Is Abortion Evangelism?

Why not kill the child and send them straight to Heaven? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In my systematic theology class this morning, we had a discussion on original sin and at one point, the question came up of why not go ahead and kill babies if they will go straight to Heaven? Now I have thought about this over the years and have a response. I don’t want to risk anyone just thinking that I only thought about this briefly for the first time this morning and now I’m shooting out a response.

The first thought I have on this is that we do evangelism wrong. We have made evangelism all about getting to Heaven. It’s a quite wrong-headed goal. It’s as if our whole emphasis on marriage was just getting people to the altar. That’s important, but it’s only the first part. If we don’t focus on the purpose of marriage for the new couple, they could wind up worst off than before.

In the same way, Heaven is what happens when a Christian dies, but that does not mean that that’s our sole goal. After all, many of us become Christians at a young age and then live a few decades. What are we doing? Just putting in time until we die?

“Well we’re doing evangelism and spreading the good news.”

Which is the real point of our lives. We are there to bring about the Kingdom of God and look forward to that final fruition of it when we see the marriage of Heaven and Earth. When we emphasize Heaven far too much, we make it that that is the only purpose of life and then everything else in between is just like filler episodes on a TV series that are there to have something to do until you continue the story.

This means that we need to really improve our doctrine of Heaven as well. Most of us don’t have it worked out and honestly, we treat God like He’s an afterthought. It’s as if you get to go and live in a mansion and have streets of gold and see loved ones again and by the way, God’s there too if you’re into that kind of thing. For the record also, I’m not saying I described a view of Heaven that I hold, but I recognize it is common in the church.

The other point I made is that Paul said in Romans 3 that we should not do evil that good may result. There is never a good reason for a purpose to do that which is an evil act. A Christian can hold that God can bring good out of it, but it is still something that is harmful at least for the person who is doing it.

Abortion is an evil act and whoever does it does destroy the life of an innocent baby and likely harms several other lives, but they also do great damage to their own soul. Because of that, there is no justification for doing it. Abortion is not evangelism, but simply murder.

We as Christians are to celebrate children and new lives coming into the world. Abortion is anti-thetical to the gospel entirely.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

On Those Who Never Heard

What about those who never heard the gospel through no fault of their own? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Going through my review of chapter 5 of God’s Gravediggers, I found out that if I wrote something on those who never heard, I was not able to find it. I needed to clear that up. Therefore, this will be my question about those who through no fault of their own never heard the gospel in their lifetime?

Obviously, many people fall in this category. Even before Jesus, we have several people and many of them devout Jews in the Old Testament who never heard the gospel. What about people living in places like Australia and Japan in 35 A.D. The gospel would not reach there by then and even if it hypothetically had, there is no way it reached everyone.

What about babies who die before any age of accountability? What about people who have a severe mental handicap and cannot understand the message? These are all important questions.

At the start, let’s be clear. The Bible never answers this question I think because God doesn’t want us to have the answer. I believe if we did, it might cause us to grow even lazier in the job of what we’re supposed to be doing. God gives us the Great Commission. There is no Plan-B. He never says “If you should fail, this is what I’m doing instead, just so you know.”

We are told in the Psalms that God will judge the world with equity and Genesis has Abraham saying “Will not the judge of all the Earth do right?” (It’s important to note that for the purposes of this article, I am treating this like an internal critique of Christianity and so any allegation of the Bible not being reliable or anything like that is not relevant to this.) At the start then, one major point is no one will be able to say “It wasn’t fair.”

We also know that God is all-good in Christianity. God will not do anything that is evil. At the same time, God will also treat sin seriously, but He is a God of mercy as well as justice. The cross also shows us that God is working His part to get people into the Kingdom. He is making the initiative. (I will not be getting into Calvinist-Arminian issues, although I am much more Arminian)

We also know the text says that there is no other name given under Heaven by which we must be saved. However, does this mean that everyone has to explicitly know the name of Jesus? If so, then you have a problem with Old Testament saints who would not know that name. So what does it mean by the name of Jesus?

