Tag Archives: education

Rocky’s Ramblings Christian Discipleship Course

GREETINGS! Welcome to my ministry website, where I hope your desire is to learn more about what it means to be a Christian. Whether you are a new Christian, have been a Christian for some time, or someone thinking about God’s invitation to accept Jesus Christ, the daily lessons of this course will give you a firm understanding of Christianity.


YOU ARE WELCOME TO DOWNLOAD AND STUDY THE COURSE FREE OF CHARGE or use it to teach your own discipleship class (more on that below). My most recent update was to add an appendix of all of the Bible references complete with the passages from NASB, and I fixed a few hyperlink errors. So, if you’ve been here before, and it has been a while since you downloaded a copy, you may want to download a new copy.

Let’s get started! Choose one of the following large green buttons to download a copy of the course and save it where you can access it daily.

The first is labeled INTERNET PDF. It is formatted to run on a smartphone, tablet or computer, and will allow you to click on links that will take you directly to Bible passages, articles, and such.

The second is labeled PRINTABLE COPY. If you do not have a smartphone or tablet that you can access daily, the printable copy has been formatted to print on standard letter-size paper (8.5″ x 11″). Let me warn you ahead of time that if you print the whole course all at once, it will print out on 203 pages, so printing double-sided will save you a lot of paper. If you don’t need the written Bible references, you can avoid printing Appendix B by printing only pages 1-147, saving a substantial amount of paper. This copy does have all of the hyperlinks, which of course will do you no good once you print it on paper. So, you will need to have a Bible at your side.

OUR PRIMARY TEXT: You will see in the introduction to the course that it is based on The Christian Life New Testament with Master Outlines & Study Notes (ISBN 9780840721785) available from a number of retail outlets. Use the button above to find one for yourself. NOTE that having a copy of this New Testament with the outlines is not absolutely necessary; the course is written to teach the specific topics without having to rely on the outline. But, I encourage you to get a copy for yourself and use it as a guide to launch beyond what you can learn in the daily lessons of this course.

LANGUAGE TRANSLATOR: I have written this in English. But, through the wonders of the internet, you can put it through this translator to translate it into your language. Just download whichever copy fits your needs and then come back to this translator:

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN TEACHING YOUR OWN SESSION:

I have a discussion guide for you should you desire to use this course to teach your own discipleship class – which I highly recommend as part of our Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)

Let me suggest that you keep it simple. Direct your group to this website so that they can download the course. Then, encourage them to go through the lessons, one each day, and get the group together once a week to discuss the 7 lessons of the previous week (perhaps over coffee and dessert). As your students get through the first two sections of the course, start encouraging them to get out and share what they are learning through their own personal evangelism. That’s the key that unlocks the door to the multiplication that Jesus taught His disciples! If you have any questions, suggestions, or want to discuss moving forward, please contact me at RockysRamblings@gmail.com. I would also love to hear your success stories and the creative ways that you are using this course.

Matthias or Paul – Who was God’s Choice to Replace Judas? Did the Eleven Apostles Get It Wrong With Matthias?

When Judas hung himself after betraying Jesus Christ unto His crucifixion, the remaining eleven apostles were left to choose a replacement to return their circle to the number twelve, which represented the twelve Tribes of the Jewish nation (Israel and Judah). God’s plan was to take the Gospel to the entire world, beginning with the Jewish people (God’s chosen), as we see in Acts 1:8. Jesus told His disciples to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit to descend to them, and then, “you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Paul emphasized it this way, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” (Romans 1:16) The turning point – the point at which God made it clear that the time had come to reach out to the gentile (non-Jew) world with the Gospel – was the dream that God gave Peter, which led him to meet with and convert Cornelius of Caesarea to be a follower of Christ; the first gentile to be so converted. You can read this whole story in Acts 10.

So, the apostles went about selecting a replacement for Judas – not choosing of their own accord – but determining whom God would choose to fill the vacancy in the twelve. As we see in the story of this selection process in Acts 1:15-26, Peter quoted David’s prophecy of this moment in Psalm 69:25 and Psalm 109:8. David had prophesied this moment with amazing accuracy, especially when realizing that the chief priests took the money that Judas threw back at them, after realizing what he had done, and purchased the field in which he hung himself, and called it Akel-dama, the Field of Blood. In using that prophecy, Peter was saying that there should be a replacement for Judas.

