Book Plunge: Sharing Jesus With The Cults

What do I think of Jason Oakes’s self-published book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Jason Oakes has written a good book on helping to understand the cults. The book is divided into a number of sections to help with the process. All of these involve different tactics that one can use in dealing with the cults.

The main group probably focused on is Mormons due to the author’s personal experience with Mormons. Looking at each group will provide a good overview of the group and what they believe. There is also the citation of numerous sources that can help with this and many of them will be from sources more favorable towards the cult than not.

You will also find out about many cults that you had not heard of until reading this. I certainly did, and I do try to keep up. There are also many cults that are still left to explore so let’s not think one book can cover them all. Oakes would agree with that as well and I think would say this book is a gateway book meant to get you looking and have enough information to get started on any one cult.

Oakes also rightly emphasizes the importance of building up the Bible. There are too many people that leave the cults and have no foundation and then become atheists and agnostics. For instance, Mormonism has often said that if the church is not true, then nothing is.

That being said, there are a few criticisms.

For one thing, there can be a number of typos in the book. It’s still for the most part easy to know what the author is trying to say, but it’s still a problem. A good proofread would be a great aid here.

I also do not understand the usage of the KJV. I thought perhaps this could be done since Mormons rely on the KJV, but I’m not sure. I know there are a few places where the KJV is cited that I think are quite spurious. This includes the long ending of Mark and the Johannine Comma.

I also understand wanting the Bible to match with science, but I find it problematic that that has to be YEC. This is also so because I do not know of anyone who by studying the science alone has come to the conclusion that the Earth is young. I am one who does not think the Bible is meant to be read as a science book and if we do so, we can miss the real message.

Still, there is good information here to be found for those who are looking. If you just wanted to get a book that would give you a good overview of many of the cults today and what they believe and questions that you can ask them, this would be a good place to begin. From there, one can go to in-depth works on any number of the cults that one has a particular interest in and a desire to reach.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 6/16/2018: Jason Oakes

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So you’re sitting at home minding your own business when you hear the doorbell ring. You open the door and there are a couple of people carrying Bibles and some magazines. Maybe it’s not them, but it’s a couple of well-dressed young men with black name tags on.

You’re walking down the street and you see a group off to the side offering free religious literature. You want to be open. Right? I mean, isn’t an idea worth looking into? What harm could it do?

There are numerous ways that groups like this come into our lives. They look like Christians, but they’re not. They deny many truths that are essential to Christianity. Another sad reality is that they know how to use their Bibles better than most Christians. Many Christians have no idea how dangerous these groups are and how dangerous their teachings are and just see them as another denomination. We might be able to work with some of them on social and political issues, but not at all on the Gospel.

So who are they and how do you reach them? This Saturday I’m going to be discussing an overview of many cults and how to best reach them. We’re going to be talking about some of our favorites like Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses, but also ones that might not be as well known like the International Church of Christ or the Twelve Tribes. There are new cults showing up constantly and we must all remain on the watch.

I’m also bringing someone on who has dedicated his ministry to understanding cults. He has recently released a book on cults. It is a good overview looking at many of the cults that are out there and will give you a good introduction to them. The book is Sharing Jesus with the Cults and the author is Jason Oakes.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

In 2002, Jason Oakes received a Bachelors degree in Church Ministry with an emphasis on preaching from Hope International University. He received a Master of Divinity degree from Bethel Seminary San Diego in 2006. Jason has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 20 years. He has served as Youth Pastor, College Pastor, Associate Pastor, Interim Pastor, Senior Pastor, as well as a couple of years as missionary In Central Utah to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Jason has also served as an Adjunct Professor for Bethel Seminary San Diego, teaching the online class “Understanding the Cults.” Reaching out to members of cults has been a primary focus of Jason’s life ever since he was in high school. His best friend growing up was part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As a result of the effort to reach him with the gospel, Jason developed a heart to reach those within the LDS church. In 2012, before moving to Utah, Jason started offering seminars on how to reach out to Mormons to churches and started the ministry People of the Free Gift. Jason is willing to schedule a speaking engagement with your group, live or online. You can get in contact with him at the following: Facebook – www.facebook.com/peopleofthefreegift Youtube – www.youtube.com/c/JasonOakesPeopleOfTheFreeGift

I hope you’ll be listening to the next episode. We’ll be talking about the cults and how to reach them. Please also go on iTunes and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 5/12/2018: Matt Delockery

What’s coming up on the next episode? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Who do you say the Son of Man is? It’s a question that’s still debated today. The number that debate if Jesus even existed in scholarship today is marginal and not worth talking about. The number that debate who He is is much more significant. This is something unique about Jesus.

