Thoughts, observations, scripture and other articles relating to Christianity and the Christian life.

Apologetics

Another great video on Islam

Outstanding points here.  How can the Qur’an be the word of God, if it makes errors about common knowledge in what other religions believe?  Answer: The Qur’an is NOT the word of God/Allah.


Reliability of the New Testament

Just wanted to post this.  Have confidence in the New testament folks.  It is TRULY a one of a kind work.

I pray this would give you confidence in the validity of scripture.

-Neil


Video on John 1:1

If you have been reading the comments, you will see that TJ and I have been having a discussion about John 1:1 (Thank you TJ for your comments and encouraging me to investigate this matter further).  As I was searching, I found a video from Dr. James White.  I will be the first to admit that I am no Greek scholar (Dr. White however IS) and the nuances of the Greek langue , you’ll have to pardon the pun, “Is all Greek to me”.  (Oh I crack myself up).  However, I found this video to be helpful.  I hope you enjoy it.

On a side note, prayers for my wife, Jenn, would be appreciated as she is having some health issues right now (nothing serious, but the duration of her illness is becoming very frustrating for her).

God bless.

-Neil


Witnessing to Witnesses

(I mean no offense to Jehovah’s Witnesses with posting the above image, I just thought it was funny.)

Three or four times in the past few months a few Jehovah’s Witnesses have come to my door;  a very sweet elderly woman (sadly her name is escaping me) and a man named Clay.  They have been very kind and I have let them know that I am a Christian, but  I feel like the next time Clay comes back, I may invite him in for a discussion on faith.  I have zero interest in converting to becoming a Jehovah’s Witness as I know their Bible is curropt and they teach falsehoods on God, Jesus, the holy spirit and salvation, however I would like to witness to this man.

I was wondering if any of you out there have had a discussion with witnesses in the past, and if so, what questions or tactics are good to take when witnessing to them?  Is there anything else you would recommend?

Please pray this man, that his eyes may be open to the free gift of salvation, through faith, in the authentic Jesus Christ.  Also, please pray for me that I continually have a humble, truthful and loving tone when talking to him.

God bless.

-Neil


Errors According to Roman Catholicism

I kid you not, the following statements were condemned as ERRORS by Rome.  Specifically, Paschasius Quesnel [Condemned in the dogmatic Constitution, “Unigenitus,”Sept. 8, 1713] (Link)

1380 – “All whom God who wishes to save through Christ are infallibly saved.”

In the words of Sheila Broflovski “WHAT WHAT WHAT?!?”  God can’t save a soul he chooses to save?  Isn’t God all powerful?  Isn’t he sovereign over all?  Anyone who has spent meaningful time in exegesis of scripture will be able to tell you this is COMPLETELY wrong.

I originally heard these on the Dividing Line podcast.  I was FLOORED.  Don’t be decieved by the fallibility and sinful cunning of man and works-based religions.  They are ALL in contrarty to God’s word.

If you are a Roman Catholic, I plead with you to let the scriptures speak for themselves.  Don’t believe something about God because a FALLIBLE man in fancy robes says so, read God’s word and decide for yourself.

God bless.

-Neil

 

 

 


Letter to an old friend

 

So I was on facebook a while back (Ok, ok…i’m on it a LOT) and this was put into the status of an old high school friend of mine:

I’m getting ready to type an essay about crime and capital punishment and I need some help from my FB friends. Please give me your thoughts/opinion…. If God created man in his image, and God is good, then why are some people so bad? If God created us all, then why can’t we all be like him? Deep thoughts on FB! 🙂 Any input would be greatly appreciated.

I felt compelled to write back and I thought I would share what I wrote:

Original question: If God created man in his image, and God is good, then why are some people so bad? If God created us all, then why can’t we all be like him?

So, most, if not all, of my thoughts on this find their roots in scripture, so if you are a believer, this will probably be familiar to you. People’s view on scripture vary, but my personal belief is that scripture is “God-breathed”, (theopneustos in the original Greek), or “Divinely inspired” as quoted in 2 Timothy 3:16. Bearing that in mind, here is what I think:

People are bad because we have a nature in us that is present the second we are conceived in our mother’s womb. We are dead in our sins from our birth (Psalm 51:5 – Surely I was sinful from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me). This sin nature finds its roots with Adam in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3, and is passed down through his descendants, namely, you and me. How sin is passed exactly, I am not sure, but any honest person will tell you that they have been guiltily of breaking one of the ten commandments at least once, making them guilty of sin (aka a “sinner”). The cycle continues on and on, generation to generation.

Not only do I believe that some people are “bad”, I believe ALL people are “bad” (myself included) when their actions and thoughts are held up to the standards set forth in scripture, like the Ten Commandments. Commonly, in our post-modern, relativistic, subjective truth oriented society, what separates people from thinking one person is “good” while another is “bad” is really a man centered view of “goodness”.

If we all compare ourselves to someone worse, it is easy to think that we are “good” people because we aren’t as bad as the person we are comparing ourselves to. By this logic, every person in history (except for one) could be considered “good” because there is always someone “worse” to compare themselves to. For example, if we use Adolf Hitler as our standard of the worst person in history, then Charles Manson could logically come to the conclusion that he is a “good” person because he was not as bad as Hitler. This is the sad relativist movement in full force in humanity today: as long as there is someone “worse” to compare ourselves to, we can make the argument that we are a “good person” and therefore do not need to change our bad habits even though deep down we know they are wrong.