Now that we’ve explored why the eleven felt the need to replace Judas, let’s look at who Matthias was, and why he was selected. We know that the twelve apostles were not the only disciples of Jesus Christ. Several times, the Bible talks about the 70, and some about the 150. What this says is that Jesus had his inner circle of followers, the twelve apostles, including Simon Peter, John (son of Zebedee), James (the brother of John), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas (the doubter), Matthew, James (son of Alpheus), Thaddeus (son of James), Simon (the Zealot), Judas. Then, He had another concentric ring of 70 followers which grew to 150 and then to about 500. The total number of followers continued to grow until Jesus started talking about the price of discipleship, at which many fell away.

According to tradition (from writers of non-canonized texts), Matthias was part of the 70 and had been with the twelve from the beginning of Christ’s ministry, and even lived with them. Lastly, it is surmised that when the apostles started reaching out to specific regions, Matthias ended up in Aethiopia (modern Georgia – north of Turkey and Armenia), where he was stoned to death.  

Next, let’s look at how Matthias was chosen. Peter established the qualifications in Acts 1:21-26, which included having been with Jesus Christ through his entire 3 1/2 year ministry, personally witnessing His baptism by John the Baptist, His teachings and miracles, and His crucifixion. He also had to have witnessed Jesus after His resurrection. Given those factors, there seemed to be only two men who qualified: Matthias and a man named Joseph Barsabas. So, the apostles sought God on how to proceed. They settled on a the common method of casting lots, similar in nature to flipping a coin, something that they could not manipulate, but God could. The lots fell to Matthias.

Now, we can go back and look at whether Paul was the one God had chosen as His replacement for Judas, and the apostles somehow got it wrong. Or, was there another reason God called Paul? Paul was not with Jesus during His ministry on earth, and never witnessed His baptism, His teachings and miracles, nor His death or resurrection. In fact, he was a pharisee who zealously persecuted Christians to stop what the Jewish hierarchy considered a religion of blasphemy. It was during Paul’s encounter with the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus that he was called to his apostleship. Because he did not meet the other qualifications, Paul considered himself to be the least of the apostles (Ephesians 3:7-8), but one chosen not by man but by God.

So did the eleven apostles get it wrong when they chose Matthias? There is no Biblical evidence to suggest that, and Matthias ended up dying for his efforts to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, just like the other eleven (save John who miraculously survived being boiled in oil, only to spend the rest of his days in exile on the Island of Patmos). No wonder so many fell away when they heard Christ teaching of the cost of discipleship. There is a lesson for each of us in that story (but, for another time).

Let me end with this speculation on my part. The reason for the number of apostles to be twelve was to honor the traditions of the Jewish nation, representing the twelve tribes. Once God decided that it was time to share the Gospel with the rest of the world, Paul was chosen above and beyond the twelve, specifically to take the Gospel to the people beyond those of the Jewish faith. So, God arranged a personal encounter with the resurrected Jesus Christ, and called him to his apostleship. This is further supported by the fact that as the Gospel was taken beyond Jerusalem in obedience to Jesus Christ’s instructions in Acts 1:8, more of the 70 were sent (in fact, Jesus had already begun this during His earthly ministry – Luke 10:1). The apostles did not, in my opinion, get it wrong. God just kicked His plan into high gear to send the Gospel to the rest of the world. Who better for that than Paul?

Here’s a post-script on Joseph Barsabas: As the Gospel was sent to specific regions, Joseph was included. He ended up as the Bishop of Eleutheropolis, a Byzantine city south of Jerusalem, where he too died a martyr’s death.

Only God Can Remove Your Sin

I’m going to take a break from reviewing Bobby Conway’s One Minute Apologist videos to give you what I believe is a real-world application of apologetics – a real-world situation that has hit a little close to home with more than one person near and dear to me.

Up until the end of the 1930’s, alcoholism was considered to be a hopeless condition. The medical community realized that once the evils of alcohol had gripped a person to the point of compulsion, there was no hope. Such a person was doomed to be destroyed by alcohol with no chance of being healed. In 1939 a group calling itself Alcoholics Anonymous came out with a plan by which alcoholism could be removed from a person – a 12 step program for alcoholics to process and find their victory over this evil spirit of alcoholism. Allow me to group and abbreviate the 12 steps for the purposes of this posting.  

