We Sounded The Alarm, And You Did Not Rise Up

In Matthew 11:17, Jesus speaks of the people of his day and says “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; We sang a dirge and you did not mourn.” If any call to be made to the people of our day, it would be “We sounded the alarm, and you did not rise up.” We are doing nothing in a crisis.

I was shopping at a mall today and stopped to get some lunch and sit down with my book. Sometime while I’m there, an alarm starts playing and lights start flashing. For awhile, I could not even understand the automated message that was playing, but eventually I made it out to say something like “An emergency has happened in the building. Evacuate immediately. Do not use the elevators.”

Here’s what was readily noticeable though. No one moved.

It’s got to that point where we don’t respond to such alarms. Where I live, I hear sirens going by regularly. Sadly, I hardly stop and say a prayer even though I’ve called the siren the anthem of where I live. We used to think car alarms would be a great idea, but nowadays, they are an annoyance. If someone was stealing a car, you’d never really notice it. The alarms are just ignored.

I did look around some and watch the security at the mall today when this happened. This is a natural tendency of mine that I want to know what’s going on and see if there’s anything I could do. As one in ministry also, I realize that my skills could be needed if someone needs someone like that. Then, there’s also my adventurous side that wants to be in the thick of things.

But while this was going on, I thought it was a picture of our times. Only one person stopped to asked me what was going on, and I had no clue. Everyone else was going about their lives. They were still entering various stores and still shopping. It was as if the alarm meant nothing.

Friends. We are living in a time of crisis with spiritual alarm. Unfortunately, we are not responding. It is always “someone else’s business” or “something we can’t handle.” It makes me think of the line though in Esther, “Who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”

Let’s look at some things that are going on.

God is continuously being removed from the public square.

Naturalists are seeking to take over the realm of science.

Philosophers (And I say this as one) have many of their number trying to break away objective morality.

School shootings are on the rise.

Postmodernism is making us doubt the existence of truth itself.

Homosexuality is seen as normal and homosexual marriage is readily accepted by several.

Thousands of babies are murdered every day in abortion clinics.

Divorce is ending most marriages that start.

Several children are born out of wedlock today not knowing who Daddy is.

Sex is no longer sacred but just something that you do.

Theology in the church is getting more and more liberal denying essential doctrines.

Islam is rapidly being accepted in America.

Friends. This is crisis time. We have too many people ignorant of everything, and this applies to Christians. Christians are sadly some of the most ignorant. There are many atheists I think that know the bible better than Christians. Why else are so many Christians so surprised and don’t know how to answer the conquest of Canaan?

Are we responding though? We need to instead of just going about our lives. We should always be aware that we are in a war and always be ready to do our part. We might have to take up our spiritual arms at any time.

Let’s be sure we do. I know I want to be a soldier who pleases my commanding officer. Don’t you?

A Reason For Exclusivity

Yesterday, I pointed out that exclusivity was a secondary question. I still think it is. However, it does need to be an answer. Even doubts over secondary issues can cause some people to wonder about the primary issues. Perchance if the question is addressed, they will be more willing to listen to the primary issue. Fair enough indeed.

In our world today, it seems odd to think that a religion is exclusive. However, let us be clear on this. All religions are making truth claims. Insofar as anyone makes a claim to truth, they are making an exclusive claim. They are claiming that what they believe is true and all that which is contrary to it is false.

I believe one of the reasons we don’t understand it is there is a hidden assumption that religion is not talking about truth about God. It’s simply telling us how we are supposed to get along with our fellow man. Religion has no vertical aspect to it but only a horizontal one. If that’s the case, I’d agree. We can get morality from most any religion. If we are making claims about God though, that is not the case.

Let’s consider other religions though. Buddha broke away from Hinduism thus saying it was wrong.  Jews have a hard time today with Messianic Jews who believe in Jesus Christ. Islam is so exclusive that you can be killed in a Muslim nation for converting to Christianity. Only Christianity seems to get this complaint though.

Of course, I still need to answer why Christianity is exclusive.

