Apologetics

To give a defense

Joy to the World! The Temple is Destoryed

Destruction-of-JerusalemAll of it is gone.  The Ark of the Covenant is lost. The line of priests is broken. The Veil in the Temple is ripped in two. The Temple has been destroyed.  (Well, OK, we all know the Ark is stored in a government facility with all the other cool stuff Indiana Jones has found during his extraordinary career.)  Seriously think about these facts from a theological perspective.  Every marker of the Old Covenant is either lost or destroyed.  I just recently came to the realization that God intended it as such.

Honestly, I got here tonight after our youth Bible study.  I typically teach through books of the Bible.  For the last year and a half I’ve been working through the book of Hebrews.  I finished up chapter six tonight, which was leading into chapter seven which is all about Jesus being in the priestly order of Melchizedek, which is greater than the priestly order of the sons of Aaron (the line of High Priests from the tribe of the Levites).  The Book of Hebrews is all about this; Jesus and the New Covenant established by his blood, is superior in every way to the Old Covenant.

This is what Easter is; the end of the Old Covenant and the triumph of the New Covenant.

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:11-12 ESV)

Jesus has done it, it is finished.  The more I think about it the more I start to see a deeper meaning behind John 2:18-19, “So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (ESV, emphasis added).   Now, we mostly interpret this as his body, and rightly so, but I see more.  I think that Jesus meant “I am going to destroy this old, useless temple, and establish an eternal, better temple that can truly save sinners.”  And that’s exactly what he did.  

When Jesus died on the Cross, at that moment there was an earthquake that ripped the veil in the Holy of Holies.  This effectively desecrated the Temple and “destroyed” it’s purpose.  With the tearing of the veil all that was symbolized and meant by the Temple and its chambers was rendered useless.   That’s a good thing.

It’s a good thing because Jesus was doing something greater, “securing an eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:12b).  The Old Covenant and its Temple were destroyed the moment Jesus Christ became the ultimate atoning sacrifice by his death.  The New Covenant and it’s Perfect Temple, The Body of the risen Lord Jesus, was established three day’s later on Resurrection Sunday.

Christ is risen, he is victorious over sin and death, we have forgiveness through his blood.

Joy to the world! Our Lord has come! The Temple has been destroyed by the power of Jesus!

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He is not here: for he is risen!

 

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Where is God?

 “Since Evil and Suffering exist, a Loving God cannot.”

After watching God’s Not Dead and doing a post about it, I’ve refocused on my personal study of Apologetics.  I recently picked up The Case for Faith by Atheist turned Christian, Lee Strobel.  The subtitle reads “A Journalist Investigates the toughest Objections to Christianity”  The table of contents is lain out with what are considered the eight strongest arguments against God.  The first chapter and the chapter I’m on is “Since Evil and Suffering exist, a Loving God cannot.”

The Problem of Evil

Greek Philosophers debated this thousands of years ago, and is the primary reason Charles Templeton, contemporary of Billy Graham and fellow evangelist, abandoned the Christian faith, and spend the rest of his life writing and speaking against Theism.  Strobel tells his own stories of travelling as a journalist, seeing starving families in his home town of Chicago, while he lived in comfort in is townhouse, and seeing abandoned and diseased boy while travelling in India.  Why? Where is God?  Those are legitimate questions.  When you look at all the pain in this world it’s heartbreaking, but sadly we then go back to cute cat videos on Youtube to ease our empathy, forgetting about those whom God has seemingly forgotten.

Why Doesn’t God do Anything?

Why doesn’t he?  Why don’t we do anything? I’m not writing today about defending God against “the problem of evil” argument.  There are plenty of well written responses; Lee Strobel being one, Ravi Zacharias being another.  You either find the Christian response reasonable or you don’t.  I write today because we, as followers of Jesus Christ, are supposed to be his hands and his feet (1 Corinthians 12), Christ’s ambassadors to this world.

Templeton said that the moment he gave up belief in a loving God, was when he saw a picture of an African woman, holding her dead son in her arms.  The reason was drought.  A drought had devastated that region.  Templeton’s thought was simple, “Rain! All you had to do was send rain!”  I don’t care how strong your faith is, that shakes it.