In this case, name refers to authority. When the apostles say this to the ruling Jews, they are essentially saying, “Jesus determines who is in the Kingdom and not you.” We use the same kind of language when we speak of stopping in the name of the Law. So if I am right, then this means that one does not have to explicitly hear the message.

We also know that Jesus said that many would come from all directions to the great banquet in the end while many of the Jews would be cast out. Revelation 7 speaks of a great multitude from all over that no man could number. Some will say that the way is narrow and few will find it, but I really think Jesus is speaking to the audience right there and saying few of the Jews of the time would come to Jesus, and if so, that is correct. One has to have an interpretation of Scripture that balances all of them and I hold that mine does.

My thinking then is God will judge people by the light they have and how obedient they were to it. I also think that if they are seeking more, God will give it. Sometimes, it will be by missionaries who come. It’s amazing how many missionaries have stories of people they came to who had never heard the gospel and yet later tell the missionaries, “We had a tradition here that one day people with a book would show up and they would be the ones with the message of the one true God.” Such events have happened.

There are also cases where miraculous events happen. Many Muslims have stories of Jesus appearing to them in dreams and visions and leading them to come to Christianity. Nabeel Qureshi in his book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus even tells about his own experience with this. These stories are becoming more and more common in the Muslim world and it has happened in other religions as well.

What about babies and the mentally handicapped? I’m prone to think that God will welcome them all into the Kingdom seeing as they could do nothing good or bad ultimately to affect their destiny. Children are even often seen as a salvation picture in the Bible. Why not go ahead and abort children so they can go to Heaven? Because getting to Heaven is not the only goal of Christianity and we are not to do evil that good may result.

This is a brief run-down, but they are my thoughts on the matter.

Now you know.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

On Tracts And Evangelism

What do I think when I see tracts? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

On my Facebook over the weekend, i shared about what it’s like when I see tracts that people leave behind or I am given. I do appreciate that people want to do evangelism, but honestly, when I get one I keep thinking “I would have preferred you just talk to me.” I also go through and look and see just how bad some of them are with their presentation.

One big problem I have with tracts is “It’s all about me.” The goal of Christianity in so many tracts is “Here’s how you can go to Heaven.” When our predecessors in the first century were doing evangelism, they weren’t talking about how you can go to Heaven. Go through the epistles of Paul and you will rarely find mention of Heaven and Hell. Paul is doing evangelism, but his focus is also on how we are living right now and the Kingdom right now.  When he looks to the future, he talks instead about resurrection.

That’s interesting considering I found a tract yesterday that said Jesus rose from the dead proving that there is life after death. Unfortunately, while it was emphasized Jesus was raised, there was nothing about our resurrection. The point of Christianity is not that there is life after death as even some pagans could accept that. The point is resurrection in that death itself will be undone and God will be King over all the Earth.

I get that some people do come to salvation through this method, and that’s wonderful. I wonder how many though are turned off of salvation? There are two that I think are quite good at this. The first is chick tracts, which I always remove as soon as I can. The second is those tracts that look like a $20 bill. I’m sure nothing will get people excited about Jesus more than thinking they had money to finding out they got tricked.

I also shared about one tract that had a list of problems like anxiety and depression and Bible verses to read if you felt this. I’m not saying the Bible is not helpful for these problems, but at the same time, it is treating the Bible like a medicine cabinet. When I was anxious and depressed in the worst part of my divorce, I would have been insulted if I had been told “Just read this Bible verse.” There are some times that just reading a verse will not deal with a deep issue, but a good Christian therapist can help immensely.

Not only that, but often it’s not just reading, but really understanding. That can require serious meditation and study of a verse or passage. Go with a superficial reading and you will get a superficial result.

