Friday, October 21, 2011

Ten Most Common Objections to Christianity

Ten Most Common Objections to Christianity Whitney Hopler Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Alex McFarland's book, The 10 Most Common Objections to Christianity (Regal Books). People in today's society have many questions about faith, and every question deserves an honest answer. If you've taken the time to think through exactly what you believe and why you believe it, you'll be prepared to give people the answers they need to genuinely seek - and find - Christ. Here's how you can answer the most common objections to Christianity: * Make your responses theological, reasonable, and practical. Ask yourself: "Does what I have to say square up with the Bible?", "Does what I say make sense?", "Is it credible and factually correct?", "Am I giving people truth in a way that they can understand and relate to?" and "Have I successfully bridged the gap from the ‘ivory towers of academia' to the ‘real world' where people live their day-to-day lives?". * Understand the questions behind the questions. Get to know why people are asking the questions they're asking in the first place. Find out what issues are stirring their souls and motivating them to seek answers. * Respond to "I don't believe that God exists. How can anybody be sure?" Recognize that, logically, neither atheism nor agnosticism make sense. Atheism requires complete knowledge of everything (which no human has) in order to declare for certain that there is no God. Agnostics claim that they can't know anything for sure, but it's a contradiction to say, "One thing I know about God: You can't know anything about Him." Explain the evidence for God's existence: Every effect has a cause (Both science and the Bible acknowledge that the universe had a beginning, and that it couldn't have arrived without a force behind it), Every creation has a Creator (Nature itself points toward its Creator and reveals what He is like), Every design has a Designer (The intricate design all around you - from the patterns the universe to the uniqueness of a DNA strand - show that they must have resulted from an intelligent Designer rather than just mindless happenstance), Communication requires a Communicator (the cells in people's bodies are filled with complex instructions that were programmed by Someone intelligent to communicate that information), and Every law has a Lawgiver (The universal moral law of what's right and what's wrong transcends cultures, and must have come from an outside source - the One who gave all humans a conscience. Not only that, but people's universal inability to keep the moral code perfectly reveals that all humans need forgiveness from a Savior). Understand that God must be personal, as well, because He created people to be personal (with wills, emotions, personalities, volitions, and ambitions), and He Himself must be at least as sophisticated as who He has created. Realize also that God reveals Himself to the world so He can be sought. Know that He wants people to seek Him, and promises that if they do, they'll find Him. * Respond to "But what about evolution? Couldn't God have created us but used evolution to do it?" Acknowledge that species have indeed changed over time to survive, but that the theory of evolution mistakenly claims that those adaptations can actually result in the creation of new species. It also inaccurately claims that life itself could have randomly evolved from non-living material. Understand that the mathematical probability of life originating at random is so miniscule as to render that concept absurd. Know that the process of evolution (new, additional genetic information occurring in living forms or new life by genetic mutation) has never been observed in all of recorded history. Realize that the earth's fossil record reveals that every living form has appeared suddenly and completely developed - not through gradual transition, as the evolution theory would suggest. Understand that current research in molecular biology has revealed what evolution's original theorist, Charles Darwin, didn't know: Proteins and nucleic acids are too structurally complex to have arisen spontaneously in the same place at the same time, and all the amino acids in DNA are of the same molecular orientation and couldn't have begun by chance, so life could not have originated solely by chemical means. Acknowledge that it's irrational to believe that something can come from nothing, that chaos birthed order, and that lifeless matter produced consciousness. Remember that, while evolutionists claim that biological life arose accidentally, people don't see information arising accidentally anywhere in the physical world. Realize that accepting the theory of evolution requires faith, just as believing in creationism does, because no human alive today can travel back in time to observe what happened when the universe began. Acknowledge that creationism is just as scientific as evolution, because each seeks to explain within its framework all the real known data of science and history. Know that, while the Bible leaves the time frame meant by "day" in the creation account unspecified, the point isn't how much time the process took. Recognize that the Bible is very clear about what matters