You may consider this a “cop-out” answer but I believe that God created this world to run like a clock.  Sin fundamentally broke this clock.  This is where, hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, and all types of disasters come from.  It’s not necessarily God’s wrath smiting a godless New Orleans (As some have said about Katrina), but rather God’s continued judgement against a world full of sin.  You see, in scripture you have almost a paradox between God’s grace and God’s wrath.  In God’s love and grace, Jesus Christ absorbed God’s wrath on the cross.  So when you hear people say “God is Love” you must also remember “God is Wrath.”   An uncomfortable and unpopular concept, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Human Responsibility

Now, it’s easy for me to sit in my nice office in front of a laptop and say this, but I’m going to do it anyway.  Why didn’t Templeton with all of his influence that he had as one of the leading evangelicals in the world, use his influence to bring relief to those suffering in Africa?  Isn’t that the Christian thing to Do?  The Bible says from the beginning Mankind was given primary authority and responsibility to govern this world. Think about it, how is the Gospel spread?  Through people sharing?  Why didn’t Jesus just appear to everyone after his resurrection?  Because this is our world, God expects us to play a part in fixing it.  If we are “God’s Children” and he is our father it makes since.  You can pick up your child’s room for them, fix their mistakes while they play video games, or you can teach them how to do these things and help them.  I think this is part of why God doesn’t just automatically fix every evil, how else would we learn?

So next time you or I are presented with the evil of human suffering, instead of “asking where is God?” Why don’t we ask ourselves “How should I as a follower of Jesus bring about healing?”  Didn’t Jesus come to save, heal, and restore?  If he is our example shouldn’t we do the same?  Maybe God wants to use us to fix the evil in the this world.

Personally, I’m selfish.  I lack compassion.  Our recent Sunday School lesson was over generosity.  To begin this lesson everyone was given a piece of paper and told “You’ve just been given 1 Million dollars, what would you do?”  I listed several things, nothing frivolous (Pay off debt, buy a car with less than 150,000 miles on it, etc). Nowhere on my list was giving money away to help people.  The truth is if most of us were given 1 Million dollars we could give every dime of it away to those in real need, and never miss a meal, never lack shelter, never lack clothing, never lack anything.

So in the light of human suffering
Where is God?
Where are you?
Where am I?
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God’s Not Dead – My Take

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Right off the bat, let me just say that this is one of the better “Christian” movies I’ve seen.  It had a great story line and had a clear message.  Unlike some other films in this genre it presented Christ and the Gospel clearly without sounding forced and preachy.

Let’s get a few things out of the way.

I’ve taken philosophy classes, read both atheistic and theistic philosophy but spend most of my time in the study of Theology.  Philosophy literally means: Philo (Love) sophy (wisdom). Theology means: Theos (God) logy (study of), “the study of God.”  I’m a Christian and I’m a Pastor, so I believe Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. (Proverbs 9:10 ESV).”  So for me Theology is the highest form of philosophy.  Now you know my bias.

Next I will concede that a college freshman would not be able to debate an experienced college professor.  The level of experience and knowledge on the subject just makes this impractical.  As a side note I enjoyed “debating” my philosophy professor in college, he also was my Theology professor.  Let’s just say he’d heard all of my brilliant arguments for years and knew how to put me in my place.

Also, while possible, I doubt that any College professor would coerce a student into signing a paper denying the existence of a God, or a “debate” being set up in this format.  Do some Atheistic philosophy professors attack Christianity and theism in the classroom?  Yes they do, some border on militant, some are militant against Christianity.  There are even documented cases of this hostility.  You can click here to view some legal cases involving religious liberty on college campuses.  The plot of this movie was chosen because it made a better, faster, and more exciting story.  All movies do this so get over it.  (Tom Bombidil anyone?!)

