Do Youth Need Apologetics?

Do those young people in your church need apologetics? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Yesterday, I wrote on apologetics and the layman. I was specifically focusing on adults, but what about the younger crowd in the church? I’m mainly thinking college age and teenage youth. Do they need equipped? Well let’s look at some scenarios.

Sean has graduated from high school and is getting ready to go to college. He has had excellent grades all his life and decides that he will go to Harvard. He applies and is happy to hear that he has been accepted. Sean has grown up in the church all his life, but he has received no training in apologetics. He would not even know what the word means. He is unaware at this point of how many of his professors are atheists, have been for years, and are ready to let his Sunday School faith be knocked down. Is he ready?

Bill is nineteen and out with his friends on a Saturday night. They decide to get some chips to get together for a night of video games at one of their houses. While at the store, Bill is told to step back as they prepare to go to the check-out line. When he asks why, Bill is told that the oldest member of their group, the only one who is 21, is going to be buying beer. They will be having a party tonight. Bill is a Christian and knows his friends underage should not be drinking, but he doesn’t know what to say. He doesn’t want to be embarrassed.

Rick is seventeen and is in his high school biology class. His teacher is teaching him about evolution and is saying “It is because of this that we know that evolution is true.” Bill has no real problem until Sunday when he’s in school and learns that God created the world in 6 24-hour days just 10,000 years ago. Bill doesn’t know what to do. He’s heard one thing in school and another in Sunday School. Science is such a powerful authority. What will he do?

Anne is sixteen and out with her friends shopping one day. They are going through the cosmetics section when Anne notices one of her friends is slipping some items into her purse. Anne tells her that that’s stealing and she shouldn’t do it. Her friend tells her that she’s being a prude and that all the other girls are doing it and unless she wants to get made fun of, she’d better keep quiet. Anne wants to keep her friendships, but she doesn’t know how to confront them.

Kyle is eighteen and he and Jennifer have been dating for two years. One day, they’re over at her house together when her parents say an emergency has taken place and they have to go out for awhile. They are on the couch together and kissing each other heavily when Jennifer starts to reach for Kyle’s pants. Kyle hesitates for a bit. She asks him what’s wrong. He says he’s a Christian and believes in waiting for marriage. Jennifer says she understands but that they’re in love and they’re surely going to get married someday. She knows that her parents have to have some “protection” around the house so it will be safe and no one will ever know. Kyle looks at her. He loves her deeply and his hormones are raging. He has often wondered what Jennifer looks like under all those clothes and what this great experience of sex would be like. He knows all his friends have mocked him for being a virgin after dating for so long. He hears somewhere in the back of his mind that marriage is to be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure, but those hormones are overpowering him. Jennifer pulls him in for a long and passionate kiss and he wonders what he’s going to do.

Craig is a fourteen year old who has just returned from a church trip where he heard his favorite Christian band in concert. Unfortunately, he did not have enough money to buy a CD, so he decided to settle for the poor man’s version and get on YouTube and look up the song. While he is rocking his head to his favorite tune, he notices a video on the side called “Why the Bible is not the Word of God.” He wonders about that. He’s never heard that before. Maybe he should click it.

Eric is thirteen and is on the school bus heading back when he hears his friends talking amongst themselves, though somewhat quietly. He asks the guys what’s going on and finds that they’re passing around a magazine. He looks and sees a woman totally naked. His hormones start racing. He knows something from the Bible about not having lust, but these are his friends and he doesn’t want to look like a prude. What’s the harm in taking a little look?

Frank is eighteen and in high school and preparing for finals. He is incredibly stressed out and one of his friends notices and asks what the problem is. Frank says he’s just been studying hard and wants to get into a good college, but is just nervous about finals. His friend says he understands and suggests that he try some drugs that he has that have a really powerful way of clearing someone’s head. Frank is a Christian and doesn’t want to get involved in drugs, but he does realize he needs the edge. What’s the big deal if he did this?

Gary is nineteen and is in college and has been approached by someone asking him if he will join the group that is trying to give homosexuals the right to marry. Gary says he won’t. When asked why, Gary says that he’s a Christian and God’s Word is clear on the matter. The person looks at him and says “Dude. This is the 21st century. That’s an old and antiquated book. You need to get with the modern times. Why don’t you come to this seminar this weekend? We’ll be having a talk on atheism and why we know God doesn’t exist.” Gary doesn’t want to be afraid, but he is.

Eva is sixteen and has spent all her life in Sunday School. She’s been taught all the things she should do right. She doesn’t want to drink alcohol. She doesn’t spend time alone with boys in her house or their house. She wants to wait until she’s married for sex. She doesn’t do drugs. She doesn’t cheat on her classes at school. She is an all-around good girl. Unfortunately, she’s never been taught the rational side of her faith and why she believes what she believes. For her, Christianity is all about being a good person. She is unaware that the next good person she meets will be an atheist. This atheist will tell her it’s fine to keep all that good behavior if she wants to. She just needs to get rid of God. He’s not necessary for that after all.

These examples, again, could be multiplied. There are numerous problems facing our youth today and while they are in their formative years, we are wasting their time. There is more emphasis on going to concerts and having pizza parties than there is on learning the Scriptures and how to defend them. There is nothing wrong with concerts and pizza parties from time to time, and indeed our youth should know they can have fun as Christians. The problem is that we are making the basis for Christians be entertainment.

When our youth come to youth group, they are getting entertainment, and God is an add-on. The lesson that they are getting most often is simply ethical. I am not opposed to ethics of course, but ethics need a foundation. I think back to a time in Sunday School when I was in college and we were going through the book of Joshua and were told that the book was written so the Israelites would know to “obey God.”

Of course, the listing of kings who were killed and the division of the land and other such matters are necessary for that. Having all that history in there of what happened, the renewal of the covenant, the miraculous conquering of Jericho, and other such matters was all written just to make that one point. Of course, Joshua teaches us to obey God, but it certainly teaches us much more than that.

All we give people is years of entertainment. With this, we are also not preparing them to be slaves of Christ. We are giving them the idea that they should be always entertained and God will always be enjoyable. It would be worth noting that Paul was not probably thinking “I am having the time of my life” when he spent a night and a day on the open sea or when he was being given the 39 lashes with a whip.

This further feeds the self-serving tendency, the one we all naturally happen. What does that do when one gets the pressure to do something wrong so that one will appeal to friends instead of seeking the honor of God? What does that do when the person you love is really wanting to have sex, or heck, if you’re really wanting to have sex with the person you love, and you’re thinking “What’s the harm? It’s just sex.” For our youth, a few verses in Paul is not going to be enough to deter them when hormones are raging.

Our youth need to be prepared. Eighteen years of Sunday School will not prepare them to meet a professor who has twenty-five years of studied atheism under his belt. They will be more prone to see Christianity as just a set of ethics, and even then they will soon be shown to be outdated ethics, without any real connection to the external world. The youth are not taught what difference the doctrine of the Trinity makes or how they can know Jesus rose from the dead or what the purpose of saving sex for marriage is.