Besides that, there are many people who are not primarily emotionally wired. For many of us, the goal of getting us to feel something just will not do it and too often, it can be damaging to say that this is what you should feel in response to something.

I also remember ringing up two separate customers who stayed together and one guy was doing evangelism and spent more time defending his church than talking about Jesus. Meanwhile, I was standing there and wondering “Either of you two want to say something to me?” Naturally, no one did.

So what can you do? Learn something about your faith and really talk to people. Instead of just a tract, go out and invest and get a good book. I know many people who have been helped by a copy of The Case for Christ being given to them or left behind by someone.

Also, everyone should be doing evangelism. There are many different forms of it. I am one who is not going to go up to someone who is a total stranger and evangelize them, but I can excel greatly doing something behind a keyboard, which is okay. After all, if we want to know what Paul thought, what do we do most but go to his letters? We have some statements in Acts, but the bulk is in the epistles. It would be fascinating to see how many videos, blogs, and podcasts Paul would do if he was here today.

Doing evangelism more personally today might require we, brace yourself, actually equip our churches to have people understand their faith. I’m not saying everyone should be a skilled apologist, but everyone should have a basic apologetic at least beyond just their testimony. Everyone should have some basic understanding to some basic questions. Everyone is an apologist for their worldview whether they like it or not. It’s just a question of if you will be a good one or a bad one.

That also means discipleship has to be a priority. I personally wince every time I hear it treated as if the goal of Christianity is to get people to go to Heaven. This is not because of opposition to Heaven, but because the focus is really on Jesus and resurrection and the kingdom of God.

I have said that this depends on the church, but not just our leaders. There are many people out there that are studying beyond what their churches are teaching them because it matters to them. Many people complain about the weather but never do anything about it, and many people talk about evangelism and never do it.

Do it and do it well.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Some Thoughts On Election Debates

Why does the issue matter? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I tend to write about what is talked about in Sunday School at my church and last Sunday in going through Romans we got to chapter 9. Obviously, with a chapter that really introduces the doctrine of election, well that wasn’t controversial at all. The teacher in class is much more Calvinistic than I am. (Well, considering I’m more of a zero-pointer that’s not saying a lot.) I think my pastor considers himself lightly on that way, but the church doesn’t take a hard stance on it.

My view is that the text is not talking about individuals for personal salvation, but about service in the pathway to bring about the Messiah. It’s too easy to read Romans 1-8 and think this is a part on its own and then get to Romans 9-16 and read that separately. Instead, I remember noticing once that the first time Israel is really mentioned in the book is in the ninth chapter. I have a theory that the first eight chapters are really answering a question of “Who is Israel?

What this means is that Paul in the first half establishes who the people of God are and that includes how one belongs to the people of God, being justified by faith. From there, he moves on to how God will work in this people in comparison to the nation of Israel. This is not a hill I am going to die on, but it is something I ponder.

However, when it comes to these debates, I generally stay out of it and this is something I brought up in the class while saying I do not hold to Calvinist doctrines. For myself, these are matters of just things to think about, but too often, the way we live is quite really the same. Let’s consider two issues. Security in salvation and evangelism will be our focus.

In the first case, Calvinists hold to eternal security. Others hold that salvation can be lost. Arminians could hypothetically say that you need to live a holy life in order to insure that you have salvation. In reality, I don’t know many who hold such a stance. Most seem to think, like myself, that you can only lose salvation by outright apostasy or by living in severe unconfessed sin for life, such as an adulterous lifestyle.

So the Arminian could want us to live a holy life for the necessity of making sure we are Christians, but I don’t know of any Calvinist who says “Go out and live in sin because you are eternally secured so do not worry about it!” No. Both sides encourage you to live a holy and godly life.

So what about evangelism? Arminians will say we have to go out there with the gospel to reach as many people as possible. A Calvinist can say “If they are to be saved, they will get the message somehow.” The point for them is that that very way could be the preaching of the gospel in evangelism. Both of them view the idea differently in some way, but at the same time, both of them encourage missionary work and evangelism.

