Sunday, April 19, 2015

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Common Objection #25- "Jesus never said anything about homosexuality."

The person who makes this objection most often is implying that because Jesus didn't specifically address homosexuality, then it must be okay.  There are a number of problems with this assertion.

First, Jesus never specifically mentioned bestiality or incest either.  Are people who use the "only if Jesus specifically addressed it" standard prepared to say that bestiality and incest are okay as well?

Second, as Melinda Penner of Stand to Reason points out, Jesus has plenty to say about homosexuality:

"...Jesus said something in Leviticus 18:22-23, 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:10.

The Bible’s view of the Bible is that it is God-breathed. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, 'All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.' Jesus is God, therefore all of the Bible is His Word, not just the parts in red in the four Gospels.

Jesus spoke about everything from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21. And that includes anything in the 66 books about homosexuality." [1]

Finally, it is important to understand that Jesus did not address every single immoral behavior.  He addressed the issues that He was asked about or that came up in conversation.  However, we can be confident about what Jesus would have said if He would have been asked directly about homosexuality because we know He was an observant Jew living under the Old Covenant and was therefore bound by the Mosaic Law.  As speaker and apologist Alan Shlemon notes:

"...He often referenced it (e.g. Jesus references the two greatest commandments in Matthew 22:37, 39). Therefore, if He was asked what He thought about homosexuality, He would have cited the Levitical prohibitions (Leviticus 18:20 and 20:13) that unequivocally state that homosexual behavior is a sin." [2]

So it seems that the claim "Jesus never said anything about homosexuality" at best proves nothing and at worst is simply false.

Checkout our other "Common Objection" responses here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. Melinda Penner, What Jesus Said about Homosexuality, April 7, 2015.
2. Alan Shlemon, Jesus Didn't Say Anything about Homosexuality, May 5, 2013.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Video: Is Gay the New Black? by Dr. Voddie Baucham


In this talk, pastor and teacher Voddie Baucham explains the strategic approach behind the homosexuality movement and how believers should respond to it.  This message is challenging for sure!

You can checkout Baucham's article on the same topic here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Nabeel Qureshi on Truth

"To me, it was self-evident that truth exists.  What's the alternative?  If truth doesn't exist, then it would be true that truth doesn't exist, and once again we arrive at truth.  There is no alternative; truth must exist." [1]

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. Nabeel Qureshi, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, p. 83.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Debate Video: What is God Really Like- Tawhid or Trinity? Dr. Shabir Ally and Dr. Nabeel Qureshi


This debate took place on April 8th, 2015.  It was moderated by Ms. Julie Roys of Moody Radio.  

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Don't Settle for Mediocrity!

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to attend a conference where Pastor Voddie Baucham, Jr. was speaking.  He made a very good point that I want to share.  During the conference Dr. Baucham spoke to a gentlemen who had served in the Navy for 20 years.  Dr. Baucham explained that he would expect this man to be able to not only describe the basics but also the complexities of Navy life.  After all, he had been in the Navy for 20 years!  Contrast this with Christianity.  You can meet Christians who have been believers for 20, 30, or even 40 years but are often unable to answer the most basic of Bible questions and objections!  As Baucham went on to say, "The church is the only place where that type of mediocrity is accepted."  I concur.

In my 13 years as a Christian I have met scores of believers who have no interest in learning to defend their convictions.  Why is that?  I recall once listening to an interview with Norman Geisler where he was asked, "Why don't more people learn the discipline of apologetics?"  Geisler calmly answered, "Laziness."  And, as J. Warner Wallace contends in this post, most people don't learn to make a case for the their Christian faith because they lack "a desire to work hard and do whatever it takes to master the material."

People will defend what they care about.  Sports fans provide us with a fitting example.  If you say something negative about a hardcore fan's team or favorite player, they will give you a list of reasons why their team is the best or why their favorite player is to be admired.  How much more so should we be equipped to defend the One who knew no sin "so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God?" (2 Cor. 5:21).

Apologetics is, without a doubt, challenging.  However, believers must remember they are commanded to defend the faith (1 Peter 3:15).  If you are interested in learning how to defend your faith, but you are not sure where to begin, I recommend our "Apologist's Quiver" and the following books and websites:

Books

1. On Guard by William Lane Craig

2. Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace

3. Tactics by Greg Koukl

4. The Case for the Resurrection by Gary Habermas and Mike Licona

5. I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek

You can checkout our Free Online Apologetics Library here.

