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Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

You want me to believe that Jesus was raised from the Dead? You’re kidding!

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Trinity on March 25, 2010 at 1:15 pm

  1. You want me to believe Jesus was raised from the dead
  2. He is described in the Bible
  3. I do not believe this book
  4. Therefore, I do not accept your entire argument

A first Corinthians defense of the Gospel and the resurrection

Jesus made the claim of deity and to be the “Son of Man” and the “Son of God”. If by His claim one of the evidences is the resurrection this is a very powerful argument to prove His claim. The scriptures are one of our best sources to prove this. About 95% of NT scholars agree with the facts about the resurrection and there are other facts that argue these facts are true. (Specific scholars can be named for more detailed research.) Based on Gary Habermas and his “minimal facts approach” the 4-7 best attested facts will provide the basis of our argumentation so we can keep it simple and concise. There are at least 20 or more facts available starting in 1 Corinthians 15 let’s take a look.

(1Co 15:1-26 HCSB) Now brothers, I want to clarify for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken your stand on it. You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you–unless you believed to no purpose. For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.

Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time, most of whom remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one abnormally born, He also appeared to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective. However, I worked more than any of them, yet not I, but God’s grace that was with me.

Therefore, whether it is I or they, so we preach and so you have believed. Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead”?But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is without foundation, and so is your faith. In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ–whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Therefore those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. If we have placed our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man.

For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at His coming, the people of Christ. Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be abolished is death.

For many modern critics Paul is “in”, while the gospels are “out”. Interestingly enough 1st Corinthians is written much earlier that the gospels. It was probably written around AD 54-57 and within 27 years of the crucifixion. There would be plenty of eye witness’s accounts and not too difficult for those to remember correctly the actual occurrences. A modern example would be WW2, Korean and Vietnam veterans telling their experiences and relating to those of us who were not there what happened. We are more than willing to accept their eye witnesses’ accounts as factual and would be highly disrespectful and ignorant to accuse them of lying. We can agree that Paul was an eyewitness to what he thought was a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus.

“Last of all, as to one abnormally born, He also appeared to me. “ (1 Cor. 15:8)

Paul was in Corinth in approximately AD 51 and preached the gospel.

Now brothers, I want to clarify for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken your stand on it. You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you–unless you believed to no purpose. (1 Cor. 15:1-2)

Paul passed on what he received, and many critics will say it was from Peter and James in Jerusalem in AD 35. Considering the time frame is less than 3 to 5 years from the resurrection this is almost unheard of in ancient history to be this close to the event in question.

For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: (1 Cor. 15:3)

Gal 1:18-20 Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to get to know Cephas, and I stayed with him 15 days. But I didn’t see any of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. Now in what I write to you, I’m not lying. God is my witness.

The disciples believed they had seen the risen Jesus at a time when they were hiding in fear for their lives, dumbfounded by the event s that had just taken place. Scared of their immanent arrest and death, once again we cite critics who will grant that they believed this as well. Remember if critics admit this, we claim lairs don’t make martyrs, and this is one of the most important facts.

that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. (1 Cor. 15:3-5)

Paul also speaks of the 500 other eye witnesses who are still for the most part alive and appeals to the reader they know some of them. This would provide a hostile witness refutation by the very people who if this was a fantasy or legend could and would dispute it.

Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time, most of whom remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. (1 Cor. 15:6)

The concept of believing they had seen a resurrected Jesus has been posited and accepted. What can move us from believing this to being a fact they really saw the risen Jesus?

These four facts are foundational moving us from belief to fact:

  1. He died by crucifixion
  2. The disciples believed that has seen the risen Christ
  3. They were transformed so that they were willing to die for their faith
  4. Saul, as a skeptic and persecutor was converted and believed he too had seen the risen Christ.

We have for consideration three more facts:

  1. We have early reports of the resurrection
  2. James, Jesus’ brother was a skeptic and converted
  3. The resurrection is central to Christian Belief. We examine most closely those beliefs closet to our hearts. So, Paul and the disciples checked it out carefully.

Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead”?But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is without foundation, and so is your faith. In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ–whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Therefore those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. If we have placed our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone. (1 Cor. 15:12-19)

If we take the information presented and draw some conclusions we are left with at least 2 main reasons. 1. The information and facts provide us with arguments for the resurrection. 2. This is the best explanation of the data: other theories fail to explain away the resurrection. We are left with “they really saw the risen Christ.”

