific and civil rights perspectives on homosexuality and sexual orientation” (17).

Here, we find “science” adjudicating religions according to whether they agree or disagree with the evolutionary psychology, which has “proven” that homosexuality is normal. A religion is valid if it expresses “tolerance”; it is to be silenced if it expresses “prejudice.”

The APA report, on which the proposed California law is based, does recognize worldview differences and identifies two:

  1. “Some religions give priority to telic congruence (i.e., living consistently within one’s valuative goals) but that life-style “produces stigma and shame” (16).
  2. “Affirmative and multicultural models of LGBT psychology give priority to organismic congruence (i.e., living with a sense of wholeness in one’s experiential self),” giving “priority to the unfolding of developmental processes, including self-awareness and personal identity” (17).

In some odd way, the APA report is accurate. Theologically, these two religious options are the only ones on offer. One worldview, Twoism, presupposes a world with a telos—an established goal given to it by an all-wise, personal Creator, who made human identity in his own image and for his glory. The other, Oneism, is its own arbiter, needing only to have congruence with itself. Human beings are autonomous and self-defining, unhindered by the “stigma and shame” that answering to a holy God entails. In the words of the report, this second worldview represents “Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity, including self-determination, [which] is the process by which a person controls or determines the course of her or his own life” (6).

The deep conflict between these two views of existence is more precisely and accurately described by the Bible: either people self-define by “worshiping and serving creation” or they conform their identity to God’s image by “worshiping and serving the Creator” (Romans 1:25). This is ground zero for the definition of life. You cannot get more religious than to define life! This same biblical text immediately states in verse 26: “For this reason…,” then describes logically how the practice of homosexuality, as an embodied expression of the worship of creation and the self, is the denial of God the Creator. AB 2943 is not as innocent or limited as it might first appear.

The question is not whether worldview is involved. Everyone puts the world together using a worldview based on a religious stance of faith. The report itself implies this by showing the two possible ways of approaching the homosexuality issue. “Non-religious” worldviews claim to be objective and scientific, but they are ultimately religious because they have to create an overarching view of existence that cannot be proven by our human minds. Can you get your mind around the fact that there are at least one hundred billion galaxies? We need an overarching, religious view of existence that can only be expressed in a cautious and humble way.

The question posed by AB2943 is whether the state has the right to impose on each citizen, under threat of punishment, a worldview of pure materialism. Christian believers will no longer have a legal right to their own worldview. If the state does this, we will find ourselves living either in a new form of oppressive totalitarian Marxism (a living hell), or in our ultimate state—the new heavens and new earth at the end of time, when God’s justice will finally reign. Before that time, some Christians, even here in the USA, may suffer under state oppression. We will need confidence, joy, commitment and courage. In Christ, we have already died, been raised and are glorified. Yet we live in a “not yet” stage. As we wait for his return, we must love him and others through the power of the Spirit, maintaining faith in his Word and praying for true repentance and revival. Are we ready?

[1] Pacific Justice Institute: Center for Public Policy, March 23, 2018.

[2] Paul Kengor, Takedown, (Washington, D.C.: WND Books, 2015), 21.

[3] See Peter Jones, One or Two: Seeing a World of Difference (Escondido, CA: Main Entry, 2010).

The post When Psychological “Science” Defines Biblical Cosmology appeared first on TruthXchange.

CultureWatch: Worshipping a God Made In My Own Image

We have only two choices: we either worship the one true and living God, or we worship one of our own devising. There are no other options. We either run with God and his self-revelation to us about who he is and what he expects of us, or we just make things up as we go along.

There are countless millions of people who have chosen the latter path. It is the easy path to follow. Following the true God means letting him call the shots, and recognising that we are not the centre of the universe. Following a god of your own devices is easy – you effectively are just worshipping yourself.

Even more tragic, many of these folks actually think they are worshipping the real God, and that they are real Christians. But when you reject God and his revealed truth as found in Scripture, and substitute a god who simply represents the spirit of the age, then you are worshipping an idol, a false god.

Examples of this are of course everywhere to be found. We see it happening all the time, and the social media provides us with endless cases of this. Consider just one example of this that I found on a friend’s post. He made a comment about the Israel Folau case.