Websites

1. Apologetics315

2. Reasonable Faith

3. Stand to Reason

4. Cold-Case Christianity

5. gotQuestions?org

You can find other apologetics websites here.

Let us not settle for mediocrity.  I implore you to "contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints!"

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Monday, April 13, 2015

Book Review: Why Trust Jesus? by Dave Sterrett

Chapter Three:  Why Should I Trust Jesus When I Have Been Let Down So Many Times?

Life is full of disappointment - business ventures go south, hoped for and prayed for healing does not occur, divorce papers are received. The list is unending. Is Jesus any different? Sterrett sums up his answer well by writing the following:

Even in moments of confusion and disappointment, Jesus Christ is still trustworthy. You may pray, “Jesus, this doesn’t make sense to me right now.” But remember that He backed up His offensive claims by coming back from the grave. We may not understand and know what He will do, but we do know what He has already done. He has revealed enough of His character to prove that He is worthy of our trust, regardless of the mystery.1 

Sterrett reminds us that this is the answer Jesus provided to John the Baptist when he was in prison, for heralding Jesus as the Messiah, disappointed and doubting whether Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Jesus pointed to the evidence of His performed miracles and fulfilled prophecies.

Sterrett then provides three ways to respond while rotting in the “prison” of disappointment:

1. Focus on the goodness of God – This is the example we see in Scripture from Job to Paul. Both of these men suffered greatly but remained faithful to God.

2. Realize that the best is yet to come – Sterrett quotes Paul:  For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!2 It is clear throughout Scripture that God’s purposes for mankind spill over into eternity.

3. Continue to joyfully obey God – Sterrett writes:  When we feel let down or disappointed by God, we have a decision to make. We can either take steps away from Him by failing to trust him or take steps toward Him in obedient faith.3 He points to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as an example of this joyful obedience. They knew God was capable of saving them from an idolatrous king ready to throw them into a furnace yet even if God chose not to they would remain obedient.

This is the response Sterrett calls us to when facing deep disappointment. Lastly he calls us to remember that Jesus Himself faced disappointment when He was betrayed, deserted, beaten, mocked, crucified and above all became sin for us and received the wrath of God in our place. For those who trust in this Christ, their disappointment is only temporary! 

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Footnotes:

1. Page 63.
2. 2 Corinthians 4:17. New Living Translation
3. Page 70.

Forthcoming:  A review of Chapter Four:  Why Should I Trust Jesus When Life Seems to Be Going Just Fine without Him?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering

Chapter Sixteen: Hoping

“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21:3-4)  At the end of the Bible we find the ultimate hope.  But to whom was John writing?  To people who were suffering terrible things.  Christians were being inflicted with large scale persecutions by emperor Domitian.  They were losing their homes, torn to pieces by wild animals in the arenas and being impaled on stakes and covered with pitch and lit afire.  To face such overwhelming pain and suffering, he gave them the hope of a new heavens and a new earth, and it is a simple fact of history that it worked.  The early Christians took their suffering with great poise, singing hymns and forgiving those who were killing them.  And the more they were killed, the more Christianity grew.  Why?  Because those watching saw that the Christians had something they did not, a living hope.

“The way you live now is completely controlled by what you believe about your future.”  Do you believe that when you die that is the end?  That this is all the happiness you’re ever going to get?  That the sun will eventually die and the universe will suffer heat death and that human civilization will be forgotten?  Or do you believe there will be a new heavens and a new earth?  That there will be a judgement where every evil and injustice will be addressed?  That you have a future of endless joy?  Which of these you believe will determine how you handle your own suffering.