What first century data supports any theory contrary to the sightings of the risen Christ?

The only one is listed in the New Testament: the disciples stole the body and is refuted by the early eyewitnesses.

Conclusion yes I believe based on the facts and by personal experience Jesus rose from the dead, and offered me new life. I will one day resurrect if I am not first raptured. Believing in the risen Christ requires repentance and faith leading to salvation. The Christian faith is the only religion that offers people to test it. “Come and see”

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Desolation The Enemy wants to separate us and get us far from God!

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Sunday School, Trinity on March 20, 2010 at 10:35 am

(Dan 11:27-32 ESV)  And as for the two kings, their hearts shall be bent on doing evil. They shall speak lies at the same table, but to no avail, for the end is yet to be at the time appointed. And he shall return to his land with great wealth, but his heart shall be set against the holy covenant. And he shall work his will and return to his own land. “At the time appointed he shall return and come into the south, but it shall not be this time as it was before. For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw, and shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant. Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery,

 We see a picture of the enemies plan in Daniel 11 he uses Antiochus IV Epiphanes to separate the children of Israel from the daily worship of the sacrifice and even went as far as to make the temple an abomination.

 We learn through the Apocrypha (those different books in some Bibles in the middle) some history:

 (1Ma 1:10-15 KJVA)  And there came out of them a wicked root Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes, son of Antiochus the king, who had been an hostage at Rome, and he reigned in the hundred and thirty and seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks. In those days went there out of Israel wicked men, who persuaded many, saying, Let us go and make a covenant with the heathen that are round about us: for since we departed from them we have had much sorrow. So this device pleased them well. Then certain of the people were so forward herein, that they went to the king, who gave them licence to do after the ordinances of the heathen: Whereupon they built a place of exercise at Jerusalem according to the customs of the heathen: And made themselves uncircumcised, and forsook the holy covenant, and joined themselves to the heathen, and were sold to do mischief.  

(1Ma 1:20-25 KJVA)  And after that Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again in the hundred forty and third year, and went up against Israel and Jerusalem with a great multitude, And entered proudly into the sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, and the candlestick of light, and all the vessels thereof, And the table of the shewbread, and the pouring vessels, and the vials, and the censers of gold, and the veil, and the crown, and the golden ornaments that were before the temple, all which he pulled off. He took also the silver and the gold, and the precious vessels: also he took the hidden treasures which he found. And when he had taken all away, he went into his own land, having made a great massacre, and spoken very proudly. Therefore there was a great mourning in Israel, in every place where they were;

 (1Ma 1:30-33 KJVA)  And spake peaceable words unto them, but all was deceit: for when they had given him credence, he fell suddenly upon the city, and smote it very sore, and destroyed much people of Israel. And when he had taken the spoils of the city, he set it on fire, and pulled down the houses and walls thereof on every side. But the women and children took they captive, and possessed the cattle. Then builded they the city of David with a great and strong wall, and with mighty towers, and made it a strong hold for them.

 First Maccabees gives us a summary of what happened after the people were flattered and manipulated into stopping the daily sacrifice. You see the enemy always misspeaks with ½ truths that are whole lies. In the Garden “Hath God said?” “He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you.” How does this apply to us today?  Satan is trying to get us to cease sacrificial living through self realization, self actualization, and the study of self and self esteem. The doctrine of the post modern age it’s better to care and make aware than to just commit your time, and your resources for the long haul. After all you have a life and it has its own demands. We are told we can take shortcuts to everything why not a sacrificial life. Have you bought in? If it’s uncomfortable do you really need to do it? Give from excess not need after all wanting to give and meaning to give are just as important. If the cost is too great shouldn’t you hesitate, maybe wait don’t be too quick about committing to much of anything especially yourself. Are we being seduced by the enemy to only see thing through how much something coats us instead of being a living sacrifice? Are we weighing selfishness vs. sacrifice?

 The scriptures show us a different story as Beth Moore said in the study” If we miss the sacrificial life we miss our life’s calling or purpose.”

