Wednesday Events – Passion Week – and Judas Iscariot,the suicide of Satan and the Salvation of the World

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

(via) Justin Taylor from the Gospel Coalition

Holy Week: What Happened on Wednesday?

Jesus continues his daily teaching in the Temple

Luke 21:37-38

With Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread approaching, the chief priests, elders, and scribes plot to kill Jesus

Matthew 26:3-5 Mark 14:1-2 Luke 22:1-2

Satan enters Judas, who seeks out the Jewish authorities in order to betray Jesus for a price

Matthew 26:14-16 Mark 14:10-11 Luke 22:3-6

Luke 22:1-6

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people. 3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. 4 He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

This is the final message in the series called Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ. The aim has been to show that over and over in the history of the world, the epoch-making sins that changed the course of history never nullified but only fulfilled the global purposes of God to glorify his Son and save his people.

My prayer is that, as these great historical vistas of God’s sovereignty over sin take their place in your renewed mind, they would have a profoundly practical effect in making you strong in the face of breath-stopping sorrows and making you bold for Christ in the face of dangerous opposition. Christ-exalting strength in calamity and Christ-exalting courage in conflict. I pray that the Lord will weave cords of steel and silk into the fabric of your soul.

History’s Most Spectacular Sin: The Murder of Jesus

The most spectacular sin that has ever been committed in the history of the world is the brutal murder of Jesus Christ, the morally perfect, infinitely worthy, divine Son of God. And probably the most despicable act in the process of this murder was the betrayal of Jesus by one of his closest friends, Judas Iscariot.

Judas was one of the twelve apostles that Jesus had personally chosen and who had been with Jesus during his entire public ministry. He had been entrusted with the moneybag for the whole group (John 13:29). He was close enough to Jesus at the Last Supper to be dipping bread with him in the same cup (Mark 14:20).

“Satan Entered into Judas”

On the night of the Last Supper, Luke tells us in Luke 22:3-6 that “Satan entered into Judas. . . . He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray [Jesus] to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.” Later he led the authorities to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Luke 22:47-48). With that, Jesus’ death was sealed.

When Luke tells us in verse 3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” several questions come to our minds. 1) One is whether Satan simply mastered a good Judas or whether Judas was already walking in line with Satan and Satan simply decided that now is the time. 2) Another question is why Satan would do this since the death and resurrection of Jesus would result in Satan’s final defeat, and there is good reason to think Satan knew that. 3) And the third and most important question is: Where was God when this happened? What was his role or non-role in the most spectacular sin that ever was? So let’s take these questions one at a time.

1) Satan’s Power in Judas’ Sinful Passions

When it says in Luke 22:3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” how are we to think about the will of Judas and the power of Satan? Judas was not an innocent bystander when Satan entered into him. The apostle John tells us in John 12:6 that he was a thief. When Judas complained that Mary had wasted money in anointing Jesus, John comments, “He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.”

If that sounds incredible, just think of the scandalous behavior of so-called Christian leaders today who use ministry gifts to buy $39,000 worth of clothes at one store in a year, and send their kids on a $29,000 trip to the Bahamas, and drive a white Lexus and a red Mercedes. As Judas sat beside Jesus with his pious, religious face and went out and cast out demons in Jesus’ name, he was not a righteous lover of Jesus. He loved money. He loved the power and pleasures that money could by.

Paul tells us how that works together with Satan’s power. Listen to Ephesians 2:1-3: “You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air [notice the connection: dead in sins, following Satan], the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Dead in our sins, walking in the passions of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of body and mind, and therefore following the prince of the power of the air.

Satan does not take innocent people captive. There are no innocent people. Satan has power where sinful passions hold sway. Judas was a lover of money, and he covered it with a phony, external relationship with Jesus. And then he sold him for thirty pieces of silver. How many of his tribe are there still today! Don’t be one. And don’t be duped by one.

2) Satan’s Role in His Own Destruction

The second question is why Satan would lead Judas to betray Jesus. Doesn’t he know that the death and resurrection of Jesus would result in Satan’s final defeat (Colossians 2:13-15; Revelation 12:11)? There’s good reason to think Satan knew that.

When Jesus began his ministry on the way to the cross, Satan tried to turn him away from the path of suffering and sacrifice. In the wilderness, he tempted him to turn stones into bread and jump off the temple and get the rulership of the world by worshipping him (Matthew 4:1-11). The point of all these temptations is: Don’t walk the path of suffering and sacrifice and death. Use your power to escape suffering. If you’re the Son of God, show your right to reign. And I can help you do it. Whatever you do, don’t go to the cross.

Then do you remember the time when Jesus predicted he would suffer many things from the elders and the chief priests and be killed and Peter rebuked him and said, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you” (Matthew 16:22). In other words, I will never let you be killed like that. Jesus did not commend him. He said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Matthew 16:23). Hindering Jesus from going to the cross was the work of Satan. Satan did not want Jesus crucified. It would be his undoing.

But here he is in Luke 22:3 entering into Judas and leading him to betray the Lord and bring him to the cross. Why the about face? Why try to divert him from the cross and then take the initiative to bring him to the cross? We are not told. Here is my effort at an answer: Satan saw his efforts to divert Jesus from the cross failing. Time after time, Jesus kept the course. His face was set like flint to die, and Satan concludes that there is no stopping him. Therefore he resolves that if he can’t stop it, he will at least make it as ugly and painful and as heartbreaking as possible. Not just death, but death by betrayal. Death by abandonment. Death by denial (see Luke 22:31-32). If he could not stop it, he would drag others into it and do as much damage as he could. It was a spectacular sequence of sins that brought Jesus to the cross.

3) God’s Role in the Murder of His Son

Which brings us now to the third and final question—the most important one: Where was God when this happened? Or more precisely: What was God’s role or non-role in the most spectacular sin that ever happened—the murder of Jesus Christ?

To answer a question like that we should put our hands on our mouths and silence our philosophical speculations. Our opinions don’t count here. All that counts is what God himself as shown us in his word. And the first thing he shows us is that the details surrounding the death of Jesus are prophesied in God’s word hundreds of years before they happen.

The Scriptures prophesy that evil men will reject Jesus when he comes.

Matthew 21:42: “Jesus said to them (quoting Psalm 118:22), ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes”?’”

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus must be hated.

In John 15:25, Jesus quoted Psalm 35:19 and said, “The word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’”

The Scriptures prophesy that the disciples would abandon Jesus.

In Matthew 26:31, he quotes Zechariah 13:7: “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’”

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus will be pierced but none of his bones will be broken.

John quotes Psalm 34:20 and Zechariah 12:10 and says, “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear. . . . For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken.’ And again another Scripture says, ‘They will look on him whom they have pierced’” (John 19:34-37).

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus would be betrayed by a close friend for thirty pieces of silver.

In John 13:18, Jesus cites Psalm 41:9 and says, “I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’”

And in Matthew 26:24, Jesus says, “The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!”

And in Matthew 27:9-10, it says, “Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me’” (Jeremiah 19:1-13; Zechariah 11:12-13).

And not only the Scriptures, but Jesus himself prophesies, down to the details, how he will be killed.

In Mark 10:33-34, he says, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”

And on that last night, Jesus looked at Peter and said, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times” (Matthew 26:34).

According to His Sovereign Will

From all these prophesies, we know that God foresaw, and did not prevent, and therefore included in his plan that his Son would be rejected, hated, abandoned, betrayed, denied, condemned, spit upon, flogged, mocked, pierced, and killed. All these are explicitly in God’s mind before they happen as things that he plans will happen to Jesus. These things did not just happen. They were foretold in God’s word. God knew they would happen and could have planned to stop them, but didn’t. So they happened according to his sovereign will.

And all of them were evil. They were sin. It is sin to reject, hate, abandon, betray, deny, condemn, spit upon, flog, mock, pierce, and kill the morally perfect, infinitely worthy, divine Son of God. And yet the Bible is explicit and clear that God himself planned these things. It is explicit not only in all the prophetic texts we have seen, but also in passages that say even more plainly that God brought these things to pass.