The Pauline epistles give us a good insight into who Jesus was, at least our earliest source on Him. One interesting one is Colossians. Of course, a lot of scholars doubt Paul wrote that, but if He did, it gives us an interesting look at the view of Jesus.

But doesn’t Colossians have a lower view of Jesus? It refers to Him as the firstborn of all creation. Isn’t that the verse the Jehovah’s Witnesses love to use? Doesn’t this demonstrate that Jesus was a created being?

Is there anything in the letter that can show us that Jesus is in someway equal to YHWH in the divine identity? Does Paul show a high Christology in the letter or not? What do the leading scholars in the field think?

My guest this Saturday is someone who has done his dissertation on the topic of Colossians and the view of Jesus in there. He has wrestled long and hard with this short letter and has come to firm conclusions. I will be talking with him about what his researched discovered. His name is Matt Delockery.

So who is he?

Dr. Matt DeLockery earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business from the Georgia Institute of Technology, his Master’s in Divinity from Luther Rice University, and his Ph.D. in New Testament from Radboud University Nijmegen (pronounced RAD-bowd and NIGH-may-hen). He is the founder and President of the apologetics ministry Why Should I Believe which has chapters at Georgia Tech and Cornell, and you can find his podcast and blog at mattdelockery.com.

A brief update also on the whole Facebook Live and such. We are still working on that. We had some technical difficulties last week and I am still trying to find out how to work out the software and have not had the time to really sit down and do anything. I hope to before too long so you all can get to interact with my guests that way.

But we will be discussing with Matt our questions about Colossians. What is Paul saying about Jesus in this letter? Do the Jehovah’s Witnesses have a point? What does it mean to say Jesus is the firstborn of all creation? Is there anything else in the epistle that would further prove a problem for the Witnesses?

I hope you’ll be listening and we will try to do what we can with Facebook live, but there are no promises. I really want you all to be able to see the guests that I have on the show and be able to ask your questions for me to share. Please also go on iTunes and leave a positive review for the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Book Plunge: Resurrecting The Trinity

What do I think of M. James Sawyer’s book published by Weaver Book Company? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

The Trinity is something that many people do not really pay attention to in Christianity. Sawyer is certainly right that for many Christians today that if the Trinity was proven false, their church services and worship style would be little changed if any. We are often mere monotheists, confessing Trinitarians but practicing Arians.

Of course, we do lip service to the Trinity, but that’s where it usually ends. The only other time we open up the Trinity box is when Jehovah’s Witnesses come by so we can beat them up with it and win in a battle that we don’t often see the importance of and then the Trinity goes back on the shelf. Sawyer wants us to see the Trinity as a life-changing doctrine.

In our modern secular world, we can often view God through a scientific lens where He often plays no active role in our universe except for an occasional miracle. This is why deism is such a possibility for so many people. The universe can run on its own power with laws of nature being active. God is not really necessary. The universe is just a big machine.

Go back to the past and in fact to many other traditions today like the Orthodox church and the Trinity is a living reality to them. We can make many statements about God that would be easily agreed to by a Muslim or a Jew. To some extent, this is understandable. There is no philosophical argument that can prove the Trinity. If we have just reason alone, we can get so far, but the problem is we often act like reason alone has got us as far as we can go.

Instead, the Trinity is to show us what God is like mainly through Christ. Christ doesn’t appease an angry side of God. Christ shows us what the Father Himself is like. If we think the Father is eager to judge us, then we have to ask why Jesus doesn’t seem the same way. There is no dark side of God. What you see is what you get. When you look at Jesus, you see what God is like.