 (Rom 12:1 ESV)  I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

 (Luk 9:23-25 ESV)  And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

 How do we get fooled?  The enemy uses flattery or manipulation as we see in the 32 verse of Daniel 11.

 (Dan 11:32 ESV)  He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.

 Flattery

 1. False praise; commendation bestowed for the purpose of gaining favor and influence, or to accomplish some purpose. Direct flattery consists in praising a person himself; indirect flattery consists in praising a person through his works or his connections. Simple pride for flattery makes demands. Just praise is only a debt, but flattery is a present. 2. Adulation; obsequiousness; wheedling. 3. Just commendation which gratifies self-love.  We become hypocrites when used in the Bible means straying away from the right path.

 (Tit 1:16 ESV)  They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

 (Jas 1:8 HCSB)  An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways.

 (Jas 1:21-22 HCSB)  Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil excess, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you. But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

 Hypocrite

 1. One who feigns to be what he is not; one who has the form of godliness without the power, or who assumes an appearance of piety and virtue, when he is destitute of true religion. And the hypocrite’s hope shall perish. Job 8.

2. A dissembler; one who assumes a false appearance. Fair hypocrite, you seek to cheat in vain.

 After hypocrisy takes root we start compromising everything in our lives, negotiating with sin trying to maintain outward appearances while we are crumbling inside. Usually with the final stages resulting in half apologies like “I never meant for it to go this far!” – Satan did and so much further. The enemy when he can’t stop us from becoming believers starts working on trying to make us hypocrites. Remember everything we think we do in secret is waiting to be revealed. No one gets away with secrets and deceptions on either side of eternity. The truth is our calling will found on the other side of selfishness. WE can’t have it all!! WE can’t do all!! Trying to have it all will cost us our calling and I can personally testify to miss your calling and settle for anything else lacks any satisfaction or peace in the longer term of your life.

 (2Co 4:2 AMP)  We have renounced disgraceful ways (secret thoughts, feelings, desires and underhandedness, the methods and arts that men hide through shame); we refuse to deal craftily (to practice trickery and cunning) or to adulterate or handle dishonestly the Word of God, but we state the truth openly (clearly and candidly). And so we commend ourselves in the sight and presence of God to every man’s conscience.

 We have a purpose and destiny a reason for being here. More than the acquiring of things we are made to glorify God with our lives every day. This is done when we come to the understanding His calling our conversion will cost us everything. Unless it costs us it won’t be priceless. And if it isn’t priceless irreplaceable captivating then we have to question have we really repented unto salvation or have we tried to resolve our guilty conscience to rid ourselves of bad feelings.

 (Jas 4:8 HCSB)  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people!

 (2Pe 1:3 HCSB)  For His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness,  godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Moral Relativism Post Modernism Tolerance

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Satan, Saved, Sin, Sunday School, Trinity on March 5, 2010 at 5:34 am

So what is Moral Relativism and why all the discussion on truth? How can we distinguish between relativism and the absolute truth? Haven’t we been told we can’t know truth and since we can’t know truth why do we even bother trying to identify it? As long as we live a good life, don’t hurt others and take care of the poor isn’t that enough for God? After all we work such long hours, and then the family takes all the rest of our time: who has time for such trivial issues as truth and relativism. These matters are best left to the intellectual crowd, the professors and preachers they deal with this stuff. Does this sound like the answers we hear and use when confronted by the seeming decay of our society? More than once has somebody commented “things are getting worse and I don’t know why”. Hopefully we can shed a little light into that vast dark world of reality.

C. S. Lewis said, “We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

Origin- Morality- Purpose- Destiny

These four pillars form the foundation for a world view. On top of the pillars we deal in three “ologies”: Ontology- What is. Epistemology – How you know it is true. Axiology- How it impels you to live.

Before we can discuss morals and its mortal enemy relativism we need to review several fundamental ideas that establish our ability to think about truth and non truth. Beginning with a definition of a world view: A set of beliefs that underlie and shape all human thought and action, it’s not whether you have a worldview. But whether the world view you are living by is a good one. How do we know and how can we tell? By applying some truth standards we can determine if our thinking, actions and speaking are truthful. We begin with correspondence and coherence as the rational starting point for truth. Correspondence and coherence are incontrovertible methods of establishing truth in a court of law. To support this view of truth we use the four laws of logic.