Let’s Get Down to Business

Believing in God doesn’t make you an idiotic redneck who is scared of learning anything.  Not believing in God doesn’t make you stupid either. Although, “the fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God'” – Psalm 14:1 (sorry, I couldn’t resist).  I’ve met very smart people with “alphabet soup” behind their names from prestigious universities, are tenured scientists, and devout Christians.  I’ve also met some fairly ignorant people who are also devout Christians.  And I can say the same for Atheists.  I think we’d get a lot further in our conversations if both theists and atheists would stop stereotyping each other as idiots.  Maybe this is just my bias, but it often feels theists are more often portrayed as the idiots and atheists are the “intellectuals.”

In the movie, Professor Radison says, “most of the most devoted atheists were once Christians.”  I wonder why?  Maybe it’s just that our culture has been primarily influenced by the Judeo-Christian worldview.  But I’ve never heard of a former Muslim who is a militant atheist, or a former Hindu who is a militant atheist.  That’s something to think about.  Radison then tells the student, Josh Weaton, about losing his mother to cancer when he was 12.

If you are an Atheist and are reading this, I would honestly like to know your story on how you became an Atheist.  Please share in the comments.

I’m a Christian, so obviously we disagree.  I ask for your story not to tear you down or have a debate that leads to name calling.  I’m curious.  From my bias and experience, most of the Atheists I’ve met became Atheists because of some trauma or tragedy.  That has little to do with “scientific proofs” and more to do with emotion than “facts.” What happened?  This movie paints a picture that Atheists, especially those who are “former Christians” are actually so angry at God, or hurt from some past trauma that they decide that God simply cannot exist.  I find that an interesting concept.  There seems to be a correlation, so is this true for you?

For the Christians, you can have all the clever arguments in the world for the existence of God and the truth of Christianity and still be a complete Jerk.

I enjoy the mental exercise of defending Christianity.  This is called Apologetics in the Christian world.  Apologetics is not apologizing for you beliefs, but goes to the Greek root which means “to give a defense.” I enjoy science, and like learning.  For me it’s very important to know not only what I believe, but why I believe it.  But as the Apostle Paul says “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-2 ESV).”  Christians should be defined by love.  I don’t believe that people are “won over” to Christianity by clever arguments for the existence of God, I think they are won over by love, compassion, and forgiveness.  The Holy Spirit brings about change and salvation in a person’s life, not you not me, we are just called to bear witness.

I think the study of Apologetics is more for believers than for non-believers.  Faith is a fickle thing, look at the life of Peter, he had enough faith in Jesus to walk on water with him, if only for a moment.  Then he denied even knowing Jesus, after all he had seen all Jesus’s miracles.  I’ve seen and experienced Jesus do powerful things, I’ve even devoted my life to teaching others about Jesus Christ, but there are times when my faith is weak.  Apologetics, studying all the evidence for God, and seeing his Majesty as Creator and King of this universe builds up my faith.

I share this verse with my youth often: “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,”(1 Peter 3:15 ESV).  There are three things that I like to point out in this verse.  The first is that Jesus is Lord.  Jesus is the ruler of our lives as his disciples and as Christians.  Second, we need to be prepared to share our faith and hope in Jesus.  This means knowing what we believe as Christians and why.  This involves sharing the Gospel, and the field of Apologetics.  The Greek root for apologetics is the word translated “to make a defense” in this verse. The third thing to notice, is the emphasis on both gentleness and respect.  If we’re not going to be respectful and loving to people we have no business calling ourselves Christians.  There is a big difference in speaking the truth of scripture and disagreeing with someone’s chosen beliefs and lifestyle, and being hateful, belittling, and unloving.

Jesus came to save you from your sin

To the Atheist reading this, to the agnostic, to the whatever you are.  I believe that there is a God that created this entire universe. I believe that He created mankind in his image and likeness.  I believe that God gave mankind freewill to obey him or disobey him, and that we chose disobedience (ie sin).  I believe that sin has broken this world, sin is the root cause for death and all the evils that are in this world.  I believe that God is just and will punish sin.  I believe that God is loving and merciful and offered up his only Son, Jesus Christ to die on a Cross in your place and my place to pay the price for our sin.  I believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and is alive and is ready and able to forgive our sin, and give us a new life if we ask him.  I believe that no matter how screwed up you think you are, the power of Jesus can save you, all you have to do is ask him.  This is what I believe

GOD’S NOT DEAD

[It’s 1:40am, I don’t feel like proof reading this, I’ll fix any typos tomorrow. Forgive me]

Categories: Apologetics, Theology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

I am afraid of this indisputable pro-choice argument

This is a brilliant answer to the most disturbing argument for abortion I’ve ever heard. – from Matt Walsh.

