Thinking About 9/11 And Our Past

What can we learn from this day? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As I start to write this blog, it’s about 8:42 in the morning EST. I think it was around this time that Professor Wheeler came to us as we were sitting in the gym area of our Bible College where morning worship took place as this place could seat the whole student body. Before the sermon, he said to pray for the people of New York. A plane had just hit one of the World Trade Center towers.

There was no panic or anything. I doubt people were thinking we were under attack. I sure wasn’t. I don’t even remember a discussion about it going on around me so we went and had our worship service. After that, the announcement came that the second tower had been hit by a plane. Now it was no longer an accident of some kind. This was an attack.

9/11 is a day where we always look to the past. Lately, this has been quite a contentious topic in America. We have scores of people who want to take down statues of our past and change street names related to our past. I haven’t said much about it, but I do not support such an action.

You see, 9/11 taught us something. It did show us a way that we were vulnerable and now we have improved on that to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Having suffering come into your life for a reason can be a tragedy. Not learning from it so that you repeat the mistake is even worse. If you do not learn from your mistakes, why should you not expect to repeat them?

We can’t erase 9/11. We can’t rewind the tape and undo it. Many of us have things from our recent history that we would love to go back and get to do them over again. It’s useless to wish for. You don’t have that ability. The best you can do is look at the event and see what you can learn from it.

It’s also useless for us to stay in the past and beat ourselves up over it. It happened. It would have been nice if it hadn’t, but it did happen. If it was for some sin we did, we repent and move on and agree to do better. No further punishment is needed for Jesus took it on for us. If it is for something that happened to us, we learn how to better prepare ourselves for next time. The past can be a great teacher for us.

So now we get to the craze today of removing statues. It would be nice if we could go back in time and remove the failures of our past from us, but we can’t. Slavery happened and there’s no changing that. No one today though is responsible for what happened in the past. The more we try to punish people today for what happened, the more we make ourselves live in the past and hold people responsible for what they did not do.

Our past can be ugly, but it cannot be erased. We can live like it didn’t happen, but it did. If we act like it didn’t happen, we are more prone to make the same mistakes. To hold up the statues is not to celebrate the past, but to acknowledge it. none of us should want to celebrate what happened.

When we remember 9/11, we don’t celebrate what happened. We remember it. Where we are the ones guilty of a sin, we have grace for ourselves and repent and move on and celebrate the grace of God. Where we have been wronged and put in danger, we learn from the past and say we won’t repeat it again.

Today, we’ll be thinking about 9/11. Part of our yearly ritual on this day is to watch the World Trade Center movie. We also ask that you thank God for the people you know in your life who are first responders. If you’re reading this and you’re a first responder, thank you for your service.

And if you’re reading this and you lost someone in 9/11, my sympathies go out to you. Nothing can ever really change this day. We can only say what was said long ago, that we will rebuild and live on. Never forget the past, but don’t let it be a place of permanent residency. This goes for all of us. May we all have grace and live our lives today. We don’t dare act like it didn’t happen. It happened and it mattered and the lives of those who died will never be deaths in vain.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Deeper Waters Podcast 9/9/2017: The Mentionables

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

It kind of started as a joke or a compliment. Maybe it was a little bit of both. One of my friends mentioned me and some others in a comment and how that while there are several big names in apologetics, there are some that deserve a mention. I replied thanking him for the compliment as did some of the others named, and then we decided why not make it real?

And now, the Mentionables are here.

We’re going to be having a regular podcast with different ones of us speaking from time to time and we’re having a conference in Greensboro in May of next year. However, we’re also going to be doing an interview on my podcast this Saturday. We’ll be talking about who we are and the conference and giving an example of what we want the Mentionables Podcast to be like.

So who are the Mentionables?

Joel Furches is a writer who has spent most of his writing career researching and writing on the subject of Christian Apologetics. Joel wrote a column for The Examiner on Apologetics for over five years. Additionally, Joel has researched and written for publications such as Bible Translation Magazine, Hubpages, Premier Christianity Magazine, and Christian Media Magazine. Joel has contributed material to the book “Basics of Biblical Criticism,” and is the author of “Christ-Centered Apologetics.”

