Friday, December 15, 2017

In Loving Memory of R.C. Sproul

Remembering R.C. Sproul, 1939–2017

Dr. R.C. Sproul went home to be with the Lord this afternoon around 3 p.m. surrounded by his wife, Vesta, and family in his hospital room in Altamonte Springs, Fla. He was 78. He died peacefully after being hospitalized twelve days ago due to severe respiratory difficulties exacerbated by the flu and complicated by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

You can learn more of the details here.

Please take time to visit Justin Taylor's lovely write up about Sproul here.

Finally, checkout this link featuring 40 quotes from the man himself.

Sproul said it well- "There are only two ways of dying. We can die in faith or we can die in our sins.” I am grateful that we can be confident R.C. chose to die in faith!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Gospel Summaries

Here are a couple of summaries of the Gospel that I have recently come across:

What Christians Believe in 90 Seconds (Self explanatory)



The Gospel in Chairs (Begin viewing at 39:45, unless you want to enjoy all of Bruxy's sermon and Q&Eh. He gives 2 demonstrations of the Gospel from differing perspectives)


What do you think?

Have a little hope on me,
Roger

Thursday, December 14, 2017

How to Reach Your Non-Christian Relatives This Christmas by Frank Turek

One of the many benefits of the Christmas season is that it presents a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel with friends and family. However, sometimes it can be difficult to know how to steer the conversation in a spiritual direction.

In this post from CrossExamined.org, Dr. Frank Turek offers 10 ways believers can move people closer to the gospel this holiday season or any time!

They are as follows:

  1. Pray: Start praying now for opportunities and for hearts to be open.  Then volunteer to pray before the meal (No one will interrupt or critique a prayer!).   Keep the prayer short and thank God for:
    • Your family members and guests by name
    • The food
    • Coming to earth that first Christmas in the person of Jesus to pay for our sins and to offer forgiveness and salvation for free to anyone who trusts in Christ
  2. Serve: Get off the couch and serve people as if you were a real Christian!
  3. Ask:  Seriously ask people how they’ve been doing this year.  Then ask them, “Is there anything I can pray for you about?”
  4. Testify: If they ask you how you’ve been doing, fold in a story of how God is working.
  5. Agree & Affirm whatever they get right.  It will make points of disagreement more acceptable.
  6. Use Tactical Questions When They Get Something Wrong: When people make truth claims, it’s not your job to refute them—it is their job to support them. So before responding to their statements, ask these questions.
    • What do you mean by that?
    • How did you come to that conclusion? (Or what evidence do you have for that?)
    • Have you ever considered…? (Fill in the blank with the evidence you would like the person to consider).
  7. Use the Quick Answers section of the CrossExamined App to respond to specific objections.   
  8. Show them what makes your walk easier: Glo BibleYou Version Bible, CrossExamined App (people love gadgets and apps).
  9. Seed the conversation:  Depending on how the conversation goes, some of these statements may get people thinking and even get them to ask you questions.  They include:
    • If I were perfect, I wouldn’t need a Savior.
    • God won’t force people into Heaven against their will.
    • I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.
    • The greatest miracle in the Bible is the first verse.
    • What motive did the Jewish New Testament writers have to make up a new religion?
    • If Christianity were true, would you become a Christian?
    10. Write them afterwards:  Following up on a conversation later via email can be very effective. That’s because you can present your ideas more clearly and completely while the other person can actually consider what you are saying without feeling the pressure of having to respond immediately. You can also include links to articles or websites for those that want to go deeper.
What about you?  What tactics or approaches do you find effective in reaching others with the gospel around the holidays?  Please feel free to share in the comments below!

Courage and Godspeed,

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Video: The Hebrew Roots Movement by James Walker


In this featured talk, James Walker from Watchman Fellowship explains the history and  growing popularity of the Hebrew Roots movement.

You can also find Watchmen Fellowship's Free Profile on the Hebrew Roots Movement here.

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Related Posts

Video: Seven Keys to Conversing with Cultists by Ron Rhodes

Walter Martin on the Rise of Cults

What are the Best Questions for Spiritual Conversation?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas- Pagan or Not?

Does Christmas have pagan origins or not?  Today's post features 3 short and concise articles by apologist and speaker Lenny Esposito that consider this question historically and with up-to-date scholarship.

Esposito writes:

"The claim that the roots of Christmas are pagan is one I hear over and over again, especially in December. The idea isn't even new. The New England Puritans, who valued work more than celebration, taught such.  Puritan preacher Increase Mather preached that "the early Christians who first observed the Nativity on December 25 did not do so thinking that 'Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian.'

When one digs into the actual history however, a much different picture arises. There are two ways to approach the question: one is to see how December 25 became associated with the Nativity, which is how the early church would have referred to the day of Christ's birth. The other one is to look at the celebrations of Saturnalia and Sol Invictus. Either approach shows the dubious nature of the claim that Christmas has pagan roots."

The articles are as follows:

Pt. 1- No, Christmas Is Not Based on a Pagan Holiday

Pt. 2- The Date of Saturnalia Doesn't Line Up with Christmas

Pt. 3- Christmas, the Solstice, and December 25th

For more on the date of Christmas, see this article by Andrew McGowan, originally published in Bible Review, December 2002.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Monday, December 11, 2017

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Worldview and Apologetics in the News

Donald Trump's Christmas Statement Shows How Little He Understands About Christianity

Christian baker vs. the state of Colorado: Most anticipated Supreme Court case begins oral arguments

Ravi Zacharias Responds to Sexting Allegations, Credentials Critique 1  Ravi's statement is here.