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Why I like teaching through books of the Bible

open-bibleFor the last year and a half I have been teaching through the book of Hebrews.  I just finished chapter 6.   I teach through books of the Bible at a snail’s pace for several reasons, if you don’t that is OK, God still loves you…probably.  It’s not the only way to teach the Bible but some would say it’s “the only right way.”

(Disclaimer, I don’t think verse-by-verse teaching is the only right way to teach the Bible, I just prefer it)

I’m going to outline four reasons that I prefer teaching verse by verse through books of the Bible

Reason 1: It’s how I learned the Bible

The first is from my formative years as a follower of Jesus.  I was saved by grace my senior year of high school.  It was then I started attending church regularly again (I grew up going to Sunday School, but had stopped at the start of High School).  I became a little frustrated by the discontinuity of our youth lessons that were mostly topical.  I wanted to know how the Bible fit together and the overarching narrative, not just random tidbits.  I had decided that I would read through the Bible starting from the beginning to see who God really was for myself, and was getting a little bogged down in Leviticus.  I needed someone to teach me how to study the Bible, and a purely topical approach with fancy handouts, wasn’t doing it for me.  

When I started college I went to a BIG church that ran over 3000 on a Sunday morning.  It was a little overwhelming since there were only 43 people in my senior class and 587 on the population sign.  But something happened Sunday after Sunday that I had never experienced.  The preacher was preaching verse by verse through a book of the Bible (I think it was 1 Peter).  He was tying the whole book together, week after week.  The whole church operated that way.  The college small groups spent the semester going trough a book of the Bible.  To me it was amazing, and it taught me to see Scripture as part of a whole.  The single verse is part of a paragraph, the paragraph is part of a section, the section is part of a book, the book is part of a set (Gospel, Pauline epistle, Historical Book, etc) and that is part of the Bible.  And the Bible tells a single story, the story of God’s redemption of his creation through the Life, the Death, the Burial, and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.  I’m not going to lie, when I first started teaching others about Jesus and the Bible I copied this approach.  Even today if I’m dealing with a difficult passage I can go this church’s website and search chapter and verse to see if this pastor has preached it.  (He never concerned himself with fancy titles.  His sermon title would be “John 3:16-17” and so forth.  He spent over five years in Matthew).  So the first reason, I like teaching verse by verse is that it just clicks with me, and it suits my personality.  (Here is a link to this church http://centralbcs.org/sermons if you are interested)

Reason 2: I do it for myself

My second reason is also personal.  I teach through books of the Bible for myself.  I like doing in-depth studies and many have said that “you learn more by preparing to teach than you ever do in a classroom.”  Many times it is extremely difficult to teach a section of Scripture.  I can’t keep the my audience captive for hours at a time.  And I’m not good enough of a preacher to hold their attention for hours at a time.  (Also I don’t confuse length with quality)  You have to break things down into bite size chunks, while still maintaining unity with a whole.  The first book I ever taught through was Romans.  It took me 48 sermons.  I was young, 21 years old, inexperienced, untrained, and pastoring a small rural church while attending the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor  where I got a degree in Christian Ministry & History.  A mentoring pastor told me that I should go with something easier.  “Romans, is a difficult book to teach through,” he said.  And he was right!  But it was the right thing for me.  I was forced to study, to wrestle with texts that I didn’t fully understand, theological issues that I didn’t know the proper names for, correct a lot of false assumptions, and most importantly admit that I don’t have all the answers. I read so many commentaries, had three study Bibles, it was SO hard, but entirely worth it. So selfishly. I preach through books because I grow from it.