Joel has a BS in Psychology and an MS in Education.

And Neil Hess

 

  • Masters in the Arts of Teaching 2006

 

  • Attended Western Seminary 2013-2015 (Stopped due to time, health and financial constraints)

 

  • Completed the Ambassadors Academy on Evangelism with Ray Comfort and Living Waters July 2011

 

  • Teaching science at the middle school level since 2007

 

  • Produced dozens of apologetics related and evangelistic videos and blog articles

 

  • Years of experience in multimedia production, especially in audio production and voice overs

 

 

Established multiple podcasts

Other members at this time include Adam Coleman, Chad Gross, and Tyler Vela. Tyler has been on my show twice before. Finally, I’m also included as a mentionable. If you want information on me, it’s all here on this web site and I don’t think I need to include it again.

We are already planning for our first conference in May of next year in Greensboro, North Carolina. We hope that it will be the first of many. The show we’re doing on Saturday though is more to help introduce us to the world. Many people have heard of the much bigger names, but they haven’t heard of the lesser names, but even lesser names deserve a mention.

This also means podcast fans that from time to time, I will be contributing regularly to yet another podcast and I hope that you listen to that one as well. The difference is on the other one, you’ll likely be hearing a lot more of my viewpoints whereas on mine, it’s strictly an interview or debate format depending on the guests on the show. I hope it goes well and you listen to tha tas well.

I also hope you’ll leave a review on ITunes of the show and if you want to get to see me sometime, maybe you’d like to come to the conference in Greensboro. Be watching this web site for details.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Harvey, Irma, And Prophetic Fulfillment

Are hurricanes a fulfillment of prophecy? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It’s not really a shock that when anything major happens in the world, so many of my Christian brothers and sisters are there to immediately tell us that this is a fulfillment of prophecy. No matter what happens, prophecy is being fulfilled. Trump’s getting elected is a fulfillment of prophecy and had it been Hillary, no doubt that would be a fulfillment of prophecy too. This happened with the eclipse and with two hurricanes, it’s happening again.

Never mind that to get to Harvey, we had to have seven other hurricanes and you didn’t hear a peep really about those. Never mind also that much of the world experiences hurricanes, though they’re not called hurricanes there, and nothing is said about those. Like many people today in America, American Christians seem to assume that all prophetic fulfillment centers on what happens in America.

Take the blood moons for example. We look and say that if there are blood moons happening, that’s a sign about Israel. We don’t seem to ask “Can these things even be seen in Israel?” Nope. If we can experience it in America, that’s enough. (And it’s my understanding that not all of the blood moons could be seen in America.)

So what about hurricanes? I did go over to YouTube to look. Just type in “Irma” and “prophecy” and see what happens. The prophecy experts are already at it. I have always said that I would like to be a prophecy expert. You can write a book making ample predictions, have it be a best seller, get touted as an expert in the media, get everything entirely wrong, and still somehow the cycle repeats for you.

This time, there’s a verse I’ve been asked about in Luke 21.

“There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.

Now the literalists among us are looking and saying the sun and moon are a sign with the solar eclipse and now we have the roaring of the sea. They seem to somehow be ignoring the stars part. (Note that they are always selectively literal) It can’t be that an eclipse just happens as part of the natural working of our planet. Nope. It has to be a sign.

This really isn’t a Christian notion. This is much more of a pagan one. There have been numerous eclipses in history. Sometimes an eclipse is just an eclipse. We don’t need to be looking for signs in everything that happens.

Sadly, we have a reputation of doing that. When Israel is established as a nation, well this is it! Forty more years! Forty years have long since passed and nothing. Maybe it was the Six-Day War! Forty years have passed. Nothing. Every time we see this, it becomes an embarrassment to us because the world looks and realizes they can’t take Christians seriously.

If you’ve read my blog for awhile, you know I’m an orthodox Preterist in my eschatology, so yes, I do think Luke 21 has already been fulfilled. Note especially the part before about Jerusalem being surrounded by armies. This did happen in the time of Vespasian.