Step 1 is to come to the realization that you are powerless over alcohol, if left to your own resources.
Step 2 is to realize that turning to God, as you understand him, is the ONLY hope of healing from this disease.
Step 3, then, is to make the conscious decision to turn your life over to God and ask Him to take control of your will and your lives.
Steps 4, 5, 6 and 7 are to take moral inventory, admitting and turning over your wrongs to God and ask that these wrongs be removed from you.
Steps 8-12 are to ask God to help you make amends for harms done, and to continue this process on a daily basis.

That sounds a lot like the problem we all have with sin in our lives. We were all born with a sin nature that separates us from God, and no matter how hard we try, no matter what we do, we cannot cross the chasm between us and God of our own resources. Our condition is hopeless without turning to God, the only One who can remove our sin nature. The steps to this victory over death are the same basic steps as those of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step program.

Steps to Peace with God

  1. To realize that the chasm between us and God cannot be bridged of our own power.  
    • Romans 3:23 – ‘For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
    • Isaiah 59:2 – “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”
  2. To come to the realization that the only way out of death, our wages of sin, is to turn to Jesus Christ, who has paid the price of death for us.
    • 1 Timothy 2:5 – “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.”
    • 1 Peter 3:18 – “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”
  3. To make a personal decision to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, to turn our lives over to Him in order to cross the chasm between us and God.
    • John 1:12 – “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
    • Romans 10:9 – “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
  4. To pray the Sinner’s Prayer through which we recognize our own sinful nature, repent of that sinful nature, and then to ask God to forgive us of our sins, come into our hearts and take control of our lives.
  5. From that point on, we are admonished to allow the Holy Spirit to continue bringing our sins to our conscious minds, that we can repent of them, seek forgiveness, and ask God to help us make restitution for them. And we are further admonished to pick up our cross daily.

In the very real-world situation of alcoholism, we can see that this process works to give people victory over something that left them hopeless without turning to God. In just as real a situation, and far more consequential on an eternal scale, God has given us that same opportunity for victory over our sins, and eternal life over death.

Did Jesus Raise from the Dead and How Could a Good God Send Nice People to Hell?

These two questions are difficult to answer for different reasons. The first is impossible from a natural perspective, and the second seems to contradict God’s character. If you look at the two questions together, it begs yet another question: how could God bring His own Son back from death, but not the rest of us? I’ll return to this third question after our review of Bobby Conway’s One Minute Apologist videos examining the first two.

To discuss the question of whether Jesus really raised from the dead, Bobby turns to Dr. Gary Habermas, whose life ministry has revolved around research into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, stemming from his own doubts as a young man. He revolves his defense by taking on the hallucination theory, which simply states that those who claim to have seen Jesus alive after His death were simply hallucinating. He makes the point that there is no historical evidence of any hallucination among any of the the people to whom Jesus appeared. He further makes the point that hallucination is a personal event. The theory of hallucinations breaks down when you consider the numbers of people that Jesus appeared to in different settings and different groupings. In all of these encounters, everyone that met Him were convinced that He was real and that He was who He said He was, and the theory of hallucinations breaks down. On top of all of that, it is historically documented that the tomb was, in fact, empty. A Roman guard was established at the tomb to assure that no one could steal His body, to make a false resurrection claim. Jesus was dead; the Roman government and the Jewish hierarchy wanted to make sure that His message died with Him. And, yet, His tomb was empty. That fact throws the hallucination theory out the window. The death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most provably documented events in all of world history.

So, if God could bring His own Son back from death, how could He send nice people to hell? To discuss this question, Bobby turns back to Frank Turek. Frank begins by breaking down the question, stating that God does not send anyone to hell. But, He is too loving to take people’s free will away and make them accept His gift for eternal life in heaven. He makes the point that not everyone wants to spend eternity in heaven. Now, they may not fully understand the alternative of hell, but the idea of spending eternity with Jesus in heaven doesn’t necessarily appeal to everyone, especially those who have spent their entire lives running from Him.