Sawyer also shows that we can have those false views of God such as the kind of name-it, claim-it God or the God who is eager to smite us all. To some extent, we all have these ideas of God at some time in our lives I suppose. It has been rightly said that whatever your idea of God is, it is inadequate. Still, we should strive for as truthful a view as possible.

Sawyer also says that this has often led to a certain moralizing in our walk. Holiness can become a burden when it needn’t be because we are trying to appease the angry God. There is no problem with being moral, but the issue is did Jesus really come to establish a new morality, or did He come to give us God? By all means, He showed us a better way, but did He not show God as well?

When we look at our theology, it is too easy to not have it really be informed by Jesus. The God of the philosophers is tempting to stick with, but the God revealed in Christ is a huge step forward. Too many of us are too tempted to stick with all the omni traits, which we should not deny, and just leave it at that instead of interacting with the whole theological picture.

There isn’t as much in defense of the Trinity here against objections, but that’s fine. There is some grounding of the idea and how it contrasts with Rabbinic thought and about what happened in the Arian controversy, but I think the whole of the work doesn’t seek to defend the Trinity as much as it seeks to show why the Trinity matters. This is indeed something that we need restored to the church today.

The only major area I think I’d disagree with is that Sawyer does seem to hold a higher view of The Shack than I would like. It’s quite interesting that one of the main reasons I didn’t like that book was because of the way it treated the Trinity. If you are like me, you can still get a lot out of this as it doesn’t play a major role in the book.

I hope a book like Sawyer’s is appreciated. The church needs to reclaim the revelation that has been given in Christ. Our doctrine has become largely about morality and such instead of really about a revelation of who God is so that He can often seem just as distant to us as He would have been before the revelation of Jesus. There is a better way.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Knock At Your Door

What do you do when the other side comes knocking at your door?

Wednesday as my wife and I were heading out, we saw some women standing near our car. Now I’m not normally an outgoing type, but I push myself at times and I did this time because I could recognize by the way they were dressed and that they were carrying books that they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. I asked them about their books so they could confirm my suspicions. They told me that they were Bible Students and waiting for some others. Bible Students is often another way of saying Jehovah’s Witnesses so I had my findings confirmed. I invited them to stop by.

This morning, they did just that.

This is also why you study your Bible and why the church needs to have people studying their Bibles. If these people knock on your door and you are not prepared, they will turn you inside out. These people know several several verses that you probably do not know. These are verses that are not taught in your average church service.

When was the last time you heard a sermon in church on the Kingdom of God? Yeah. That’s what I thought. That’s especially sad since this was one of the greatest emphases of the historical Jesus. When was the last time you heard a message about the Trinity? How about the nature of the resurrection?

Well guess what. Jehovah’s Witnesses have a lot to say about all of those and if all you have is what you usually hear in churches on Sunday, unless your church is the rare exception, you are not prepared. Think you’ve got those pet verses you like to use to show the Trinity? Well guess what. Jehovah’s Witnesses have an answer to those. Now I think the answer is wrong and is based on poor hermeneutics, but it is still an answer and if you don’t have a reply ready for them, it will not go well for you.

And you know what? You can’t get that answer right when they knock on your door. You have to have it ready then.

I had my answer ready then. Many passages they brought out such as Psalms 37 with the meek inheriting the Earth and such, I agreed with. When they asked about miracles and that we don’t have them going on, I was ready to point them to Craig Keener. My favorite was to talk about the Kingdom of God that Jesus taught and tie it in to Matthew 24 with my understanding of orthodox Preterism. They didn’t really care for that and it was quite a problem for them.

Now you might think some of my responses are wrong, but I want to point something out. These people are going around doing evangelism, like we’re supposed to be doing. These people are studying in their evangelism, like we should be doing. These people are confronting those who disagree with them, like we should be doing. These people are being more serious about a false gospel than we are often being about the true gospel and you know who they want to reach? You and your family and your neighbors.

Some of you might want to study when they show up, but that’s like preparing for combat when the enemy shows up at your house. You have to be ready then. You have to be prepared at all times. If you are not being prepared, start. If you do not have a well-grounded theology that can handle the objections that are presented, start.