  1. The Law of Identity: An object is identical to itself.
  2. The Law of Non-contradiction: Two contradictory statements cannot be true in the same sense at the same time.
  3. The Law of Excluded Middle: Just because two things have one thing in common does not mean they have everything in common.
  4. The Law of Rational Inference: Inferences can be made from what is known to what is unknown.

The largest factor in making our day to day decisions is assumptions and presuppositions. Based on this foundation we live out our day to day existence with people who violate these basic premises for truth and logical behavior. We hear it in everyday conversations with statements like “that’s true for you but not for me” “personally I disagree with abortion but I support a woman’s right to choose” “I’m really glad you found something that works for you”. Nonsensical statements that on the surface tend to sound intelligent or morally neutral but at their heart destroy the very fabric of morality. The claim that truth is relative might be understood in two ways. Either truth is relative to time and space (it was true then, but not now), or it is relative to persons (true for me, but not for you). On the other hand, absolute truth implies two things: (1) that whatever is true at one time and in one place is true at all times and I all places, and (2) that whatever is true for one person is true for all persons. Absolute truth doesn’t change. (From When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook on Christian Evidences Ronald Brooks and Norman L. Geisler)

Moral Relativism – Has many different meanings since the idea itself is relative (who knew).

In 1947, on the occasion of the United Nations debate about universal human rights, the American Anthropological Association issued a statement declaring that moral values are relative to cultures and that there is no way of showing that the values of one culture are better than those of another.

Moral relativism is a widely held position in the modern world, though it is very selectively applied. As with other forms of relativism, it is only mentioned in a purely defensive way. The principles of moral relativism can only be used to excuse or allow certain actions; they can never be used to condemn them. Moral relativism takes several different forms, from utilitarianism, evolutionism and existentialism to emotivism and situationism. All of these, for the most part, share a single unifying theme: that absolute morals do not exist, and what is “right” or “wrong” is entirely a product of human preference.

And in these United States we say we firmly believe that truth and morality are relative while simultaneously decrying the absence of virtue and the rise of incivility. We take pride in our tolerance, yet tolerate no one who doesn’t share our moral open-mindedness. (Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air Francis Beckwith and Gregory Koukl)

This brings me to the primary doctrine of relativism “tolerance”. First the definition from the New Oxford American Dictionary- showing a willingness to allow the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not agree with. I would add with respect and dignity to that individual as well. How does the definition compare to the reality of its use in the present culture. If we disagree with the current politically correct (cultural Marxism) understanding of an issue we are considered “intolerant” yet if we practiced the true truth of tolerance we would have thoughtful, rational discussion regarding the many views of a particular issue. For example thinking people from many cultures see racism as a devastating social behavior when based on skin color yet will practice that same behavior when on social outings will stand in a line to gain entrance to event that only allows certain “styles and types” of people based on subjective criteria. The most oblivious example the club crowd, it seems everyone wants to be part of the “beautiful people”. How can we decry racism on one hand and yet practice it with glee on the other. I think it was best said: Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue. “Francois de La Rochefoucauld”. The battle for our culture is waged on the forefront of tolerance being redefined so as to be meaningless. This comes from a morally relative understanding of right and wrong as its foundation. In his best-selling book The Closing of the American Mind, Allan Bloom writes: “The relativity of truth for college students in American culture! Is not a theoretical insight but a moral postulate, the condition of a free society, or so they see it…. The point is not to correct the mistakes and really be right; rather it is not to think you are right at all. The students, of course, cannot defend their opinion.   It is something with which they have been indoctrinated….”‘

PC (cultural Marxism) assumes moral relativism in most of its manifestations.’  Indeed, much of PC (cultural Marxism) thinking has been influenced by another form of relativism, epistemological relativism. The word epistemology refers to one’s view or theory of knowledge-one’s explanation of how human beings come to know things. Epistemological relativism sees knowledge as relative, and objective truth as nonexistent. To believe in objective truth, in contrast, is to affirm that some claims about the world are true or false regardless of what others perceive to be true.