Friday, December 08, 2017

East Meets West - Mark Mittelberg


Recently, I read Mark Mittelberg's "expert contribution" from Nabeel Qureshi's best selling book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.  It reinforces Qureshi's assessment that generally speaking, Eastern Islamic cultures assess truth through lines of authority as opposed to individual reasoning.  I think this is a very important point to consider when discussing one's faith with someone coming from this background.  

You can also find the contribution on the RZIM website.  

Mark Mittelberg is bestselling author and primary creator of the course Becoming a Contagious Christian, which has trained 1.5 million people worldwide and has been translated into more than twenty languages. He served as evangelism director with the Willow Creek Association for more than a decade.
“It is important for you to know that Allah is the one and only God, and that Muhammad, peace be upon him, was his true prophet. God is not divided, and He does not have a son. And Jesus, peace be upon him, was not the Son of God. He was a true prophet, like Muhammad, and we are to honor him, but we must never worship him. We worship Allah and Allah alone.” These bold words, spoken by the imam—a man dressed in white who stood in front of our group and was clearly in charge of the mosque that day—were communicated in a manner that delivered more than just theological content. They were conveyed with an authority that made clear that the message was something we were expected to accept, rather than test. It was not that the imam wasn’t willing to entertain a few questions. Rather, he apparently saw this as a chance to challenge the thinking of an entire group of Christians at one time. So after a short period of teaching, he opened the floor to whatever issues we wanted to raise. But even then, he responded with an emphatic tone, one that relayed his belief that he had the truth and we were there to learn it.
This assuredness was borne out when I finally raised my own question. I asked the imam why he and other Muslims denied that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross, and that He rose from the dead three days later. As politely as I knew how, I explained that I, and the others from my church who were visiting the mosque that day, believed these things on the basis of the testimonies of Jesus’ own disciples. They were the ones who walked and talked with Him for three years and who heard Him make repeated claims to be the Son of God. They saw Him die on the cross and met, talked with, and even ate with Him after His resurrection. And they were the ones who made sure it was all written down in the New Testament gospels. “What I’m curious about,” I said, concluding my question, “is whether you have any historical or logical reasons why we should accept your Muslim point of view over and against what we understand to be the actual historical record?”
The imam looked at me intently and then declared resolutely, “I choose to believe the prophet!” With that, our time for questions was over. East meets West, indeed! I walked away that day with a fresh awareness that we do not all approach questions about truth in the same way. In fact, years later, I wrote about what I believe is a characteristically Eastern versus a characteristically Western approach to gaining knowledge.3
In the East, and for Islam in particular, what is accepted as true is generally what the authorities tell you—and you are expected to embrace what they teach. That is why I call this approach the Authoritarian Faith Path. In fact, the original meaning of the Arabic word Islam “submission.” It seems fair to say that the prevailing tenor of the Muslim faith is one of submitting to—not questioning—what the religion teaches.

This squares with my friend Nabeel Qureshi’s assessment in this part 2 of his book “People from Eastern Islamic cultures generally assess truth through lines of authority, not individual reasoning. Of course, individuals do engage in critical reasoning in the East, but on average it is relatively less valued and far less prevalent than in the West. Leaders have done the critical reasoning, and leaders know best.” As Nabeel indicates, this contrasts sharply with the more typical approach in the West, which I refer to as the Evidential Faith Path. This approach decides what should be accepted as true based not on the word of authorities but rather on logic and experience, including experiences recorded in trustworthy historical records like the ones I cited in my interactions with the imam. Of course, both sides can have their pitfalls. Westerners in the evidential mindset often need to be reminded to be lovers of truth (2 Thess. 2:10) who are willing to rigorously apply reason and the study of evidence, and then follow them wherever they lead. Too often, people in Western culture fall into an approach that limits possible causes to naturalistic ones, and they won’t even consider supernatural causes. This prejudices the outcome and, in fact, makes scientific and historical inquiry atheistic by definition. But if we can help people reopen their minds to the full gamut of possible explanations, then I’m confident that logic and evidence (along with the inner workings of the Holy Spirit) will lead them back not only to a belief in God but also to the Christian faith.


God Bless,

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Book Preview: Lies Pastors Believe by Dayton Hartman

About the Author

Dayton Hartman is lead pastor at Redeemer Church in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. He has a PhD in church and dogma history from North-West University (South Africa), and serves as an adjunct professor at both Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Columbia International University. He is the author of Church History for Modern Ministry: Why Our Past Matters for Everything We Do (Our review is here).

You can learn more about Pastor Hartman and his ministry here.




About the Book


All of us are tempted to believe lies about ourselves.

For many pastors, the lies we’re tempted to believe have to do with our identity: that God has called us to lead a movement, that we must sacrifice our home life for our ministry life, or that our image as holy is more important than our actual pursuit of holiness.

In Lies Pastors Believe, pastor and professor Dayton Hartman takes aim at these and other lies he has faced in his own ministry and seen other pastors struggle with. With a winsome and engaging style, Hartman shows current and future pastors why these lies are so tempting, the damage they can do, and how they can be resisted by believing and applying the truth of the gospel.

You can get your copy here.

Our review of this work is forthcoming!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Related Posts

Pastor Stephen J. Bedard on Apologetics in the Pulpit

Dayton Hartman on Pastors and Apologetics

Article: Why Pastors Ought to Be Apologists by J. Warner Wallace