For that, we are going to assume the Christian system. Why? Because we need to see if Christianity is consistent with this belief. For the sake of argument then, I ask readers to grant me that Jesus is who he said he was and the New Testament is an accurate record of what he said and did.

The reason he came then was to pay the price for sin. Why? We had a debt that we could not pay and only the sacrifice of Christ could set us free from sin and death. God made his standard clear. It is absolute perfection. In the atonement of Christ, he is taken as our substitute. He takes our place and gives us his righteousness.

Now we see an important piece of information. Christianity is dealing with a problem, the problem of sin. Let us keep granting then that Jesus is the source of justification whereby we are forgiven of our sins. What does it say then to have the one sacrifice given for your sins and reject it? There is no sacrifice left at that point.

Greg Koukl makes a great point about Revelation 20. He tells us that you don’t go to Hell for not believing in Jesus. It isn’t a theological exam. Those who make it in are those whose names are found in the book of life. If your name is there, you are in. No questions asked.

What about everyone else? They are judged by their works. What other grounds does God have to judge you on? Your works either measure up or they don’t. Rest assured, the judgment will be fair, but God does accept only absolute perfection. If you want to bypass that judgment, then the cross of Christ is the way to go.

As for intolerance, tolerance requires a disagreement on an issue of importance. I can respect the Muslim without believing in Islam. I have an atheist friend who I greatly respect yet I will not budge for a second in stating that my view is right and his is wrong. He knows this well and says the same for me. I wouldn’t expect anything less. This is truth we’re talking about after all.

No. Christianity is quite tolerant really. We see the other person regardless of their worldview as holding the image of God. While we don’t agree with them, we see them as people Jesus Christ loves and died for and thus, we do what we can to give them the gospel. If it is true, it is the most loving thing we can do.

So am I exclusive? As far as the truth claim goes, it is exclusive. The religion though is inclusive in the important way though. All are invited to come. What’s holding you back? The cross is very inclusive and any who want to come are invited.

Exclusivity: A Secondary Question?

I am now going to address a point on the topic of exclusivity but from a rather different way. I see a lot of people wondering about the exclusivity of Christianity and wondering if they should come to such a faith. I am going to argue that this is the nature of a secondary question. This is a question that I think you could have a false view on and still be a Christian.

Why? A Christian is one who believes that God dwelt among us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the second person of the Trinity, and he died for our sins, was buried, and on the third day rose again. Salvation is found in placing one’s faith in Christ. If you believe that and submit to Christ, then I believe you can say you are saved.

Now let us go on and confess something. I do believe Christianity is exclusive. I think verses like John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 demonstrate that. I do not believe the path to Heaven is in being a good Jew or a good Muslim or a good Mormon or a good JW or any other belief. I believe it rests in orthodox Christianity.

However, let us suppose that Christianity is true also. If that is the case, then it is quite ridiculous to say “I believe Christianity is true, but I do not think I will come because I am unsure about those who have never heard.” If Christianity is true, the wisest thing to do is to come within the fold where you know you are safe rather than stay outside where there is doubt.

Now does that answer the question of those who’ve never heard or why Christianity is exclusive? No. I’ll grant it does not. Rest assured though that Christianity’s claim is that God raised Jesus from the dead. Is it wise to stay outside where there’s doubt and say “Maybe he’ll save me” or is it better to come within where you can say you are one of the saved?

Naturally, if you didn’t think Christianity was true, then by all means keep looking and raising questions. If, on the other hand, you do believe that Jesus was raised and thus is Lord and God and ruler of all creation, then it would seem that it is a fair bet that it is wise to place yourself in his hand. The question of why exclusivity is believed is a post for another day.

Can a Christian Believe in Evolution?

I have a good friend who is a deist who made a remark today that seemed to indicate to me that one of the hurdles he has in coming to Christ is that someone had told him that you can’t be a real Christian as long as you believe in evolution. Now this isn’t going to be a blog about the truth or falsehood of macroevolutionary theory. This is going to be asking if it’s incompatible with Christianity.