God Brought It to Pass

For example, in Isaiah 53:6 and 10, it says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. . . . It was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief.” So behind the spitting and flogging and mocking and piercing is the invisible hand and plan of God.

And I say that carefully and with trembling. This truth is too big and too weighty and too shocking to be glib about or to be cocky about. I choose to say that the invisible hand and plan of God are behind these most spectacular sins in all the universe—more grievous and more spectacular than the fall of Satan or any others. The reason I use these very words is because the Bible says it in those very words.

The Hand and Plan of God

In Acts 4:27-28, we have the clearest, most explicit statement about God’s hand and plan behind the horrific crucifixion of his Son. “Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand (cheir) and your plan (boule) had predestined to take place.” Those are the two words I am using: the hand of God and the plan of God.

It is a strange way of speaking—to say that God’s hand and plan have predestined something to happen. One does not ordinarily think of God’s “hand” predestining. How does a hand predestine? Here’s what I think it means: The hand of God ordinarily stands for God’s exerted power—not power in the abstract, but earthly, effective exertions of power. The point of combining it with “plan” is to say that it is not just a theoretical plan; it is plan that will be executed by God’s own hand.

This explains Isaiah 53:10: “It was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief.” Or more literally, with the King James Version, “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” The Lord bruised him. Behind Herod and Pilate and the Gentiles and the people of Israel was Jesus’ own Father who loved him with an infinite love.

The Gospel: God At Work in Death

Why should this matter to you? It should matter because if God were not the main Actor in the death of Christ, then the death of Christ could not save us from our sins and we would perish in hell forever. The reason the death of Christ is the heart of gospel—the heart of the good news—is God was doing it. Romans 5:8: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If you break God’s activity from the death of Jesus, you lose the gospel. This was God’s doing. It is the highest and deepest point of his love for sinners. His love for you.

Romans 8:3: “Sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” God condemned sin in Jesus’ flesh with our condemnation. So we are free.

Galatians 3:13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” God cursed Jesus with the curse that belonged on us. So we are free.

2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” God imputed our sin to him, and now we go free in God’s righteousness.

Isaiah 53:5: “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities.” God wounded him. God crushed him. For you and me. And we go free.

The Cross of Christ: The Work and Love of God

The reason why this series of messages matters is this. If you embrace the biblical truth (and I pray you will) that God ordains spectacular sins for the global glory of his Son, without in anyway becoming unholy or unrighteous or sinful in that act, then you will not shrink back from the cross of Christ as a work of God. You will not be among the number of those who call the most loving act that ever was “divine child abuse.” You will come to the cross and fall on your face. And you will say: This is no mere human conspiracy. This is the work of God and the love of God. You will it receive as his highest gift. And you will be saved. And Christ will be glorified. And I will not have preached in vain.

© Desiring God

Reclame

Modern Astronomical Evidence for the Star of Bethlehem

from Biblica.

Matthew 2:1-2       The Magi Visit the Messiah

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem     2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

In Matthew’s account of the story of the magi, the ‘guidance’ of a star is mentioned four times (Matthew2:2, 7, 9, 10). Its purpose in terms of the narrative is clear–to guide the wise men to the newborn King. But what scientific validity is there for such a phenomenon?

Given that the magi were almost certainly astrologers, the kind of phenomena familiar to them would have included comets, supernova (though not the term) and a conjunction of  planets, all of which are consistent with modern scientific observation. While open to modern refinement, the definition of a comet  given by the Roman poet Virgil in the Aenid is still valid; „a star leading a meteor flew with much light”. Likewise, records of the conjuction of planets were carefully kept; there was a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 7 B.C. and of Jupiter and Venus in 6 B.C.

The modern term supernova, a star that suddenly increases in size and brilliance then fades away, may not occur in ancient documentation, but this does not mean the phenomenon was unknown.

Where modern science would differ is in the interpretation held among the ancients. What was important to the astrologer was not only to notice the phenomena, but to search for their meaning. They would have concurred with the statement of Tacitus in his Annals that „the general belief is that a comet means a change of emperor” and that the conjunction of planets is associated with the birth of a king. In fact, a common role for such wise men was to discern the rise of a new king.

If we accept some element of historicity in Matthew’s account, then any number of combinations is possible and consistent with modern astronomical understanding. The star first sighted by the wise men (Matthew 2:2) could be explained as a supernova. Then the „star that  they had seen at its rising” might be a comet that „stopped over the place where the child was”. (Matthew 2:9) Alternately, it could have been a reflection from a planetary conjunction; two of which occurred in 7 B.C. and 6 B.C.– the most likely years of Jesus’ birth.

The occurrence of these phenomena is plausible in terms of modern astronomy, and their coincidence of time and place is not impossible. At some point, it comes down to a belief that it was God who guided the wise men by utilizing the ordinary processes of creation. The event, therefore, is not a violation of nature, nor a contradiction of modern science, but the way in which nature allows for such coincidences to occur. Ultimately, their importance for the Gospel is that God uses them to witness to the truth of Jesus’ identity on behalf of the gentile world.

R.C.Sproul – The Virgin Birth – How important is it?

The Annunciation. Luke 1:31-33 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

How do you explain to someone, or to your children, the significance of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ and what importance do you attach to it?

R.C. Sproul states, „Who Jesus was, and is, has considerable influence on what it was He did.” Sproul says leaving a church should never be a small matter, and we should be careful not to go hopping around for churches. On the other hand, he says that there is a time, if and when in a church, the word of God is trampled under foot and the church denies a central truth of the Christian faith, then he states- not only ‘may‘ you leave- but, you ‘must’ leave.

The virgin birth of Jesus Christ is one such biblical truth that must not be denied, for, denying the virgin birth results in denying the deity of Jesus Christ.

Devotional from Ligonier.org

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (v. 14).  – Isaiah 7:14

Today we return to Isaiah 7:14, a passage we examined several weeks ago because Matthew cites it in the birth narrative of the Savior (1:23). Since Isaiah’s text has inspired so much controversy, we will look at its fulfillment again from a slightly different angle in order to understand it better.

That Jesus was supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary has always been a defining tenet of Christianity. The virgin birth appears in every major creed and confession, and it sets our Lord apart from all of Israel’s prophets, indeed, from every person that has ever lived.

Yet when many church leaders began to embrace the naturalism increasingly prevalent at the beginning of the twentieth century, they repudiated the virgin birth as an essential truth. Even today some believe the virgin birth is impossible even if they accept other aspects of the Christian faith. However, as J. Gresham Machen wrote, picking and choosing which parts of Scripture to believe is the first step toward a wholesale rejection of orthodoxy. “The overwhelming majority of those who reject the virgin birth reject also the whole supernatural content of the New Testament, and make of the ‘resurrection’ just what the word ‘resurrection’ most emphatically did not mean — a permanence of the influence of Jesus or a mere spiritual existence of Jesus beyond the grave” (Christianity and Liberalism, p. 108).

Our study of Isaiah 7:14 a few weeks ago demonstrated that the passage had been fulfilled in the time of Isaiah (with the birth of his son), yet it was realized in a greater way in the birth of Jesus, God’s Son. Jesus is thus a sign that God will bless all those who follow Him and curse all those who reject His way. And clearly, the New Testament teaches that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary, who at the time of conception had not yet known a man sexually (Luke 1:34). To reject the virgin birth is to reject God’s testimony and incur His curse.

The virgin birth is essential to the Christian faith. It clearly reveals Jesus as the Son of David to whom the prophets looked as the king of God’s supernatural kingdom (Ps. 110; Dan. 7:13–14).

Coram Deo

It is important for all of us to grasp and embrace the core doctrines of Christianity. Otherwise, we will be unable to defend the truth delivered to the saints of God (Jude 3). Take some time today to review one of the main summaries of Christian truth such as the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed. Determine which parts of the creeds you can explain well and study the Bible’s teaching on those parts to which you have not devoted much attention.