Someone could say “Well there could be a future fulfillment”, but it’s up to them to establish that. Note that the text also says all these things must happen. Not some of them. All of them, and before the generation passes away. That included in this the destruction of the temple which has already happened.

If you want to be a futurist, I disagree with you, but be a futurist. Please though do not be doing prophecy watches. It has a bad track record and it is very unlikely that you are the exception. Instead, the church just gets embarrassed with a bad track record of how to interpret Scripture. If they can’t trust us with Scripture in what they can see, why should they in what they can’t?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why I Read Marriage Books

With so much in apologetics to study, why study marriage? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I love having a Kindle. It’s a wonderful gift. It’s especially helpful when Allie wants to go to bed at an early time and wants me nearby, but I still want to read. I just get in and use a light dimmer and read my Kindle. Since mine is a Fire, it also works as a portable office.

I also am quite frugal so I subscribe to email lists about discount and free books related to Christian interests of mine. One of those is books on marriage. Sometimes, I will get one and read through it. I take my time normally and read only a chapter a day. Other books I go through quickly, but on these I try to go much more steadily.

But why? There is so much to keep up with in the world of apologetics. There are so many debates to prepare for. How is it that I am bettering the world by reading a book on marriage?

It’s because despite what people will tell you, marriage is work. Anything worthwhile is. I work at my marriage because it’s one of the greatest gifts I have. I want to know how to be the best at this relationship. The better my relationship with my wife is, the better everything else is in this world.

I think also this is important for our marriage debates today. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not at all saying that we shouldn’t work on showing that marriage is a man and a woman for life, but I think the reason the world denounces marriage is in many ways, we did it first. Sure, the divorce rate is not as high among committed Christians as the world would have you believe, but it is still there.

What we need to do is treat marriage like a treasure. Some of the best evangelism that you can do starts in your own home. If you cannot show love to your immediate family, it’s going to be hard to show the rest of the world that you have love for them. Love begins at home.

I also tell people in ministry that if you are a great debater, a great apologist, you can answer every question, and you write excellent bestsellers, but you fail to be a spouse to your spouse and a parent to your children, then I count you as a failure in ministry. Your family should have no justifiable doubt on where they stand with you.

We all know one of the benefits of marriage is sex, and this is another way that the church can do better. If you watch media, you will think the world has the better deal. Couples fall in love and have sex constantly and there’s never anything afterwards that goes wrong directly related to sex. Those of us who are married know better.

Sex itself takes work, but it’s worth it. In fact, we as Christians should be living out the best sex lives. It should be that if people want the idea of what a truly awesome sex life looks like, they should look to their Christian friends. It’s our God who made this gift. Why should we not be the ones celebrating it?

My working on marriage is because of how much my own wife means to me. My wife is a sacred gift and she entrusts me also with a very sacred gift, herself. If I have such a great gift as that, why should I not want to work on it and improve it? My marriage should never suffer because I have an apologetics ministry.

And your relationships shouldn’t suffer for ministry either.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why God Is Not The Definition

If we say that God’s nature is good or love, what do we mean? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday on Facebook, I saw a friend of mine post a poem that was saying what love is not, and for the most part, I agreed with it. It ended with the poet saying that God’s nature is love. If you want to know what love is, look to God. That is where I begin to have disagreements.

If you wanted to say that God is the one who acts out what love is, then that is one thing, but too often when we have conversations about goodness and love, we just refer to God’s nature. What is the good? The good is God’s nature. I agree that God’s nature is to be good, but there is a problem with this approach.

You see, when we speak of this, first off, we normally mean only moral goodness, but there are other types of goodness. If my wife fixes a pizza for us for dinner and I say “My, this is a good pizza.” I am not saying anything about morality there. I am saying something about the quality of the pizza. If I read a book, I can say that it is a good book, but I am not saying it is a moral book.