One point I did stress is that I read books that disagree with me. They wanted to avoid saying that they did this and just pay some lip service to the idea. This is a great weakness of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are very selective in what they’re allowed to read. Don’t be like that. Read what you can. That’s just good humility.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and others should be a lesson to us all. We need to prepare. Imagine how the church would be if we were as true to the true Gospel as Jehovah’s Witnesses are to a false one.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 2/6/2016: Chris Tilling

What’s coming up this Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“Who do you say the Son of Man is?” It’s a question straight from the Gospels and while it was answered nearly 2,000 years ago, that answer is still being discussed today. Hasn’t Christianity been influenced by Hellenistic ideas? Wasn’t the concept of Jesus as a God-man a rather late idea? Would it make any sense to someone who was Jewish to say that a man was participating in the divine identity?

About a couple of years ago I did a roundtable discussion with Michael Bird, Charles Hill, and Chris Tilling on the book How God Became Jesus. One of those guys has decided to come back and that’s Chris Tilling. We’re going to be talking about his book Paul’s Divine Christology. So who is Chris Tilling?

ChrisTilling

Dr Chris Tilling is Tutor and Senior Lecturer in New Testament Studies at St Mellitus College. He is also a visiting Lecturer in Theology at King’s College London. Chris co-authored How God Became Jesus (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2014) with Michael Bird (ed.), Craig Evans, Simon Gathercole, and Charles Hill. He is also the editor of Beyond Old and New Perspectives on Paul (Eugene, Or: Cascade, 2014). Chris’s first book, the critically acclaimed Paul’s Divine Christology (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012), is now republished with multiple endorsements and a new Foreword, by Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2015). Chris has also published numerous articles on topics relating to the Apostle Paul, “Christology”, “justification”, the “historical Jesus” and the theology of Hans Küng.

There have been many writers in the area of early high Christology and Tilling takes a view that is unique and one could say revolutionary. It is a classic example of how so many of us have missed the forest for the trees and it fits in to Second Temple Judaism like a hand fits into a glove. We will be discussing this new idea on the show and what it means for Christians.

The benefit of the idea is that it’s easy to connect it to the Jewish culture and not only that, it relies on the Jewish culture. Consider looking at how Israel and YHWH have their relationship in the Old Testament. Do we have any sort of parallel in the New Testament? Indeed we do and it’s one that we point to often. We have the relationship of Christ and the church, and yet how many of us have really considered using that to show an early high Christology? Tilling argues that this fits in in that Paul consistently puts the Christ-relation up in a central place in his writings showing that Jesus does indeed fit into an early high Christology.

If you are interested in the topic of Christology, and frankly why on Earth should you not be, then I hope that you will be joining me for this episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast. Dr. Tilling is a very enjoyable person to interact with. At the same time, he takes his Christology incredibly seriously. You won’t want to miss this episode!

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Happy Birthday to my Mother

How do you honor the woman who brought you into the world? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday was my mother’s birthday. Now I don’t blog on the weekend and she wanted a letter from me and I told her I’d write a blog in honor of her and she was fine with that and that I’d do it today. She also hopes that it will be better than what I put on Facebook. You see, on Facebook, I told everyone in advance on Saturday that I was wishing her a happy birthday and that this year, I was going to continue being a good son and not tell everyone how old she is, but to be fair, I would give a hint. I just told everyone that if you remove one of the numbers from the traditional number of the mark of the beast, you’ll get my mother’s age. See? I was a good son, but she doesn’t need to worry. I’m not going to do anything like repeat that on my blog today.

So in continuing down the path of being a good son, I thought I’d talk some about my mother first off. My mother for years was the most important woman in my life. My parents together raised me in a Christian home and my mother was a constant advocate whenever people would try to tell me I couldn’t do things. There were times she was a bit over-protective in this, but it is understandable. After all, her son has Aspergers and I don’t always catch on to things as well so she wanted to make sure nothing would happen to me. Over time, I have learned much on standing up for myself and I can easily say today that now the tables are turned in some ways and if someone goes after my mother, I go after them.