On that last one, I have a huge problem with too many even Christian leaders today using just the Bible. I have a stance on the Bible that says that something is not moral or immoral because the Bible says so. The Bible says so instead because it is describing an accurate state of affairs that exists independently of itself. You don’t need the Bible to know that sex is reserved for marriage. You don’t need it to know that homosexual behavior is wrong.

Yet so many Christians I know, and this includes the leadership, have as their only defense “The Bible says so.” If that is the case, what happens when the person decides to jettison the Bible? What happens when that person is in the public square and has to defend their views? They have to defend all of Christianity in total instead of just one point. Now of course, all of Christianity is defensible, but let’s not make more of a burden than we ought. When we argue for sexual ethics, we are not arguing Jesus rose from the dead, although that influences our ethics, we are focusing on that one battle right there. Let’s not think we have to win the war to win the battle. Let’s win the battles and let those lead up to the war.

Statistics show that around 80% of our young people lose their faith in college. This does not have to be. Why is it so? It is because the church is not doing its job. Our youth are the casualty and the next generation after them will have even more of a problem as a result. The answer to this problem is to start raising up our young people right now so that they can be equipped for the challenges that will face them.

We have several who could be leading the charge. Don’t let them fall in the name of entertainment.

Apologetics and the Layman

What does the person in the pew have to do with apologetics? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Yesterday, I wrote on why churches need apologetics. Unfortunately, I realize some readers are in areas where they cannot find churches that meet this need and will have to go it on their own. Why is it that the layman in the pew needs some training in apologetics? Let’s give some examples.

Tim is at work and is at the water cooler on his break when Bob comes up to him. Tim decides he’s going to share his faith in Jesus with Bob. His church has been doing a big series on evangelism and getting out there and sharing the Bible. Tim tells Bob about how Jesus came from Heaven, died, and rose again. Bob listens and says “I don’t follow copycats.” “What are you talking about?”, Tim asks. “Well,” Bob says. “If you’ll do some checking, you’ll find that Dionysus, Osiris, Attis, Mithra, and several others in antiquity did the exact same thing. You can also find books like Graves’s “The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors.”

Tim doesn’t know what to think. He goes home and gets on the internet that night and finds several web sites that say exactly what Bob said. He goes on Amazon and sees the book that Bob talked about. Well someone wrote a book and surely this is an educated author. Has Tim been misled all along?

Jake is on a business trip away from his wife and kids for a time and is having to stay at a hotel. Some of his co-workers tell him to come down to the local club with him for an evening. Jake tells them that he’s not really thirsty. They inform him that at this club, there are also going to be several strippers and he could have a really good time. Why not come? Jake tells them that he is married. They reply that he’s away from his home and his family will never know. Jake then tells them he just thinks sex is for a husband and wife. They tell him he can think that, strange as it is to them, but he’s not having sex. He’s just watching. What’s the harm? Jake says he doesn’t feel right about it. At this, he is laughed at by his friends, some ask if he is secretly gay, and they tell him what a prude he is.

Jake is confused as he closes the door and lies on his bed channel surfing and thinking about it. He knows the biblical mandate on sexuality, but why is he observing it when it is costing him so much? He doesn’t really know. He’s been told what not to do but not why. Besides, is this the kind of impression he wants to give to his co-workers? How willing are they going to be to listen to his Christianity when they think that it is all a joke?

Susan is a happy housewife with three beautiful children. Steven is 17. Mary is 12. Nathan is 5. She has been out enjoying her day and she comes back in from shopping with her friends to find out that there is a message on her answering machine. She listens and her face turns white. Steven had been out driving and there was an accident. A drunk driver hit him head-on. He is at the hospital. She drops everything and rushes over.

Susan is quite late however even though she came as soon as she could. She gets to hold her son, but the doctor tells her to say her good-byes. She prays, but nothing seems to happen. Steven dies as she hugs him. In tears, she goes to see her pastor. Her pastor tells her that everything that happens is God’s will and that it is just a mystery.

Susan leaves in tears. What kind of God has she been serving if he is willing to kill her son?

John is at work and is going through inventory. His manager comes to him and tells him to not record the goods that are damaged. They’ll lose money on it. Instead, treat them as if they’re just fine. John says that would be lying. He cannot do that. He is a Christian. His manager says “I understand, but I hope you also understand that I have to hire and keep around here people who are loyal to the company.”

Sherry is out with her friends talking about their husbands and one lady remarks about the same-sex couple that just moved in next door to her. Sherry remarks that she thinks marriage is only between a man and a woman. Her friend looks at her stunned and says “Are you some kind of bigot or something?” Sherry answers “I just think homosexuality is wrong.” “Why?” “Because the Bible says so.” “The Bible also says it’s wrong to eat shellfish and to wear mixed fabrics. Yet here we are having seafood and I bet your clothing is made of mixed material and you have no objections to that. Do you just pick and choose every time what you want to believe?”

Sherry doesn’t know what to say. Has she just been arbitrary? Most homosexuals she’s meet have been really good people. Is it really that big of a deal?

Edward and his wife Karen have just had a really big argument. Edward knows that many of the guys he works with have had the same kind of situation. Many of them are single now as well. He is told by them that he shouldn’t have to put up with the way Karen treats him. Just leave her and move on. Divorce is no big deal. Edwards knows that the Bible condemns divorce, but he’s just told that that was then. Times are different now. He needs to get with the modern age.

The cases could be multiplied. Many of us know of such examples. Especially when it comes to the problem of evil we can see more and more cases where that happens. Yes. I have heard of numerous pastors who have said that a tragedy that strikes is “God’s will.” We all know about the pastors who have gone on TV and said the same about national disasters being a judgment. No doubt, some are saying that about Hurricane Sandy right now.

If you are not getting a proper diet from your pastor of apologetics, and do not have a church in the area that will give it, then it is up to you to make sure you take care of yourself.

What are you supposed to do after all? You are a person with a full-time job. You have a family! You have kids! You also want to have time alone with your spouse, you want to enjoy your hobbies in life, you want to be with your friends. You can’t go off to school or spend all your time in study. You do not have it in you to be a full-time apologist.

That’s fine.

Really. It is.

Not everyone is meant for full-time apologetics, but you need some of it. Consider it with diet and exercise. You may not have time to learn how to be a fitness guru or a personal trainer, but you can do little things throughout the day to make sure that you have sufficient diet and exercise. You can avoid that extra candy bar at work. You can go and walk a mile around your neighborhood when you get home. You can make sure that you sleep well and go to bed at the proper time.

Here are some of my suggestions.

Get some good books that will familiarize you with the scholarly material. I recommend “Case for Christ” as the starting point. A number of apologists are now writing books for the layman. These include books like William Lane Craig’s “On Guard.” Some books are compilations with articles by several people in the field to give you a good and broad look at various issues under discussion.

In the age of the internet, make sure you are using good resources. Do not use sources like Wikipedia. If you go on YouTube, make sure you know who it is you are checking out. If you are viewing something like J.P. Moreland giving a talk on objective morality, that is something more reliable. If you are viewing a teenager in their parents’ house giving a talk on why Jesus never existed, that is more questionable. Of course, a teenager can be right, and I know many educated ones, but you want to sift through the arguments carefully.