What hell represents is that man is free and God is love. God will not make us love Him because that would violate everything that He is and everything that love is. But, we have to ask ourselves: why did God put His own Son through what He did? Why were the last instructions that Jesus gave to His disciples (present and future) before He ascended back into heaven that we should take His message to all the world (Matthew 28:18-20)? Why does God’s Word tell us that His will is that none should perish, but all would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)? To wrap it up, God gave man the right to free will, which Adam and Eve spoiled by their own desires in the Garden of Eden, condemning us all to to a sinful, rebellious nature, for which God sentenced us to death. Then God put that sentence on Himself through the death of Jesus Christ, and has given us every opportunity to accept it so that we won’t go to hell of our own free will. And He did it all out of love.

Let’s go back to the third question that I postulated in the first paragraph: If God could resurrect His own Son from death, why not the rest of us? The simple answer is that God has given all of us the opportunity for resurrection – not immediate and bodily, as with the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ after His death. But, everything about His whole life, death and resurrection was exactly that: to give everyone an opportunity to be saved to eternal life. All you have to do is recognize your need for salvation, turn to God, and accept the death of Jesus Christ as the payment for your sins and His resurrection as your assurance of being raised to eternal life. It’ all right there for you to accept. Go to Steps to Peace with God for more information.

How to Answer Questions About What Happens to People Who Have Never Heard of Jesus Christ, and Are Miracles possible

Following the question of whether or not Jesus is the only way to salvation, comes the question about what happens to those who have never heard of Jesus Christ, the next tough question answered in Bobby Conway’s video series on the Tough Questions Christians Face. We know that the Bible says that all creation shows the glory of God (Psalm 19) so that all people are without an excuse (Romans 1:20). But, we also know that the Bible calls upon all Christians to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all people everywhere, because God’s will is that none should perish, but that all would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), and Jesus, Himself, said that no one can come to the Father but through Him (John 14:6). So, we, who are called by His name have a job to do. God has entrusted us with the most important message that could come into anyone’s life, the story of Jesus and how He wants t give everyone the free gift of eternal life. Christ gave His Great Commission, to His disciples (present and future), “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20). Why would he have admonished us to do so if people could come to salvation without the Gospel? It is true that we, humans, do not have the power to save. But, God has ordained us as His ambassadors, to speak on His behalf to a world that is desperate for His salvation.

The next tough question In Bobby Conway’s video series is: Are Miracles Possible? In a day when science supposedly has an answer – a natural explanation – for everything that happens, are some of these happenings actually miracles, and does God only exist in things that cannot be explained away by science? Dr. Norman Giesler answered this from CS Lewis who said, simply, ‘If God, then miracles.’ The creation itself was a miracle, a supernatural act of God. Even scientists agree that before creation, there was not time, no space and no matter, and all of a sudden, BANG, we have a universe. Science has all kinds of theory’s about matter colliding with anti-matter to cause this great explosion. But, where did the matter and anti-matter come from? How did nothing become matter and anti-matter? How did all of the finely-tuned reams of data that chromosomes pass on from generation to generation come from? No matter how you believe this universe and all that is in it has come to be, you already believe in miracles. Now, fast forward to the great flood, then on to Moses parting of the Red Sea, the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His raising of Lazarus from the dead. His and His disciples’ raising of other people from the dead, cleansing of lepers, healing the blind, the deaf, the lame, the casting out of demons… Dr. Norman concluded by saying that there is no problem turning water into wine, if you can create water from nothing. Indeed miracles have happened, and still do.

Toughest Questions Christians Face (continued)

The next tough question is one of the hardest questions to answer, one of the largest stumbling blocks keeping non-believers from accepting God’s love. In the next One Minute Apologist video in the series on the Tough Questions Christians Face, Brett Kunkle, apologist at Stand to Reason, takes on that question: Why Does God Allow Suffering and Evil? When asked if there are any reasons why a loving God would allow suffering, Brett answers that there certainly are, even if we do not know what those reasons are. God is God, and we are not. There is an infinite chasm between His wisdom and ours; we cannot expect to know everything He knows. In Deuteronomy 29:29, God tells us,“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us…” God is a God of reason, and has a reason for everything He does. Sometimes we need to know what those reasons are, and sometimes we don’t – or may not understand if He told us. Parents, have you ever told your children, “I’m the mom (or dad), that’s why.” We take our tiny children to a doctor, who sticks a needle in their arm and causes pain. The child would not understand why that needle is important, and does not have the level of knowledge to know that the shot he/she is getting is to protect them from something we as adults know is out there, but they do not. As a parent, you have a morally sufficient reason – and a responsibility – to get your children the care (medical or otherwise) that they need, whether they understand that or not. We have to trust that the Creator of the universe knows what He is doing and is acting to in accordance to His plan.