It had to do with the star rugby player speaking biblical truth about homosexuality, and how repentance is what is needed to keep sinners out of hell. I wrote about that here: billmuehlenberg.com/2018/04/06/folau-and-unacceptable-truth/

But a person seeking to pass himself off as a Christian was not at all happy with this, and offered this comment in response:

“It’s not a question about voicing an opinion. To oppose same-sex marriage is voicing an opinion. To state that God’s plan for gay people is Hell, is stupid. My God teaches me love and forgiveness. My God does not teach hate and discrimination. My God does not tell me that loving somebody else is a sin.”

I offered a brief reply of my own to this fellow:

“It seems that the god you worship is really just yourself, and certainly not the God of the Bible who has made it clear what he thinks about these matters. There is no forgiveness without repentance; we are of course to discriminate between good and evil, just as God does; and God clearly does tell us that homosexuality is a sin.”

But it is worth expanding a bit more on what he said, since it is such a clear case of a person making a god in his own image, and that of the surrounding secular culture. First, how could any Christian say that what God has told us is stupid?

That hell is the destiny of all those who reject God and cling to their sin is fully affirmed throughout Scripture. So it is never stupid to simply share what God has said about such important matters. It is however stupid to imply that God is wrong, and that mere man knows better.

And notice that the God he projects is simply a partial God of the Bible. Is God a God of love? Of course, but never in isolation from his holiness, his justice and his righteousness. And does God forgive? Of course, but only when we come to him on his terms.

And those terms, as Jesus and the disciples made perfectly clear, is repentance and turning from our sin. There is no forgiveness without this. This is the heart of the gospel message, and no one honestly reading the gospels and epistles could miss this.

And does God really not hate or discriminate? Um, no. Anyone reading the Bible knows how foolish these claims are. They are patently false. God hates sin, he hates false religious worship, he hates evil, he hates that which turns people away from him.

Since we are talking about idolatry here, let me mention just one passage – of many dozens – that speak of the things God hates. Consider Deuteronomy 12:31: “You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates.”

False gods and idolatry are at the top of the list of what God detests. And because of this, God is the most discriminating being there is. He always discriminates between right and wrong, true and false. He expects his people to discriminate as well.

And when this guy keeps talking about “my God,” as if he owns God, he is making it pretty clear that he means ‘the god of my liking and my point of view’. This is a god that fully approves of and endorses everything this guy says and does. This is a god which happens to be fully in alignment with what he and the world believes.

All up, his beliefs are fairly evident here: there is no hell; god judges no one; homosexuality is just peachy; and anyone disagreeing with me is a hater. That is the god he has created – one in his own ungodly and unbiblical image. Thus when he speaks about “my God” he is really just speaking about himself.

The bitter fruit of idolatry

Idolaters love to justify themselves. It seems this fellow was another one of those trolls who just loves to argue, but is never willing to learn. He came back with plenty of comments that I and some others tried to respond to. He even asked where the Bible condemns homosexuality.

After we supplied some passages for him, he simply changed tack, and started accusing us of being judgmental and hateful. Yep, that is how the other side argues! Forget the evidence and the truth, and just lash out when people dare to differ and offer biblical responses!

Of interest, early on in his comments he even admitted that he did not know the Bible very well. Yeah, well that much was obvious. I encouraged him to spend less time in public arguments with others, and to spend more time actually reading and studying the Bible.

But it seems his preference was to do the former. As I said, he has made God into his own image, and he alone will decide what is right and wrong, true and false. That is the epitome of idolatry, and that is exactly what will send a person to a lost eternity.

So I finished by telling him it was rather futile discussing this with him any further, and that I instead would pray for him. Sometimes that is all we can do with such folks. They refuse to listen to Scripture, and they have hardened themselves to any biblical correction, so we just pray for them.

Let me close with a few terrific quotes on idolatry and why it is so pernicious. We must avoid like the plague this strong tendency to try to remake God into our own image:

“Every one of us is, even from his mother’s womb, a master craftsman of idols.” John Calvin

“Loving a holy God is beyond our moral power. The only kind of God we can love by our sinful nature is an unholy god, an idol made by our own hands. Unless we are born of the Spirit of God, unless God sheds His holy love in our hearts, unless He stoops in His grace to change our hearts, we will not love Him… To love a holy God requires grace, grace strong enough to pierce our hardened hearts and awaken our moribund souls.” R. C. Sproul

“Idolatry is of all sins the most hateful to God because it is in essence a defamation of the divine character.” A. W. Tozer