In our digital age, we can get information pretty much anywhere. What about that commute to work? Consider instead of listening to music on the radio, listening to a podcast. If you go on ITunes, you can find several podcasts on apologetics. Furthermore, if you go to ITunes University, you can listen to podcasts from Seminaries where you can hear scholars give you information on theology, the Old Testament, the New Testament, church history, etc.

Maybe you don’t have an IPod, IPhone, or a similar device. That’s fine. Go to your local library and try to find a series on CD like Portable Professor or Modern Scholar and listen to them on your drive to and from work.

Try to take some time out for that book reading. If the Mrs. wants to go to bed early, I will often get out the booklight and just enjoy my reading. That can be some of my best time as it is quiet and there is no interruption from anything. After all, nothing else can be on or else it might wake her up. You might have to sacrifice some time, such as time watching TV, but no one is telling you to move into an ivory tower.

If you can, do some internet discussion. Don’t be afraid to put ideas out there and see what other people are saying. You can get your tail kicked from time to time. That’s fine. It could just show you where you need to study.

Also, try to find other people who want to do similar study with you. If the church will not establish a small group for you, then you do it on your own. If numerous people study different topics, you can share your findings with one another and reach conclusions that way so you can all benefit from one another’s study.

As you can see, there are numerous things you can do. However, the examples show that it is important. Without an informed Christianity, you are set to be caught flat-footed at any moment and you do not want that. None of us want to be embarrassed, especially for our Christianity. Remember if people see your Christianity as shameful, they will see Christ the same way. Be your best to be a witness for Him.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why Every Church Should Have Apologetics

Is apologetics a requirement for every church? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

This morning, I went out to the mailbox and found inside a note that was hand-written, but also looks like it was copied for everyone on my street. I first thought it was one of the neighbors but then opened it up and found something different. I am going to exclude names for personal safety of people involved, but I would like you all to know what it said. I will start by saying at the top in a larger print was the word “Revival.”

It starts on the upper left with saying “Please come and bring your lost loved ones so they may be saved at”, and then on the upper right next to “Revival” says “Time may be shorter than you think to get them saved before its too late.” (Yeah. I know the grammar is bad there. Don’t shoot the messenger my Grammar Nazi reading friends.) Going back to what was on the left, it reads as follows:

“at XYZ church starting on day A at time B nightly. Rev. C and D will be doing the preaching. The church is located at E, pastor F. Everyone is cordially invited and welcomed to an old-fashioned, country revival. We are just a small church, common people, saved by grace, trying to get the lost in and around the community saved.”

I thought about this while thinking about a post I wrote earlier on Why Apologetics Should Be A Requirement For Every Pastor I had planned to write today about apologetics for laymen, but this message I got in the mail is the perfect opening to why every church should have some apologetics in it.

I won’t deny that I highly admire the zeal of this church. I have no doubt these are good people who really are doing what they think is best. The fact that this was being hand-delivered rather than using the mail made me think a coordinated effort had been planned to reach the community, to which the community I live in is indeed a very small one. It would not be too hard to do, but it was still work.

Yet as I looked, the first big problem I had with what I saw was that it was assuming I was a Christian at the start. Fortunately, I am, but what if I had not been? I am quite skeptical in a community with a deep respect for religion like the one I live in, that there are people here who have honestly never heard the gospel. Now I realize that it is possible, but color me skeptical of it. The ones who have not heard it are those who disbelieve in it and I thought “If I was one of those people, what would I think of this message?”

Rightly or wrongly, I was sure I would think “Just a bunch of religious fundamentalists.” It would have been dismissed with a thought on how religion is the opiate of the masses and hopefully these people will pick up a book on science one day.

My second problem was with the emphasis on getting people saved. Now some of you are saying “But didn’t Paul have the same emphasis?” Yes he did. He was also a teacher who was writing regularly to churches making sure they were staying in line and setting up people who could teach the church after he was gone as well as having those who worked with him regularly go to churches and see how they were doing. Paul realized that he could not be everywhere and wanted to make sure a church had effective leadership when he left.

In our culture, we don’t do that. We place a big emphasis on conversion. I have shocked a number of Christians by telling them I have no interest in making converts. I don’t. The Bible never once tells me to go out and make converts. In the Great Commission, I am told to go forward and to make disciples. With what we do, it would be akin to Adam and Eve being told that since they were to go forth and multiply, that that means to have a kid, leave it there, and then go on their way to making the next one.

We do all that we can to get someone to the altar and then once the altar is passed, the work is done. We have won the battle! Let’s go on our way! At this point, I don’t care if you’re a Calvinist or an Arminian. Let’s consider that this person gets no training and then later on encounters those who are opposed to Christianity and then abandons their faith. If you’re a Calvinist, you would say it was not a real faith that they had to begin with. If you’re an Arminian, you’re going to say that they lost their salvation.

Either camp excludes you from the faith.

Getting them to the point of recognizing Jesus as Lord is important, but then we need to emphasize what it means to recognize Jesus as Lord. It is not just a simple proposition, but one that colors all of life. Imagine, for instance, how your life would be different if you believed that washing in water spread disease rather than removing germs. Your life would be drastically altered, and frankly so would the lives of everyone who had to be around you. Imagine still how much greater it would be if you thought all water was poisonous. At least those around you would not have to put up with the smell for too long!

Now take the proposition that Jesus is the Lord of all the universe. Surely it should affect your worldview even more than those beliefs! Here in America, we are about to have an election. Imagine how different this election might be if we realized that in some bizarre way, after the election, God would take our elected president and install him on His right hand to rule the cosmos. Frankly, as conservative as I am, I still would not like that prospect. The right hand of God already has Jesus sitting there. Let’s keep it that way.

If the scenario was the case, we would think even more about who we’re electing. This person is the ruler of the universe then. Do we want to make sure we know who that is? Do we want to make sure of what it means to have this person ruling over us? Many of us today will pay more attention to researching the candidates we are going to vote for to lead us for the next four years instead of studying who the person is who we claim is our Lord to lead us for the rest of our lives, even lives after death.

Once a person recognizes Jesus as Lord, we need to have them involved in learning what all that means for their daily life. What does it mean to say Jesus is Lord when the bills start pouring in and you don’t know how you’ll pay for them? What does it mean to say Jesus is Lord when you make your wedding vows to the person you love? What does it mean when you have a new child being born? What does it mean when you lose your job? What does it mean with how you budget the family income? Everything is touched by this first proposition.

It’s bad enough that most Christians don’t really know what they believe and why it matters, but they have even less knowledge usually of why they believe. This includes pastors. There are too many pastors out there who have no business being pastors because they have no clue why they believe.

I recently met one at a local concert going on here at a small baseball park, an outdoor one I used to play T-ball at. It was a simple event with a Christian group singing and food being given out. I was asking to find the pastor. Eventually, I found him and asked what the church was doing with apologetics and heard “Nothing now.”

“Why not?”

“Well we’re just preaching the Word of God.”

“And how do you defend that Word of God when it comes under attack?”

“It’s the Word of God. It can’t be refuted!”

“Muslims tell me the same thing about the Koran.”

“Well the difference is we serve a living God and they serve a dead one.”

“They say the same about you.”

“Well we’re right and they’re wrong.”