 

Did the Ancient Church Muzzle the Canon? Daniel Wallace

Photo credit bible.org

Dr. Daniel Wallace addresses the mystery of the gospels and books that were excluded from the New Testament by the ancient church, such as the Gospels of Mary and Judas.

He teaches some of the rhetoric and restrictions on the church’s decision-making process and confronts the complexities of these decisions that were made so long ago.

VIDEO by WA BibleDepartment This lecture took place at Biola University in 2011.

There are 2 other lecture videos on the subject from Biola University:

Dr. Daniel Wallace – Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary (Photo credit www.dts.edu)

Dr. Wallace influences students across the country through his textbook on intermediate Greek grammar. It has become the standard textbook in the English-speaking world on that subject. Dr. Wallace is also the senior New Testament editor of the NET Bible and coeditor of the NET-Nestle Greek-English diglot. He has been a consultant on four different Bible translations. Recently his scholarship has begun to focus on John, Mark, and nascent Christology. He works extensively in textual criticism, and has founded The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (csntm.org), an institute with an initial purpose of preserving Scripture by taking digital photographs of all known Greek New Testament manuscripts. He has traveled the world in search of biblical manuscripts. His postdoctoral work includes work on Greek grammar at Tyndale House in Cambridge, textual criticism studies at the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung in Münster, and the Universität Tübingen, Germany. He is in demand as a speaker at churches, colleges, and conferences.

The Size of the New Testament Books by Verses

Photo credit http://visualunit.files.wordpress.com

The 2013 National Christian Apologetics Conference October 11-12, 2013 Charlotte, NC

apologetics conf 13Photo credit ses.edu 

The 2013 National Christian Apologetics Conference takes place from Friday, Oct. 11 to Saturday, Oct. 12. For more information visit www.conference.ses.edu.

See the schedule here – http://www.conference.ses.edu./schedule

The Southern Evangelical Seminary is partnering with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries to deliver what promises to be an exciting series of presentations by many prominent apologists during the 20th annual Christian Apologetics conference in Charlotte, N.C., starting Friday. Dr. Richard Land, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, will be inaugurated as the fourth president of Southern Evangelical Seminary prior to the conference Thursday evening.

The premise of the two-day event titled, „Reasons for the Hope,” is designed to deepen participant’s understanding of subjects related to science, culture, and other religions.

„I think the single greatest factor has to be that we as Christians are seeing how we are losing the culture to anti-Christian worldviews,” said Eric Gustafson, director of Development Southern Evangelical Seminary.

On the conference website, Zacharias is quoted, „In Christian engagement, the goal is to win the person who is of the other worldview – not to destroy the person.”

Organizers promise to deliver a host of prominent apologists speaking on engaging topics. For example, from the schedule of many speakers and topics, Tom Woodard, author of Darwin Strikes Back: Defending the Science of Intelligent Design, is presenting a session titled, „Darwin, Design, and the Stories We Tell: The Rhetoric of Science in Scientific Apologetics.” Don Deal,  director of Worldview Evangelism and Apologetics for Meekness and Truth Ministries, will be discussing „Does DNA = God?” In the „Christianity & Culture” track, Josh McDowell’s presentation is titled, „The Perfect Storm: Four Cultural Trends That Challenge Every Truth We Know.”

More than 2,000 people are expected to attend, twice the number of participants at last year’s event. Although the projected attendance is not the largest in its conference history, the surge is due, in part, to the hot topic of the crossroads between Christianity and science. Additionally, organizers say the increase in expected attendance is attributed to the stronger presence of social media in promoting the event.

Gustafson said that the demographics of attendees this year is broad, and includes pastors, Christian educators, and parents, who want to be better equipped to raise their children in an increasingly secular society.

„We also have a lot of professionals, including doctors, engineers, and scientists who want to better understand how evidences from their own fields points to the truthfulness of Christianity,” said Gustafson.

During the conference, there will be three tracks featuring dozens of topics that will be presented by renowned speakers and experts. One of the discussions will include a debate between Jason Lisle, a scientist from the Institute for Creation Research and Dr. Hugh Ross, a scholar from Reasons to Believe, an organization that equips people to engage in the integration of science and Christianity. Their dialoge will focus on their theological and philosophical reasons regarding astronomy and the Earth’s age.

„If participants are thirsty for high-quality apologetic training, be prepared to take a drink from a fire-hose,” said Gustafson.

In addition, another in-depth topic of discussion will entail the apologetic methodology called presuppositionalism, which involves the idea of divine condescension. The conversation will focus on the role of presuppositionalism and young-earth creationism, which argues that the world was created in six days.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to listen in on topics including climate changes in the 21st century and being spiritual but not religious, among others.

Story from http://www.christianpost.com

What Role does the Holy Spirit play in Apologetics?

street evangelismVIDEO by drcraigvideos For more resources visit: http://www.reasonablefaith.org

Dr William Lane Craig answers a question in this clip about the role of the Holy Spirit in his ministry and apologetics. He says there is a difference between knowing Christianity to be true and showing Christianity to be true. On March 21, 2013, Dr Craig spoke at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas on the topic of faith, science and philosophy. This event was put on by the Veritas Forum which hosts university events that engage students and faculty in discussions about life’s hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life. The style of this talk was more like a conversation than a lecture as Dr Craig shares much of his own personal story about how he came to faith in Jesus Christ.

Dr. William Lane Craig, FROM VIDEO: I have found it very helpful to differentiate between what I call ‘knowing Christianity to be true’, and showing Christianity to be true. I think that the fundamental way in which we know that Christianity is true, is through the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. I do not think that arguments and evidence are necessary, in order for faith to be rational, or for you to know that God exists or has revealed Himself in Christ. 

So, I would say, that the fundamental way we know that Christianity is true is through the witness of the Holy Spirit, and reason and argument, then, can confirm the Spirit’s witness. The person who has good apologetics arguments, has in a sense a double warrant for his faith. He has the warrant provided by the Holy Spirit. And then, he has a double warrant, provided by argument and evidence. But, should he lack the argumented evidence, he can still be warranted, just on the basis of the Holy Spirit. That’s knowing Christianity to be true.

When it comes to showing Christianity to be true, we’re dealing with somebody else, and therefore, we’ll need to give them arguments and evidence to show them that what I know to be true, is true. And then, the role of the Holy Spirit will be to use those arguments and evidence, as I lovingly present them, to draw that person to Himself.  

So, in knowing Christianity to be true, the Holy Spirit is primary and argument and evidence is secondary. But, in showing Christianity to be true, argument and evidence is primary, and here the Holy Spirit is secondary, in using those as means by which He draws a person to Himself. Faith is trusting in what you have reason to believe is true. That reason doesn’t just mean arguments and evidence, that reason could be the deliverance of the Holy Spirit.

Ravi Zacharias discusses several subjects (video)

English: Ravi Zacharias signing books at the F...

Sound quality is a bit off, however still a great message to listen to in this Q & A with Ravi Zacharias which was recently uploaded by the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries:

VIDEO by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries

(4) Why God? An intelligent cause – A new series of apologetic tools

Read

(1) Why apologetics?

(2) Why believe in anything at all?

(3) Why God? A beginning cause

The Essentials of Apologetics – Why God (Part 2)? from Robin Schumacher

(1) Why apologetics? A new series of apologetic tools

photo from slideshow below

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 1.50.04 PM

A great series from Robin Schumaker, a Christian Post blogger to help us with apologetics:

Without a doubt, our culture today is a very visual one. Ravi Zacharias has described people today as „listening with their eyes.”

This first slideshare has 38 slides. Click on the right arrow to advance the pages. Click on the left arrow to go back one page or more.

(1) Why apologetics?