Reason 3: I force myself to cover difficult and unpopular issues

My third reason is to force myself to cover hard issues in scripture.  Try preaching verse by verse through 1 Corinthians.  And tell me about what you do when you come across Paul telling people not to marry, about women not being allowed to speak in church, about head coverings, etc.  I don’t know about you but I’m not looking forward to that sermon, but one day I will preach through 1 Corinthians verse by verse and I’ll have to.  Taken out of context, these passages and topics have been misused to a great deal. (Ok the Bible has been twisted for evil purposes for thousands of years, see Matthew 4 when Satan misquotes scripture to Jesus.)

Some try to explain these truly difficult passages away, or ignore them.  But when you go verse by verse you maintain the historical whole of the Book, and are able to look at these difficult passages through their cultural and historical lens to see the bigger truth that God was communicating.  If you just pick and pull verses you can honestly make the Bible SEEM to say whatever you want it to.  That puts you in the same category as Satan, and that’s not a position that you or I want to put ourselves in.

Reason 4: I believe in the long run this best helps my youth.

My fourth reason is that I have a limited time with my youth.  My previous post is about how my core group will be gone in a year and a half.  That’s not much time to teach them all I think they need to know about their faith.  But if I can have them walk with me, verse by verse through a single book of the Bible, they will know that Book very well and will be able to go back to it.  At some point whether they stay in church or not they are going to face a trial.  My hope is that they will remember, “Hey, back in youth group ‘what’s-his-name’ went through Hebrews and there was a part that said something about what I’m going through.”  And, because I make everyone open a bible every week, they will be able to find Hebrews and as they read it they’ll see all the truth of God’s Word.  So the fourth reason is that I believe it helps people learn to use the Bible and learn to understand the whole chapter and verse thing.

I do not lock myself into a single method of teaching, even though I have my preferences.  

Finally I would like to say I’m not saying that this is the one and only way to teach the Bible.  We all have different personalities and gifts that God uses to bring glory to himself.  I do not exclusively teach verse by verse.  I like using the book I’m teaching through as a backdrop to work in short topical series.  For example; when I got to Hebrews 6:1 “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity” (ESV).  I did a 6 week topical study called “Moving toward Maturity” and I covered some basic tenants of the faith that I felt the youth needed to know.  Back when we were studying how Jesus is greater that Moses, I spent a few weeks teaching through the story of Moses, using the Experiencing God study.  I’ll also take breaks to teach about important subjects.  I’m going to kick off the new year with the 5 Solas of the Reformation and as we head into Valentines day I’m doing a series on what the Bible teaches about marriage.  (I’ve got a lot of annoying teenage couples in my group, and 83% of people get married, so it seems like something I should make time for).   [83% is a made up stat, and is a running TV show character’s joke]

So should you teach verse-by-verse through a book of the Bible?  Absolutely, YES!  Should it be the only way you teach? NO!  I say you should because I think you personally will be edified by the effort and so will those you teach.  We should always be pushing ourselves and our congregations to grow deeper in their understanding and relationship with God, and that means doing something different from time to time.  It shouldn’t be the only way you teach because you need to know the people God has placed in your charge and teach them what they most need.  It’s really cool though when your verse by verse teaching happens to hit the right subject on just the right day for and just the right people are there to hear it.  But at the same time, if you are a born again follower of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit lives within you and gives you discernment to know what you should teach.

My hope is that if you are a Bible teacher that has never taught verse by verse through anything you will give it a shot.  If you are a fuddy-duddy who thinks that the only way to faithfully teach the Word of God is to do it verse by verse…well…um… maybe it would be better if you just unread this… and not leave mean comments.  It hurts my feelings.

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. – 2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV)
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TXT: A Three Part Series On The Bible

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TXT is a 3-part video series over the Bible from Lifechurch.tv. It answers three main questions;  1) Where does the Bible Come from? 2) Is the Bible Trustworthy? and 3) How do you study the Bible?  This week we will finish up part 3; Studying the Bible.