most - Who is responsible for creation (God). * Respond to "How do I know the Bible is really true?" Realize that many more ancient copies and portions of the Bible have been found than those of any other ancient manuscript. Know that each of those biblical writings have been accepted as authentic by historians. Recognize that many of the biblical accounts were recorded just a short time after they took place, in contrast to the huge time gap of centuries that existed with most other ancient manuscripts. Understand that when various biblical manuscripts have been scrutinized against each other, they've been proven to be consistent. Realize that no other ancient document can even come close to the New Testament in terms of number of manuscripts found and the closeness in time to the original autographs, so questioning the New Testament's credibility would require tossing out the validity of every other ancient manuscript ever found. Recognize that the Bible qualifies as the most reliable, verifiable source ever written. Consider the myriad of archeological discoveries that verify people, places, and events the Bible mentions. Also consider the hundreds of biblical prophecies that have been fulfilled in specific and meticulous ways - often, long after the prophetic writer had died. Think about the Bible's historical and scientific accuracy. Ponder how indestructible the Bible has proven to be, despite many attempts throughout history to either censor or eradicate it. Realize that the Bible's unique structure points to its reliability, since it maintains perfect unity and consistency throughout, despite its 66 different books written by at least 40 different people from all walks of life over a period of 2,000 years. Consider how profoundly the Bible has impacted world culture and events - more than any other document in human history. Think about the Bible's unique power to change people's lives. * Respond to "What about all the errors in the Bible?" Admit that the Bible contains complicated passages that can be difficult to understand. But be assured that a proven error has never been found in all of Scripture. All 66 books of the Bible are the inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God. Remember that, although the New Testament wasn't officially compiled until the Council of Nicea in 327 A.D., the early Church already acknowledged the same 27 New Testament books long before then. Understand that, while early Christians wrestled with doctrinal differences, they agreed on the core of the faith - the essential beliefs related to Jesus and the salvation He offers. Know that what can appear to be variations in biblical narratives are not contradictions. Realize that, just like modern journalists, the author of each biblical book mentioned only the details that were most vividly impressed on their minds or the minds of those who witnessed the different events. Understand that a partial account doesn't mean a false account, and that none of the details mentioned in any of the accounts conflict with details in other accounts. Consider that all of the biblical authors openly acknowledged that they were writing with divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and if all of them were wrong in those claims, then they were either lying or insane - neither of which makes sense, because they wrote the world's most beautiful literature containing the most perfect moral code ever devised. Think beyond mere assumptions as you wrestle with the Bible's difficult passages. For example, rather than assuming that a race of people not descended from Adam and Eve must have existed for Cain to find a wife, realize that he could have married one of his sisters, especially since the command against incest didn't come from Moses until at least 400 years later. Understand that the Bible is reliable because its specific and verifiable claims have all been found to be true, eyewitnesses to biblical events and many other people throughout history have testified to its credibility, and biblical teachings have profoundly impacted the world in ways that go far beyond any other book. * Respond to "What makes Jesus so different from other great men of history?" Recognize that Jesus stands out above all people because of: His prophesied coming, His supernatural birth, His miraculous deeds, His distinctive teaching, and His actions that substantiated His claims. Understand that the greatest proof of Jesus' uniqueness is His resurrection, which has been verified extensively, through evidence such as the testimonies of the empty tomb, the numerous appearances of Jesus after He was resurrected, the instant and powerful change in the disciples afterward, and the complete silence of Jewish and Roman authorities. * Respond to "Aren't there many roads to heaven? Don't all paths ultimately lead to the same place?" Understand that all religious viewpoints can't be true, because they're bound to contradict at some point. Know that it's logical for opposite roads to lead to different destinations. Remember that Jesus explicitly stated, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me," (John 14:6) and that the Bible is unmistakably clear that there is only one road to heaven - through the salvation Jesus alone offers. Recognize the legitimate