But, God has not left us with no answers to this question. God tells us that we need perseverance, we need to learn to love deeply, and to care for others in need. How do we get that depth of character, of love and understanding to do that? God tells us in Romans 5:3-5, “…we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” God loves us, and wants what is best for us, and part of that is to help us learn to love and care for Him and for others, through Him.

The next video deals with the question of whether Jesus is the only way. The argument from the world is that there may be only one destination, but there are many paths – choose on and be sincere, that’s all it takes. But, can’t we be sincerely wrong? In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” In Acts 4:12, we read, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among mankind by which we must be saved.” The question comes back to us as to why we have to be so narrow in our response. When we go to a doctor, we expect that doctor to diagnose and prescribe a treatment for our condition. We need that diagnosis and prescription to be narrow, to actually solve our medical problem, not just take a shotgun approach and hope something works. If our car in not running properly because of a fuel mixture problem, we don’t need to have our mechanic tear apart the transmission to find a fix.

Jesus said that He is the only way. That is either the biggest con-job in the history of the world, the biggest psychotic delusion in the history of the world, or it is true. It cannot be true and untrue. If it’s true, then what happens to those who do not accept – or have never had an opportunity to accept – Jesus as the only way? That is the question of the next video in this series, which we’ll cover in my next posting. In the meantime, you may want to look at Steps to Peace with God.

Why Christianity Can Lay Sole Claim to Being the One True Religion

The final videos in Bobby Conway’s series on worldviews in Right Now Media examine the claims that Christianity is the one true religion, based on the evidences of discussed in the videos to this point.

The first point is one that was made a couple postings back. The heart of Christianity is Jesus Christ, God the Son, who descended to us as a human, conceived of God the Holy Spirit, born of a human mother to be the one true mediator between man and God. We see this in scripture in Paul’s teaching of Timothy, “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Timothy 2:5).

If I could pick one of the videos as the climax of this series, it would be, What is a Four-Point Case for Christianity. Here are the four points, with a few comments from other apologists I’ve studied.

  1. Does truth exist? Obviously the Bible can’t be true if there is no truth. But, then no other religious writings could be true, either. It’s pretty obvious that there is truth. If someone tells you that there is no truth, just ask them if they think that statement is true.
  2. Does God exist? Even the most skeptical scientists have come to the realization that there simply cannot be a world as immense, complex, and well-tuned without having an intelligent creator that is outside of our world. That creator also had to be personal with a desire to create something with meaning. Otherwise, our existence means nothing.
  3. Are miracles possible? If everything has to run that it was designed with no interventions by the creator, then the Bible cannot be true. The greatest miracle is the very first verse of the Bible, “In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) If that verse is true, every other verse in the Bible is at the very least, possible. So, miracles are possible, and if that is not true, then there could be no God, and there wouldn’t be any creation.
  4. Does the Bible tell us the truth about history? In other words, is the Bible historically reliable. As we examined several posts back, the best archaeologists in the Middle East use the Bible as a primary source for their research, because it has never been wrong, and the more we learn, the evidence emerges of just how true the Bible is. One great evidence of the truth of the Bible is what we call ‘embarrassing testimony,’ things that nobody would have admitted to, certainly not written about, if they were not true. Example: at the crucifixion, the disciples all ran away, leaving the women behind. Is any man going to make that up. There is also eye-witness testimony, and what is called excruciating testimony, meaning that these men died, and they knew they would likely die, for what they said and how they continued to teach the Gospel. There is also prophecy, things that were foretold and then happened years later.

We can have faith in the in the Bible because it has proven itself true, accurate, prophetic, and purposeful. No other religion has all of that and a savior who claimed that He was God incarnate and then proved it.