Howard Thurman gave a response to the criticism that Negro spiritual songs were too “otherworldly.”  He said, “The facts make clear that [this sung faith] did serve to deepen the capacity of endurance and the absorption of suffering…It taught a people how to ride high in life, to look squarely in the face those facts that argue most dramatically against all hope and to use those facts as raw material out of which they fashioned hope that the environment, with all its cruelty could not crush…This…enabled them to reject annihilation and to affirm a terrible right to live.”  The slaves believed the Christian faith and knew of the new heavens and earth and the judgement.  They knew the perpetrators of their injustice were not going to get away with it, that their desires would be fulfilled and that no amount of oppression could extinguish it because their hope was not in the present, but in the future.  To those who responded that these songs were wonderful symbols but couldn’t be taken literally, he argued that if you can’t take them literally, then they cannot be a real hope.  “In the end to reject the literal truth is to deny life itself of its dignity and man the right or necessity of dimensional fulfillment.  In such a [secular] view the present moment is all there is – man…becomes a prisoner in a tight world of momentary events – no more and no less.”  Imagine telling a slave that if they could go to school, they would learn that this life is all there is.  There’s no heaven to make up for their suffering.  There’s no judgement to address injustice and put things right.  And then tell them to still live with hope and fearlessness.

We all have our own pain and suffering to walk through, but few can compare to the tortures of the early Christians or American slaves.  Yet if this great hope helped so many of them, shouldn’t it help us with what we face?  How can we know this future is for us?  Because it is based on God’s action, not ours.  Believe, trust in and rely on Jesus, who took what we deserve so we could have the heaven and glory he deserves.

Dr. Keller closes the book with these words of C.S. Lewis, “For if we take the Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendor of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy.  At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door.  We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure.  We cannot mingle with the splendors we see.  But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so.  Someday, God willing, we shall get in.  When human souls have become as perfect in voluntary obedience as the inanimate creation is in its lifeless obedience, then they will put on its glory, or rather that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch.  We are summoned to pass in through Nature, beyond her, into that splendor which she fitfully reflects.”

Epilogue

“If we know the biblical theology of suffering and have our hearts and minds engaged by it, then when grief, pain, and loss come, we will not be surprised…”  Dr. Keller gives us a list of ten things we should do.

1. Recognize the varieties of suffering and the feelings associated with each: wrong behavior – guilt and shame, betrayals and attacks from others – anger and resentment, universal forms of loss – grief and fear, and the horrendous – confusion and perhaps anger with God.

2. Recognize the distinctions in temperament between yourself and other sufferers.  How God helps you is probably not how he will help others.  The experience of affliction as consisting of isolation, self-absorption, condemnation, and complicity with pain will vary depending on the causes of the suffering, the person’s emotional temperament and spiritual maturity.

3.There is weeping.  Be brutally honest with yourself and God about your pain and sorrow.  He is very patient with us when we are desperate.

4. We must trust.  Despite your grief, you must wrestle with it until you can come to say as Jesus did, “Thy will be done.”

5. We must pray.  Though Job did a lot of complaining and cursed the day he was born – he did it all in prayer.  It was to God he complained; it was before God that he struggled.

6. We must be disciplined in our thinking.

7. We must be willing to do some self-examining.

8. We must be about re-ordering our lives.  Suffering reveals that there are things we love too much, or we love God too little in proportion to them.

9. We should not shirk community.  Suffering can be very isolating.  Where is God when it hurts?  The answer to that question should be, where is the church when it hurts?  The church is to be a place of unparalleled sympathy and support.  Find a church where sufferers are loved and supported, or where you can provide love and support.  As I was walking with my wife through her cancer diagnosis and treatments, I learned that when we asked God where he was in the midst of our pain, the answer was that he was right there with us holding her in my arms.

10. Suffering from wrong behavior requires skill at receiving grace and forgiveness from God.  Suffering from betrayal and attacks from others requires skill at giving grace and forgiveness to others.

I hope you have found this review to be helpful.  As always, don’t take my word for it, read the book – don’t wait for the movie,
and have a little hope on me,
Roger

To learn more about Timothy Keller and his work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, you can check out his 
personal website, his Facebook page or the church homepage.

Keller, Timothy (2013), Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering. Penguin Group. ISBN 978-0-525-95245-9

Friday, April 10, 2015

Article: Three Steps to Protect Christian Wedding Vendors by Greg Koukl

It is a difficult time to be a Christian wedding vendor!  In today's featured article, author and speaker Greg Koukl offers 3 steps Christian wedding vendors can take to protect themselves.  Koukl writes:

"The basic strategy here is to put the prospective client off in a legitimate way so they don't call back, or have them disqualify themselves without the vendor having to weigh in explicitly regarding his willingness to participate in a same-sex marriage (SSM)."

You can checkout the rest of the article here

What do you think of Koukl's strategy?  Sound off in the comments below!

Courage and Godspeed,

Chad