My first thought on hearing this was anger. I really don’t like it when people make something an essential of the faith that isn’t. I figure Alister McGrath, Francis Collins, Dinesh D’Souza, and C.S. Lewis would be shocked at this. (For the record, Lewis later did abandon evolutionary theory.)

In fact, there were several devout Christians who defended Darwinism when it came out. Asa Gray wrote a book called “Darwiniana.” In “A Devil’s Chaplain”, Richard Dawkins talks about an excellent educator named Sanderson who apparently was a Darwinian and a devout Christian as well. There are many such people out there.

I do not believe macroevolutionary theory in itself entails atheism. Contrary to what some atheists may think, one can legitimately view evolution as the instrument whereby God brought about life on this planet. It is only contrary to Christian theism when it is naturalistic evolution and being used as an argument for atheism. Writers like McGrath would say evolution alone cannot tell you whether God exists or not.

Christian faith is not rested on what your view of creation is. I have brothers and sisters who are theistic evolutionists. I have brothers and sisters who are old-earth creationists. I have brothers and sisters who are young-earth creationists. Here’s what we all have in common. We all affirm that Jesus is our Lord and God who died, was buried, and rose again.

So if I want to know if someone is a Christian, I do not ask their views on creation. I ask them their views on Jesus. Is he God? Did he die and rise again? Is he the second person of the Trinity? If they affirm all of those and affirm Christ as their Lord and savior, who am I to tell them that they do not belong to the body?

This needs to be said also. It is quite aggravating to see people make secondary doctrines primary doctrines. In doing so, you are shutting a door in the face of people who could come to Christ. We need to remember that in the essentials, we do have unity. In the non-essentials, we have liberty. In all things though, we have charity. Jehovah’s Witnesses are strident opponents of evolution, but I do not consider them my brothers and sisters. They agree with me on the secondary, but they disagree on the essential.

To my friend, I hope this has cleared up doubt in this area at least. Rest assured, I will consider you my brother in Christ if you join the fold despite our differences on how creation came about.

Because He Cares For You

1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast all our anxiety on Christ, because he cares for us. I had a friend up tonight and we were discussing this passage. He was telling me about wanting to get his life back in line and how he just wasn’t sure he could repent yet because he’d had a period where he’d made the wrong choices and he just wasn’t cleaned up yet.

I really like this friend. He’s a Christian who just needs to get back on the path. From the first time I really saw him, I knew that he had some light in him by his actions. It really saddened me to hear him talking like this, although I think if we were all honest, we’ve all taken the same line before. We all sometimes think we need to make ourselves acceptable to God instead of realizing he’s the one who makes us acceptable.

Don’t we have the cart before the horse?

What is that to say to Christ? That we will go somewhere else to get ourselves clean and then we’ll come and see him? It’s blasphemy when you think about it. If only we could learn to trust him when he says he wants to clean us up. If only we could believe that he is capable.

If my roommate did something wrong to me and asked forgiveness, I know I could give it and I’d probably forget the event right quick. I am sure of something else though. If I wronged him in some way and asked forgiveness, I know I’d get it from him, but I think I’d have a hard time giving it to myself.

Yet what does the passage say? It says to come because he cares. You don’t wait until you get yourself cleaned up. You come to him first not so he will care about you but because he already does care about you. He wants you to come and cast all your anxiety on him not so he will care but because he already does.

A look at the word anxiety indicates that it seems to focus on concerns of this world. When used in the gospels, it is spoken of as the cares of this world. When Paul speaks about it, he speaks about suffering under the care of all the churches. These are things that are burdens and can weigh us down.

Christ is offering to take them on. He cares for us. He is the good shepherd who cares for his sheep and knows them by name. That should give us pause. Christ knows our name. In Galatians 4 Paul says that we know God but then turns and says “or rather, you’re known by God.” It’s good that we know God. It’s astounding that he actually knows who we are.

To all struggling like my friend, I say the same thing. Come. It is the last command given to us in Revelation. The last message given to us in Scripture is to come.

And we should. Why? Because he cares for us.