In the end, I often say that this is my summation of the questions. God is sovereign and man has free-will. How do those two work together? I don’t think I’ll ever figure it out this side of eternity. That’s also fine with me. How I live is really exactly the same way.

Also, if doctrines like this become a point of where you cease to fellowship with a fellow Christian. I have friends who are very much Calvinist. I have friends who are very much Arminian. I get along with both and tend to just not debate the issue.

If you want to debate it, that’s fine, but let’s always remember that this is a secondary issue. There is no wrong in investigating the question of how God and time work together. If we engage in this debate, while we may come from opposite positions at times, instead of seeing each other as opponents, may we seek each other as allies in reaching for the truth.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

What About Now?

Why should you become a Christian? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have lived in the South all my life and so this might be a problem that is mainly in the South, but I doubt it. There have been two events lately that got me to thinking I should write this. The first is seeing tracts at my workplace and I am sure the people mean well, but it’s always the same thing.

“Do you know where you’re going when you die?”

“How to make sure you will go to Heaven.”

Then in Sunday School yesterday, we’re talking about individualism in American Christianity and I bring up the whole thing about the emphasis on going to Heaven. This is not to say that Heaven is unimportant, but when people become Christians, at least in America, we generally presume they’re not knocking on death’s door immediately. Unfortunately, there is often a good amount of time until they die, especially if they’re children.

We make it seem when we do this that the whole point of becoming a Christian is so you can go to Heaven. When we do that, are we really any different in that mindset from when Muslims want to go to Heaven so they can get 70 virgins? By the way, when we talk about Heaven, we tend to do similar treating God as an afterthought. We more talk about living forever and seeing loved ones again and mansions and streets of gold. God is usually an afterthought.

This all produces a self-centered Christianity. Why did Jesus die? Because God wanted us to go to Heaven when we die. Is He just incredibly lonely or something? This is not to say God doesn’t want us to be with Him, but it is to say that there is more to Christianity than just Heaven. We get a self-centered Christianity and lo and behold, we start thinking more and more everything is about us.

Christianity is about what we do now. It’s about the Kingdom now. It’s about serving Jesus now and calling Him Lord now and bringing glory to Him now.

Sometimes I hear my folks downstairs watching YouTube videos and sometimes, they watch people singing hymns. One song they’ve been listening to lately are about the hills of home calling me.

I really don’t like it.

We have a sort of Gnosticism in Christianity that we think this world is really a mistake that has gone entirely wrong and God is trying to rescue us from this evil world that He will destroy and we will have a real home away from “This house of flesh” which is apparently a prison. God created the body as something good and Jesus was resurrected in a good body. Our bodies are not mistakes.

Note also how Scripture ends. Then I saw a New Heavens and everyone went up from the Earth to the New Heavens. No. That’s not how it goes. The New Heaven comes down to the New Earth. I don’t think the Earth is destroyed any more than I think Heaven is. This is new in quality and we are seeing the marriage of Heaven and Earth, but this Earth is where it takes place. This is where we were meant to dwell and God is not changing His mind.

If you’re giving out tracts like the one I described or doing evangelism in the way I described, please find another way. I don’t doubt you mean well, but people need to know what they’re living for now. They need to know what it is that they are supposed to live like now and the importance of holy living now.

It’s not about us. It’s about Him.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

On Celebrity Deaths

What do we do when a celebrity dies? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A little over a week ago, the world received a shock. I remember I was at work that day and I had just randomly started thinking about Betty White’s 100th birthday coming up. In the break room in the past few days before that, I had seen on what I think was Entertainment Tonight that plans were underway for her birthday party. Everyone was ready. It was coming. Let’s celebrate!

Except we didn’t. Before the new year on December 31st, Betty White died.