“They say the same about you.”

“Well I guess we’ll just see in the end who’s right and who’s wrong.”

At this point, I said something about the blind leading the blind and walked off.

This is a pastor who doesn’t know why he believes what he believes, but he wants everyone else to believe it. We would not tell someone to vote for a political candidate without having a reason. We would not tell them a TV show they should watch without having a reason. We would not tell them about a place that they should invest their money in without having a reason. We would not tell them about how to raise their children without having a reason. We would not tell them to marry or not marry someone without having a reason.

Yet we expect to do that with what we claim is the most important decision of all?

Now some of you will say that what you feel and experience is the reason. To which, I ask why aren’t you Mormon? They all claim to have an experience and a feeling, yet there are several who will say they know Jesus is real because they feel Him in their hearts, but will think the Mormon claims are obviously false and don’t buy into the burning in the bosom. With this, it is just special pleading. Why should your case automatically be the right one?

I wonder how many like this will talk about how foolish they think Muslims are for so blindly being willing to fly a plane into a tower and thinking how people will believe such bizarre things without stopping to realize that in many ways, we believe even more bizarre things. We are the faith that says the second person of the triune God took on the nature of humanity, died on a cross for the sins of the world, and then rose again.

What the church needs is to know what they believe and why they believe it and the presentation of “Just give them the gospel” doesn’t work the way it used to. People are no longer in a position where they already believe many things Christians believe and just need a little information about the claims. If anything, most people are in a position where they are opposed to the Christian faith even if they don’t realize it.

How about if the flier I got in the mail instead said something like this?

Come to church X tonight led by pastor Y to hear speaker Z who is going to be giving a talk on the historical case to demonstrate that Jesus rose from the dead. He will then be taking questions from the audience. Bring your skeptical friends to hear a presentation that is sure to give them something to think about.

I suspect that this would have much more interest as people generally do like to see something that is controversial and could think “I’ve never heard such a claim before. This is really intriguing. I need to go check it out.”

Consider another one.

“Come to church X tonight led by pastor Y to hear speaker Z on why marriage should be between a man and a woman. After making the case, Z will be taking questions from the audience. Bring those who are for and those who are opposed and come to hear an interesting presentation.”

In our day and age, this could be something that would attract even more people as this is really water cooler talk. The church needs to be talking about the issues that people are talking about.

Now some of you might think you won’t get as many numbers if you go that way. Possibly, but so what? Numbers are not everything. We have often turned churches into number games where you will have thousands of people in a church, but none of them know what they’re doing there. Instead, they are simply being sheep led to the slaughter. If you’re a shepherd and you have no means of defending your flock, it is actually worse for you to have a larger one. That is a flock where the wolves have even more targets they can go to.

When churches that have no defense face trouble, two things usually happen to the members. The first is that members can apostasize. Often, these apostate Christians are the hardest to talk to as they have a large chip on their shoulders that tells them that the Christian faith lied to them and they will not be duped again. The second that can happen is that the Christians will respond to intimidation by isolating themselves from the world. They’ll be very good at giving emotional assurance to themselves, but they will split themselves off intellectually from the world and will cease to be salt and light.

Only on the rarest of occasions will they actually seek to study their faith and learn how to defend it.

Here’s my suggestion.

First, every church needs apologetics. This does not mean that it has to be specifically mentioned, though I would have no problem with it, but it does mean that it needs to be brought up. The pastor in the midst of this sermon can give a historical background to a text and explain how we know some of what is said and even mention a book on the topic that someone can read if they want more information.

Second, the pastor should never ever discourage the life of the mind. The pastor needs to be clear that there is to be no separation between the Christian life and the intellectual life. What we feel and what we experience should work in tandem with what we think. The pastor should never reach a point where he says we have investigated a biblical claim enough or that we should not read such and such an author or that we should just ignore intellectual problems.

Third, the pastor should set up groups as well for those who are more interested. Not everyone in the church will have total interest in apologetics, but some will, some even more than the pastor. That’s fine. What he needs then is to set up a small group of some sort where these people can come together and learn and he should let everyone in the church know about this group. We have groups on learning how to budget your money, how to have a good marriage, how to raise your children, how to make a quilt, etc. We don’t usually have groups on understanding what you believe, why you believe it, and how to defend it, and this from an institution that claims to make an emphasis on belief.

Fourth, the pastor should have a well-stocked library for the church to use including books on apologetics and the church needs to know about this library. I can go to many church libraries that unfortunately I have to search high and low to find even one book on the topic of apologetics. I can find several good country novels or find the Left Behind series or books on dealing with your feelings and such, but to find a book that actually tells Christians about what they claim is the most important truth of all? Forget it.

Fifth, the pastor needs to be able to show the kind of lifestyle the church should have. The pastor should be a reading pastor seeking to study. The pastor should show in his sermons that he has done his homework and refer to experts and such that agree with him. The pastor should show involvement with the world around him and talk about the issues that are being talked about by his congregation and by the world at large.

Not everyone will be thrilled. That’s okay. We’re not out to please people but to please God by spreading His kingdom. Not everyone is ready for advanced material. That’s fine, but we need to get them started somewhere at least and the aware pastor will know all levels in his congregation and will include something for everyone. The pastor might not have as large a congregation, but he will have an effective one, and it will be better to have a dozen who know what they’re talking about and why than 1,000 who don’t.

A dozen is better? What can be done with such a small amount?

Perhaps we should ask Jesus. He spent three years training such a group and changed the world through them. Why can’t we train our Christians and change the world today?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Death of Death

The last enemy to be defeated is death. Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Let’s sum up our resurrection series by looking at death being the last enemy to be defeated. Last time I wrote about this topic, I wrote about how a great reversal has taken place. What we read in the Bible is that the last enemy to be defeated is death. What this means for us is right now the conflict is going on and more and more ground is being claimed by the Kingdom of God. We must realize that there is not one part in this world that each side of the battle wants to make a claim and say “Mine!” as C.S. Lewis said.

The great enemy that we have in this world is death. Most of us spend our lives trying to avoid it. If we are eating, drinking, exercising, trying to sleep well, etc. we are doing so to avoid death. We avoid pain because it can be a reminder of who we are. We don’t really like to think about our own mortality. It can seem amazing to us sometimes to think about all that went on in this world before we showed up. It is something to think about as well that the world will go on just fine without each and everyone of us after we’re gone.

This does not mean that our lives are meaningless. The world does not depend on us, but that is different from saying we have no impact. We are all to spread the message of the Kingdom of God. In fact, if my understanding of 2 Peter 3 is correct, this is one way that we can indeed hasten the return of Christ. We will all have some kind of impact. Everything you do is shaping you in some way and some of those actions will shape others. The kind of person you are will also affect how you are with everyone else.

Nevertheless, our light will end at one time. That will be in death. Depending on how you live your life, you could still have an impact after your death. Aristotle died over 2,000 years ago, and yet he still lives on in his teachings today. Who else lives? All the people we don’t know about who were a part in shaping Aristotle to be the person who he became. We speak of Jesus having the greatest impact of all, which He did, but His parents helped shape Him. Who shaped them? Several people lived their lives in anticipation for the one who was to come and in living a holy life, were preparing for Him.