If I am someone who does not know what good is, how does pointing me to God tell me what it is? What am I to think of that? This is a godlike book? This is a godlike pizza? If I do not know the nature of God, how am I going to know the nature of goodness by pointing to something that I don’t know?

Many atheists also tie this in with the Euthyphro dilemma. The Liconas and Habermases regularly get together for Labor Day, so while over there yesterday, Gary and I watched Mike debate Larry Shapiro and it was quite frankly a massacre. Shapiro just did not know the subject matter at hand well enough.

In the talk, he presented the dilemma. Is something good because God says it is or does God say it is good because it is good? He said that no one had ever answered this question. Of course, this problem could be turned back onto whatever Shapiro thinks is good. Does society say something is good because it is, or is something good because society says it is?

Sadly, Shapiro doesn’t realize that Plato’s own student Aristotle answered the dilemma. He did it in a simple way. He defined goodness. That’s what we need to do. Aristotle started it simply by saying the good is that at which all things aim. There’s much more to it, but it is a definition.

That is the proper way to answer the dilemma also. Tell what love is. Tell what goodness is. Pointing to God does nothing to those who don’t know God and even if you do, it doesn’t help. After all, how does knowing God’s nature tell you what is meant by a good pizza?

We should all strive to know God’s nature, but let’s also make sure we’re conveying an accurate message. While I agree goodness and love can’t exist without God, one doesn’t need to know God to know what those are. We find out what they are and then that helps us understand God better.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Biographies and Jesus

What do I think of Keener and Wright’s book published by Emeth Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Richard Burridge caused a revolution of sorts in Gospel studies in the 20th century by making a thorough demonstration that the Gospels are Greco-Roman biographies. Today, most scholars would agree with that. Still, that is the start of the journey. We now have to ask what difference it makes. Is this just knowledge that will answer a question for us on a game show, or are there some ramifications for this?

In this volume, Keener and Wright have brought together several students doing graduate level research at Asbury to talk about the issue. There are some chapters by the editors of Keener and Wright and one by Licona, but for the most part, this is done by students, which I find refreshing. It’s good to see new faces rising up and taking on the task of serious scholarship.

The students look at what difference it makes to say that the Gospels are biogarphies. One at the start is that we have spent so much time trying to trace the communities that received the Gospels that we forgot the point of the Gospels. The point of the Gospels is to tell the story of the life of Jesus. An average person in the pew might not consider this much of a shock, but it does affect how we read the Gospels greatly. The Gospels don’t have a community and then they shape the story. The story is written in such a way about Jesus and telling about Him that hopefully it will shape the community.

Helpful also are notes about the dating of the Gospels. We can accept testimony about historical figures on far weaker grounds than we do the Gospels. Too often, it’s easy to dismiss all the evidence that is there for one position and then say that there is no evidence of the position. It needs to be realized that bias cuts both ways and we must all make sure prior worldview assumptions aren’t changing the way we view the data.

One helpful source in here are the comparisons across other biographies. Those who say the Gospels are unreliable because of differences in the accounts should see differences in other accounts of the same event. Very rarely would we reject the primary event because the secondary details are disputed. Sadly, this is done with the Gospels constantly.

Also helpful to readers will be Keener’s section on oral tradition. He points out problems with the idea of telephone and shows how memorization was taken extremely seriously in the past. Again, this is often a case of a double standard. The Gospels are looked at through one set of lenses and all other ancient history is looked at through another set.

Keener and Wright have put together excellent material that will be helpful for any student of the Gospels. To have new minds going through the material and presenting their thoughts is an excellent treat and as far as I’m concerned, they certainly wrote like professional scholars. I look forward to more research like this being done.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why I Follow The Pence Rule

Is there a reason to avoid contact with non-family women? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A few months ago, Mike Pence apparently caused a scandal when it was revealed he won’t go out to eat alone with a woman that he is not married to. This was obviously a shock to much of the world that a conservative man might actually live by such principles and that a Christian man might want to honor his marriage. At this point, it doesn’t really matter to me how you vote. I think Pence has an excellent rule.