To underscore the destruction this kind of thinking is having we only need to look inside our places of worship and see the devastation that is taking place in our congregations. Francis Shaffer and others in the sixties were prophetic in their writings concerning this generation. If we start with his line of despair example and trace its impact we arrive precisely where we are today. We believe the truth to be objective or “out there,” not subjective or “in here.”

Subjective truths are based on internal preferences and change according to our whims. Objective truths, in contrast, are realities in the external world that we discover and cannot be changed by our internal feelings. External facts are what they are, regardless of how we feel about them. “It’s true for me [the subject] if I believe it.” Living lower story lives we attempt to convince ourselves its upper story living to loosely paraphrase Shaffer. Moral relativism teaches that when it comes to morals, that which is ethically right or wrong, people do their own thing. Ethical truths depend on the individuals and groups who hold them. Minimally, moral absolutism holds that a moral rule is true regardless of whether anyone believes it. “It can’t be created by personal conviction; nor does it disappear when an individual or culture rejects it”. This quote from (Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air Francis Beckwith and Gregory Koukl) states an almost creedal epitaph regarding truth and morality.  We don’t invent morality; we discover it like we discover multiplication tables. Classically, moral systems have had at least three characteristics.’

  • First, morality has been viewed as a supremely authoritative guide to action,
  • Second, morality includes a prescriptive code of conduct
  • Third, morality is universal. Moral rules are not arbitrary and personal   but are public

Relativism, however, rejects all universal moral rules and abandons the idea of oughtness.

Thus the first reason relativism does not qualify as an ethical viewpoint   is that the “morality” of relativism is no different than having no morality at all. In this post modern culture we think with our eyes and reason with our emotions. It seems we determine right and wrong based on our mood at the moment. If we stopped here and left the information as we have stated it our next action ought to be “where is the Kool Aid”.

Did we mention we have a reason for hope? Has it been presented there is reason to believe the Bible based on the evidence we have available to us? How in the world can we posit an objective moral way of thinking, living and acting? How do we as Christians who believe in most absolute of moral values defend our faith, stand on our convictions and engage our culture. Where do we start and what is the contact point. We start where GK Chesterton suggested in this story. The London paper had a story line that decried the all the ills in society at that time and wanted to know who was to blame. He is reported to have written a letter to the editor as follows: Dear Editor, I AM yours truly GK Chesterton. The moral of the story we start with ourselves and work outward. Not in a morbid narcissistic egotistical and self centered view, there is enough of that in the world already. How does your view align with the Scriptures? We can’t communicate a view we don’t hold or support. Have we drifted from the very safe harbor of truth to the tempest of post modernism? Did we somehow create the fantasy of moral neutrality that has never existed?

Let’s start with worldview

Your worldview is not what you see; your worldview is what you see with.

Four common elements in the structure of belief systems:

1. A background theory about the world;

2. A basic diagnosis of the nature of human beings;

3. A diagnosis of what is wrong with us;

4. An answer for putting it right.

Stephen Covey: “We see the world not as it is but as we are.”

James Sire on worldview:

“A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true, or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being.”

A worldview is a total explanatory system —A worldview is a description of reality

(Col 3:5-10 ESV)  Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

C. S. Lewis: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see.”

This begins the foundation of our world view and how we are to conduct ourselves and test our views against the demands of truth. When we begin to live in obedience to the truth we run into those in our lives placed there by God to engage, challenge, encourage and disciple. People are looking for community and a sense of belonging. The community that the personal God who is there designed for us through His Son Jesus the Christ is the church. We have the truth, the life and the way. Overcoming the obstacles  the enemy sets in front of us involves our willingness to confront  the half truths, misunderstandings and lies with a coherent strategy that reveals the “wrong headed and heartedness” we encounter. From Greg Koukl tactics for addressing moral relativism with someone you are engaging:

Three Tactics for Addressing Relativism

A. Show How Relativism Commits Suicide

1. Example: Someone say, you shouldn’t force your morality upon me.

2. Reply: “Why not?” They will in turn push their morality upon you.

B. Press the Person’s Hot Button (“Taking the Roof Off’)

1. Push the relativist’s particular moral concern by relativizing it.

2. This forces the relativist to see that s/he really holds to an objective standard.

C. Force the Tolerance Issue

1. If tolerance is a virtue, then it makes sense only in a world in which objective morals exist.

Extension: Using This Approach to Shift the Conversation to God

A. Relativism fails, and objective morals exist.

B. Then, what is a moral law? It is not, e.g., something testable by science.

C. Further, why do moral laws exist?

D. Why ought we to obey them?

E. Best answer: There is an objective moral lawgiver. This lends itself to the use of important Bible verses.

Seven fatal flaws of Subjectivism, this is the most deeply entrenched kind of relativism.

a. We should use an appeal to moral intuitions to show these flaws.