I use a lot of resources from Lifechurch.tv, they are the church behind youversion which is the most popular Bible app for Smartphones.  A love their philosophy of “we make the highest quality resources we can and give it away for free.”  This helps me because my church doesn’t have the money to buy the latest, greatest stuff from the major Christian publishers.

A Lot of people have questions about the Bible:  “Where did it come from?” “Who wrote it?” “How did it get translated into English?”  “Why does it matter?” “Is it really God’s Word?” “Has it been preserved accurately?” and I’m sure there are many others.  There are entire courses in Seminaries and Bible Colleges that answer these questions (I know I took them at UMHB).  Obviously a three week study with 10-minute video segments cannot answer every single question you may have.  They are, however, very well researched and accurate about the three main questions they do set out to answer.

Here are the videos:

These are the first two weeks, for the third lesson (How to study the Bible?), I am working something up just for my youth.  Also, I was unable to find the third video segment on youtube, but I didn’t look to hard.

Many people have doubts about the Christian message.  That’s fair enough, I do to. I do not advocate “blind faith”I do not believe that God calls us to that, I believe we are called to a “reasonable faith.” A faith that can be questioned and tested.  The more I dig in and study the legitimacy of the Christian message the more certain I become of the hope I place in Jesus Christ.  I pray that if you have objections and/or questions about the Christian message that you would do your own research with an open mind.

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What is the Biblical Response to Gay Marriage?

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In light of the recent Supreme Court case, I felt it necessary to write up a post explaining my position on same-sex marriage.  As a minister whose job and calling is to teach Youth to be followers of Jesus and to encourage them to live according to the Bible’s moral law, I don’t have the luxury of just ignoring the issue.

I do not believe gay marriage is compatible with Biblical Christianity.  The Bible, in both Old and New Testaments is extremely clear that homosexuality is sin.  I don’t particularly like to proof-text, but will in this case.  I will quote from the book of Romans, which systematically lays out several fundamental doctrines of Christianity.  I use the English Standard Version.  

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.  Romans 1:24-27 ESV

To set up the context of this passage, Paul, the author of Romans, isn’t only talking about homosexuality.  Paul in the text before this quotation and after this quotation is talking about the total depravity of mankind.  To quote Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”  This verse says that we, as sinful human beings, repress God’s standards of morality because, frankly, we want to live in a way that is right in our own eyes.  How many times have you said or heard someone say: “if it’s right for me then it is ok” or “loving someone is all that matters”?  This type of thinking is rooted in a will that does not desire to obey God.  This is a spirit of unrighteousness that all men are born with.

We are ALL sinners before a Holy God.

Romans 3:23 ESV “ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  

That is everybody. You. Me. The Pope. The homosexual. The crook. Your neighbor.  None of us measure up to God’s moral law.  Just to be clear, the only standard that really matters is God’s.  He is the one that says he will judge each and everyone of us according to our deeds (Jer. 17:10).  Since we have all broken God’s moral law, we all “fall short,” meaning we all stand guilty and condemned as sinners before God’s throne.  But God sent Jesus to change our fate:

24 and [we] are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  – Romans 3:24-26 ESV

It is through Jesus, that all sinners (ie EVERYBODY) find forgiveness for sin.  Not because of my personal goodness but because I recognize my sin, my guilt, my inability to save myself,  and I therefore place my faith and my hope in the forgiveness that Jesus Christ offers.  I acknowledge my sin before a Holy God and beg for His Mercy, the Mercy found in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

So if we are all sinners, what’s my problem with homosexual marriage?

To phrase this another way:  I sin. I commit a multitude of sins everyday.  Sometimes, I commit these sins publicly and sometimes privately.  Yet I am stating outright that homosexuality is not acceptable in the eyes of God.  Am I saying that my sins are OK and your sins are not?  No, I am drawing a distinction between repentant and unrepentant sin.  What do I mean by that?  I mean that it is one thing to sin and say, “OK God, I messed up I’m wrong, forgive me, I’ll do my best not to commit this sin again.”  It is entirely different thing to say, “OK God, according to your Word, homosexuality is a sin, but I know you love me and just want me to be happy so Fred and I are going to live together in a homosexual relationship.”  Therefore, a homosexual who is unrepentant (sees nothing wrong with his sinful behavior) does not experience Christ’s forgiveness for that sin because Christ’s forgiveness follows repentance.