For me, my Christian walk is first and foremost, but next after that is my relationship to my wife. My wife is the most precious gift that anyone could ever give me. I made sure to be cautious while we were dating to avoid sexual contact. After all, once you’re married, there’s plenty of time for that.

Once you do get married, you have made a promise of sexual exclusivity to that other person for life. When I did that, I said that I would not be intimate with any other woman and I think that includes sharing anything intimate whatsoever, which also means guys that pornography is not allowed.

My wife is all I need for me, but that does not mean that a man does not face temptations. One time I remember being tempted long before Allie came along was heading home alone from my solo trip to the National Apologetics Conference. I passed by one of those “clubs” and for a brief thought I was tempted with the idea that no one would ever know. I didn’t slow down or anything. I kept right on driving.

Now that I am married, I have even more reason. You see, my ministry would definitely be hurt by what I do, but I also know that many other people could do the ministry that I do. My wife is the one who would be hurt the most if I did something, and many other people could do the ministry that I do, but no one else is going to do the job of being a husband to Allie Peters.

I also do this because women are sacred. That’s another reason you won’t see me at strip clubs or engaging in pornography. Women are sacred and are not to be treated like objects. Sadly, this can even happen in marriage as many men have an idea that their wives are objects meant to satisfy their sexual desire. For many of us men, what is more important is not how much our wives satisfy us because, hey, they’re giving us sex and that’s satisfaction enough, but how much we satisfy them.

Too many men today view women as objects to be conquered. That’s why you can say a saying such as hit it and quit it. The goal is to just get the woman in bed. It’s not to build a lifelong relationship with her. It’s not to be a man worthy of that woman for life. It’s just to bed her.

For many men, a woman is an object to verify their masculinity. When you see a woman stripping or naked, it’s natural to be aroused and that leads to the natural feeling that one is a man. No. A physiological sensation does not make you a man. One true measure of a man is how, if he is married, he treats the woman he loves. Watching a girl perform an action at a club or on a video who does not know you at all doesn’t prove you are a man. It proves you can download a video or pay money to get into a club. A real man is one who honors the women that he meets by saying that the woman he wants is worth a lifelong commitment.

So how does this play out? It means that I avoid interacting with women that I am not married to in a private setting if my wife is not around and that woman is not family. I would be fine with my mother, my sister, or my mother-in-law, for instance. For everyone else, I put my guard up.

Now could I be paranoid? Perhaps, but if any woman will be offended by my actions, that woman will not be my wife! You see, most people who fall into sexual sin don’t intend to. They don’t set out to have an affair. It just happens. How? It normally starts with an emotional commitment and then that turns into something physical.

My rule is I don’t even want to give it a possibility. I want to honor my wife in such a way that if anyone did make a charge, the world would look and laugh. “Are you serious? No one questions how much he loves his wife!”

It’s up to you if you want to follow the Pence rule. For me, I do. My Allie is my Princess and she is not worth any risk like that. I promised exclusivity to her and that is a promise I keep for life.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 9/2/2017: Rebecca Lemke

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

Many of us tend to think in extremes. We’re either too conservative or too liberal. This happens in Christian circles as well. We either go all in with something that is wrong and join the culture, like many progressives, or like some conservatives, we go all out and practically avoid anything just because we don’t want to be thought of doing anything wrong and can easily create a guilt culture.

So when it comes to sexuality, we tend to think the same way. Many of our progressives have taken wrong stances. Pre-marital sex is okay! You can live together before you get married! Some even have no problem accepting the historical position of the church on homosexuality. Many of us realize that this is a problem.

Yet can we go too far the other way? Perhaps we can. Perhaps in an eagerness to rightly avoid falling into sin, the purity movement has gone too far. Of course, this is not to undermine sin. Sin is sin still. It is to say that maybe not everything we think of as sinful is. Maybe it could also be that if we do sin along the way, we are not ruined for life.

My guest this Saturday went through the purity movement and was greatly hurt by it. Today, there is no animosity towards Christianity or the movement itself as she continues to be a Christian woman encouraging other Christian women how to honor God and stay holy without being in the purity movement. Her name is Rebecca Lemke, author of The Scarlet Virgins.