Then on Sunday night, I received a message from friends about the death of Bob Saget. If your family was like mine at one time, watching America’s Funniest Home Videos was a staple in the household. Bob Saget hosted that and although he was not a bit funny, we did enjoy the videos. I know he was on Full House, but I never watched that so I can’t comment.

When these people die, we mourn and it’s not because we’re normally close to them, but more I think for the nostalgia. For Betty White’s performances, I mainly watched The Mary Tyler Moore Show and I remember her from her husband being the host of Password. I never watched The Golden Girls. I have already said where I remember Bob Saget from.

I suppose you could say it’s like the past dying in some ways. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie Patch Adams, but I have not seen it once since Williams’s suicide. I suppose it’s like my own parents talking back about their past experiences and mentioning someone and saying “They’re dead now.”

Yet there are some matters that need to be said.

First off, most of these celebrities probably had plans, which is not bad, but they never got to pull them off. Saget was on a comedy tour. He had no idea his time was limited to that very night. It’s something to consider that one breath is all that separates you from eternity.

After I get done here, I will take a shower and after some time, I will go to work. I have no guarantee I will come home tonight. I don’t even have a guarantee I will get to work okay. I act like I will and I don’t think we should live in terror that we will die at any moment, but I do need to remember more often that every moment is a gift.

So let’s look at what happens next. What will happen to many of these celebrities? Will they enter into eternity with joy or will they enter it with shame? Will they love the presence of God or will they hate it? Right now, their choice is made and they are done. What would it profit them if they gained the adulation of the world and lost their souls? I’m not saying that happened for sure for either White or Saget. I can’t speak on that. I am saying it could have.

Hollywood is one of the most influential systems in the world today, and we Christians have to admit it’s full of depravity. So what are we doing about it? Do we write them off because they’re celebrities? We often treat them as gods and goddesses and our magazine racks are filled with stories about events in their lives to which I often want to say, “Who cares?” Why should anyone live vicariously through a celebrity? What difference does it make who so-and-so is dating? Don’t you have enough issues in your own life to work out?

However, these people have struggles like everyone else. They have questions and problems like everyone else. They also need Jesus like everyone else. Are we trying to influence Hollywood at all or are we just avoiding it? There is no reason Jesus Christ cannot redeem Hollywood. There is no reason He cannot use you to do it, except for one. You are unwilling to be used. That includes me as well.

When we get to Hollywood also and start making our movies, can we please also make good movies? Right now, for the most part, Christians make movies only other Christians want to see. What good would an evangelism method be that only reached other Christians and never those who don’t know Christ? One rare recent movie I understand was an exception to this was Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ.

Christian movies for the most part are universally bad and Christians go see them because they’re Christian and that’s what you do. Sadly, that’s often the reason we could give for going to church as well. What if we made them so well and they were so popular that non-Christian celebrities wanted to be in them?

There will be other celebrity deaths in 2022. Are we trying to reach these people that seem out of reach with the gospel? Do we consider that they are a breath away from eternity? Do we consider that we are?

God loves them as He loves us. Let’s show Jesus to them as we should.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

You Don’t Have To Feel Called

What is required for you to serve? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Just recently, I was dialoguing with someone who apparently went to a church that guilted them about the Great Commission. Now if you read this blog faithfully, you know I have a joke about the whole idea of always doing something for Jesus. It comes from listening to a video with a Christian complaining about playing Pokemon Go with saying “You could be doing evangelism.”

Follow this through and it won’t work. I could go and do my job to provide for my family, but I could be doing evangelism instead. I could be sleeping at night, but I could be doing evangelism. I could have a family game night with my family and enrich my relationship with my kids, or I could be doing evangelism. I could be making love to my spouse, or I could be doing evangelism. On and on we can go.

However, the more I talked to this person, I told them that maybe if you’re asking questions so much about the Great Commission, you should consider being a missionary. The response I got was that they had never felt called. Sadly, I was anticipating such a response.

