1 Peter 3 : 15

According to 1 Peter 3 : 15, Christians are commanded to always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in us. The Christian discipline of apologetics is learning to explain and defend why we believe what we believe. God does not need anyone to defend Him, of course. What Christians are called to defend is the hope that is in us. There are good reasons for believing in God, and Christians are commanded to have them at the ready.

All Christians are commanded first of all to proclaim the good news that “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God,” in the glorious words of C.S. Lewis. Sometimes, all unbelievers need to hear is “a simple gospel presentation” to believe. In this increasingly antichristian era unbelievers are skeptical of the gospel and question the truth claims of Christianity. That is why all Christians are also called to defend the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Apologetics is nothing new. On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit fell on the first Christians, some were amazed to hear God praised miraculously in all the languages of the Roman world. Others mocked, saying the Christians were only drunk. Peter defended the outpouring of the Spirit by quoting the prophet Joel. He pointed out the miracles of Jesus, and boldly testified that he had witnessed the risen Savior. Fulfilled prophecy, miracles, the eyewitness testimony the Apostles, and the resurrection of Jesus remain key points for Christian defenders today. Peter used apologetics, and God used Peter to save about 3,000 people on that day.

Do you want to lead people to Jesus? Ground yourselves in the redemptive message of the Bible first, and learn apologetics second. It’s a wise person that wins souls (Proverbs 11:30).

Will They Not Say That Ye are Mad?

Christian Scholar vs Muslim. SHOCKING ENDING & Fu…: http://youtu.be/Y0_iluq6uus

I first saw this video on The Dividing Line webcast with James White. I do not want to simply repeat the same points which Dr. White made, so I suggest readers watch or listen to this episode of The Dividing Line for themselves.

Suffice it to say, this video is embarrassing for Daniel. It clearly demonstrates the vital need for Christians to be well versed in apologetics, sound doctrine, and most of all the Bible. I am not sure where Daniel received his religious education, but if they taught him apologetics he either forgot or never caught on. He clearly learned a little church history from somewhere, but fails to use his knowledge to make any cogent rebuttal to the Muslim, Dr. Fazal Rahman, in the video. He gets his theology wrong too. But as I said, this is addressed in greater detail by James White.

The Bible does not merely suggest, but commands Christians to be, “…prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15, ESV). Unfortunately, many Christians would not do any better than Daniel did in this situation. I could stand to be better versed in witnessing to Muslims myself.

I also want to address the end of the video, in which Daniel got rather emotional, and began to preach badly, and (allegedly) speak in tongues. The preaching was bad because Daniel failed to make any coherent point. The biblical passage read seemed to have stirred Daniel up into a passionate frenzy, but he failed to convey any substantive reason for Dr. Rahman to trust in Jesus for his salvation.

I am also not convinced that the tongues were genuine. I do not say this because I believe the gift of tongues ceased at the close of the Apostolic age. I am a Pentecostal, and I believe that tongues and all the other spiritual gifts listed in Scripture are functioning today. I doubt it was genuine because it failed to match any description of tongues described in the New Testament. At best, even if Daniel’s outburst was the manifestation of a true gift of the Spirit, Daniel was out of order.

Writing of the gifts of the Spirit, Paul advised that “…all things should be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40, ESV). This is because tongues, and the other gifts of the Spirit, are not toys to be played with, but tools God has given for specific purposes.

In the first biblical instance of tongues, when the early Christians were baptized in the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (or Shavu’ot), they supernaturally spoke in the languages of Jews who had traveled from around the world to celebrate the festival. The Galilean followers of Jesus did not know or speak these languages previously (or afterward as far as we know). As a result, thousands of Jews experienced conviction, repented, and put their trust in Jesus Christ.

The unknown tongues referred to by Paul in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14, also had a purpose, and Paul wanted to ensure the gift was used correctly. For starters, when speaking tongues in a public setting, Paul warned the Corinthians of the futility of speaking in an unknown tongue without an interpreter.

1 Corinthians 14:6-13 ESV

Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret.

Since Daniel made no attempt to interpret the language he spoke, according to the Apostle he was pointlessly “speaking into the air.” Some might object that it was not pointless to the extent that Daniel was edifying himself (per 1 Corinthians 14:4). But was Daniel there to edify himself, or defend Christianity and hopefully lead the Muslim to faith in Jesus? Was Daniel’s “tongues” directed at himself or an audience? For the purpose of apologetics and evangelism, Daniel may as well have been responding to the Dr. Rahman in Mandarin Chinese, a Native American tribal language, or Klingon for all the impact it made. Also, as I previously stated, I am not convinced that Daniel was moved in his behavior by the Holy Spirit. I have no good reason to believe Daniel was edifying anybody, including himself.

Paul even warned the Corinthians that unknown tongues spoken without interpretation would only convince non-Christians that Believers were crazy.

1 Corinthians 14:23-25 ESV

If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

The reaction to Daniel’s “tongues” was that Dr. Rahman declared, “It looks like the Muslims have won!” Regrettably, in this instance he was right. It was apparent to Dr. Rahman, as well as the YouTube viewers that Daniel was not equipped to respond to Dr. Rahman’s dawa tactics. When he failed to refute Dr. Rahman, he began to shout and spew meaningless gibberish, ultimately blaming his carnal tantrum on the Holy Spirit. This was compelling evidence that Daniel was not acting according to the leading of God’s Spirit, but according to his own vanity.