A New Kind Of Christian

I haven’t read the book yet, but I have had this title on my mind sometime. It’s the work of Brian McLaren with the emerging church. This is the church that has embraced the postmodern movement and it’s quite anathema to the Christian ideal. However, I’d like to call the title into question.

Why do we need a new kind of Christian? In fact, I think we need an old kind of Christian.

We need a Peter who’s willing to stand up to an angry crowd and tell them the truth and that they need to repent.

We need a Stephen who is willing to suffer martyrdom at the hands of his persecutors simply in testifying to the truth of Christ.

We need a Philip who’s willing to go into unchartered territory and who is willing to speak with the individual even in the hopes of reaching one more convert.

We need a Barnabas who is ready to encourage those Christians who need support and help them on their way.

We need a Paul who is willing to travel the world and speak and write if he can do anything to win a soul to Christ. (Incidentally, this is why all in ministry definitely need to be blogging.)

We need an Apollos who is able to stand up to those in public who disagree and face them in debate to prove that Jesus is the Christ.

We need a Timothy who is not ashamed of his young age but is willing to follow the path of a leader and learn how it is he is to change the world.

We need a John, who is willing to turn from being a son of thunder (meaning someone with a temper) to one who is able to write passionately about the love of God in such beautiful language.

We need a Luke who will be accurate and thorough in his accounts of what is going on to remind us of where we have been before and where we are to go in the future.

We need a Polycarp who would rather die than blaspheme the Lord who saved him.

We need an Augustine who is a master at rhetoric and writing and is willing to come up with the newest ideas to fight the newest heresies.

We need an Aquinas who is able to take the thought of the greatest thinkers and show how it can be integrated with Christianity without destroying Christianity.

Now naturally, there are many heroes in church history who I could name. I haven’t even got to the Reformation and there are many there, but the point is the same. We do not need a new kind of Christian. The old ones did the job just fine and we need more of them.

Knowing Your Enemy

I’ve lately been blogging often on Richard Dawkins. Now as far as he is a human being, I think he is good. When he is arguing against the faith though, he is not doing good. I do believe though he honestly thinks that he’s doing good. I honestly think I’m doing good. We’d both hopefully tell the other that they’re not. Why? Because there’s no need to be quiet about beliefs in that regard.

Yet as he is the topic of a research paper I’m doing, I’ve come to realize something else. This is something we can forget too often in ministry. There is a person there. Now there are some people that I am willing to offend if I have to. Why? Because I don’t think they’ll respond to anything else and if I have to step on your toes to move you to Christ, then so be it.

I have seen though how the Devil’s Chaplain is dedicated to his daughter Juliet on her eighteenth birthday. (That’s a book of his for those who don’t know.) As far as I know, this is his only child and there is something touching in that. I can imagine having an only child I love and dedicating a book to them.

And so when I read his books, I try to not only understand his arguments but to understand him. If I see something that could be seen as a psychological step to where he got today, I take notice of it. I actually do the same with most all of my opponents. I try to look for little things and even if I don’t mention them, keep them in the back of my mind.

This is a reason also I pray for Mr. Dawkins every night. I really think if I was with him, I’d enjoy discussing these topics, but we’d probably get along great. I think of the case of William Provine and Phillip Johnson. Provine is an atheistic thinker and Johnson a strong creationist who argue evolution. Afterwards, they go out together to a local restaurant as they’re great friends in real life.

I’ll also state at this point that such friendships do exist. My roommate and I have a good friend who is an atheist who comes over here a number of times. (Okay. Sometimes I wonder about God’s existence when he beats us at Ratchet: Deadlocked.) It’s a great friendship where we’ll go out for pizza on Sunday afternoons and get together and have discussion in the evening as well.

But getting back to Dawkins, I think of what Alister McGrath asked him at the end of the interview for Dawkins’s TV program that I commented on a few days ago. Listening to that debate, I didn’t see the angry side I saw in the God Delusion. I saw the rational side that seemed to just be seeking to understand and McGrath was quite cordial also.

For the record, this doesn’t apply to just non-Christians.

If there is a message I could give to my own seminary and every other, it is this. You are not just teaching whatever it is you teach. You are teaching students. We need to keep in mind the personality types that we are dealing with and realize how vastly different a lot of people are.