This is America, I have the Freedom/Liberty to Live Anyway I Choose!

Yes, you do.  I honestly respect the freedom of homosexuals to live the way they choose without fear of persecution or legal penalties, and the freedom to live the lifestyle of your choosing.  And I expect you to respect my freedom to say  what the Bible teaches about homosexuality–that it is sin, like any other sin.  This is America; you and I both have the right to live how we choose, and when we die, we will both stand before the throne of God and give an account.  He is the Judge; he sets the standard.

What’s my problem with legalizing Gay Marriage?

First, I don’t think it is right and we live in a Democracy.  When it came up for a vote in the state of Texas, I voted my beliefs, same as you.  In several states, gay marriage has been legalized; do I think it is right? No.  But gay marriage is legal and protected in those states.  The Supreme Court is currently hearing a case on California’s “Proposition 8.”  This was a constitutional amendment that was voted on by the people of California; the People voted into law that Marriage is between one man and one woman.  Now the gay rights community wants the will of the People overruled by 9 men and women.  While I don’t agree with gay marriage, if the vote had passed the other way in California, it would have been the will of the people, and the Supreme Court should not overrule that.

To clarify, there are instances that the Supreme Court would be correct in overruling a State’s Rights (think-segregation).  A homosexual’s rights are not being infringed by gay marriage being outlawed.  Civil Unions already grant homosexuals many of the same rights as married couples.  It would be illegal for McDonald’s to put a sign on their door stating “No Gay People Allowed.”   This is not the issue.  The issue is the gay rights community is trying to redefine the oldest of all human institutions, Marriage.  Homosexuals have the right to live together and have legal protection of their way of life under the law, but you do not have the right to redefine what the word “Marriage” means.

I’ll give a frivolous example:  Take a look at a vegetarians.  A vegetarian is a person who does not eat meat.  Many will eat meat substitutes like soy bacon.  If I decide that I want to be a vegetarian, but, personally, soy bacon is gross, so I make an exception and eat bacon, does that make me a vegetarian or not?  It doesn’t, and many true vegetarians would be offended by my calling myself a vegetarian and still eating meat.  I feel the same way about marriage.

Categories: Apologetics | Leave a comment

The Star of Bethlehem

Star of Bethlehem

You should buy and watch this DVD every Christmas. it is amazing.

Rick Larson, a good Texan, became curious about the Star reported by the “Wise Men” or “Magi” from the east in Matthew 2 of the Bible.  Larson, a lawyer, began to study the historical evidences of this star reported by the “Magi”  Using modern, and readily available, star charting software you can quite literally “turn back the clock” of the night sky from anywhere on earth, the more expensive software that Larson uses even lets you look at the stars from the moon or even Mars.  A free star viewing software is called Stellarium and is available by following this link (http://www.stellarium.org/).

Using Biblical and Non-Biblical historical texts and evidences we can determine the approximate year of Christ’s birth.  By identifying the “markers” of the star the Magi where referring to Larson begins to focus in on what events would have been taking place at the time of Jesus’ birth.

Why does it matter?  Well I’m not a proponent of “blind faith.”  You should not believe in something “just because” or from only an emotional perspective.   At least my faith doesn’t work that way.  I hold to and encourage my youth to hold to a “reasonable faith.”  Reasonable faith, may not be able to be proved with 100% certainty but there is evidence that supports and points to the truth that Jesus Christ is who the Bible says he is.  This well researched documentary from Larson, has been submitted to world class astronomers at the best universities.  There is no debate that the astronomical events that are presented in this video actually took place.  What is open to debate, however, is what these events in the sky mean.

The Bethlehem Star website is http://www.bethlehemstar.net/.  Follow this link and get the DVD, and as their website’s tag line says “follow the science for yourself.”

Categories: Apologetics, Christmas | Leave a comment

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