So who is she?

Rebecca Lemke is the author of The Scarlet Virgins. She has appeared on The Federalist, Huffington Post, Iron Ladies, and To Love Honor and Vacuum, in addition to speaking on live radio about the topics in her book.

Many of you might remember the book I Kissed Dating Good-Bye, which was in many ways another book of the Bible for a lot of people. The author has since even admitted he could have been wrong on a lot of it. It’s easy to understand that sex before marriage is a big mistake, but even a kiss before marriage was viewed as a big mistake.

For many women, the ideas of maintaining purity meant you had to dress every way to avoid being desirable to the great big walking hormones out there known as men. It also meant that if you gave in and had sex before marriage, you were damaged goods. In the end, on your wedding night you would have nothing to give your husband. Women were not taught how to properly think about sex. It’s not much of a shock then that the wedding night can be awfully hard for some women as they have to somehow immediately flip a switch from off to on.

Guys don’t have as hard a time with that switch, but if there is something I think guys struggle with, it’s the question of lust. If a guy thinks a girl is attractive, is he guilty of lust? Is it wrong to ever think about sex? We have rightfully avoided much of the sins of progressivism, but we have often gone to the other extreme and turned into a guilt culture that I think Scripture never intended.

Join me this Saturday as we talk about the purity culture. How can young people stay “pure” without being part of the purity movement? How can we properly teach our youth about sex and sexuality? We don’t want to say anything goes, but at the same time, what boundaries should we be setting?

Be watching for the next episode and please do go on ITunes and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Lies Couples Believe

What do I think of Chris Thurman’s book by David C. Cook. Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Lies. We live in a world of them. Fake news abounds and how many stories can be shared on Facebook that are absolutely false? Christians also share these stories. It’s easy if something lines up with what you already believe to share it like it’s Gospel.

As Christians, we at least know that Scripture won’t lie to us, but sadly another source we think won’t lie to us is ourselves. We’re going to be honest with ourselves and our own situation. Right? Not likely. If we lie to ourselves, imagine as married couples the lies we can tell ourselves about that!

A great problem with this is that so many of the lies are easily believable. They often have a grain of truth with them. Should your spouse love you just as you are? Absolutely they should! Unfortunately, we take that through to “So I don’t need to change. My spouse just needs to change the way they look at me.” Absolutely not. No doubt, your spouse doesn’t view you perfectly, but Scripture’s view of you is that you’re a fallen human being in need of sanctification constantly.

It’s also easy to blame everything in the marriage on one spouse in particular. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. None of you gets off with a free pass. In every conflict that takes place, including in marriage, it is rarely ever a case of 100-0 with percentage of ownership. Most everyone does something wrong. Even if you are the one that owns the 1%, you need to own that 1%.

Thurman also admits in the book that he himself is still at times believing some of these lies. Odds are that we will never grow entirely out of believing the lies, but that is something that we aim for every day. No one is doing marriage perfectly. The best marriage seminar experts out there still have their marital struggles.

In the book, Thurman ends each section with some truths on the issues to see where the distortions really lie. He takes you through a step by step process and then includes things you can do to help along the process of change. These also include honest confessions to your spouse of ways that you have erred on the path and a prayer that you can pray to help you on the journey. That makes this a good book then for couples to also read together and then they can discuss the lies that they find. (No doubt with some, “See? I told you so,” showing up.

I would have liked to have seen more in this book on the issue of sexuality in marriage, especially since this is one of the big areas that couples fight about in marriage. It would be good to know how the lies couples believe apply to that area. I also did at times not agree with some of the interpretation of Scripture, but none of the interpretation I recall really changed the essential point of each of the lies.

This is a good book for couples to go through together. Both husband and wife could then learn together how they are believing things that are false and how they can improve. The more lies that are removed from a marriage, the better it will be.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Failure Is Not The End

Is it okay to fail? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Failure is a big issue for many of us. This is especially so in the ministry I think. Why? We’re doing the work of God after all. God deserves our very best. If we are giving Him our very best, how could we ever fail? Are we not letting God down when we do that?