I have to watch myself as well. Some psychology goes into my thinking of course, so I have to make sure it’s not controlling me. Am I stepping back and really looking at the evidence? When I do, I always do come back to the same place, but even as a Christian, I could hold some errant beliefs that are due in part to psychological conditions. (I am sure I hold some errant beliefs. There’s a lot to believe out there and I doubt I’m the only one who’s got it all right.)

Know your opponent. Know everyone you meet. Also, be sure to pray for them. You never know who God might send someone’s way to lead them to the kingdom. Remember that he took the most hardened opponent in the first century and made him the greatest evangelist of all. Who else might be on the list?

The Argument From Scale

Debunking Christianity has “recently” put up a blog using what is called the argument from the scale. The argument claims to be about the size of the universe, but in reality, this is simply a rehash of the Problem of Evil. Why did God create the universe the way he did? Now I want to center on one point though. The idea that the size of the universe disproves God’s existence.

Those interested in seeing the argument can see it here:


Now my first thought is, what size does the universe have to be for God to exist? The universe if I’m correct is about 20 billion light years across. Would God exist if it was 15? If it was 10? If it was 25, does that make his existence even less likely? This is a completely arbitrary scale and as such, it has no basis.

But this is seen as if this discovery is news. Why, the people at the time of Christianity didn’t know any better. They thought that the universe was small and that they dwelt at the center of it. Really? Is that what they thought? I would ask my readers to see if they recognize the name Ptolemy.

Ptolemy was the astronomer whose work was the textbook of astronomy for centuries. It was written in the second century and was called the Almagest. Here is what is said in Book 1 and Chapter 5.

“The Earth, in relation to the distance of the fixed stars, has no appreciable size and must be treated as a mathematical point.”

Translation: The universe is a big place and the Earth is just a tiny dot in it.

What follows?

This was known for centuries. The church knew it and taught it. No one ever thought of it as being seen as an argument against Christianity. The size of the universe was no big deal to the people of the past. However, moderns come along and use Christian science that was known for years and make a big deal and try to cover up the fact that the church knew all about this.

Dante would have said the same thing. Earth wasn’t at the center of the universe. Earth was the cosmic dump of the universe. At the center if anything would be God’s throne. It was, in fact, the Enlightenment that made man the center of the universe. (Incidentally, while I believe the sun is the center of the solar system, it’s worth noting it has never been conclusively proven.)

The church did not get their astronomy from the Bible. They got it from Ptolemy. It was when Copernicus came along and the new theory was established that they switched. The Ptolemaic system worked. The Copernican system though was much more simpler and thus, more beautiful.

As for the response to this, it should be noted that the idea of a history of warfare between science and religion is a modern myth first put forward in books like those of Andrew Dickson White called “A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom.” I’ve managed to read the first volume of the set at this point. Right now, schoolwork keeps me from part 2.

Alister McGrath though has argued persuasively that this is not the case. Ingersoll, for instance, has claimed to have a quote of Magellan saying that the church taught that the Earth is flat. They did no such thing. You have to search hard in the medieval period to find a thinker who thought the Earth was flat. It is simply a trick to try to remove the authority of the past and the best way is to convince people they were idiots. They’ll hardly go and read the ancients themselves after all.

It is in fact Christianity that is the basis of science as we have built in a belief that the universe is rational, that it was made for discovery, and that our minds correspond to it. Science cannot prove any of these. It must assume them. As Aquinas would say, it is a lesser science. That doesn’t mean it’s important. It just means it’s less. If there is no theology, there is no basis for science.

Now as for the idea of the size of the universe, I would suggest getting a copy of the Privileged Planet. When I see arguments based on the nature of the universe, I prefer to do something strange and leave that part to the scientists. I figure they could tell me more on why the universe has been around for as long as it has been around and why it’s the size that it is. (by the way, consider G.K. Chesterton’s point that we say we live in a big universe. How do we know? We have no other universe to make size comparisons to. All we know is that it’s bigger than us.)