authority Jesus has to speak on the subject. Know that popular opinion to the contrary, while politically correct, is spiritually wrong. * Respond to "Is hell for real? If so, how can a loving God send people there?" Don't deny the truth that hell exists. Understand that hell is necessary because God's just nature demands that sin be punished. Realize that all people actually deserve hell, but God's great love compelled Him to offer heaven to everyone who trusts Him. Know that God gives everyone the freedom to decide what they want for themselves, and those who end up in hell put themselves there by rejecting Jesus' offer of salvation and choosing to trust in their own imperfect efforts (which are bound to fail) instead. Remember God's promise to allow everyone who truly seeks Him to find Him. Be assured that no one goes to hell because they can't be reached; they go because they don't want God. * Respond to "I don't think I'm a sinner. I'm not so bad." Know that being "not so bad" or "pretty good" isn't enough to earn your way to heaven. Understand that you must be perfectly righteous to go to heaven, and that is only possible by trusting in Jesus' work on the cross for you. Realize that God doesn't rank sins as people do; to God, sin is sin, even though one person might be a murderer and another might be a child who simply lies about brushing her teeth before bedtime. Remember that, in His holiness, God can't stand any kind of sin, but a saving relationship with Jesus will make a person perfectly pure and acceptable to God. * Respond to "Christians are all hypocrites. Why would I want to become one of them?" Admit that all Christians, because they're imperfect humans, sometimes fail to live up to the standard Jesus set. Understand that Christians don't claim to be perfect - just forgiven - and that they're all growing into better and better people, thanks to God's grace. Focus on Jesus Himself and decide to believe in Christianity, despite the behavior of some Christians, because: God offers you Christ instead of Christians, Christian truth is not negated by human failures, all people are hypocrites in reality, and human failures make the need for Jesus all the more clear. * Respond to "Why is there evil in the world? What about suffering?" Understand that, while God allows evil because He has given His creatures free will, God never causes evil Himself. Recognize that humanity is to blame for the evil that has corrupted our natural world. Remember God's promises in Scripture to handle evil in His way and timing, because He is in ultimate control. Trust in God's love, power, and wisdom and notice all the ways He constantly uses suffering to accomplish good purposes in people's lives. Know that the existence of suffering does not the reality of God. Rely on God's strength to help you and others deal with suffering well and emerge better people as a result. * Help people find the ultimate Answer - Jesus Himself. After you help explain the answers to people's various questions about Christianity, encourage them to begin an eternal relationship with Jesus that will fulfill them more than anything else. Offer to pray with them. Adapted from The 10 Most Common Objections to Christianity, by Alex McFarland. Published by Regal Books, Ventura, Ca., 2007, 1-800-4-GOSPEL, Alex McFarland (M.A., Christian Thought/Apologetics, Liberty University) is a speaker, writer and advocate for Christian apologetics, as well as the president of Southern Seminary and the former director of Teen Apologetics at Focus on the Family. An author and popular speaker at hundreds of locations throughout the United States and abroad, Alex is also the weekly host for Truth Talk Live radio program, and the founder of Truth for a New Generation apologetics conferences. He has also been interviewed by Billy Graham's Decision radio broadcast, James Dobson, The New York Times, the BBC, and many other media outlets.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Imagine................................ if He refused the cross............. Imagine................. If the Advocate, bothered not to come. Imagine...................... If he didnt promise an heavenly home Imagine....................... If it was all talk and no show.... would you still follow Him.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sexual Purity Starts at Seven

Sexual Purity Starts at Seven Ralph Hephzy Ehiabhi (His Inextinguishable Power Hovering Over People is Life Ministries {HIPHOP is Life Ministries}.) +234-806-5976-701, By the time she is sixteen, a Christian girl has a 50/50 chance of surviving life without the experiences of sexual sin, eating disorders and depression. Parents who “did everything right” can’t understand how it happened when their daughter falls on the wrong side of the stats. What they don’t know is that they may have done everything right, but started too late. The foundation for building an emotionally healthy teen girl -- who stands free from the norms of an at-risk culture -- is built between the ages of 8-12. I have to hold myself back every time a white-haired grandma leans in to her pig-tailed granddaughter and teasingly asks her, “So, do you have a boyfriend?” This, usually said with a chuckle and a batting of the eyes, is generally meant to be just silly