Dr. Jason Lisle – Fool-Proof Apologetics

Fool-Proof Apologetics: A Powerful Way to Defend the Christian Faith

by Dr. Jason Lisle

The Apostle Peter was emphatic that every Christian needs to be ready to defend the faith (1 Peter 3:15). In fact, defending the faith is an essential component of evangelism. Yet Christians often find this command difficult and intimidating because some highly educated people have argued that scientific evidence refutes the claims of the Bible. How can we answer such people unless we know a lot of science?

It’s understandable that many Christians feel inadequate to respond to the lofty rhetoric of the academic elite. But this need not be so. The Bible gives every one of us, regardless of age or formal education, the basic tools we need to defend the faith. You don’t need an advanced degree in science or theology. Anyone can do it. We simply have to understand a few basic biblical principles.

The Ultimate Issue—Competing Worldviews

When we defend the Christian faith, we must avoid the temptation to get side-tracked on secondary issues, such as nuances of scientific arguments.1 The goal is to quickly hone in on the heart of the matter—the debate is ultimately an issue of competing worldviews.

We all have a worldview (a way of thinking about life and the universe) that shapes our understanding of what we observe. But not all worldviews are equal. Non-Christian worldviews always have internal defects. Because they reject the Bible at their foundation, they end up being inconsistent, arbitrary, and ultimately irrational. With practice, anyone can learn to identify these flaws.

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Ronald Nash – Was The New Testament Influenced by Pagan Religions?

Was The New Testament Influenced by Pagan Religions?

by Ronald Nash

During the first half of the twentieth century, a number of liberal authors and professors claimed that the New Testament teaching about Jesus’ death and resurrection, the New Birth, and the Christian practices of baptism and the Lord’s Supper were derived from the pagan mystery religions. Of major concern in all this is the charge that the New Testament doctrine of salvation parallels themes commonly found in the mystery religions: a savior-god dies violently for those he will eventually deliver, after which that god is restored to life.

 

Was the New Testament influenced by the pagan religions of the first century A.D.? Even though I surveyed this matter in a 1992 book,1 the issues are so important — especially for Christian college students who often do not know where to look for answers — that there is considerable merit in addressing this question in a popular, nontechnical format.

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Tony Breeden: I Call It Fascism: A Critique of the British Humanist Association’s “Teach Evolution, Not Creationism” Position Statement

Secular humanists, atheists and evolution enforcement groups [posing as "science advocacy groups"] have given up scientific debate. Instead they’ve resorted to a more fascist approach: mockery and legal suppression of alternative theories or dissent from Darwin in any form. Now they want even more, and what they want would make Galileo turn over in his grave.

A few days ago, I wrote an article called Evolution Is the Only Scientific Theory That Needs Laws To Protect It, in which I drew attention to efforts by the British Humanist Association and a handful of evolutionist, including misotheist Richard Dawkins, regarding science education in UK schools. In essence they want microbes-to-man evolution taught exclusively and uncritically in all UK schools, and, since they do in fact believe the Biblical axiom of Proverbs 22:6 (“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”), they want our children indoctrinated in evolutionary dogma at an earlier age.

Now, as promised, I will dissect the position statement being promoted by the BHA to demonstrate the fallacies of logic contained therein.

It’s ironic, but I cannot even get past the title of their effort, “Teach Evolution, Not Creationism,” without having to caution my readers against a trick of rhetoric. By contrasting the term “evolution” with “creation-ISM,” the authors of this position statement have given us a question-begging epitaph. A fair presentation of the issue would have read, “Teach Evolution, Not Creation,” or even, “Teach Evolutionism, not Creationism,” but the BHA did not wish to put the creation origins framework on equal footing with evolution, so they added the “-ism” to their opponent’s position to make it seem less credible. It really doesn’t bode well when even the title begs the question.

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Dr. D. A. Carson – The Worldview Clash

In this article, Dr. D. A. Carson argues that in our evangelism we need to confront people with the ‘big story’ of the Bible. From an article originally published in Southern Cross Quarterly.