The reality is that you and I, we’re not perfect. We are all prone to make mistakes. No one ever bats 1,000. No one ever gives the absolute perfect answer every time. No matter how good you are in one area, someone will always do better at you in another. You cannot know everything. In apologetics, one of the first mistakes you can make is to think that you can give an answer for everything. You can’t.

There are issues of philosophy. There are issues of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Each of these can be divided into several sub-issues. There’s ethics. There are other religions and that can be broken down into branches of those religions. There are other cults and that can be broken down into branches of those cults. There are issues of science. There is the refinement of Christian doctrine. All of these have numerous twists and turns to them.

You cannot know it all. You cannot be an expert at everything. To not be an expert is not the same as being a failure. When someone contacts me with a science question, I happily tell them I don’t know and I can easily refer them to a place like Reasons To Believe. Just last week I had someone message me wanting my thoughts on the multiverse. I said I had none. I don’t study it and it would really be unfair to give an amateur answer to someone who will likely think I’m an expert. After all, why else would they ask me unless they thought my opinion was important?

Despite this, sometimes you will fail. It will happen. When I first started off in this field, I failed regularly. I would often very easily get pounded in a debate. That failure was hard, but ultimately, it was a good thing for me. It showed me where I was weak and where I needed to improve and I went out and did that. Falling down is rough when it happens. What is worse is if you fall down and don’t learn from it. All that means is that you’ll fall the exact same way again.

Sometimes you will be caught flat-footed. Sometimes you will not speak up when you should have. That is falling. Don’t stay there. Get up, dust yourself off, and learn from it. With the great heroes of the Bible, it doesn’t take long to go through and find out where they all failed. (Jesus being the exception of course.)

The story of Peter being reinstated is an example. Can you imagine a bigger fail than denying the Lord you had spent nearly three years with and had given you the power to work miracles? Peter gets scared because a little girl is asking him questions. Seriously? Jesus does not have any harsh rebuke for him. Instead, he gently reinstates him to his service and Peter goes on to have an excellent ministry.

Remember the importance of forgiveness always, and that includes forgiveness of yourself. Many times, you are one of the hardest people to forgive. God wants you to give your best, but He also knows that you are dust. He has limitless patience for you. He is gentle and knows when you are really trying.

When you find a weak spot, learn how to improve in it. If your problem is not speaking up, then take some work and learn how to be assertive. If it’s a question that you think you should be able to answer, then go to the library and get a book to answer that question. If it’s your people skills, find a way to improve those. Whatever it is, find a way.

Get yourself a good mentor as well. There is someone who will be glad to come alongside you and help you with matters. I to this day still have mentors that I turn to when I am in need and people who I seek to learn from. If you reach the point that you’re not learning from anyone, you have a lot more to learn.

Also, failure is not always because of you. You witness to someone and they don’t come to Jesus like you would hope. Of course, always check and see if you could have improved your presentation of the Gospel somehow, but sometimes, it’s them. Some people don’t heed the drawing of the Holy Spirit. If that makes you a failure, then Jesus Christ is a failure since so many people walked away from His teaching.

If someone else does not respond how you want, you are not responsible for that. You are only responsible for what you do. They are responsible for what they do. Pray for them then. Again, check yourself first and make sure you did a good presentation. Sometimes people just aren’t ready to bend the knee yet. We hope they will, but we have to accept it when they don’t because we can’t force them.

This is especially so if you’re starting out. It’s easy to get discouraged at the start of any endeavor. It’s easy to think you’ll never be good at it. It’s easy, but it’s not right. You don’t master anything overnight. No one starts off doing perfectly. Every Olympic athlete starts off making mistakes. That’s why they have a coach. No one enters college already knowing everything, although sadly now they think they do.

Have grace, because God has it for you. Strive to do your best, but accept it when you can’t be perfect. God never calls us to be perfect. He calls us to be faithful. We are to be faithful when we succeed and when we fail. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on.

In Christ,
Nick Peters