It’s amazing we have so many churches here that are Protestant and claim that Scripture is their final authority and yet go with this idea that you need to feel called in order to be a missionary or a pastor or anything like that. We will often point to Paul.

There is nothing that says what happened to Paul is supposed to happen to everyone in ministry. Nothing states that all are required to have a Damascus Road experience. It’s a kind of arrogance of our age that we all expect our lives are supposed to be just like the great heroes of the Bible.

Besides that, after hearing several ministers who are convinced they are called to preach, I wonder if they are really being called if it’s part of a divine punishment on the behalf of God towards us. Too many of these preachers just don’t have a clue how to preach or how to lead a church or both. It’s always fascinating also that when they think they are being called to another church, that church usually just happens to offer a bigger salary.

Instead, here are some criteria I would look for.

Do you have a desire. If you don’t have a strong passion in you for, say, the people of Turkey, you probably shouldn’t be a missionary over there. If you hate the thought of doing apologetics, you should probably not consider entering the apologetics ministry. On the other hand, if you have a strong desire to tell people you meet about Jesus and tell them how to become Christians, you should probably look into some material on doing evangelism, which brings us to the next point.

If you have the ability to do what you want to do well, you should consider doing it. I am not saying a Savant by any means. Everyone in every field will make some big mistakes. Everyone in any field will screw up at the start a few times and yes, even later on in their ministry they will make mistakes. This is more asking if you have a competency that can be built on. If you’re a good thinker, you could consider apologetics. If you’re an outgoing person, you could consider evangelism. If you know how to listen well, you could consider counseling.

The last is opportunity. Do you ever have the chance to do what you are wanting to do. In our day and age with the internet, this is becoming easier and easier. It’s been said that Paul would be absolutely crazy with excitement today if he could have the opportunities we have to share the gospel with the internet. We have more opportunity and means to share Christianity than ever before.

Please don’t rely on a feeling of being called. This is nowhere stated in Scripture and our modern emphasis today on feelings being the way God communicates so often with us I find to be quite dangerous. Most anything around you can influence your feelings. If I feel really tired, for example, and drink an energy drink to keep going, I will likely have anxiety the rest of the day as well. Again, anything can influence your feelings.

What we are looking at is something more stable to determine the best way for you to serve. Try going with that instead.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Autism Awareness Month: Evangelism

How do we do at evangelism? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Evangelism is one of those more difficult areas for me. After all, you’re supposed to go up to complete strangers and talk to them about Jesus. Going up to a complete stranger is awkward enough for us on most anything. I can go up to a stranger, but I have to mentally prepare myself. This includes even a stranger at the grocery store who works there that I need to ask where an item is.

Now if I was teamed up with someone and they got the ball rolling, I could handle it just fine. If I am at home and the Mormons or JWs come by, I can also handle that just fine. I could do the same if you came up and engaged me, although there would be some suspicion at first as I always wonder about people who I don’t know engaging me in conversation out of the blue.

Fortunately, this is the age of the internet and there is more than one way to do evangelism. The internet is a great gift to me in this in that I can easily talk to people I don’t know. There is no need of having them face to face. Be it on Facebook or TheologyWeb.com or even the comments section on a blog or media article, I can engage.

This is important because there are some people who will say the only way to do evangelism is face to face. Maybe in the past, that would have been more likely, but even in the distant past, it wasn’t. Some people in the ancient world were prolific writers. Think about how blessed we are today that Paul was a writer.

What began the Protestant Reformation? Was it a speech that was given by Luther? Nope. It was the written word. There are many cases with writing that the pen is mightier than the sword. Today, writing is all the easier. If Paul had written something like this, it could have taken him an hour or two, maybe longer. For me, I can do this in a few minutes.

None of this is to say that this way is superior. It’s good that some people can do face to face evangelism and there is still a place for that. There is also a place for evangelism on the internet and not everyone is capable of studying apologetics in-depth. Many people don’t care for arguments about their faith and fewer still would like to do live debate.