Why Apologetics from Robin Schumacher

Ravi Zacharias – Good and evil from back in the garden of Eden

RaviI’m a Christian apologist. Apologetics is a discipline that does two things:

  1. It clarifies truth claims
  2. It gives answers to the hard and the soft questions that people ask

So, we are surrounded, all around us in our ministry with questions. A few weeks ago I was doing an open forum at Princeton University, a gentleman stood up and he asked a very interesting question. And he said this, „What is the difference in the milieu, in the idea, in the original creation in the garden, over and against now?” I said, „Oh boy, that’s a long question, let me keep the answer brief.” I said 2 things:

  1. The presence of God
  2. If you remember, in the legal framework there was just one prohibition, and one temptation. Think about that. „You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Just one caution, one warning, one law to bear in mind. What happens? The enemy of our souls comes and what does he say? „Did God really say that?” Is this a propositional statement from God? And then the seduction, „In the day that you eat from it you shall be as God, knowing good and evil.”

I take that to mean: In the day that you define the one mandate of God- not to defy good and evil- everything wrong will ensue. So, all that happened in that garden was simply  the denial of God’s prerogative to be the definer of good and evil.  And when you look at the world now, I said to the student, you tell me, „What does the world look like now, with thousands of laws, thousands of footnotes, and even when you get on to the plane, they don’t just tell you ‘don’t mess with the smoke detector’, they have to tell you not to tamper, touch, disable or destroy.” Because you can have each word dying the death of a thousand qualifications. What’s really happened, ladies and gentlemen, we are living in a time in cultural history where our definitions have gone.

Malcolm Muckridge talked about this years ago, in the seventies. He said, „It is difficult to resist the conclusion that 20th century man has decided to abolish himself. Tired of the struggle to be himself, he has created boredom out of his own affluence, impotence out of his own erotomania, and vulnerability out of his own strength. He himself blows the trumpet, that brings the walls of his own cities crashing down. Until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, having drugged and polluted himself into stupefaction, he keels over a weary old brontosaurus and becomes extinct.

You know, the truth of the matter is, that when our definitions are gone, the minefield and the quicksand through which we walk is horrendous. Now you may say that Muckridge was on the verge of his own spiritual journey beginning. He was a humanist like Aldous Huxley: We are living today, not in the delicious intoxication  of the early successes of science, rather in the grizzly morning after, where it has become quite apparent that what science may have actually done is to introduce us to improved means, in order to obtain hither to unimproved, or rather, deteriorated ends.

In Moscow, last week, I told them the story of Natan Sharansky , who was a political prisoner there for many years, and went on to his homeland in Israel and became the Justice Minister. When he returned to Rusisia for the first time, he asked if he could go back to the prison where they kept him for so long. As he was about to enter that little cell, he asked his wife if she would please allow him the privilege  of being there alone for a few minutes. He went back alone and he came back with tears running down his face. He said, „It was here that I really found myself.” And he asked for the privilege to go and lay a wreath at the tomb, at the grave of Andrei Sakharov, the great Russian physicist, who gave to the Soviet Union the atomic bomb. And he quoted Sakharov, and he said this, „Sakharov told me before he died, ‘I always thought the most powerful weapon in the world is the bomb.’ He said, „It is not. The most powerful weapon in the world is the truth.'” Winston Churchill said the truth is the most valuable thing in the world. So valuable, that it is often protected by a bodyguard of lies.

Where do we go from here? What do we do, when those in their punditry have told us years ago where we were headed? Where is America now? Listen to Chesterton: Under the smooth, legal surface of our time, there are already moving very lawless things. We are always near the breaking point when we care only for what is legal, and nothing for what is lawful. Unless we have a moral principle about such delicate matters as marriage and murder, the whole world will become a welter of exceptions, with no rules, and there will be so many hard cases, that everything will go soft, unless we know the difference between what is lawful and what is legal. Where do we go?

I close with this thought: It was about 3 years ago, the first time I was given the awesome privilege of speaking at the opening day  of the United Nations, on the day of prayer. They asked me to speak on a very difficult subject: The finding of absolutes in a relativistic world. That’s tough on any given day. Even tougher for about 20 minutes at 7 o clock in the morning. What could you do when there is a plurality of worldviews sitting in front of you? So, I did this.I said, „We’re looking for absolutes in four areas.

  1. Evil, how to define evil.
  2. Justice, how do you define what is just.
  3. Love, how do you find the source of love and the absoluteness of love.
  4. and when we blow it, we look for the grounds of forgiveness.

These are the areas that govern our lives, for which we want definitions: evil, justice, love, and forgiveness. I said, „Ladies and Gentlemen, can I ask you this: Do you know of the one place in history where these 4 converge? The one place in history, where evil, justice, love and forgiveness come down to the end of that funnel – there is in the Christian worldview, it happened on a hill called Calvary. The evil that is in the heart of man, the justice that God has,  the love that He portrayed to the very end- ‘Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing’, the forgiveness that we found.” At the age of 17, I was on a bed of suicide in New Delhi, India, having lost all hope. Total failure. When a man brought me a Bible in my hospital room, something I had never opened in my own life, and he opened it to John chapter 14, I won’t go into details. He gave it to my mother, whose English was not that good, reading from the King James version cause he had to leave. Jesus said to Thomas, „Because  I live, you also shall live.I committed my life to Jesus Christ, and the Grand Weaver has drawn a great pattern in the life of somebody who had lost all hope, lost meaning, lost purpose.

You see, when you find your definitions in God, you find the very purpose for which you were created. „You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they find their rest in Him.” Can I close with this quote? In 1939, the world was on the brink of a lot of darkness. King George VI went to speak to the world, and he said, „I said to the man at the gate of the year”Give me a light, that I may walk into the unknown.” He said to me, „Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God. It shall be to you better than the light, and safer than the known.” Graduates, you’re going out into a pretty dark world. Put your hand into God’s hand. Know His absolutes, demonstrate His love, present His truth and the message of redemption, and transformation will take hold. The story is to be told to many. And the experience and joy of transformation is unique. The Gospel alone has that story.

Ravi Zacharias – Can Man Live Without God? National University of Singapore

Photo via www.gdtd.vn

Lecture Friday March 26, 2004 (just recently uploaded) In this brilliant and compelling defense of the Christian faith, Ravi Zacharias shows how affirming the reality of God’s existence matters urgently in our everyday lives. According to Zacharias, how you answer the questions of God’s existence will impact your relationship with others, your commitment to integrity, your attitude toward morality, and your perception of truth. (Video via EnimVeritas)

This topic is from Ravi’s book ‘Can Man Live Wihtout God’, a subject he spoke on at Harvard University Law School. The book treats this subject more exhaustively than his lecture here, and at other venues where Zacharias has lectured on this topic.

The book is available here: http://www.amazon.com/Can-Man-Live-Wi…

Chris Putnam – Defending the Faith Part 1 of 2

Christ Putnam of logosapologia.com uploaded by LogosApologia

Some notes from Chris Putnam, from the video at bottom of post:

  • The statistics for young Christians who go to college are not good. In some surveys, up to 70% of the kids that go off to college fall away from the faith while they are in college. In looking at why that occurs, Frank Turek says, „We’ve told them for a long time ‘that is true’, but we didn’t tell them ‘why’ it’s true. And when they go to college and they are confronted by an atheist professor who throws up all kinds of arguments, they don’t have any responses, and that can make it very difficult. So, I have a passion for training people on how to defend their faith, and there’s some really easy things that you can do, you don’t have to have an exhaustive knowledge of theology, or apologetics, or philosophy to be a lot more effective, then you might imagine you can be. That’s what this workshop is for.

Ephesians 6:11-12

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:14-17

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

If we look at these things that Paul is talking about, for ex. ‘the shield of faith to block the darts’, we don’t see a lot of special rituals or prayers.. The tools that he talks about, like the helmet of salvation- that’s salvation that you possess. It’s a gift from God, and that’s something that you always have. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God, which is your Bible, that you learn, you study, and memorize. The belt of truth. Truth is something that you learn, that you have in your mind. The idea that I’m getting at is that the more that you are familiar with the truth, the better you know your Bible, the better that you know some theology, and the more impenetrable your spiritual armor is. Spiritual warfare is largely in the realm of the mind, the ideas that we hold and what we believe is true. Remember, how the serpent tempted Eve to sin in Genesis 3. He planted a false idea in her head: „Did God really say that you can’t eat from any tree?” God said you can eat of any tree except one. Notice how he twists the phrase at first, saying ‘any tree’. So it’s a false idea that gets planted in your mind, and for the majority of our lives, that’s how it works.