Don’t worry me with questions of culture, or the receptivity of hearers, fraormeworks, or worldviews, just let me get on and preach the gospel…

This is a complaint we often hear and part of me wants to sympathize with it. It is crucial that we learn the gospel and proclaim it. But it is also vitally important to understand that the people to whom we speak bring with them their own particular prejudices, backgrounds and biases. The way we go about communicating the gospel will need to vary depending on the audience.

Of course the gospel is the power of God for salvation, and evangelism is a spiritual activity. People are blinded by sin and it is the Holy Spirit who compels belief. However, if the example of Paul is anything to go by, we must address the cultural presuppositions of our hearers so that we do not unwittingly obscure the gospel.

Paul’s speech to the Athenians in Acts 17:22-31 is the longest sermon recorded in the New Testament where a Christian is evangelizing people who do not have any knowledge of the Bible. (Compare this with Paul’s sermon in Pisidian Antioch in Acts 13 where he is evangelizing people who are familiar with Judaism.) In Athens, he is dealing with people who have never heard of Moses, never read the Old Testament, and are clearly polytheists. They had a different worldview.

Today, in the West, we are in a similar situation. Increasingly, we are dealing with people who are biblically illiterate and hold a modernist or postmodern worldview (or perhaps a combination of both). Up until fairly recently we could presuppose that 80 to 95 per cent of our hearers had a Judeo-Christian worldview, or at least were informed by it. Accordingly, if we were dealing with an atheist we were dealing with a ‘Christian atheist’ in the sense that the type of God this atheist disbelieved in was the Christian God. Accordingly, in evangelism one could explain the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus and the need for repentance and it would be fairly well understood. Continue reading “Dr. D. A. Carson – The Worldview Clash”

James Stambaugh – Creation’s Original Diet and the Changes at the Fall

Creation’s Original Diet and the Changes at the Fall

by James Stambaugh

August 1, 1991

The declaration of God in Genesis 1:31 was His signal to observe that everything in existence was there by His design. Those who believe God used evolution (or another naturalistic process) as the agent of creation must believe that death, cruelty, suffering, scarcity, and the food chain were a part of that design. If we accept this, then we must say that God was the creator of these evils.

However, one might ask, ‘Does the Bible teach that resource scarcity and the current food chain were an essential part of the finished creation?’

There are many who contend that these things were in operation then. They are even so bold to suggest that this is the correct interpretation of the biblical record.

I intend to show here the relationship that resource scarcity and the modern food chain have with the diet of the finished creation. Theistic evolutionists, and those who accept other naturalistic theories, usually assume that animals and man have always eaten meat. Yet the Bible presents to us a vastly different story. Therefore, the diet of the finished creation will be examined to see how it is different from the diet of today.

Finally, this study will venture off into an area of speculation. When God finished His work of creation there was an idyllic, harmonious existence between earth, animals, and man. The world that we observe today is not very idyllic, and it is certainly not very harmonious. The questions of why this came about, and what kind of change resulted will be raised and an answer proposed.

We have very little information concerning the original diet of mankind and animals in the Garden of Eden. If one were to accept a naturalistic theory for the origin of animals, then one must believe that mankind and their animal ancestors have always been carnivorous. Yet God clearly said, in Genesis 1:29–30, that both men and animals were to eat only vegetation. This was certainly part of the creation being [very good], and was God’s best for His creation. Continue reading “James Stambaugh – Creation’s Original Diet and the Changes at the Fall”

Death: Evolution vs. Creation

This week’s illustration, ‘Evolution – Creation’, includes five Bible verse illustrations: Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22; 1 Corinthians 15:26; Genesis 1:29-30; Genesis 9:3.

This picture illustrates the fact that if someone believes in millions of years of Earth’s history and/or evolution, then death, bloodshed, disease, and suffering occurred before man’s existence. However, if someone believes in the Creation account as written in the book of Genesis, then death, bloodshed, disease, and suffering of man and animals is a consequence of sin.

If a person takes the Bible consistently from Genesis to Revelation, interpreting Scripture with Scripture, then he or she really can come to no other conclusion than death, bloodshed, disease, and suffering of the ‘nephesh’ animals and man is a consequence of sin.