“The religions that man creates are actually attempts to escape having to face the true God. We invent religion — not because we are seeking God, but because we are running away from Him.” James Montgomery Boice

“If your god never disagrees with you, you might just be worshiping an idealized version of yourself.” Tim Keller

“Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just; a God who is all love, but not holy; a God who has a heaven for everybody, but a hell for none; a God who can allow good and bad to exist side by side on earth, and will make no distinction between good and bad in eternity. Such a God is an idol of your own creation as real as Jupiter or Moloch; as true an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple; as true an idol as was ever moulded out of brass or clay. The hands of your own notions and emotions have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and aside from the God of the Bible there is no God at all.” J. C. Ryle

[1484 words]

The post Worshipping a God Made In My Own Image appeared first on CultureWatch.

Answering Sixteen Objections to the Resurrection of Jesus

Answering Sixteen Objections to the Resurrection of Jesus

by Eric Chabot

There are several approaches to defending the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus. Skeptics have offered a wide range of natural explanations throughout history to explain away the bodily resurrection of  Jesus. In this post, I will go ahead and several of them and try to give a response. In some cases I will leave some additional reading.

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary professor Andreas Kostenberger co-authored this statement about historical investigations (published through B&H which has SBC ties). Kostenberger, along with Bock and Chatraw, write:

“With regard to the past, one cannot empirically prove a historical event in the same way in which one proves a mathematical equation or verifies that someone is six feet tall or has blue eyes, though historical evidence can point strongly in one direction. Historical truths are tested by assessing hypotheses in view of the evidence and then accepting the hypothesis that best explains the evidence.”-Köstenberger, Andreas J.; Bock, Darrell L.; Chatraw, Josh. Truth in a Culture of Doubt: Engaging Skeptical Challenges to the Bible (pp. 166-167). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Let’s assess some of the hypotheses that best explains the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus:

#1: Legends Hypothesis: This hypothesis states that the New Testament accounts of the disciples who gave testimonies of the postmortem appearances are all legends that were invented much later.

Response: This can’t be supported by the evidence. From about AD 48 until his death, Paul wrote at least 13 of the New Testament’s books. Given that historians look to those who are contemporaries of the events, Paul is an important resource for what historians can know about Jesus of Nazareth. Furthermore, the earliest documents we have for the life of Jesus are Paul’s letters. To see common objections to Paul, see here.

Paul was a very competent rabbi who was trained at the rabbinic academy called the House of Hillel by ‘Gamaliel,’ a key rabbinic leader and member of the Sanhedrin. Of his 13 books, critical scholars even accept six of them as being authentic in that we can be certain of the author and date of these writings. Of course, there are other scholars such as Luke Timothy Johnson and Raymond Brown that think more than six of them are authored by Paul. But of the 13 books, the six are Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Philippians and 1 Thessalonians. And it is fairly well known that Bart Ehrman has written a book called, Forged: Writing in the Name of God—Why The Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are.

In this book, he discusses the other Pauline books that are in question to authorship. I will provide a response to this here by Mike Licona. I think Mike shows there can be a plausible case for the traditional authorship of the disputed New Testament letters that are attributed to Paul.

30 A.D.—–33A.D.—-40 A.D.—-50 A.D.—-55 A.D.—60 A.D.—65 A.D—70 A.D.

(CREED OF 1 Cor. 15:3-8 received before 55 A.D.)

Also, the creed that Paul lists in 1 Corinthians 15: 3-8  has been dated very shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus. Even the skeptical scholar Gerd Lüdemann says about the creed, “I do insist that the discovery of pre-Pauline confessional foundations is one of the great achievements in New Testament scholarship.” (1)

Even if the four Gospels were written some 30-70 years later, we still can posit that there was an entire oral history before the Gospels reached their written form. We can say confidently that there was simply not enough time for exaggeration or a legend to develop…

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Answering Sixteen Objections to the Resurrection of Jesus | ThinkApologetics.com

The Challenges Facing Young Christians In University (Video)

In this presentation before an audience of Summit Worldview Ministry supporters, J. Warner Wallace describes the secular worldview waiting for many young Christian believers as they enter university life. For more information about Summit Ministries and their amazing two-week immersion experience for students, please visit their website.

Source: The Challenges Facing Young Christians In University (Video)