In the Bible, we see a lot of verses about ‘the world’. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. That tells us right there that Satan is the god of this world.

  • Romans 12:2 „Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
  • 2 Corinthians 10:5 „We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

In the Bible, the term ‘the world’ is a Greek word ‘kosmos’, and it’s used not for the planet earth, it’s really about an evil world system that’s opposed to God. It is led by Satan, and we are unwittingly under Satan when we are born into this evil world system. The way you conquer it is through Jesus Christ. So, the primary warfare in this realm is in ideas. „Every thought captive”- that’s really where the battle is taking place.

Colossians 2:8 – „See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” Now, this term here ‘the elemental spirits of the world‘, this is where the philosophies and deceit are coming from, according to human traditions. This is a Greek word ‘stoicheia’ – that word is rendered – elemental spirits. In the ancient world, this term was used for evil spirits in Persian religious texts, magical papyri, astrological documents, and in a lot of jewish writings. It was a common term for evil spirits, for demonic forces, and that’s how Paul’s using it. The Bible’s telling us that these ideas are not just Richard Dawkins and the new atheists, these are demonically ideas opposing God. This is spiritual warfare.

What does the Bible tell us about people in the last days? 2 Timothy 3:1-5:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” 

We are here at this conference to discuss emerging threats and trends, and I don’t think anyone can deny what we seem to see our culture sliding away from Christian values. Europe is pretty much gone. It was founded on Christian values, and had these huge gothic cathedrals in the middle ages, and then the church became politically powerful and it got corrupted. But, I mean, it’s gone now. There are very few Christians there.

The last days, really, technically began at the cross. This has been going on for a long time. But, if you remember in Matthew 24, Jesus is talking about what happens in the end times, He does give us this idea that many will fall away, lawlessness will increase. So, it is valid to extrapolate from that, that we should expect to see these trends increasing. So what  characteristics to we see in that verse?

  • narcissism – that’s just people that love themselves, proud, arrogant, swollen with conceit, unappeasable
  • materialism – lovers of money, ungrateful
  • lawlessness – abusive, disobedient to their parents, unholy, heartless, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless
  • hedonism – lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of Godliness, but denying its power

This is permeating the culture in the world system, and it’s even celebrated, and lauded as virtue. But, we shouldn’t be without compassion. We shouldn’t be angry all the time. We have to remember that all of us are free from that, only by the grace of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us- The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. We should have compassion on lost people. It’s messy to deal with lost people- they are being held captive by false ideas, and it’s gonna cause us to get our hands dirty, to get involved with people. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t do it. I became a Christian, myself, later in life, and I was lost for a long time. I remember what it was like, and that’s why I have a passion for communication why Christianity is true, and why we believe what we believe. I was a skeptic for a long time, and my passion for apologetics grew out of my own search for answers to questions. Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself, and if your neighbor does not believe, they’re being held captive. 2 Corinthians 5:20- We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. This is our job. When Jesus gave us the great commission, God’s making His appeal to this lost world through us. So we are in this evil world system to communicate the truth of the Gospel and be God’s representatives. It says we’re ministers of reconciliation. When Jesus says He gives us a commission, that’s like a military term- an assignment. (13:40)

Ambassadors have three essential skills:

  1. Knowledge- an accurately informed mind
  2. Wisdom- a tactical method (we will talk about later)
  3. Character

Tactical wisdom

Strategy and Tactics

Matthew 10:16 „“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Strategy is like the big picture, the large scale part of the operation. When I say strategy, it’s kind of the tremendous resources we have as Christians. We have 2000 years of scholarship and apologetics, and writing to draw from. We’re positioned strategically pretty well in the realm of the culture and ideas. We have a lot do draw from. We have an excellent case- we have the truth on our side.And we have the answers to life’s most important questions. The kind of questions that atheists have no answer for. They might come up with an idea of how we came to be through naturalism, but, they have no idea why. And that’s the kind of question that a child will ask: Why am I here? What is all this for? Why is there something, rather than nothing? They don’t have any answers for that, and we do.

So our strategy includes the content, the information, the reasons why someone would believe Christianity, why it accurately reflects reality. And I think that is the main advantage. When you look at story that the atheistic world will tell, they wanna tell everyone that ‘you’re good people’. And that you just have problems, you’re oppressed, everyone’s basically a good person. But, the Bible has this radically different message: You’re not good people, you’re fallen, and you’re desperately wicked and you need a Savior. But, if you look at what matches reality, what do you see that matches the world? The atheist story doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. We see a lot of wickedness, and we see people in high places doing wicked things, people with every advantage that still have to steal. Their version of reality doesn’t match. So, strategically, we have a very good case. (15:50)

 Defensive and Offensive Apologetics 

Defensive– 1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, Defensive apologetics answers direct challenges to Christianity. For ex., it responds to attacks on the Bible’s reliability. It answers the problem of evil (if there’s a good God, then why is there so much evil in the world?) It addresses such things as Darwinian macro evolution, which opposes a Creator and attributes it all to random chance. I try to model Jesus when debating this, but I fail all the time. If you look at the way Jesus was with sinners, like the woman at the well- He was very gentle with people that were hedonists. But, the people He got angry with, and yelled at were the religious leaders. So I try to be gentle with the really lost people.

Offensive– Jude 3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. Offensive apologetics makes a positive case for Christianity, it provides evidence for the existence of God, it supplies evidence for the resurrection of Christ form history, it presents evidence of fulfilled prophecy. And, our strategic concerns center around a number of  areas in the culture right now:

  • radical relativism
  • postmodernism, which denies the existence of objective truth- you have your truth, and I have my truth. And that is a way to undermine the Gospel completely, because if someone doesn’t believe in the concept of truth, you can’t even get on the page.
  • there’s all kinds of challenges to who Jesus was, competing views of Jesus’s identity.
  • the problem of evil
  • ethical issues concerning abortion, homosexuality, human cloning, trans humanism, doctor assisted suicide. There’s some evangelicals in the Evangelical Lutheran denomination who are endorsing this trans human idea, thinking that it’s God’s mandate for us to evolve further, by strapping computers to our brains.
  • the historicity of the Bible, the Gospel (20:00)

This course will teach you:

  1. To maneuver in conversations
  2. To stay in the driver’s seat

Engage tactically – Consider how the question posed to the skeptic fuel the conversation, but ultimately leave him responsible for the answer. (20:00) photo below via http://www.peterfalk.com

Columbo Tactic– something Greg Koukl came up with. Remember, Columbo? He’s this bumbling detective who disarms his opponent. If you remember his technique, he was always saying, „Maybe you can help me with this, you’re a smart guy…” He was always asking questions and playing dumb. And that’s kind of the idea: saying, „What do you mean by that?” „What led you to that conclusion?” What you do when you’re asking questions is it puts you in charge of the conversation, and it puts the other person on the defensive. So, the key to the Columbo tactic is that you go on an offensive in a disarming way with carefully selected questions, to

  • productively advance the conversation. The guideline is simple. If you hit a roadblock, ask a question.
  • Never make an assertion when a question will work. This approach offers tremendous advantages. Questions are interactive, it invites others to participate. People like to talk about themselves, and what they believe. It makes headway without requiring you to state your case.
  • Questions shift the burden of proof to the other person.
  • The Columbo tactic puts you in the driver’s seat
  • It allows you to move your case forward without sounding like you’re preaching to people.

There are 3 unique purposes of the Columbo tactic:

  1. Gain information
  2. Reverse the burden of proof
  3. Indirectly exploit  a burden or flaw

Columbo Tactic 1 – What do you mean by that?