Death ultimately is not the end, but there is still the problem of separation. At the time being, my wife and I live in my grandmother’s old house. There are times that I can think that this is her house and wonder what it would mean if she could see how Allie and I are living now. With what I wrote about Jonathan in my post on Jonathan’s Impact, I can wonder the same thing about him.

When it came time for my grandmother’s funeral, I knew that it was coming. Her death was not a shock for me. She’d been very sick and it was only a matter of time. I was sad when I heard about it, but I did not break down. I was being strong and had left Charlotte with Allie preparing for the service. It wasn’t until I walked into the funeral home and saw her that I just broke down. The reality hit me. I can never call her up again, tell her what’s going on, get to hug her, etc.

Death is incredibly saddening to think about.

Now as a husband, it is something I think about more and a reason I want to take good care of myself. What would happen to Allie if something happened to me? It makes me want to take care of myself, especially since I’m nearly a decade older than she is. Statistically, my time would come first. I still have the hope that my ministry partner has that she will die the day before I do.

We can be thankful then that death does not have the final word.

Jesus promised us in the resurrection that he had taken on death and that He had won. This means not just the resurrection of our bodies, but the resurrection of everything. Everything is moving towards resurrection. Our entire cosmos is to be resurrected in Christ. When we resurrect, we will resurrect in a way that death will be no longer capable of hurting us. It will be an old memory. We will live in a world where we will never have to say good-bye.

Death is dead at that point. It is no more. The life you live with the one you care about now will be one that is never-ending. I do not know what that means entirely. None of us do. That’s something I find fascinating about the biblical picture of eternity. There’s very little detail. Other systems often try to tell us exactly what we will be doing. For instance, in Islam, we have the one man with seventy virgins. From my perspective, this is just taking a great earthly pleasure and making it a heavenly one. In a sense, it is a heavenly one, but the true pleasures of heaven will fully transcend the greatest pleasures on Earth.

I look forward to the day when death is dead. I look forward to the day when I will never have to say good-bye. I look forward to the day when life will be a never-ending journey of knowing more about God. That last line reminds me of the continuity. I am shaping and preparing for that now. This life is not accidental. It is the preparation for the heavenly community. I intend to be ready. I know that if death cannot have the last laugh, nothing else is worth worrying about.

Isn’t that good news?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Dinesh D’Souza Controversy

What can be said about the controversy involving D’Souza? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

What can be said in light the Dinesh D’Souza controversy (accusation) (response) (King’s College Resignation)? At the very least, Dinesh began a relationship which led to engagement with Denise Joseph while separated from his wife, Dixie. His filing for divorce was registered with the court on October 4, but he had started the process, which takes time, two weeks before that. His wife initiated their two-years separation, while Dinesh initiated the divorce process they are currently undergoing, and he claims to have biblical grounds for it. The stronger accusation, which may be false, is that he and Denise Joseph shared a Comfort Suites room together after attending the Truth for a New Generation 2012 conference September 28 in South Carolina.

I am a member of the Christian Apologetics Alliance (link) and the Apologetics Bloggers Alliance (link), where this story was brought to my attention. I was recommended, as our “pro-family” guy, to be the one to write on this. This is not an official CAA statement, and I claim full responsibility for all the words and any errors in this post.

I am a fan of Dinesh D’Souza. I have enjoyed a number of his debates, such as his against John Loftus. I did go and see the 2016 movie. I have a copy of “What’s So Great About Christianity?” and had my picture taken with D’Souza at Southern Evangelical Seminary. Readers also know that, personally, I am a strong conservative, so great bonus points to someone who worked in the Reagan administration.

Yet now, his reputation is being called into question.

There are some things that are agreed upon. It is agreed that D’Souza has been separated from his wife for two years. D’Souza says that Dixie demanded it before he went to Kings College. Unfortunately, what is not given is the reason for the separation.

It is also agreed that he had a fiancé. D’Souza presented her at a recent Christian apologetics conference as his fiancé. D’Souza says he would not have done this if he had thought he was doing anything wrong. They have decided to suspend their engagement. I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.

There is debate on whether he shared a room with his fiancé. Some people are saying, “Yes, he did.” Dinesh is saying, “No, I didn’t.” I recommend, at this point, until we have absolute certainty, that we not argue that he did or didn’t do anything. This has become a case of “He said, she said.” Reputations can be too easily destroyed, and let’s be sure of this: No one wants to do that. I have seen people attacked in the Christian community for offenses that are imagined but not real. Note that I am not saying anyone is deliberately presenting false information. We don’t know what has happened exactly, but let’s be a community of grace for the time being.

In our community, when sin comes out, before seeking to condemn, we should seek to reach the person first (Matthew 18:15-17). When we go immediately to the public, as did Marvin Olasky, we automatically begin a kind of polarization. It would be better if these kinds of matters could be discussed behind closed doors first, but that does not seem to be what happened. It’s too easy to turn others against someone, when others are not likely to read the other side.

So let’s talk about what is most concerning here in all of this to me.

Why is Dinesh filing for divorce?

There are biblical reasons for divorce, but does D’Souza have them? Has he done everything he can to make matters right? Now, if his wife, who initiated the separation, will not seek reconciliation, then there is really nothing Dinesh can do. However, even if that is the case, it would be most proper for him to wait until his divorce is finalized before getting engaged to another woman. As it is, it appears he began the relationship with her before he began filing for divorce, unless he decided he would like to begin a lifelong relationship with her the moment he decided to file. Either alternative does not seem to take marriage seriously.

Let’s suppose biblical reasons are not there. If that is the case, then what we need to do is to seek restoration for Dinesh and his wife Dixie. In our day and age, marriage is being deteriorated and if the reasons are not biblical, then we are adding to the deterioration and making matters worse for society as a whole. We should all be seeking to do what we can to uphold marriage and treat it seriously to a world that does not.

Those of us who are married know that marriage is hard work. It is also very revelatory. I find that when I have one accusation concerning my Mrs., there can be a large number coming back at me. It has been a point of mine to look at myself and ask, “How am I doing?” For we men especially who believe we are the leaders of the household (I do hold to that, although not every Christian does), we need to realize that we are to be constant examples to a watching world and especially our spouses.

Marriage is hard work, but it is worth it. We should be seeking to build one another up and constantly asking ourselves how we can do better. Men, instead of asking, “How can my wife be a better wife?” should ask, “How can I be a better husband?” Women should not be asking how their husbands can be better husbands, but how they themselves can be better wives. In your marriage, you can influence one spouse and directly change another one. Guess which one is which.

What is concerning, for those who don’t know the facts, which includes pretty much all of us, is what kind of idea of marriage D’Souza is presenting. For instance, in his 2016 movie, I am sure that D’Souza mentions he got married the same year Obama did. If someone sees that and then hears him at a conference saying “Here’s my fiancé,” then what are they to think? What if someone in the audience is not sure if he should continue being married to his wife? Could he not look at this and say, “Well, here’s a great Christian leader who doesn’t seem to have a problem. I guess I wouldn’t, either.”