(1) These moral truths are known directly and immediately.

(2) Once you understand the concepts, you simply see that the position is wrong.

(3) Examples: murder is wrong; torturing babies for fun is wrong, etc.

(4) These are clear-cut examples of moral truths, and the burden of proof should be on the person who denies them.

b. Flaw # 1: If morality is relative, then relativists can never say something is wrong (i.e., in itself). That is to say, they cannot claim something is intrinsically or objectively wrong for all people.

c. Flaw # 2: Relativists cannot complain about the problem of evil.

(1) When raised as a problem for belief in Christianity, people intend this to mean that evil really exists in the world.

(2) But, to be consistent, evil must be relative to individuals.

(3) Yet, examples like Columbine High School in Littleton, Co., are clear cases of real evil.

d. Flaw # 3: Relativists cannot place blame or accept praise.

(1) We praise people like Mother Theresa for doing truly good things, not simply if she did what we happen to like.

(2) But on relativism, there is no objective goodness or badness.

(3) Praising or blaming another is to make a moral judgment.

(4) But, on this view, there is nothing for which to praise or blame another.

e. Flaw # 4: Relativists cannot claim anything as unfair or unjust.

(1) These concepts are normative, too, and presuppose a universal standard.

(2) But they make no sense if morality is relative to individuals.

f. Flaw # 5: Relativists cannot improve their own morality.

(1) Example of bowling: you can improve your bowling score when you have a standard against which you can measure your performance. 300 is a perfect game the standard.

(2) But here, there is no such standard, if relativism is true.

(3) Individuals can change their morality, but that does not solve this problem.

g. Flaw # 6: Relativists cannot have meaningful moral discussions. (1) If there is no such thing as a common good, then such discussions (e.g., in politics) are meaningless.

h. Flaw # 7: Relativists cannot promote the obligation to be tolerant. (1) Tolerance makes sense only if it is an objective moral truth.

(Rom 1:18-20 ESV)  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Finally sharing the Gospel that leads to repentance and salvation: In closing I want introduce the Jesus of the Bible. He claimed to be God in the flesh living on this earth as one of His creatures. God gave us His law to live by and we disobeyed it. Let’s examine just a few quickly:

Do not lie- have you ever told a lie even a white lie or a small deception? The law says we have broken it and we are liars. The judgment for lying:  (Rev 21:8 HCSB)  But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars–their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Do not covet- have you ever wanted something so bad you have and would put yourself at finical risk to have it at any means? The law says we have broken it and we are coveters. (Jas 4:2-4 HCSB)  You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don’t receive because you ask wrongly, so that you may spend it on your desires for pleasure. Adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy.

Do not steal- have you ever taken anything that wasn’t yours no matter how small? The law says we have broken it and we are thieves. (1Co 6:9-10 HCSB)  Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: no sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom.

We’ve only covered 3 of the 10 commandments and the pattern is already in place break the commands of God no matter how small and the judgment of God is in place to penalize you. Hell is a real place that real sinners go to when they die.

Mat 10:28 AMP) And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be afraid of Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Gehenna).

(Mat 13:41-43 HCSB)  The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather from His kingdom everything that causes sin and those guilty of lawlessness. They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Anyone who has ears should listen!

(Mar 8:36-38 HCSB)  For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his life?

What can a man give in exchange for his life? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

(Act 3:19 HCSB)  Therefore repent and turn back, that your sins may be wiped out so that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

Truth provides a foundation to deal with tragedy!

I would rather be identified as a Christian than called one. In the life of the early church “Christian” was supposed to be a pejorative term used to describe the behavior of early believers. Now it’s a title that is used to justify a way of behaving or misbehaving some sort of social mantle that identifies us as morally superior. I hope to live the former and escape the latter.

Dan Neal

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