At the same time, she’s been a fun one for me to pull a prank on. When April Fool’s Day comes around, I generally always try to pull some prank on my mother from saying that my apartment complex was evicting me to being thrown in jail for a violation at a traffic stop. Yeah. She’s fallen for it every year. She will even get up on April Fool’s Day and say that this year she is not going to fall for anything and lo and behold, she does. My sister has talked to her and said “Mother. He does this to you every year. When are you going to learn?”

We also have some fun memories as I tried to always treat my mother well. Sometimes it was in the form of a gift, such as the year I got her a makeover for her birthday or the year I had a painting made of her cat. Then there were times we’d go out on mother-son events together. Generally, I’d take her to a movie with me. Movies I remember seeing with her were A Walk To Remember, Bruce Almighty, and Garfield. In the last two, we were laughing harder than anyone else in the theater and yes, that includes the Garfield movie. We put the kids to shame with how much we were laughing.

When I was working and living at home, from time to time I would stop and get a flower for my mother when I had to stop and get gas. She always said that whenever I got married, I would spoil my wife rotten. It looks like she was right. Now that I am married, it is an interesting dynamic as Allie has become the most important person in my life. Still, I value my relationship with my mother and I especially like it when I see my wife and my mother getting along well.

With our marriage debates going on in this country, usually it’s fathers that are getting the shaft as being unimportant, but mothers certainly are important. Mothers provide the nurturing soft side usually. My mother was always a source of comfort for me when I was in any pain whatsoever and she was really good at listening. My mother probably still has this trait due to not being caught up in the technological crazes today. There was even a time recently when she was buying a new cell phone and the sales rep said “Ma’am. If you buy this phone, you won’t be able to check your email.” She just replied “I don’t have email.”

Mothers are an important part of a young man’s life. A mother is someone who shows a young boy just what kind of way a woman is to be. If the man plans to marry someday, he will see his main example of what a woman is to be in his mother usually. It’s often been said that a man will in fact marry someone who is like his mother. For a young woman, if she wants to know the kind of man that she is marrying, a good indicator is how he treats his mother. (Yes. Allie knew pretty early on she was getting a highly sarcastic man.)

Some of you might wonder some about birthdays, especially if you’ve encountered Jehovah’s Witnesses. Isn’t it true that whenever a birthday took place in the Bible something tragic happened? Well not necessarily. Some people think when Job offered a sacrifice for his children on their day, it meant their birthdays. Most people also couldn’t observer birthdays because it required really good astronomy. You had to know when exactly a full year had passed so we hear little about it. So why should we celebrate birthdays?

We celebrate them because we believe life is a gift and it is a gift from God. It is something He gave us so that we could receive the joy that He intended for us to have. A birthday is a time to look back and consider all that we have learned and done in the past year and look forward to a new year. Every year we are really given is a gift because God does not owe us anything whatsoever and yet He promises us everything.

My mother is also my gift. Our relationship has changed since I’ve been married to Allie, but I can easily say I’m still in my mother’s corner and if someone went after her, I would be going after them. I’m thankful my mother and my father both raised me in a good Christian home and helped shape me to be the man that I am today. While I love both of my parents, today I am honoring my mother and celebrating her on my blog. Love to you mother. Happy Birthday!

And aren’t you glad I didn’t tell everyone how old you are this year?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Paul’s Divine Christology

What do I think of Chris Tilling’s book published by Eerdmans? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

For some time, names like Bauckham and Hurtado and others have been dominant in discussions of Christology as we have seen more and more movement to what is called an early High Christology. In fact, this Christology is so early and high that it has been said that the earliest Christology is the highest Christology. Jesus from the resurrection is said to be seen as within the divine identity and is fully God and fully man. This alone is a powerful argument for the reality of the resurrection as it would take something quite remarkable to convince devout Jews that a crucified Messiah figure was not only really the Messiah, but God incarnate.

Chris Tilling is also a voice in this debate. Tilling was one of the people who contributed to Michael Bird’s project of How God Became Jesus. Tilling is an enjoyable scholar to read who I think is serious in everything he does. Why? Because when you see his Facebook page and his own blog, he is often quite humorous and there is no contradiction between being humorous and being serious. Yet when it comes to the New Testament, Tilling is a force to be reckoned with and knows the material very well. In fact, a look at his argument for an early high Christology is a way of saying that we have missed the forest for the trees.

