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 it all at once, it will print out on 203 pages, so printing double-sided will save you a lot of paper. Of course, you will not have direct internet access to the linked items. 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 below to find one for yourself.

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.

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.

In Defense of ‘in the beginning god…’

While on deployment as a Samaritan’s Purse Volunteer to a rebuild team after Hurricane Harvey in Texas, we were being hosted by the Grace Baptist Church of Brazoria, the church of Pastor Mark Brumbelow. If you have been around the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child program, you’ve heard of Pastor Mark – a unique pastor, to be sure. We had the privilege of hearing Pastor Mark preach God’s Word. His Wednesday evening sermon was short and to the point. Please allow me to paraphrase his sermon, because I could never hope to do justice to his down-to-earth cowboy-style preaching. It went something like this:

“There was a man, who’s name was Darwin. And Darwin wrote this book about what he was supposin’ was natural selection. In this book, he was supposin’ that man came from apes, which he was supposin’ came from some other animals. Now, he was supposin’ that all animals came from this ooze that he was supposin’ was left over from the beginnings of the Earth, which he was supposin’ happened all by itself.

Now, there’s this other book called The Bible, which is the Word of God. And the very first words in The Bible are, “In the beginning, God…” And if you were to suppose that “In the beginning, God…,” then your supposin’ is all done. Because, the Word of God goes on to say that God created all things. And, that settles that.”

The point is that those who do not hold to the inerrancy of the Bible – as the very Word of God – see the world and all that is in it much differently than those of us who do – they take in all the same sights and sounds, view everything that is in this big beautiful world and do not see the One who created it. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)  

Let me make that point another way. I invited an archeologist, an expert on researching new finds in the Middle-East, to speak at our church many years ago. He was with the US Army Corps of Engineers and was in town for official business. In our spare time, I had a chance to talk with him about his research in the Middle-East, and was fascinated by what he had to say. So, he accepted my rather impromptu invitation to speak at our church. He made one incredible point that I have never forgotten. He said that Middle-East archaeologists carry the Bible whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, any other religious persuasion (or none), because it’s never wrong. They have learned that if the Bible says some there is a city somewhere, and they have not found it, it is not because the Bible is wrong, simply that they haven’t looked hard enough, yet.

What is so incredible about that statement is that it fits the way we determine truth from evidence. If something is accurate and true historically, culturally, and other verifiable ways, it stands to reason that it is accurate in its meaning, too – in the case of the Bible, that means spiritually. For instance, Bible-believers have been mocked for ages because we believe the Biblical account that says ‘there were giants in the land’ (Genesis 6:4). And then…archaeologists started uncovering evidence and bones of people 17 to 30 feet tall. There WERE giants in the land, and if Biblical experts had written off the Biblical accounts of giants simply because science had no proof that such beings ever existed, then they would have destroyed their own credibility when the evidence finally did surface.

But, what do we do about that? Of what value is such information? Well, what I’ve been trying to do today is demonstrate that people who believe in the Bible, and people who don’t, interpret data from a completely different worldview. I hope to share some things with you over the next weeks that will support the Biblical worldview in ways that will help you have confidence in, and be able to defend that worldview.