Manifestations of the Spirit can be emotional, but never ineffectual. When the Spirit moves, He moves with purpose and is always victorious. Hopefully, Daniel was humbled and learned something from this exchange. At the very least, may it be a lesson for the rest of us.

How Apologetics Saved My Faith | Pastor Matt

http://pastormattblog.com/2013/07/24/how-apologetics-saved-my-faith/

The linked blog by Pastor Matt Rawlings really encouraged me to continue studying and using apologetics in my Christian witness. It really is important that we provide outstanding answers to tough questions about the nature of God, the Bible, and the world around us. If you need some evidence that apologetics works, or if you are a Christian apologist in need encouragement, please read.

Ecclesiastes 7:19 ESV

Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.

Something We Could Never Have Guessed

I’ve been reading More Than a Theory by astrophysicist Hugh Ross, and in chapter 7 of that book, Dr. Ross presented some thoughts on extra dimensions that intrigued me.

When the Bible describes God’s triune intra-relationship (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit relating to one another) and causal activity (for example, putting his “grace” into effect) as occurring before time started (see Gen. 1:1; Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2), it suggests the possibility of some kind of dimensionality and/or temporality or the equivalent beyond the universe. The declaration in Hebrews that the detectable universe was not made from that which is visible may imply the same possibility (Heb. 11:3). These ideas, along with the more likely biblical implication that God created the universe “out of nothing,” remain consistent with the singularity feature of most ( though not all) big bang models.

By adding one extra dimension of space, mathematicians can prove theoretically that a three-dimensional basketball can be turned inside out without making a cut or a hole in its surface. But limitations on human imagination prevent people from being able to visualize how such a phenomenon occurs. People simply cannot imagine phenomena in more dimensions than they experience. This limitation has significant theological and scientific implications.

Religions that are mere human inventions (without inspiration from a Being beyond the dimensions of length, width, height, and time) will lack any transcendent teachings. They don’t include information that demands the existence of dimensions beyond the familiar four. (Though such religions might appeal to magic or seemingly transdimensional entities, their attributes, activities, or behaviors can be comprehended fully within the dimensions of length, width, height, and time.)

By contrast, the Bible describes many extra- or transdimensional doctrines that reflect a reality beyond length, width, height, and time. Some examples include the triune nature of God (three persons yet only one essence), God’s simultaneous transcendence and immanence, and the simultaneity of human free choice and divine predetermination. Scripture also contains accounts of transdimensional or extradimensional events, such as Jesus’ transfiguration (see Matt. 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36) and his physical body’s ability to enter a locked room after the resurrection (John 20:19:31). A God with the capacity to operate both within and beyond extra dimensions could make such “impossibilities” possible.

Isn’t that a awe-inspiring conclusion? The evidence points directly to the God of the Bible, who transcends the dimensions we can perceive and anything we could imagine. Dr. Ross echoes C.S. Lewis, who wrote in the classic Mere Christianity,

You know that in space you can move in three ways – to left or right, backwards or forwards, up or down. Every direction is either one of these three or a compromise between them. They are called the three Dimensions. Now notice this. If you are using only one dimension, you could draw only a straight line. If you are using two; you could draw a figure: say, a square. And a square is made up of four straight lines. Now a step further. If you have three dimensions, you can then build what we call a solid body: say, a cube – a thing like a dice or a lump of sugar. And a cube is made up of six squares.

Do you see the point? A world of one dimension would be a straight line. In a two-dimensional world, you still get straight lines, but many lines make one figure. In a three-dimensional world, you still get figures but many figures make one solid body. In other words, as you advance to more real and more complicated levels, you do not leave behind you the things you found on the simpler levels: you still have them, but combined in new ways – in ways you could not imagine if you knew only the simpler levels.

Now the Christian account of God involves just the same principle. The human level is a simple and rather empty level. On the human level one person is one being, and any two persons are two separate beings – just as, in two dimensions (say on a flat sheet of paper) one square is one figure, and any two squares are two separate figures. On the Divine level you still find personalities; but up there you find them combined in new ways which we, who do not live on that level, cannot imagine. In God’s dimension, so to speak, you find a being who is three Persons while remaining one Being, just as a cube is six squares while remaining one cube. Of course we cannot fully conceive a Being like that: just as, if we were so made that we perceived only two dimensions in space we could never properly imagine a cube. But we can get a sort of faint notion of it. And when we do, we are then, for the first time in our lives, getting some positive idea, however faint, of something super-personal – something more than a person. It is something we could never have guessed, and yet, once we have been told, one almost feels one ought to have been able to guess it because it fits in so well with all the things we know already.

You may ask, ‘if we cannot imagine a three-personal Being, what is the good of talking about Him?’ Well, there isn’t any good talking about Him. The thing that matters is being actually drawn into that three-personal life, and that may begin any time – to-night, if you like.

We are living in an age where information, knowledge, and technology are exponentially growing every day. Science and solid theology indicate a transdimensional and tripersonal God that we could not have guessed or imagined. But it had only begun to catch up to ancient revelation.

Isaiah 44:6-8, 24-25; 46:5-10 (ESV)

Thus says the Lord , the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” Thus says the Lord , your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord , who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, who frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners, who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish.

“To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike? Those who lavish gold from the purse, and weigh out silver in the scales, hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; then they fall down and worship! They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it, they set it in its place, and it stands there; it cannot move from its place. If one cries to it, it does not answer or save him from his trouble. “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.'”

To Christians and non-Christians alike, I would say that we have good reasons to trust in the triune Creator of the universe.

Ecclesiastes 7:19 ESV

Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.