Genesis 1:29-30 makes it obvious that originally, animals and man were vegetarian. Some would say therefore that plants died before sin. However, the Bible in Genesis 1 makes it clear that animals and man have a ‘nephesh’—that is, a ‘life spirit,’ or soul. Plants do not have this. Plants were given for food—they are not living in the same sense that animals are. Man was told he could eat animals after the Flood in Genesis 9:3. Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 make it clear that death came into the world because of sin.

Some people try to say that this death only refers to man, and not to the animals. However, it is clear from taking the whole of Scripture that animals were vegetarian (like man) before the Fall, and understanding the Biblical doctrine of the atonement (as will be discussed in a future illustration) there could be no animal death or bloodshed before the Fall either.

1 Corinthians 15:26 calls death an enemy. Death is an intrusion. Some try to make out that this death is only ‘spiritual’ death and not ‘physical’ death. However, the Bible verses cited make it clear that Christ’s death on the Cross is related to the death that came into the world because of the first man’s sin. This was a physical death. When Adam sinned, man died spiritually in the sense that he was separated from God, and he also began to die physically.

Greg Koukl – Evolution: Philosophy, Not Science

Evolution – Philosophy, Not Science

Greg shows that Darwin’s General Theory of Evolution has nothing to do with science.

I’m mystified by the opening sentence of an article in Friday’s Union Tribune (October 25, 1996). It says, “In his most comprehensive statement yet on evolution, Pope John Paul II insisted that faith and science can co-exist.”

So far, so good. I agree with the Pope wholeheartedly on this first point. If you heard my opening address at our conference on Science and Faith, you’d know why I think they can co-exist if they are properly defined. (How science and faith are defined is an important part of answering the question.)

The real question is whether the evidence supports evolution or not, not whether we can baptize evolution with the word “God” so Christians feel comfortable.

I part ways with the Pope in his next statement. He said that “Charles Darwin’s theories are sound as long as they take into account that creation was the work of God.”

That’s an odd thing to say, it seems to me. I mean no disrespect here at all to Pope John Paul II. But doesn’t that strike you as odd? It seems to me that Charles Darwin’s theories–scientific theories, theories about the origins and development of things–are either sound or not sound. If they’re not sound, you can’t baptize them by bringing God into the picture and miraculously make them sound. And if they are sound in themselves, then you don’t need to add God to make them work, do you? It’s already doing fine on its own. Which is the point of evolution: mother nature without father God.

I don’t think evolution works at all. I don’t think Charles Darwin’s theories are sound, so I’m not in the least bit tempted to baptize them with some form of theistic evolution. Continue reading “Greg Koukl – Evolution: Philosophy, Not Science”

Anthony Buzzard – Christians and Heaven

CHRISTIANS AND HEAVEN
by Anthony Buzzard

“Heaven in the Bible is nowhere the destination of the dying.” — Cambridge biblical scholar, J.A.T. Robinson

“No Bible text authorizes the statement that the soul is separated from the body at death.” — the celebrated Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 803)

Why do we Christians talk such nonsense about our Christian destiny? On every hand we hear talk of “going to heaven when you die,” “gaining kingdoms in the sky” and “passing away” or “passing on” at death. With all this familiar language we comfort ourselves with the belief that the dead have departed to be with God in His heavenly realm. We hope to survive death and join them there.

Shouldn’t we pause a moment and ask ourselves reflectively: Where does all this “heaven-going” language come from?

Certainly not from the Bible. What, for example, did the prophet Daniel, one of the heroic, faithful men of God, expect at death? The angel told him:

“Go your way to the end of your life; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age” (Dan. 12:13).

Death for Daniel was to be a rest in the dust of the ground (see Dan. 12:2, where the same divine messenger described the condition of the dead as “sleeping in the earth”) followed by a rising, that is, resurrection “at the end of the age.”

There is no word here about Daniel’s soul going to heaven to be conscious in heavenly bliss. Instead Daniel was to repose in death and eventually, at the end of the age, to arise to new life. But for what purpose? Continue reading “Anthony Buzzard – Christians and Heaven”