This really means we balance each other out. I happen to enjoy doing evangelism on the internet. It’s my hopes my writing will be helpful to those who go out and do the face-to-face evangelism or for those who also engage on the internet.

Keep in mind, this is not at all to say I don’t realize the importance of the mission. It’s just that there are some ways I am more capable and other ways other people are more capable, and that’s okay. Part of wise living is realizing you can’t do everything well.

If you can do face-to-face, God bless you and thank you. Please remember those of us who do this on the internet. Those of us on the spectrum who do this find it much easier to do as well. I plan on writing soon on the internet in general, but I am thankful the internet has made evangelism much more doable for someone like myself.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Where Is Our Impact?

Why aren’t we making a difference? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I don’t remember where I heard it, but I heard someone over the weekend talking about how a small group like the transgenders have such a big impact. They’re right. 20 years ago I never would have thought that I would have to defend the idea that men are men and women are women. I never would have thought I would have to defend marriage as a union of a man and a woman. Yet today, these things that were believed for thousands of years by everyone have been called into question.

Let’s look at statistics. It’s my understand that transgenders or people who claim such I should say are actually about .3% of the population. I think homosexuals are really 2-3%. Some sources more leftist indicate a 10% of the population. Let’s suppose that that is true. That’s still definitely a minority.

And what have these people done? When I fill out surveys online, many times when I get to the question of sex or gender, I see categories put up there for transgender people or people who have been convinced that gender is something fluid that you can just change or is a social construct.

What about the homosexual movement? How many countries around the world are now redefining marriage? This is something we never would have thought possible to happen a few decades ago and yet now we seem to have a new normal going on.

What did these people do? They spoke out. They demanded. They used the media. They used the entertainment industry. They were vocal about what they believed and they shared it. There’s a joke that a transgender, a homosexual, and a vegan walk into a bar. I only know about this because they told everyone within five minutes of entering.

Now let’s compare this to Christians. We have so many churches all across our country. We make up a decent percentage of the population, but let’s go light. Let’s say Christians only make up 40% of the population. So what are we doing?

We are the ones who are often marginalized and cast down in society and seen as the backwards people. If anything, we’ve probably done something to earn that image. We’re usually known for what we stand against and not what we stand for. Christians are anti-gay, anti-transgender, anti-science, anti-sex, anti-progress, anti-whatever it is out there.

Instead, we fail to get out the message that we are really pro-things. Christians are not anti-sex. We should be the most pro-sex people out there. We have the Song of Songs after all! We just value sex so much that we think it should be used in the proper time and place. Like all people, we put barriers around the things that matter to us.

We need to use the media to the best of our advantage. Can Christians please make decent movies and video games and TV shows sometime? Believe it or not, you don’t have to explicitly state the Gospel in every single thing you do. C.S. Lewis never did that in his works and yet those works have stood the test of time. A number of atheists can even easily enjoy the Narnia series.

And you know, maybe sometimes we should make good content just because it’s good content. You don’t have to make everything into evangelism. Be good at what you do regardless and you will draw attention to yourself.

Definitely, we need a more informed populace. We need to know what Christianity is, why it’s true, and why it matters. If the average Christian cannot articulate a basic defense of Christianity and what difference it makes, then they are not prepared. I still remember to this day a lady in a small group I was in who said, “I’m saved and my children are saved so I’m just waiting for Jesus to come.” A lady like this is part of the problem. What about if your kids go to college and lose their faith? What about everybody else’s kids?

We Christians are way too focused on our own selves and looking out for ourselves instead of going out there and changing the world. We can say the homosexuals and transgenders and progressives have a false gospel, but it doesn’t help us to do that because at least they are out there sharing it. They are more true to a false gospel and we are false to the true gospel.