Many people object to Christianity over things they have not thought through very much. A lot of people repeat slogans they’ve heard and they have no understanding of why they believe it. When they say:

  • there is no God, ask: What do you mean by ‘God’? 
  • all religions are basically the same, ask: Really? In what way are they the same?
  • you shouldn’t force your views on me, say: How am I forcing my views on you?
  • that’s just your interpretation, ask: What do you mean by ‘just’? Although you are giving your interpretation (your understanding of the true meaning of the text), you need to find out if they believe all interpretations are equally valid and yours is „just” one of them.
  • the Bible has been changed over the years, ask: How do you think it’s been altered? You need to find out if they are familiar with the process of the written transmission of ancient texts or are just repeating what they’ve heard.
  • how can God exist when there is so much evil in the world, ask: What do you mean by evil? and „What, in your mind, is the conflict?” The question of evil doesn’t provide evidence against God but in favor of Him, for God must exist to provide the absolute standard by which evil is measured. A really good book, if you want to pursue this further is ‘Mere Christianity’ by C. S. Lewis. The whole first half of the book is basically the moral argument for the existence of God. And he was an atheist. And J. R. Tolkien, who wrote the Lord of the Rings, actually convinced Lewis to become a Christian. C. S. Lewis describes the process that went through his mind, is that he objected because there was so much injustice in the world, that he just couldn’t believe that there was a God in charge. And then he started to think: Where did this idea of justice come from? Why do I think the world is unjust? If I don’t have some standard of justice in my mind, where does that come from? That led him to believe in God. Because he said, „If there really is evil- you don’t know a line’s crooked, without knowing what a straight line looks like. You have to have a standard to measure it by. So, the problem of evil is a bigger problem for the skeptic than it is for the theists. (36:30)

Columbo Tactic 2 – Reversing the burden of proof

The person who makes the claim bears the burden

They have to give evidence for their claim. The burden of proof always has one cardinal rule: Whoever makes the claim bears the burden, so don’t allow yourself to be thrust in the defensive, when they’re the ones making the claim. A lot of time they try to put the burden on us, „Well, you prove the Bible.” And, I found with the skeptics, they know that we have a heart to evangelize people. They know that we do that, and they try to play it against us. The idea is we’re not just trying to win. We wanna expose what their objections are, in a way that’s loving, yet, corrective. Make them give you their arguments for why they don’t believe. Follow up questions to ask in step #2:

How did you come to that conclusion? 

  1. What are the reasons for holding the view that you have?
  2. Do you have evidence for that?
  3. What led you to that conclusion?

It ultimately shifts the burden of proof to the other person, where it belongs.

  • Avoid the professor’s ploy

Don’t allow yourself to get caught in a power play; instead use your tactics. Refuse to shoulder the burden of proof when you have not made the claim.

  • Get out of the Hot Seat

You may not have an answer to everything an atheist or an agnostic comes up with, or you may not be prepared to deal with it, or sometime you may get somebody who is aggressive, so if you feel yourself overmatched, you can buy yourself some time.  It’s also a smart thing to do, as far as carrying the message of the Gospel. So, then just ask:

  1. Tell me exactly what you believe
  2. Give me your reasons for it
  3. Let me think it over

Columbo Tactic 3 – Have you ever considered…?

This is where you actually offer some new information. This is where having some knowledge, and having done some studies in some of these issues, you can actually come back with some new information. But, notice, you still phrase it in the form of a question.

  1. Listen carefully to the reasons he/she gives to the second Columbo tactic question: How did you come to that conclusion?
  2. Ask yourself if the conclusion follows from the evidence
  3. Point out errors with questions, rather than statements.

Jesus was a master of skillfully placed questions:

Luke 20:22-26
Mark 12:35-37
Luke 20:2-8
Matthew 21:28-32
John 18:22-23
Luke 7:40-42; 10:25-27; 14:1-6

Coming March 3rd 8/7C pm- A new History Channel Mini Series will feature the Bible- from Genesis to Revelation (Preview Videos)

The Bible is an epic five-week, 10-hour television mini-series premiering March 3, 2013 on the History Channel from Emmy Award winning husband and wife team, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. For two hours each Sunday night millions of viewers will see the Bible from Genesis to Revelation come to life in a way never before seen. The final episode of the series will air on Easter Sunday and will feature the death and resurrection of Jesus.

8:00 pm
Premiere
The Bible: In the Beginning/ExodusNoah endures God’s wrath; Abraham reaches the Promised Land but still must prove his faith in God; M… TV14 V | CCShow Site

source outreach.com via SermonCentral.com

Source for table below – http://www.outreach.com/the-bible/about.aspx

March 3, Episode 1 The Beginning – Noah, Abraham thru Jacob, Israel begins
March 3, Episode 2 The Exodus – Pharaoh, Moses, Red Sea and Ten Commandments
March 10, Episode 3 The Homeland – Joshua, Samson, Judges, David & Goliath
March 10, Episode 4 The Kingdom – David, Saul, Solomon
March 17, Episode 5 The Survival – Zedekiah, Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel, Jews return to Jerusalem
March 17, Episode 6 The Revolution – Roman occupation, Birth of Christ, John the Baptist, Jesus and Peter
March 24, Episode 7 The Mission – Jesus ministry & miracles, Pharasee, the Disciples
March 24, Episode 8 The Betrayal – Last supper, Judas, Peter’s Denial
March 31, Episode 9 The Passion – Nicodemus, Caiaphas, Pilate, Crucifixion, Resurrection
March 31, Episode 10 The Courage – Jesus returns, Holy Spirit comes, Martyrdom of the Disciples, John survival and exile to Patmos, Revelation

The Nativity

Mary did you know

The Bible Trailer

Ravi Zacharias – How do you know that Christianity is the one true worldview?

Exclusivity is one of the most popular charges leveled against the Christian faith. Here, author and apologist Ravi Zacharias and RZIM speaker John Njoroge challenge the assumption that Christianity is alone in making exclusive claims.

You look at the other world religions and see how these 4 questions are dealt with:

  1. Origin
  2. Meaning
  3. Morality
  4. Destiny

These 4 questions have to be answered in 2 ways. Every particular answer has to correspond to truth, either through empirical form of measurement or through the logical reasoning process. And when those 4 answers are put together, they must cohere  and not be incoherent. So, the two tests: Correspondence and coherence. I guarantee you, only in the Judaeo Christian world view will you find these 4 questions answered with corresponding truthfulness and with a coherent worldview.

April 12, 2012 Uploaded by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries

2. Is God concerned with our happiness?

A young man asks Ravi Zacharias an interesting question at Columbia University. Uploaded by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries

Voddie Baucham – What the Gospel Is, and What it is Not

Click on photo to watch video on live stream

A big thank you to Manuela who alerted me to the G3 Conference video being posted.

In some ways the Gospel has become a fad…. there are those that speak much about the Gospel, but, when they say Gospel, they don’t mean what the Bible means by Gospel. There are those who love hearing so much Gospel talk, because to them, the Gospel is the means, to them, by which God levels the socio economic playing field in the world. And so, when they say Gospel, when they celebrate Gospel, they are celebrating the social Gospel.

There are other. When they hear Gospel, they are excited about that, because for them the Gospel is all the moral teaching of Jesus. And, so they celebrate a form of legalism. There are others who are more subtle in their form of legalism. Because, when they hear Gospel, they simplify the Gospel. There’s phrase, there’s a mantra that is going around now, that is presumed to be a simplification of the Gospel. And it is „Love God, Love People”. The irony here could not be greater. „Love God, love people” is actually an abbreviation of Jesus’s teaching on the greatest commandments.

Here’s the great irony. „Jesus, what is the greatest commandment?” It was a legitimate question, a legitimate argument, and some have argued that the first commandment was the greatest commandment. And then, all the others rested on the first commandment. Some have argued that the fifth commandment was the greatest, because it was the bridge between the first and second tables of the law. Others have argued that the tenth commandment, in, coveting, was the greatest commandment, because ultimately, all of your sins arises out of your coveting. So, „Jesus, what is your greatest commandment?” Is he going to say 1, is He going to say 5, or 10?” And, Jesus looks at them and says, „You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind- which, by the way is your summary of the first table of the law. „Jesus, what is your greatest commandment?” „I’m going to have to say 1 through 4.” Then, the other shoe drops. He says, „The second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself,” which is the summary of the second table of the law.