One of my favorite shows that unfortunately has not only gone off the air now but has had the book series come to an end was the series Monk about the obsessive-compulsive homicide detective. My parents always wanted me to see if I could solve the case before Adrian Monk. The episodes can be enjoyable to watch again and when you do, you can look back at the cases that are solved and see all the clues you missed the first time through and think “Why didn’t I see that the first time?” Reading Tilling’s book can be like that. It can make you think about passages in the NT and say “Why didn’t I think of that the first time?”

Tilling relies not on a philosophical idea such as the God of the philosophers, but notes that the identity of God in Jewish thought was based on His covenant relationship with Israel. Only God was said to be in that covenant. If that is the case, then what about seeing if someone else suddenly shows up in this relationship and has a similar relationship to Israel? What if they have a similar relationship to the church, which is pictured as in the covenant of Israel as well. What if we find analogies from the OT that are used of YHWH and Israel and yet when we find their counterparts in the NT, it’s Christ and the church?

It really is a simple idea, and yet it’s a remarkable one as the Christ-relation shows up all throughout the NT. Just look and see how Paul, who Tilling is focusing on, speaks so highly of Christ and never even really a hint of holding back. You never see Paul giving a warning about saying to not go too far in your adoration of Christ. Instead, Paul speaks as if it was his natural language of his devotion of Christ and His role in salvation history. We have phrases like “To live is Christ”, “I sought to know nothing other than Christ crucified”, and “Live to the Lord” with Christ as the Lord. This is not even counting the references that seem to explicitly make reference to the deity of Christ like Romans 9:5 or the maranatha in 1 Cor. 16.

In fact, thinking along these lines, just recently I was pondering marriage as it’s a topic I read up on a lot more now that I have my own Mrs. and was pondering the idea of how Christ loved the church and then thought along the lines of Tilling about why Paul says that. Paul could have easily said “As God loved Israel”, but he didn’t. He chose to use Christ and the church and in effect is saying that Christ is the supreme example of love and it’s not the love of God, but just the love of Christ. The Christ-relation is indeed a huge impact and it should be one that the scholarly world is looking at for some time.

Now for some criticisms. There were times in the book that I thought it looked like Tilling was going more for quantity than for quality. You’d have a shotgun approach I thought of several different passages but they weren’t engaged with as much depth as I would like. There were times I would have liked to have seen a few passages explored in greater depth and then you could find several analogous passages that are like that one.

Also, there are times a layman could get lost at a few passages. It would be good to see something like this reproduced on a more popular level especially for those laymen in the field who will be meeting groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Christadelphians. An argument like Tilling’s would be an invaluable reference for the furtherance of the Gospel and answering those who wish to challenge the deity of Christ and the fact that the argument is simple and powerful and has loads of verses in support of it is extremely helpful.

Overall, this is a book well worth your time to read and I suggest you do so.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why The Trinity Matters

How can it matter to you that God is Triune? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

On Wednesday, I wrote a post about learning to be aware of God. Yesterday, I wrote a post about how Cynthia Hampton will be my guest tomorrow to talk about JWs. Since JWs talk argue against the Trinity, let’s talk about a unique way that the doctrine matters. This is beyond that you get salvation and Jesus is fully deity and matters of that sort, though they are vastly important. This is a more practical day to day look at how this doctrine can change your life.

When I was in Bible College, I had a professor in my systematic theology class who told us that God created the world because He needed someone to love. While I was a budding apologist at this point, it was one of those statements I did not want to have going out without a reply. In fact, after awhile, students kept timing how long it was that my hand stayed up when I had a question or comment to make and often times, they would whisper to me asking me what I thought of something that was said. I find the idea God needs us to be abhorrent as if He has something in Him that He lacks and frankly, if such was the case, the smartest thing the human race could do is collectively hold Him for ransom.