conversation, but I know too much to consider it to be cute. It is dangerous. Being in a dating relationship for six months or longer is a significant risk factor for early teen sexual activity. Can you see why it might not be “cute” for our 8-12 year olds to be boy crazy or to have multiple boyfriends while they are still in the fourth grade? If she develops the pattern of “needing” a guy when she is eight or nine, she’s going to be in many six-month relationships in her early teen years. That’s not wise. Let’s help her stay off the boy crazy train. I have two sixteen-year-old girls who have not only stayed off of it, but have managed to pull a few friends off. How do you navigate through boy craziness? There are three critical things you must do to prepare your princess to be successful in her quest for purity. First, you’ll need to have the big sex talk. Don’t think for a minute that it’s too early. Experts agree that sexual value formation begins when a child is between the ages of 8-10. A healthy, age-appropriate conversation during those years is critical. Second, you need to begin to establish your family philosophy on dating and begin to explain it to your child in stages. This will begin with the first stage of teaching her to related to boys as friends, not boyfriends in fourth grade! Finally, mom, it’s time to start dreaming of her future. If you take the time now to establish a dream of purity and a white wedding dress in her heart, she will know what to aim for and will be less likely to settle for anything less. The book of Proverbs describes a virtuous woman. It says that she does her husband good “all the days of her life.” I think that includes when she’s seven!

When the Bible Blows Your Mind

When the Bible Blows Your Mind Ralph Hephzy Ehiabhi (His Inextinguishable Power Hovering Over People is Life Ministries {HIPHOP is Life Ministries}.) +234-806-5976-701, The Bible teaches us to expect mental jolts when we think about God. It teaches us that our familiar ways of seeing things may be replaced. For example, it says, "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!" (Romans 11:33). Or again, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9). One of the reasons (not the only one) that some people reject the biblical teaching of unconditional election is that it seems and feels to them out of sync with other teachings in the Bible - like the compassion of God for people or the moral accountability of people before God. It seems to many that God can't choose unconditionally to save some and not others and then also feel compassion for those he does not choose and hold them accountable for their sin. The problem here is that our instinct or intuition for what is right or possible for God does not fit Scripture. And the danger is that we shape Scripture to fit our feelings. The Scriptures teach that God chooses who will be saved before we are born or have done anything good or evil (Romans 9:10-12). "It depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy" (Romans 9:16). The Scriptures also teach that we are responsible for the obedience of faith and will be judged if we are disobedient. "But for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury" (Romans 2:8). We are chosen (or not chosen) unconditionally for salvation. And we are accountable for our faith (or unbelief). As I said in my sermon on 12-8-11, I do not fully understand how God renders certain the belief of the elect and the unbelief of the non-elect. If you want to go deeper into this, I recommend Jonathan Edwards' book The Freedom of the Will. It is slow reading, but you will grow more from the effort than you can imagine. To help you accustom yourself to living with such felt tensions (unconditional election and human accountability) consider two similar ones from the example of Christ. First, we see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem because the things of the kingdom were "hidden from [their] eyes." But on the other hand we also hear Jesus say that God has "hidden these things." Luke 19:41-42. And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, "Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes." Luke 10:21. In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will." Second, we see Jesus feeling compassion for those who were sick - irrespective, it seems of their faith. On the other hand, we know from illustrations and teachings elsewhere in the Bible that God is finally and decisively in control of sickness. So we have Jesus feeling sorry for people who have sicknesses that God's wisdom has ordained (at least for a time). Matthew 14:14. When [Jesus] went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Exodus 4:11. Then the LORD said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?" 1 Samuel 2:6. The LORD kills and brings to chosen e brings down to Sheol and raises up. Implications: 1) Don't cancel one truth in the Bible because it feels out of sync with another. 2) Don't draw emotional or behavioral implications from God's sovereignty that contradict faith, compassion, accountability, prayer, evangelism, or hard work. On the contrary, consider Colossians 3:12 and let your unspeakably happy condition as "chosen, holy and loved" produce "compassion, kindness, humility and meekness."