So, here’s how the conversation went, „Jesus, which commandment is the greatest commandment?” His response, „I’m going to have to say 1 through 4; followed closely by 5 through 10.” Folks. this ubiquitous saying „Love God, Love People” is actually a summary of the law. The whole law. It’s not the Gospel at all. It’s what the Gospel freed us from, and to.

So, when we talk about Gospel, we need to be clear, and as I think about clarity concerning the Gospel, and fighting for that clarity, defending that clarity, my mind is immediately drawn to 1 Corinthians 15, because that’s precisely what Paul does. He clarifies the Gospel and he does battle on behalf of the Gospel. But, he does more than this. I believe, if we look carefully, we discover that he outlines 3 different types of arguments.. Three different lines of argumentation:

  1. The first is an argument from authority.
  2. The second is an argument from evidence, and
  3. The third is an argument from logic.

All of them are important and useful in their own right. We know here that Paul is actually addressing, in one sense, a kind of mixed multitude. You’ll see that, as we get further along in 1 Corinthians 15, where he actually addresses those individuals who are arguing against the very concept of resurrection. As he does this, he both shuts the mouths of those who oppose the Gospel and emboldens and strengthens the arms of those who preach it and defend it. We need to be emboldened. We need to be encouraged. We need to see an example of what it looks like when a Christian squares his shoulders and plants his feet, and does battle on behalf of the Gospel, because we live in a culture that does not celebrate the 10 commandments. We celebrate the 11t commandment, which is the only commandment: „Thou shalt be nice”. (8:00)

And so, the idea of a vigorous defense is dismissed, regardless of its clarity or truth if it sounds „even ever so slightly, as if it’s not nice”. Because, if after all, none of the other commandments matter, the 11th commandment is the greatest commandment. „Thou shalt be nice. You have to be like Jesus, who was nice. He walked around with a lamb on His shoulders, had long flowing hair, like a model in a magazine, pretty hands that never did a day of work”. Paul would beg to differ.

1. The argument from authority

1 Corinthians 15- I would remind you brothers, of the Gospel I preached to you of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved if you hold fast to the word I preach to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain. This is incredibly important. Paul is the sender, the Corinthians are the receivers, and the message is the Gospel that he preached to them. But, there’s something more here than just effective communication. He says, „I’m reminding you of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand… In other words, they are standing in, standing on that Gospel that Paul preached tight now- and by which you are being saved.

I love that phrase. Paul didn’t say „by which you have been saved”, although you have. He didn’t even say „by which you will be saved”. Although you will. He says: by which you are being saved. This ongoing, sanctifying work of the Gospel. The Gospel is not just a message that you need to hear to get saved. The Gospel is a message you need to hear to stay saved, to be saved, to live saved.

But then, there’s this „if” clause. „If you hold fast to the word that I have preached to you, unless you believed in vain”. Couple of possibilities here. Possibility #1 is that Paul just introduced the idea of a christian losing his or her salvation. He says, if you keep holding on and you keep believing, and you keep standing you’ll be saved. But, if you stopped, then you won’t be saved. Here, I’ll give you a simple answer and then a more complex answer. The simple answer comes form John MacArthur, he says, „If you could lose your salvation, you would.” How arrogant does a person have to be, to believe that it’s possible for them to lose their salvation, but they haven’t? But, there’s a second idea, that’s the idea that such theology would put Paul at odds not only what he teaches in the rest of this passage, but, what he teaches everywhere else. He’s not ashamed of the Gospel. Why? Because the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It is the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation. Not me. Not my apprehension of a retention of the Gospel, that’s the power of God unto salvation, but the Gospel. And the God of the Gospel, to be more precise. (13:00)

But, there’s also this phrase that he puts in Ephesians 1, which I believe puts all of this to rest. We could talk about the fact that we have, as a present possession, eternal life. Jesus makes that clear. We could talk about the fact that Jesus gives us the promise that we’re in His hand, and that’s in the Father’s hand, and there’s nobody that’s gonna remove us from that. Ephesians 1:11-14

In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestinedaccording to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

So, Paul’s not arguing here that, somehow, we lose our salvation, if we are wavering on the Gospel. What he is doing here is an argument form authority: That we can’t have salvation if we don’t believe the right Gospel. You don’t get to reinterpret, or reinvent, or tweak the Gospel and have the hope of salvation. If what you believe is something other than that which was proclaimed, you have no hope of salvation. So, first and foremost, it’s important that we get the Gospel right. Because, if we don’t, there are people out there (including ourselves) who will be duped into believing that they are right with God, when in fact they are at enmity with Him. If you believe the wrong Gospel, it doesn’t matter how sincere you are in your belief. You are merely, sincerely wrong. So, his first argument is an argument form authority. As an apostle, he reminds them that he preached the Gospel to them clearly. That they are standing and are saved by the Gospel that he preached. Remember the context here- the resurrection is being brought into question. After this argument from authority he moves on to a second type of argument (16:00):

2. An argument from evidence

A. 1 st piece of evidence- According to the Scriptures.For, I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received. That Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures.” So, first he couches this argument form evidence, not in the things around him, or even in himself, but in the Scriptures, in the prophecies of the Scriptures- that God foretold that He would send forth His Son, born of a virgin, born under the law. That He would come in due season. That he could live, that He would die, and He would raise again on the third day. One of my most favorite passages in the New Testament is in Luke 24, when Jesus is on the road to Emmaus. Jesus calls them ‘foolish one’ and ‘slow of hearts to believe’. What? Moses and the prophets. He doesn’t say: You should have believed those things that I told you. But, (he says) ‘you didn’t believe Moses and the prophets’. And because of that, you missed death, burial, and resurrection. That’s the first piece of evidence. It’s biblical evidence. We have the authority, inerrancy, sufficiency of the Scriptures. It always amazes me that we hang on to the authority of the Scriptures, inerrancy of the Scriptures and everything else, until we get to apologetics. Then it’s reason.

B. 2nd piece of evidence- Eyewitnesses. Then, he goes on, „and He appeared to Cephas, then to the 12, then he appeared to more than 500 brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then, he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.” Now you have eyewitnesses. First, we have the evidence of what the Scriptures have taught. The argument form authority is: This is what the apostles have told you. The argument from Scriptures begins with what the Scriptures have taught. And then, there is evidence that Christ has fulfilled what the Scriptures have taught, because there are these eyewitnesses who saw Him. Most of whom remain until now. Which means, that if you do the math, there are 300 eyewitnesses to the resurrection still alive during the time that 1 Corinthians was written. Which, by the way, demonstrates the early, not the late dating of the New testament.

Paul is not talking about some secret that he and a few others know, that nobody else knows. Paul is not speaking about men who are wielding their own personal authority, because of information that they have, to which others have no access. Paul is speaking about events that took place in public, in the open. The Gospel that we preach is a historical Gospel. The Gospel that we preach is a Gospel of things that actually took place. The Gospel is real, it is historical. Enough already with the idea that the Gospel doesn’t necessarily have to be true, if it just changes your life. These are historical events. In fact, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most well attested event in all of antiquity. If we can’t trust the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can’t trust anything form antiquity. Over 300 eyewitnesses still alive at the time of his writing.

C. #3rd piece of evidence- Personal Evidence. he appeared also to me, for I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But, by the grace of God, I am what  I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder  than any of them. Though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me, whether it was I or they, so we preached , so you believed.” Connecting this argument from the argument of authority: What evidence? (1)Scriptural evidence. The Bible foretold these events that would occur. (2)Eyewitness evidence. That there are individuals who saw this resurrected Christ, after His resurrection. (3)Personal evidence. That I saw this resurrected Christ, after His resurrection.