Most of the media we make when we make it anyway is for us. Christian movies are made for Christians. Other people aren’t going to see them so we’re just preaching to the choir. When Fifty Shades of Grey came out, right alongside it came Old-Fashioned where the guy wouldn’t even be in the same room with the girl in the trailers at least. Guess which one the world was more interested in. That’s not saying Christians should make movies like Fifty Shades, but we should make a movie that people would want to see and would show Christianity as something that they would not only want, but at least want to be true.

Definitely every church needs to teach some apologetics. Every church should have at least one go-to person in the congregation for apologetics. Larger churches will need more. Every church should have someone they can call when Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons come by. (Speaking of being true to a false gospel, they tend to do more evangelism than we do.) Definitely, youth need to be trained up long before they are ready to go off to college.

It’s bizarre to me that we can have events about how to divorce-proof your marriage or how to be a good parent or how to get out of financial debt, and we should, but we so rarely have them on why Christianity is true and what difference it makes. It’s as if the only reason to be a Christian is to have a good marriage, be a good parent, and live debt free. Do those things, but don’t forget the engine behind them.

While we disagree with those other groups, let’s admit that we can learn something from them. We should definitely not do anything immoral, but we can learn how to do evangelism better. We can learn how to use media and culture better. We have nothing less at stake than the lives of countless souls all over the world.

Think it’s worth it?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Always Be Ready

What do I think of Hugh and Kathy Ross’s book published by Reasons To Believe? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I read a lot of apologetics books. I read all levels. Some books are entry level. Some are intermediate. Some are advanced. I have high standards. When Hugh And Kathy Ross sent me an apologetics book they had written, I saw the title and thought it looked like something basic. I looked at the bibliography. It was only three pages.

Great.

So I pick it up. There is one chapter dedicated to science apologetics. I really don’t know much about what to say with that. I have a stance that I stay out of science debates like that. I don’t know enough to recognize nonsense from accuracy. I think science is fascinating, but I can’t argue one side anyway.

But that’s the only kind of chapter like that. The rest of the book starts getting fascinating as Hugh Ross talks so much about how he came to believe in Christianity. It’s a fascinating autobiographical look at things. I count Dr. Ross a dear friend of mine and I knew some of it, but a lot I didn’t know and it was amazing stuff.

Did I agree with all of it? No. Ross makes a lot about Israel being founded in 1948 and that as a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. As an orthodox Preterist, I don’t agree, but the great thing about Ross is I know he wouldn’t have any problem with that.  If you want to work with Reasons To Believe, you’re actually required to have something that you disagree with Ross on.

Yet the story just gets fascinating to see Ross describe growing up and his life on the autism spectrum, something I relate to as one on the spectrum as well. Ross talks about problems in school and the care that he got from one special teacher. Teachers. Please never underestimate the influence that you could have on one student.

Ross also talks about the influence of Kathy on his life after he met her. At this point, as one who knows Ross’s story with her, I would have liked to have heard more. He talks about her showing up at a Bible Study he was at and then sometime later on, we hear that he’s her bride. Whoa! How did we get to that point so quickly? I would have liked to have read more how the romance developed. This could be especially helpful for people on the spectrum who are waiting to get married.

Ross goes throughout the book then talking about ministry opportunities that have come up in his life in working with the church and the launching of Reasons To Believe. Ross has it apparently that he gets into encounters all the time where he gets to share the gospel. I found this to be exciting reading.

That means that in the end, this could very well be my favorite book that I’ve ever read by Ross. It left me wanting those own opportunities to come and watching the world around me for when they could show up. It’s my sincere prayer that they will.

If you’re wanting to get a book that will equip you to go out there and have the best answers to deal with those who contradict the faith, this isn’t the book for you. If you want a book that can help discuss how to approach people better and give the Gospel, especially in a church setting, and examples of ways you can use apologetics in evangelism, this is the book for you. Veteran apologists will not likely learn much in the area of apologetics knowledge, but hopefully, they will gain a desire to interact more.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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