If anyone is also interested in the trumped up case of Galileo, I definitely recommend getting a copy of Dinesh D’Souza’s work “What’s So Great About Christianity?” and if someone wants to complain about all the evils done by the church (When they acted in an unChristian manner), then I would like to know about the evils of Mao, Stalin, and Pol-Pot. What central tenet of atheism were they violating?

In conclusion, the argument from scale is simply taking something that has been known for years and trying to make an argument out of it simply due to an ignorance of what the ancients believed. I will wager a bet that while they may have had less “knowledge” than us, the ancients were far wiser than us, and we dare not leap off of their giant shoulders.

Richard Dawkins’s interview of Alister McGrath

I listened to a recording done earlier today of Richard Dawkins interviewing Alister McGrath after “The God Delusion” came out. I thought it was an excellent interview with Dawkins asking McGrath questions about evil and violence in religion and why one should believe in God and other such matters.

What got me was the end though.

McGrath said he wanted to ask a question. McGrath told Dawkins that he’d seen that he seemed more angry in his last book than in other books. As a comment to this blog said, it was after 9/11 especially when the publisher said that there is a market for a book on why some people think faith is a delusion.

This was the question I was wanting to ask. I’m so pleased McGrath asked it. Dawkins gave two replies. The first was that he didn’t think that people could do things like the 9/11 bombings if it wasn’t for faith. The second was that he didn’t like the idea of people believing things without evidence.

Mr. Dawkins. I agree on both counts.

And I’m a Christian.

When you complain about faith having people do things that they wouldn’t do without. I agree. In the case of Muslims, this means flying planes into buildings. In the case of Christians though, this can often mean devoting your life to the cause of the poor, being a missionary overseas, selling your possessions and giving to charity, loving your neighbor as yourself, and loving God with a clean and pure heart.

Without my faith, I would not be the man I am today. My faith is integral to who I am and it has made me the man I am today. I am against faith that results in the bombing of buildings. I am against Christian faith when it’s misused to justify things that Christ would never have justified.

When you speak about people believing things without evidence, I agree. Now I believe there are some first principles that are properly basic. These are things you can’t really argue for. You either know them or you don’t. However, there are many things that require evidence. I think the belief that Jesus rose from the dead is one.

Mr. Dawkins. I have a huge complaint with the church today. They don’t think enough. I wish more Christians would come to me and say that they’re doubting. I wish they’d come and ask the hard questions. I’d know that they were thinking about the issues then. I’m tired of Christians that haven’t thought about their faith and all they have is their personal testimony.

I’m sick of shallow Christianity. I’m sick of the Christianity that only takes the Bible and then doesn’t even use anything else. The Bible was written in a context. If you want to understand it, learn what the original words it was written in meant, learn the social context, learn the philosophical undertones, learn what a good theology is, learn church history, etc.

Mr. Dawkins though. In all honesty, those are secondary issues really. I think they’re important, but they’re secondary.

Let’s suppose you wanted me to fly to Oxford. How would I go about finding out how to get there? Would it be best to find out how to get to Atlanta first and just assume the flight would go from there? Not at all. The best way would be to find out how to get to Oxford first and then see if I need to go to Atlanta.

What’s the best way to find out if Christianity is true? It’s not by looking at evolution. Evolution could be the instrumental cause God used. That doesn’t explain the final cause. To say there is a method does not mean that there was no mind behind the method. It is a secondary issue.

It’s not about pointing out hypocrites. There are hypocrites of all belief systems. We’re all inconsistent in some ways and if you want me to be an image of Christianity that’s perfect, I will let you down. There are also unintelligent people in each belief system that don’t ask questions and don’t really think.

And I’d say I know which side you are on in that last part. If I had just read “The God Delusion”, I would have thought I was dealing with a pseudo-intellectual. My notes in the book show that many times. I could not believe the things I was reading were to be put forward as intelligent arguments.

Yet I’m with McGrath. I see something different in “The Blind Watchmaker.” I see that the case is laid own strongly and in a rational manner. Again, I’m not convinced, but my interest is in your work right now and evolution is a secondary matter. I’m interested in why you are an atheist.