Keep in mind that applies even if the reasons for the split between D’Souza and his wife are biblical. A person listening in the audience could be persuaded to think that divorce is no big deal. Hopefully, this is not the message that D’Souza would intend to share, but we must be aware that people watch for how we act.

At this point, until there is proof that a room was shared at a conference, or that it wasn’t, it needs to be discussed behind closed doors. What the Christian community needs is men who will surround D’Souza right now and ask how they can pray for him and help him out and if possible, seek what restoration could take place. If there are no biblical grounds for divorce, then D’Souza does need to be called out on it, though not publicly. The possible dirty laundry does not at this point need to be publicly aired.

Definitely until matters are cleared up, it is good that D’Souza has suspended his engagement. Again, even if the reasons for divorce are biblical, he is not divorced yet and needs to consider how people considering backing out of their marriage could consider the situation. As far as it looks right now, he had both a wife and a fiancé.

While D’Souza has said he has sought to see if it is legal for that situation, we must remember that legal does not equal moral. There are a number of practices today that are legal but would not be advisable for Christians to do. What should have been done is to make sure that D’Souza has good pastoral, not only legal, counsel. If D’Souza did not think that he could approach the Christian community with his concerns, then that is an even greater indictment on us to do better.

For the time being, be praying for D’Souza and please avoid sharing information about him that is not proven to be accurate. Words can destroy a reputation immediately even if they might be untrue. Let us remember that we seek to build up the body and not tear it down.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Addendum: As D’Souza has stepped down from his position as president of King’s College, we do hope that this time will be used to answer the issues about which we expressed concern.

Jonathan’s Impact

What difference can one life make? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

The author of James reminds us that we are but a vapor that lasts for a moment. Nevertheless, a vapor can make a difference. It can provide a moment of heat for a world. Some of us live lives not realizing the future that awaits us. We do not realize that we will have left this world either dragging it down or making it better. People will remember us after we are gone. We will either leave them for the better or the worse. The question is not “Will we make an impression?” The question is “What kind of impression will we make?”

Many of us believe we will have a long life. As it stands, I have lived on this Earth for 32 years now. My wife has lived for 22 years. We are fortunate for those years. My grandmother died two years ago as her time had come. My own parents are around the age of 60 at the moment. I live next door to an aunt and uncle that I have known from birth who are my grandmother’s sister and her husband. I can think about when I was about to have surgery shortly before I turned 16, my youth minister at the time was having his first child and now she is a little past the age I was at that time. I look on Facebook and see people I went to school with and realize how much has changed.

How much time do I have? I do not know. Being a husband now, it is something I think about often. How long will I be around to provide for my wife? In some ways, I realize it is harder for me since I am nearly 10 years older than she is. Still, I want to make the most of the time that I have left. I look sometimes at all the books I want to read and all the subjects that I want to learn and realize there is so much. One thing you learn in apologetics after awhile, as is most likely in any field of knowledge, is not what you know, but how much you don’t know. You can look and wonder if you will reach your goal and if you do, then what? What all does it mean? Will you have left this world having made a difference?

What if I told you you had seventeen years to live? What would that mean to you? Many of us as youth would think such a thought preposterous. We are young and invincible. No one really makes a plan to die early like that, but the sad reality is that several do. There are tragedies in this world. We seem to realize that such events in an ideal world would not happen, but they do. This world is not ideal. That is why we must all make an effort to make it better.

Jonathan Dileo was one who did.

What is Jonathan’s story? Jonathan was a happy kid who loved Christ and Christian apologetics. He was a great fan of William Lane Craig. I got to know him through TheologyWeb where he was a beloved member. In my position, I often served as a mentor type for men growing up in the field and have sought to be that. It is not just my hope to teach them how to be good apologists, but even more so, I want to teach them how they are to be good men. Jonathan and I formed a fast friendship.

At one point in his school, his class had readings of “Tuesdays With Morrie.” They were stories about a man talking to another, Morrie, who was dying, and gaining his wisdom. The students were told to find a wiser person they considered a Morrie and talk with them for an hour at a time on various topics. I was very surprised one day when Jonathan messaged me on AIM and asked me to be his Morrie. It was a thrill and when that time came, I dropped everything and focused for an hour. We talked about so many different topics. Love, death, the perfect day. I got to see Jonathan’s reports and thoroughly enjoyed them.

Then tragedy came.

Jonathan was found to have a cancerous brain tumor.

Four months later, he was gone.

I won’t deny to you, I feel a great sadness rising up inside of me as I write this. Jonathan was a bright light and then that light was extinguished.

Or was it?

As said, a vapor can leave a bit of heat. Some of us leave more behind than we realize.

Before he died, Jonathan was visited by the Make-A-Wish foundation and asked to make a wish. Let’s be honest. Most of us would want to meet a celebrity or go to Disneyworld or be in the audience of a TV show or something like that.

Most of us are just selfish like that.

Jonathan wasn’t.

Jonathan had already done mission work.

Jonathan’s wish was for a water system to be built for the Mbuya Nehanda Children’s home, an orphanage in Melfort Zimbabwe.

That vapor is still giving off its heat.

The world is a bit warmer because of it.

Today, his parents have set up “Jonathan’s Impact”, a ministry dedicated to fulfiling the dream of Jonathan. The irrigation system he wanted is up and running, but more is being done to make sure that orphanage, and I’m sure several more, have what they need. Today, many children are able to have growing crops and good water because of the dying wish of Jonathan.

Today, lives all over the world are changed because of one boy’s wish.

Today, I am changed by remembering his impact and wanting to make sure I leave the impact.

Today, I hope you will be changed the same way.

I often wonder about where those who have gone on are exactly right now. Sometimes I think they could be on Earth, but more walking on another plane of existence as it were where they see fully through the presence of God. Living in my grandmother’s old house, I often wonder if she could be watching my wife and I sometimes. Sometimes, when I think about this, I wonder if Jonathan is. He knew I deeply wanted to get married and I wonder if he knows now and is happy. I wonder if I can make the impact that Jonathan did and it took him a short time to do it.

Why did he make that impact? He did something many of us, including myself, have a hard time doing. He didn’t focus on himself. (Something incredibly hard to do in the world of the Aspie, though it could be this is much harder for others than I realize)

My own wife does know that there are times I talk about Jonathan, someone she knows very much about, and I just have to have a hug from her then. He was my friend, and I miss him. I still talk to his dad regularly on the phone. He even sent my wife and I flowers for our first anniversary. He is a great guy still fighting on hard. I admire his ability to keep going despite such a tragic loss that is the nightmare of any parent.

Like all ministries, what I do here is supported by donations. I do hope for your support, but also please add another ministry to your list and tell others about it. Jonathan’s Impact is one that should be felt everywhere. At the end, I will include a link to this where you too can find out more.

And as for you Jonathan, I do miss you greatly and I look forward to seeing you again someday.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Great Reversal

Are we going backwards, or forwards? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I once had a job as an arcade attendant. On my breaks, I would often play some of the games I was watching as when times were slow, we had our regulars come in and we would watch them play games. One game that was our most popular was Tekken and all the sequels and such of it and when I played the game, I was quite good at reversals. For those who don’t know, Tekken is a kind of street fighting game like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. Only certain characters could do reversals and it would involve stopping your opponent in his attack and instead taking him down with one of your own.