For the believer however, the standard of goodness is God’s law. We know we are sinful because we are aware of our past and continuing struggle with sin that is in stark contrasts to God’s standards. However, we also have the hope in knowing that if we profess that Jesus Christ is our lord and savior, that we can be saved from the ramifications of sin (A literal and eternal hell). However being saved from hell is NOT simply saying a prayer one time, SAVING FAITH will result in a changed life, desiring to be obedient and glorifying God.

Even when we “follow our heart” to try and do what is right, we can still be deceived (Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?). That is why it is important to have an objective source of morality and standards to keep us from thinking what WE think is ok must be ok. It might not be objectively.

As far as capital punishment is concerned, people often like to (mis)quote Deuteronomy 5:17 by saying that “You shall not kill.” The accurate translation is actually “You shall not MURDER.” The difference between killing and murdering is whether or not it falls within the law. Murder does not, killing however does. Ironically, the people who often misquote this verse, also criticize the old testament for its rules enforcing capital punishment. So from a scriptural standpoint, the argument is completely baseless.

For me personally, I think there comes a time when a person’s history has shown that the individual is such a danger to society that it is best to end his life in the interest of protecting the society as a whole. That being said, I think there is also a lot of room for forgiveness in the judicial system as it has been set up to err on the side of NOT falsely convicting innocent people. Society as a whole needs to do a better job of forgiving and giving ex-cons a second chance when they have served their time, and give them a fair chance to prove that they have changed their ways.

We can’t be like God because of the same reason of Sin. However, there is a three step process that believers go through that does eventually make us like him:
1. Justification: This is the moment someone becomes a believer. Someone professes true faith in Christ and is saved (from hell).
2. Sanctification: This lasts from the second someone becomes a believer until a person’s death. This period of time is spent making those horribly difficult changes in our lives. We work on being more Christ-like: Sinning less and loving others more. It is a VERY tough time for the believer as many old habits die hard and temptation is CONSTANTLY an issue.
3. Glorification: This happens when we are physically resurrected to join Christ in heaven. We have perfected bodies that are no longer hindered by sin. Can’t wait for that day.

It makes me so sad how many people think that what saves them is a prayer. What saves us is Christ’s mercy, that is only given by sincere faith in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Matthew 7:21-23 tells us that there will be MANY people that THINK they are saved, but will be rejected and sent to hell. I pray daily that myself and my loved ones will not be one of them.

Ok sorry for the big time tangent, but I get WAY passionate about this. I would love to hear YOUR thoughts on this as well. Write me back about this when you get a chance. 🙂

On a side note:  Part of being a Christian is being ready with answers to questions like these.  I think it is important for a couple reasons:

  1. It shows others that we aren’t in our faith just because it is how we grew up.  It shows people that we have been thoughtful about our faith and take it seriously.
  2. Having answers ready for questions like these provide us an opportunity to witness to others.  These core questions (Why does God allow evil to exist?  etc.) are CRUCIAL in opening up the door for further exploration into Christianity for non-believers.  If we can not even supply a thoughtful answer to the core questions, people will almost always just stop there and not look into the faith further and an opportunity at exploration and conversion could be lost.

This is why it INFURIATES me that more churches and more believers don’t at least have a basic grasp of apologetics (Apologetics just means being able to provide a defense for Christianity). PLEASE, for the good of your own soul, and in the interest of being a tool for Christ, know some basic apologetics.  There are some WONDERFUL resources at http://carm.org/http://www.gotquestions.org/ and http://www.pleaseconvinceme.com/.  I would HIGHLY encourage you to bookmark those websites and use them often.  CARM and Please Convince Me also have weekly podcasts that you can listen to as well.

May God bless you all and use us as tools to bring others to Christ.

-Neil


Book Review: So What’s the Difference? – Fritz Ridenour

There are hundreds of belief systems in the world.  Many of them acknowledge Jesus as a “great man”, “great teacher”, “a divine spirit”, “an offspring of God” and so on and so on.  With so many faiths that recognize Jesus in one form or another, it can be difficult for new comers to the faith to be able to tell if what they are hearing is truth, fallacy or opinion.  Sadly, many cults and belief systems will manipulate the fact that so many are familiar with Christ, to use his name as a lure to lead people away from the Truth.  So What’s the Difference by Fritz Ridenour is an outstanding book that can help remedy this phenomenon, by covering the essential beliefs of the Christian faith and comparing them to over 20 different cults, false religions and belief systems.

While the book can seem intimidating because it covers such a broad range of belief systems, it is a very easy read, and makes crystal clear the conflicting viewpoints and/or heresy being preached by the other religious systems.  At the end of each topic there is section that contrasts what the Bible teaches and what the other “churches” promote as truth.  There is such a condensed wealth of information in each section that I felt I read a text book, yet it was still an easy read that did not compromise or soften the blow that God’s word is truth and that we give no apologies for living it and believing it.

The section on Mormonism alone was worth the purchase.  It was amazing to hear how many blatantly obvious lies and marketing has gone on in the Mormon Church since its inception.  The sections on Roman Catholicism, The Watchtower (Jehovah’s Witnesses) and Islam were eye opening as well.  I feel much more prepared to discuss faith with individuals in these groups since I know the major discrepancies among their beliefs, traditions and writings and that of Biblical Christianity.

So What’s the Difference is absolutely recommended for newcomers to the Christian faith, to help them sharpen their knowledge of what the Bible teaches and what to look out for when exposing ourselves to other belief systems.  I would also recommend it to any people out there who are interested in apologetics.  While it would not be enough information for an in-depth debate, it would be a wonderful introduction into other faiths and a great place to start to understand the basics of other belief systems.

God bless.

-Neil