Note, that Paul does not take his own, isolated experience, and argue solely from that isolated experience. That’s not the power of the Gospel. The power of the Gospel is not that I’ve been changed. What is the difference between you and the thousand other people who’ve been changed by a thousand other things. Be careful here. Her’s what Paul is not doing. Paul is not giving us a pattern whereby we argue first from those evidences, and then from our own testimony. His testimony is different form your testimony. Galatians 2. At the end of Galatians chapter 1, Paul goes back to the other apostles after 3 years of being instructed and confirms his Gospel. This is one of the most fascinating and overlooked pieces of the New Testament. „Then, after 14 years, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (the apostles) the Gospel that I had proclaimed among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I had not run in vain.” (28:00)

3. The argument from logic

(33:00) Here’s where he gets right into the face of his opposition. „Now, if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead?” There’s the question. Here’s the problem. There are people who, evidently are hanging around the Corinthian church and like some aspect of what they’re experiencing. But, they don’t like this one aspect, where the Gospel that is being preached rubs up against their personal philosophy, that doesn’t allow for the concept of the resurrection. So, what they want is a resurrectionless Christianity. They want a Christianity that will fit within the context and confines of their presuppositions.

So, Paul says- argument form authority- „Here’s what I preached to you as an apostle. Argument from evidence- here’s what God has verified and validated historically in the open. Now, he gets to the argument from logic, and he says, „There are some of you, who on the one hand want to say that you are attached, but on the other hand want to say that your personal philosophy doesn’t allow for the concept of resurrection.” Now, we all question something. (Some) just don’t like the idea of hell…and so, we want a Christianity without hell. We don’t like the idea of judgmentalism. So we have a Christianity that doesn’t speak the truth to sin. We don’t like the idea of holiness or righteousness, so we have a christianity that doesn’t require it. We don’t like the idea of the church. So we have a christianity that’s absent of it. And so on, and so on… Watch what he does. There are 7 things that must follow, if the concept of the resurrection is not true (35:00).

But, if there is no resurrection of the dead:

  1. then, not even Christ has been raised. That is brilliant, because He just demonstrated form authority and form evidence that Christ has been raised.
  2. and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain and your faith is vain. There are people out there who want to pick the supernatural parts of the Gospel out. They don’t like the supernatural parts. And so, they don’t believe in the virgin birth, they don’t believe in the resurrection, But, at the same time they say, „But, your Christian faith is good. You do great things in the community. Good for you”. Paul says, if there’s no such thing as resurrection our preaching is vain. In other words, it’s empty and it’s useless.
  3. your faith is vain. Your faith is useless because the resurrection is central to the Gospel that we preach. You just gutted the Gospel. You’ve got a Gospel that’s another Gospel, which is no Gospel at all.
  4. we are even found to be misrepresenting God, that we are testifying about God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise. If it is true that the dead are not raised, for if the dead are not raised,  not even Christ has been raised. If there’s no such thing as a resurrection, you just called me a liar.
  5. and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you’re still in your sins. If Christ has not been raised, there is no justification. He died for our sins, He rose again for our justification. If Christ has not been raised, there is no penal substitutionary atonement. If Christ has not been raised, that means He went into the ground with something that would keep Him there. The only thing that would keep Him there is sin. If Christ has not been raised, He was a sinner and no one has satisfied the righteous wrath of God, on your behalf and mine. And, you and I are still in our sins, and we are only waiting, marking time until we face almighty God and are consumed by Him, the consuming fire. You have offended a Holy and a righteous God and you have no hope. He will crush you. He must. Justice cries out for it. From the time that you were a child, one of the first concepts you learned is „that’s not fair”. Because everything on the inside of you cries out for it. And for God not to consume you , would not be fair. For God to give you a pass, without the shedding of blood, and the remission of your sin through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
  6. And if those also who have fallen asleep in Jesus Christ have perished, if in Christ, we had hoped in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. „I want to hold on to christianity, but I don’t like this resurrection thing.
  7. You and I are the most pitiful lot in mankind because we believed the biggest lie that was ever perpetrated.

Here’s the wonderful thing that happens, because of the way Paul situates his argument: If there is no such thing as a resurrection from the dead, these 7 things are true. The first one has already been proven, which means, not only are you wrong, but all 7 of these things are flipped. There is such thing as resurrection from the dead, which means:

  • Christ has been raised
  • our preaching is not vain, but it is the power of God unto salvation
  • our faith is not vain. But by grace you are saved, through faith
  • which means I am not a liar, I am a truth teller
  • which means that you and I are still not in our sins. Christ died for sins, once for all. The just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us back to God. All, we like sheep had gone astray. Each of us had turned to our own way, but God had laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. I am not in my sins, I am redeemed form my sins. I am cleansed form my sins. Those who had gone on before me did not die vain, hopeless deaths. But, absent from the body, they are present with the Lord.

The Gospel matters. The content of the Gospel matters. It all matters. Do I have to know all there is about the Gospel? I’ll spend eternity  and not know everything there is to know about the Gospel. But, what does it mean to believe the Gospel savingly?  It means to believe what we have received and whatever it is that we’ll continue to receive.

Argument from authority- we believe because the apostles said it was so
Argument from evidence- We believe it because God did it in the open and there is evidence verifying what He did
Argument from logic- Why do we believe it? Because logically it makes absolutely no sense to believe otherwise. Because, there are things that not, only are we not willing to accept, but things that literally cannot be the case, because Christ indeed has been raised.

Ultimately the Gospel is the only thing that will matter when those of us will face a righteous God and will have to give an account. It is only through the Gospel, that the account we give is that our debt has been paid in full, by the One who lived, and died, and rose again. And is coming again, to judge the living and the dead. And to redeem that which was put on deposit.

Original video here – http://new.livestream.com(could not import this video)

Dr. Ravi Zacharias keynote speaker at Mission ConneXion NW in January 18 – 19, 2013 at Crossroads Community Church in Vancouver, WA.

Dr. Ravi Zacharias will be a keynote speaker at Mission ConneXion NW in January (18 & 19) 2013 at Crossroads Community Church in Vancouver, WA.

Dr. Zacharias is Founder and President of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with additional offices in Canada, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, and Hong Kong.

Mission ConneXion is pleased to have Dr. Zacharias join us in January. If you would like to learn more about him, visit: http://www.rzim.org/.  Published on Nov 13, 2012 by 

 

Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort debate atheists

5.5.07CameronComfortBashirSapientO'ConnorByLui...

5.5.07CameronComfortBashirSapientO’ConnorByLuigiNovi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My only note on this video from 2007 is that I am a bit surprised at the tension in some of the atheists, like the questioner who seems to tremble as she yells at Ray about cancer (somewhere near the 80th minute).

Some of the questions that atheists and agnostics have:

  • If there is a Creator for everything, then who made God?
  • On the multiplicity of religions, is the existence of God a projection of a culture?
  • If God is the Creator of all things is evil not also His creation?
  • What about people who never heard the Gospel? What will happen to them?

Questions christians have:

  • If there is no God, where does morality come from?
  • How something comes from nothing- the origin of the universe and evolution
  • What if you’re wrong and God does in fact exist?
  • If God existed why does He allow disease and suffering?

Ligonier interviews Ravi Zacharias

Indispensable Apologetics: An Interview with Ravi Zacharias

English: Ravi Zacharias signing books at the F...

Among different topics, Ravi talks about evangelizing Muslims and how to equip young people to remain committed to Christ in a secular world. He also recommends books by

Authors such as C.S. Lewis, John Piper, Tim Keller, yes, and my dear friend R.C. Sproul. But there are many more. One of the greatest books ever written is The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. For devotional studies, Oswald Chambers, and one of my favorites, G. Campbell Morgan, are great choices. We also have a bibliography on our website (www.rzim.org)

 Also on the Ligonier Interview page sidebar you will find links to these excellent articles by Ravi Zacharias:
  • A Reason to Love
  • If the Foundations Be Destroyed
  • Modern Consciousness and Its Cultural Control
  • Postmodernism and Philosophy
  • The Existence of God

Click here for the entire interview-

Indispensable Apologetics: An Interview with Ravi Zacharias

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