It was an effective way to deal with an opponent and would follow with my taunt of “Bad X” with X being whatever character they were playing.

What about the resurrection of Jesus? If anything would count as a reversal, it would have been that. We need to step back and realize the shock that took place on the cross. The cross was not just a painful way to die. It was a shameful way to die! Consider for instance today we have the idea of Darwin Awards. In these awards, someone wins the prize when they die from some act of idiocy on their own part. Their death is said to further improve the gene pool. When reading the Darwins, one can quickly be amazed at how dumb humanity can be.

In a crucifixion, one sees a death of a person who is totally rejected by society and told in no uncertain terms “Do not be like this person.” For the Jew, such a person was a blasphemer to YHWH since they were hung on a tree. For the Greeks, they were dying a form of death that is not even one that will be mentioned in polite company. This is not the way any king of any type would die. Yet when it comes to Jesus, we contend that this is exactly how Jesus died. In fact, this is unavoidable! Throughout the NT, one finds references to the cross or the crucifixion of Jesus. That which should have been the ultimate embarrassment and death knell of Christianity became their proclamation.

Throughout the gospels, we find dark powers at work against Jesus using the Pharisees, Sadducees, and chief priests. We are told that satan enters into Judas for the final betrayal. All along, the plan had been that if Jesus wants to come here and the devil sees that, well let’s just see what happens to the plans of God when He dies. The idea was that this would bring the ultimate shame to God and destroy any plan that He had. The reality was that this was what was expected all along.

Then, at the moment of the greatest conquest, we get the ultimate reversal.

My wife often corrects me when I say something about this in a message. It is not that the world was turned upside-down at that point. It was turned right-side up. We are on the up and up now. We have reached the climax point and now we’re moving towards the denouement. We have reached the crescendo in the symphony and now we’re moving towards the conclusion. Shame has been turned into honor. Death itself is being undone. Creation is being restored. The gospel of the Kingdom is spreading.

Today, we live so much in the time that has seen Christianity that I doubt any of us fully understand what the change is that Christianity has brought to us. Many think that if you remove Christianity from the society and all other religion, that it will improve, but I will contend that nations where this is tried for the time being still have a latent Christianity in the background with its moral framework and when that finally is forgotten, we will see the real face of atheism emerge from that.

When Christ comes and brings about the Kingdom of God on Earth, nothing remains the same. We are living in the age of the reversal and we can expect that as we spread the Kingdom, we will only see more of this reversal taking place. Let us go and turn the world from a state of shame and death to a state of honor and glory.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Biden On Abortion

Is Biden’s answer to the abortion question a good defense of the pro-choice position? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Like many of you last night, I watched the vice-presidential debate and I was definitely pleased to hear the abortion question come up. Thankfully, Ryan did not get interrupted during what I thought was an excellent answer. Ryan got to the facts of what abortion is, which is the main question to answer. Then we turned to Biden, who like Ryan, is Catholic. Biden gave an answer that I’m sure many Christians thought would be difficult to argue against. Is it really a good response? Let’s find out.

Biden: My religion defines who I am. And I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And it has particularly informed my social doctrine. Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who — who can’t take care of themselves, people who need help.

Response: Of course, we would not have much problem with this. Granted, I am not a Catholic, but by and large, we would not have problems as Christians even if we’re not Catholics with the idea that we should help others who cannot take care of themselves. The difference is I would include babies in the womb at this point.

Biden: With regard to — with regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a — what we call de fide. Life begins at conception. That’s the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life.

Reply: Here is the key point. Biden has just said life begins at conception, which is exactly what Ryan had said earlier. This is the opinion of the RCC as well. Biden says that he accepts it personally.

Biden: But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews and — I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman.

Reply: For many, this sounds so good and non-judgmental and tolerant, which is what we’re taught to be. “I personally am against abortion, but I’m not going to limit your freedom to do that.”

And hey, we don’t want anyone imposing their worldview on us. Right? We don’t want to live in a theocracy or anything like that do we? What could we have against this?

Biden’s problem is that his view is imposing. Let’s look at this with what he says next.

Biden: I — I do not believe that — that we have a right to tell other people that women, they — they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor, in my view. And the Supreme Court — I’m not going to interfere with that.

Reply: Once again, this fits with our modern milleu, but it assumes at the start that the life in the woman is her body, which is just its first major problem. If that life in there is something that might depend on the woman but is itself not part of the woman, then it is not the woman’s body. It is another body that is growing inside of the body of the woman.

We also do a number of times tell women they can’t control their body. If a woman goes out and strips nude in a public place, we will arrest her. It’s her body, but she is not allowed to publicly expose herself. If a woman gets drunk and tries to drive, we will arrest her for what she is doing with her own body. The idea that if someone does something with their own body then it is automatically justifiable is simply false.

Now by and large, we do let people do what they want with their own bodies, but only until they endanger the freedom of another. You have the right to free speech, but that does not mean you can use it to walk into a crowded theater and yell “Fire!” or make a threat on the life of a government official. Recently someone on Twitter, for instance, said they would assassinate Mitt Romney. While they later said it was a joke, one suspects the Secret Service might not be laughing.

Biden’s position is in fact imposing. He is imposing the idea on people that the baby in the womb is included in the woman’s body and is not a separate body. For the sake of argument, he could be right about that. That needs to be argued. If this is a life, as Biden himself has said, then Biden is essentially saying that he believes this is a new life that has come into existence and he is opposed to abortion, but he will not stop it if a woman wants to do that, even though, as said, it is a new life.

Would the same apply to a toddler? Would Biden be personally against killing a toddler, but if a woman wants to do that to her toddler, well that’s her right? As has been said, there is nothing magical about the birth canal that suddenly makes the baby a new life. The question we could ask Biden is at what point does it become wrong to kill the life and why is it at that point since you hold that life begins at conception?

We also all impose our views on another person to an extent. Every law is the imposition of someone’s view. If I’m out driving, I cannot suddenly drive on the left side of the road here in America and respond to the police officer with “Don’t impose your views of driving on me!” Every law is built on some moral basis and it is declared that a society is better if it follows that moral basis than if it does not.

What are we saying about abortion? We are making a statement about life in relation to abortion. There are people who are saying to give out contraception so there will be fewer abortions and if it is not given, we will keep having sex and you will be responsible for the abortions.

No. We’re not. We’re not responsible for what someone else does. If someone wants to avoid pregnancy, then there are contraceptives out there they can use. There are natural family planning routes as well one can take for those who do not support contraception. However, if you have sex when it is prone to bring about pregnancy and you get pregnant, the person responsible is you and the person you had sex with. (This is assuming a natural case and not the case of something like rape) If you choose to abort, you are not forced to. You choose to. (All things being equal. I know there are sad cases where a husband or boyfriend or some other figure forces an abortion.) This is simply emotional blackmail.

What needs to be asked is if this is the kind of behavior we want to promote? Do we want to promote the idea that sex is a natural act just like any other act and can be done with most anyone and anywhere, or do we want to promote the idea that sex, while a natural act, is a sacred act that is reserved for those who have given the highest level of trust to one another? Do we want to say it should happen in marriage so that children born can be raised by their biological mother and father in a stable and committed relationship?