If you want to see if Christianity is true, the best place to start is the empty tomb. If the empty tomb is true and Jesus did rise from the dead, then there’s an explanation for everything else. If it is not true, then we don’t really need to deal with the secondary issues as the primary one no longer exists.

My honest thought now is that I pray for Mr. Dawkins every night. Just last night before going to bed I saw the intro to the Devil’s Chaplain, which I plan to read soon, and I saw that it was to his daughter Juliet on her eighteenth birthday. I’ll admit that I was deeply touched by that.

I saw someone who I think honestly thinks they’re doing good by expunging Christianity from the world and wants the best for his daughter who I do not doubt he has a deep love for. This is someone that maybe in another time and place, we would have interacted. Maybe there is someone else like you who has these objections. Maybe there’s someone like me who thinks he has some answers and maybe he will get to speak to you. I hope so. I would love to see a conversion sometime.

And this is something I think we should all keep in mind in apologetics. When I debate someone, I don’t want to just know the subject. I want to know the person I’m debating also. I want to know what makes them tick and what is really keeping them from coming to Christ.

We need to keep that in mind for our side. I talked to our Seminary President about the need to instill confidence some tonight and I thought of something I’d say. “Sir. We are not just teaching apologetics. We are teaching persons apologetics.” We must always keep that first part going. These are persons.

So what am I doing? I’m praying for Richard Dawkins every night. I urge my readers to do the same. Find other great atheists out there. Learn how to answer them, but at the same time, pray for them.

Are you Biblically Literate?

I’ve been having some discussions with a co-worker on secondary doctrine. He found out about a stance he heard that he’s curious about because it disagrees with what he’s always heard, but he is saying that he can understand where I’m coming from and he wants to read the relevant texts before meeting and discussing it. I think that’s an excellent idea.

A concern enters my mind though. I’m a trusted teacher who does know what I’m talking about and is one who agrees with all in the faith that is orthodox. However, to my friend, all that I am saying is new. He’s not prepared to deal with it though. My concern then is, what if I was someone else?

What if I was the Jehovah’s Witness or Mormon knocking on his door instead? What if I was trying to show that he shouldn’t believe in the Trinity? What if I was trying to show that Jesus did say he would visit another little flock and that the Bible predicted the coming of the Book of Mormon?

We are unprepared because we are biblically illiterate. If the most that you have of the Bible is what you picked up in Sunday School, then you are not going to be ready. If you listen to programs of preaching that only tell you about how you should live instead of what the doctrine that you are to believe is, you are not going to be ready.

So I thought of some questions I might ask. I’d just like you to look and see how you do on these. Do you know your Bible well enough to answer these?

#1-How many books are in the Protestant Bible?

#2-Two books of the Bible are named after women. Name them.

#3-Who is seen as the father of each of the great monotheistic faiths?

#4-What is the main identifying event in the life of a Jew in biblical times? (Event in history.)

#5-What is the distinction between Judah and Israel?

#6-What genre of literature do Job and Ecclesiastes belong in?

#7-What kingdom conquered Samaria?

#8-What kingdom conquered Jerusalem?

#9-What year did the temple fall?

#10-Name 7 of the minor prophets.

#11-Name the four gospels

#12-Which gospels have the virgin birth?

#13-Which gospel has the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus?

#14-Other than the resurrection, what miracle of Jesus is in all four gospels?

#15-Show the deity of Christ from the statements of Christ.

#16-Show that Jesus is not the Father from the statements of Christ

#17-What church was the main headquarters of Christianity in Acts?

#18-What two apostles are the key figures in Acts?

#19-Who wrote Romans?

#20-Demonstrate the Trinity from the epistles of Paul

#21-What letter was written to Jews considering returning to Judaism?

#22-Who was Jude?

#23-What genre is Revelation?

#24-Demonstrate salvation by grace through faith using the Scriptures

#25-Demonstrate the bodily resurrection of Christ using the Scriptures

Only you know how you did, but I’ll leave it to you to consider. “Do I need to be better prepared in case the cults knock on my door?”