God does not need someone to love because He has love right in Himself within the Trinity. So let’s look at this. If another worldview is true that has a system where God is one person or where there is no God or where there are several lesser gods, then if there is a deity, He can easily be self-serving. If there isn’t, then all that’s really at the center of the universe is indifference. There is no God who knows or cares about us. Now of course, that doesn’t mean that these worldviews are false because they have outcomes that aren’t happy to us, but there is something that we need to think about to see if a worldview answers our existential questions and longings.

But if the Trinity is true, then there is love at the center of it all. There is a God who as John tells us is love in Himself. He is the one responsible for the whole show. He fills the universe and His triune being is the ultimate reality. That means that everywhere you go God is there and everywhere you go, there is the love of God. Will you always feel it? No, and that’s a great pitfall of our age where we go by feelings more than anything else. What we need again is the awareness of this reality. Most of us think love is one of the greatest things in the universe, and if Christianity is true, love is at the center of the universe. We could in essence say God in His love is holding everything together, or better, God who is Love is holding everything together.

Of course, there is a caveat that must be held. Years ago John Reuben sang a song that was played on the local Christian radio station here and sang that Love is God and God is Love. God is certainly love, but love is not God. Love is a term that describes the nature of God. God does not describe the nature of love. When we say love is God, we risk turning love itself into an idol. This is something we have in our age when many people say love is never wrong. Yes. Yes it is sometimes wrong. Sometimes in fact, hate is also right. If you love the good, you will hate the evil. You should. I hate injustice. I hate child abuse. I hate people being sold into sex slavery. If you love something good, you will hate everything that is opposed to it.

Now once again, this is not an argument per se that Trinitarianism and thus Christianity is true, but I would hope that it would give some people who are skeptical pause. For others who are already Christians and hold to the Trinity, I hope that you will look at the nature of God in a new light and look at the world differently.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 5/2/2015: Cynthia Hampton

What’s coming up on this Saturday’s episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

For those who are concerned, I have started working on the podcasts for putting up. It has just been a few stressful weeks here, but I take full responsibility. Please understand that I am looking to get them out as soon as I can.

But this week, we’re going to have a show I’ve tried to have twice in the past and both times something has happened to stop it from happening. Let’s hope that doesn’t hold this time. We are going to be talking about Jehovah’s Witnesses. My guest is going to be Cynthia Hampton. She is in a unique position to talk about Jehovah’s Witnesses because she herself used to be one and has now escaped and is a strong orthodox Christian. She has also come to be a strong friend of our family and we are thankful that she has been there many times when we have needed someone to talk to or offer advice.

So who is Cynthia?

CynthiaHampton

And according to her own autobiography.

I attended Pima Community College in Arizona received an A.A. in Accounting. Also attended University of Arizona, but did not graduate (Long story). I actually graduated (finally!) from University of Phoenix with my B.S. in Accounting in 2011. I currently serve as Treasurer at my church. I never studied theology or apologetics formally. All my knowledge is self taught because of trying to find the truth about Christianity after leaving Jehovah’s Witnesses. My first exposure to apologetics was listening to Walter Martin every day on the radio and sending for materials written at the CRI.

While she is self-taught, that self-teaching has gone a long ways. I really hope you’ll learn a lot more about Jehovah’s Witnesses and especially from one who has been in the mindset. In order to interact with this group you need to know more than what they think about Jesus and God and the Bible. You need to know how they think. I had my eyes opened to this years ago when my roommate at the time and I actually went to a Kingdom Hall to see what goes on in a Jehovah’s Witness service. We were thoroughly stunned and to this day I say that it is one of the creepiest events that I have ever been to. Indeed, it is the closest to brainwashing that I have ever personally seen.

Cynthia from her perspective will tell us how it is that a Jehovah’s Witness thinks and will hopefully open your eyes to this world. These people could one day come knocking on your door after all and you need to be ready to say what needs to be said. Jehovah’s Witnesses do also know their Bibles very well and if you are not prepared, as former CRI president Walter Martin would say, you will be turned into a doctrinal pretzel in 90 seconds or less. Don’t become a doctrinal pretzel. Listen to someone who has been there and learn how to answer the witness that comes to your door.

In Christ,
Nick Peters