Biden’s own position has him doing an imposition on the baby especially. The baby is denied the right to exist in this world in the name of supposed freedom of the mother. We would not allow the killing of a toddler or a young child for that reason. Why do we allow it for abortion?

The rest of what Biden says is more into political aspects I will not get into. I simply wish to point out that Biden’s argument does not work. If life begins at conception, as Biden says, then Biden is saying he thinks the taking of innocent life should be legal. This is not a position a Christian should take. It would be interesting to see if they have not spoken out already what the RCC happens to think of Biden’s position. It could be someone might not be allowed to partake of the Eucharist.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

A Mormon in the White House?

Should Christians be concerned about a Romney presidency? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

A friend at church asked me to write about this topic. I am not writing about this as someone in politics but as an apologist dealing with the issues of Mormonism. I really don’t write on politics as politics in this blog, but I do comment on moral issues that can show up in politics. I understand the concern of many Christians. There are some that have a great fear with a Mormon like Romney getting into the White House. Let’s address that then.

First off, I will unequivocally state that in my view Mormons are not Christians. We have essential differences on the nature of God, the nature of Christ, and the nature of salvation. This does not mean that there is no common ground between us. For those of us who are thankful that we won the Prop 8 battle in California, it has been said, and I agree, that we could not have won that battle if the Mormons had also not taken part in it. On numerous moral and political issues, Christians and Mormons can work side by side.

Many of us know this because while we disagree with Mormons, they tend to be very good people to us. I’ve only met one to this day I can think of that really rubbed me the wrong way. When I lived with a roommate in Charlotte, we went out of our way to witness to the Mormons when they came by. We’d stop and get pizza for them and some gatorades and have them enjoy a meal with us. We even went out to eat one time with them. There was a time they weren’t showing up for some reason and I called them and they said they didn’t have good transportation. I asked where they were and came and got them myself. That had the added bonus of having them a captive audience in my car while I got to share the real gospel with them. One of them became friends with us on Facebook when his missionary journey ended. One Mormon we suspect was on the verge of conversion when they switched him out and we wonder to this day if we will see him in eternity. Hopefully someone will finish the work we started.

Therefore, my claim is clear. I am not going to claim Mitt Romney is a Christian. That does not mean I think he is a bad person overall. I just say that I do not trust him on religious issues. Thankfully, as I’ve told people before, I am not electing a pope or a priest. I am electing a president. What issues is it the president is supposed to reside over in our country? Let’s take a look.

The president is to make sure that our country is kept safe. In our day and age, we know that there are forces that would like to see America fall. We’ve already seen it from Muslims such as happened on 9/11 in both 2001 and this year. There is much strife going on in the Middle East and it could wind up coming our way. N. Korea could one day build a weapon that could be capable of reaching us as well. Could Communism still be a threat. Wouldn’t surprise me.

Keep in mind when I speak of these threats, as devout readers of this blog will know, I am not speaking of a “Last Days” scenario with asking if this will be the president that will be the antichrist. That’s been thought about every president in recent history. I greatly admire Reagan and I know there were several who said he was the antichrist. After all, his name was Ronald Wilson Reagan. 6 letters in each name! 666! Reagan was the beast!

Well, no.

So when I write this, I do not have any fear about Romney being “The Antichrist” any more than I had or have fears about Obama being “The Antichrist” or any other world figure for that matter.

Oh but Nick! Don’t you know about the White Horse prophecy?

Yes. I do. It’s the idea that when the Constitution is hanging on a thread, the Mormon church will rush in and save the day. Then, the Mormons will control the government.

Some might think Mormons want to do that, but is it really feasible is the question? An expert in counter-cult apologetics has even informed me that he doesn’t think this will happen since the LDS church is crowing about the Romney candidacy. The truth is that Mormons, like Jehovah’s Witnesses, are in a much more precarious position today because of the internet. The information that their church would not let them get is now readily available for anyone to see.

To be fair, some would say that about Christians. The difference is many of us already know about said information and have responses to it. Also, we do not want to shield the church from this information. We instead want them to know about it and know what to say to it. This is not the same in the case of Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Granted however that there are a few in those camps who will go out and interact with the other side.

A Mormon presidency would bring Mormonism out into the open even more and in many ways, I consider that a good thing. Consider what I have said about the new atheists. I thank God for them. They are bringing the discussion of what Christianity is out into the open and doing their side a great harm with having people think that their arguments are just so destructive to Christians, not realizing the majority of us just laugh about them. I hope the new atheists add to their number of published books and keep it up. We’ll keep writing scholarly books that show the mistakes and errors and let their side deal with what they’ve done.

If we can start talking to Mormons more and witnessing to them, then that is all the better. I also think that if ever some group tried to force itself on the Constitution, we would not have to worry since this country has already had one revolution and could have a second. The Mormon church would be taking a huge risk to make a move like that and it is doubtful whether they would ever want to attempt it.

Another issue for us today that a president deals with is the economy. I do happen to think from an economic perspective that Romney’s ideas do work better. I recommend for people reading a book like Henry Hazlitt’s “Economics in One Lesson.” (If you can only read one book on economics, read that one.) From a Christian perspective, one can read the book of Ronald Nash “Poverty and Wealth.”

What about health-care? For those of us who want to do away with Obamacare, then we do need to support Romney. He’s said he will repeal it and the voters definitely expect that. For those who want to speak about pre-existing conditions, My Mrs. and I both have pre-existing conditions. Since moving, I had to go see my old doctor so the health insurance company could know that my Asperger’s is not a problem for my insurance.

Some might disagree, but this is a question that we have to ask. Which candidate is better equipped to help grow our economy?

Moral issues certainly play a part in how we vote and that was the main reason voters were voting in 2004. There are a number of issues we have coming up. The debate over redefining marriage is going on. Obama has already said his view is in support of doing that. Abortion is another major issue. We can be thankful that Mormons stand with us by and large on these issues. We need to especially get into the Supreme Court people who will support our views. Hugh Hewitt, a conservative radio talk show host, has said the most important rule is to be able to count to 5. I would even vote for a pro-choice Republican if I thought he’d put someone conservative on the Supreme Court who is more likely to overturn Roe V. Wade.

What we have to ask is not “Who believes like me the most in religion?”, but “Who is more capable of doing the job?”

If there is one area we should be concerned about, it’s that Christians unfortunately are not producing the best candidates. Christians are shying away from politics when we shouldn’t. There are several brilliant Christian minds that could make a difference in the world if we will allow them to do so.

I can end this no better I think than the way Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson of the Mormon Research Ministry did in their article from the Christian Research Institute. (Link below) It’s from 2008 but still valid.

It doesn’t appear that Romney’s Mormonism is causing many evangelical Christian leaders to oppose his candidacy. In fact, one group of Christians has even jumped on his bandwagon by hosting an Internet site ( Perhaps University of Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith summarized the precarious position of many when he said (Los Angeles Times, October 15, 2006), “Some evangelicals may think that Mormons are going to hell, but at the same time, they might think that it wouldn’t be too bad to have one in elected office.”

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson’s article can be found .