The final video in this series is one that encourages parents to send their kids to Summit Ministries, which is designed to prepare students to take on challenging conversations. In this day of skepticism, we must be prepared to defend our faith – to study to show ourselves approved…rightly dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15) I will end by saying that I know nothing about Summit Ministries, but am certainly going to check it out. Perhaps I’ll write a daily posting on what I find.

Opposing Concepts of Different World Views: Truth &Relativism and Pluralism vs. Particularism

In my last posting, we listed the 7 religious categories of religious worldviews, gave a one-line description of what each holds as their concept of god, and listed a few of the major followers. In the video series, What is a World View, one of the series of The One Minute Apologist on Right Now Media, Bobby Conway goes on to examine each of the 7 in greater depth, and discusses a couple of the most significant opposing concepts between them. I’m going to leave examining the 7 worldviews to you, should that be of particular interest to you, and jump straight to examining a couple of the main opposing concepts between worldviews (which cannot both be true), before moving on to some closing thoughts that make the case for Christianity being the one true religion.

Remember as we go that the reason we are doing this is to give us ways to defend our faith, as we have been discussing the last few days. If you have missed those postings, you can find them on this website by looking at the topics to the left of this essay – or you can click on the picture of Philpott Lake at the top of my website which will take you ‘home’ to be able to scroll down through them all, most recent first.

Let’s look first at the dichotomy of Truth and Relativism. There either is absolute truth or truth is relative. We live in an age of relativism that says all religions are the same, everything is relative. When Jesus was taken to answer before Pilate, He told Pilate that He came ‘to testify to the truth’ (John 18:37). Pilate with the question, ‘what is truth?’ So, perhaps we are not in the first age of relativism. But, Jesus seemed to be saying that there is A truth for which He was sent to testify.

According to Dr. Norman Geisler, author, professor, theologian, and world-renowned Christian apologist, truth is telling it like it is, and the opposite of truth cannot also be true under the rule of non-contradiction, a basic law of logic. Relativism says that truth is subjective. If someone says they don’t believe in absolute truth, our response should be to ask them if that statement is absolutely true. If someone says they are skeptical about everything, ask them if they are skeptical about that.

We cannot make truth out of what we want to be true; we need to want the truth. He ends the interview that we do not raise our right hand in court and promise to tell the expedient, the whole expedient and nothing but what is expedient, so help me truth through experience. Truth is truth, whether we like it or not.

Now I want to take a quick look at Pluralism vs. Particularism through an interview with Dr. William Lane Craig, author, philosopher and apologist with ReasonableFaith.org. Dr. Craig begins by defining religious particularism as the belief that one religion is fully true. There may be elements of truth in other religions, but there is only one religion that is fully true, and that explains the one way to God. In contrast, pluralism says that there are a diversity of perspectives and all are equally valid; no one religion can claim to be THE way to God or exclusively true. Which brings us to a fundamental and critical question: do all religions lead to God? For this question, Bobby Conway returns to interviewing Dr. Norman Geisler.  He begins by returning to a point he made in a previous video, that they can’t all be true because they teach opposite. Mohammed said there was only one person who is god; Chrisitanity says that the the One True God is made up of three persons, other religions teach that there are multiple gods. All of these statements cannot be true. Scriptures that have opposing views of who god is and how we get to him cannot all be true, reiterating a point that he made in an earlier video that these opposing views are on essential doctrines, not just minor details.

One concept that I was taught many years ago is that if there is a god, which every culture in history has believed is true, and if he made us in such a way as to give us the ability and desire to know him – both of which we have seen are true throughout history – then it stands to reason that this god would reach out to his creation and give us the answers to such essential questions, and would not tell some of us things that are true and other things that oppose his truth. Simply put, God is God and we are not. If we want to reach Him, we must do so on His terms, not the way that seems best to us.

In my next posting, we’ll look at why Christianity is uniquely true, and therefore is the one true religion.

Winning the Battle of Defending Your Faith

Let’s begin by bringing three Bible passages together for us to consider. The first is what we know as The Great Commission, in which Jesus gave His final and most important instructions to His disciples – current and future:

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

The second passage is Peter’s encouragement to:

“…sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15)

The other is from Paul’s mentoring of Timothy:

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

When you put these three passages together, you can see that it has always been that our most important job as Christians – to work in the harvest of souls – is more than simply sharing the Gospel and encouraging non-believers to pray the sinners prayer. It is imperative that Christians be prepared to defend our belief in Biblical truth. This is no easy task today, living in an entire society of competing voices teaching different worldviews, many of which are taught in schools as ‘settled science’.

There are a number of good resources available. One of them is Right Now Media Library, undoubtedly the largest collection of Christian learning/training/research videos and materials on the entire internet. This is not a free resource, but many churches buy a group membership for their members. If your church does not, it is well worth having a discussion with your church leadership to see if there is a way to make that happen. If that is not a possibility, consider joining as an individual member. Go to their main page, by clicking on the link above, and search on the word ‘apologetics’ or ‘defend’. Pay particular attention to the number of series with 1-6 minute videos that address issues that come up in real life, and will give you something with which to answer questions/attacks on our faith.

If you have not been following these posts on my website, go to my posting of January 11, 2021, called INTRODUCTION TO BIBLICAL APOLOGETICS…SHARED UNAPOLOGETICALLY to get an idea of how these short lessons can give you just what you need to help people question their own worldview, and see that perhaps a Biblical worldview is worthy of consideration.

My goal is to give you some of these quick ways to defend our faith with meaningful statements/questions of real consequence.  

Here’s one to end this posting. I’m using the ‘One Minute Apologist’ with Bobby Conway, available in video form on Right Now Media. The first video in the series is ‘Why is There So Much Doubt?’ The first part of that answer is that it is easier to believe something for which there is critical mass, or stated more bluntly, it’s easier to believe something when it’s popular. The argument is that we are shifting from a pro-Christian culture, to only a remnant of Christians who are seen as believing outdated concepts. Our defense of this is simply that truth does not follow the masses – the truth is often with the minority – the remnant.  

The second part of the answer to why there is so much doubt is the emergence of pluralism. With many people talking about what their God demands, it is easy to become confused as to what the truth is and why there are so many different religions to so many different Gods. Because our Christianity has been relatively safe from criticism and competing philosophies up until recent times, we’re not used to having to find God and God’s truth through the competing noise. Our defense is knowledge, Paul’s admonition to study the Word so well that we can ‘divide it rightly the word of truth’, or ‘accurately handling’ as some versions of the Bible interpret that.  

The third part of the answer to why there is so much doubt is the moral decline that America is experiencing now. The phrase ‘everyone is doing it’ seems like a legitimate excuse. Our defense is knowing that their is fundamental right and wrong; even a thief knows that stealing is wrong; a liar knows that lying is wrong; a murderer knows that killing is wrong.

Well, that’s a look at the basic question of answering why there is so much doubt in this world today. In my next post, I’ll continue on with Bobby Conway’s ‘One Minute Apologist’ videos.

What is Your Worldview?

In my last post I gave a couple of illustrations designed to help us understand that we, who believe in the inerrancy of God’s Word, The Holy Bible, see all of existence through a different worldview than do people without such faith in God’s Word. I want to take that a step further before launching into evidences of Biblical truth.

When you power up your computer, it boots into the operating system chosen by its operator and/or the builder of the computer, which tells it how it will do its work, either MacOS, Windows, Linux or one of several specialized operating systems. The operating system tells the computer how it sees, analyses and works with data to do much the same work as all other computers.

At the risk of dehumanizing humans or dignifying computers beyond their inanimate state, we humans do much the same. It is important, I suppose, to point out that this comparison does have its limitations. A computer cannot determine or reason or draw conclusions, but merely crunches data as far as its operating system and programs allow it to. We also tend to work within the parameters that have been fed into us, not by computer code, but by teachers, mentors, parents, etc. Through all of that, we develop our own worldview. In the case of existence and the meaning of life, this includes determining who or what – if anything – designed this whole universe and why.

It is important to realize that the world around us is what it is, the data that we see and hear as we learn and grow is the same data that everyone has access to. It’s how we interpret what we observe that makes the difference. Realize that if there is an error in a computer program, it will give the operator the wrong answers. Similarly, if your worldview is skewed, you will see the world from that skewed perspective.