Monday, August 10, 2009

We Have to Raise the Bar

I realize I've not written anything on here in quite some time. I've simply been busy doing other things.

At any rate, I see no point in dilly dallying since we all have much to do. I've been watching the Hitchens/Craig debate hosted at Biola University earlier this year. For those of us familiar with both Hitchens and Craig I don't think anything said will surprise us (though I've not yet watched the entire debate so I'm not positive).

However, one thing has appalled me: The comments. I believe one of the great advantages of Youtube, blogs, Facebook, Myspace, etc... is the ability to interact with a caliber of people we may not find otherwise. And certainly readers of this blog know that I love interacting in comment threads, some of which grow to be incredibly long.

As I looked at the comments on the Hitchens/Craig debate youtubes I noticed a complete and total lack of depth and philosophical understanding on both sides (theists and atheists). For example, one commentator said that all of Dr. Craig's arguments are "fallacious" and have been "disproved". Obviously I disagree with such a statement, but even if I agreed with the proposition I would still be angry about it. Simply saying something is fallacious does not make it such.

It's well and good to disagree with Dr. Craig, I don't question anybody's right to disagree. But if I disagree with you I'm not simply going to say "your arguments are fallacious" as if by saying that I've discredited your entire case. If I say "your arguments are fallacious" I'm required to explain how they are fallacious. If I disagree with a deductive argument I must disagree specifically with one (or all) of the premises and explain how they violate some rule of logic.

On this blog we've discussed the Kalam Cosmological argument in the past. My skeptical readers have at the very least explained what premises they disagreed with and why they disagreed with them. And at that point we've had dialog. But if someone says "The Kalam argument is fallacious" without specifically pointing out a fallacy all I can do tilt my head and wonder.

Based on this I believe we have got to raise the level of dialog between skeptic and believer. If we don't we'll simply come to a standstill and possibly a shouting match.

This is not the only level on which we must raise the standard of dialog, however. Even in the midst of specific disagreements I've noticed (and have been guilty of it myself) people make assertions without a clear understanding of underlying presuppositions. A good example here can be found in the relativist. Of course there are different types of relativism (moral, epistemological, etc...), but every relativist denies the objectivity of something. However, it's impossible for a relativist to completely deny the objectivity of something without assuming the objectivity of something else.

If we specifically look at truth, a popular relativist mantra is "there is no absolute truth". However, this is an absolutist statement. If this is true then there is at least one absolute truth, and an infinite number of necessary qualifying statements. To be consistent (and this assumes the logical rule of noncontradiction) the relativist must say "There is no absolute truth except this one, and all statements verifying it ad infinitum". Thus such a statement is self-defeating and not justifiable.

That is just an example, but for progress to be made in the skeptic/believer dialog we have got to get beyond simply repeating our truisms and mantras and engage at a deeper level of thought the underlying issues at stake.

And there are many underlying issues and presuppositions that need to be brought to light. I'm tired of discoursing with people who believe happiness is the great end of mankind when they have simply assumed that without examining why they've assumed it. And I'm sure my skeptical friends are tired of discoursing with theists who have simply assumed things about the relation of knowledge and faith without understanding philosophical foundations for knowledge (as a theist I'm tired of dealing with this one).

I realize we will profoundly disagree on some things, but we have got to raise the bar on our standard of dialog if we ever wish to move forward.

God bless!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

On Credentials and Academic Honesty

There are a few things I want to talk about in this post, mainly dealing with the use honorary degrees, bogus degrees from diploma mills, and the various types of doctoral degrees.

So often I hear someone referred to as "Dr. X". This happens a lot with televangelists. Take Mike Murdock for example. He has at least one honorary doctorate. No earned degrees though. And yet you hear him referred to on television as "Dr. Murdock". This makes it sound as if he's some type of scholar. The title "doctor" makes one seem to be an expert in their field.

At some point we have to ask if this is a little bit mis-leading. When I hear "Doctor" I typically think of someone who has earned a Ph.D., Ed.D., Th.D., J.D., M.D., D.M.A., or some other equivalent terminal degree. I don't think of someone who found favor with certain school officials who then decided to award an honorary degree.

I'm not diminishing honorary degrees, many people who are awarded them probably deserve a certain level of recognition. What I do want to question is the use of an honorary degree to establish academic credibility or expertise power (e.g.- leading people to trust you because you are an "expert" on the issue). My great-great grandfather was awarded an honorary Master of Science degree in recognition for his contribution to the field of geology. What I ask is that honorary degrees are awarded in recognition for an outstanding achievement in the field, not as a means of associating with a high-profile individual that might get recognition for the awarding institute.

In the case of Mike Murdock, the man has not contributed a single thing to the field of theology or ministry. If anything he perpetuates the idea that pastors are just greedy, self-seeking hucksters. But he conveniently hides behind the "Dr." title to establish his credibility.

There are also the diploma mills and fake degrees. People like Roland Martin claim to have a masters degree when it's from an unaccredited university called by some a diploma mill. In Martin's defense, I attended a debate he had with former Secretary of the Treasury Bay Buchanan, and Martin is a very smart man. He has been awarded several journalistic rewards and is a intelligent political commentator.

What I wonder is why the need to claim a fake degree? As far as I know he earned most of his awards before his "masters", and he has an accredited bachelors, so why the need?

During the aforementioned debate the issue of faith and politics came up. Martin was arguing for Obama, Buchanan for McCain; and there is a stereotype that Christians must be Republicans. To establish his Evangelical credibility Martin said "I have a master's degree in Christian communication". I have a friend, a fellow Christian, who is skeptical of seminaries (in fact, trying to discourage me from ever attending one). After the debate he pointed out that having a seminary degree does not necessarily make you a capable or integral pastor (Martin had, among his profanities, also said he was speaking at a Church the next Sunday).

Of course I had done a little research on Martin and knew the degree was unaccredited, but even so, it doesn't give those of us who take education seriously a good name. There are legitimate seminaries, and serious minded pastors and theologians who attend them and actually earn their degrees. There are doctors of various subjects who have earned their degrees.

And this brings me to the last point I want to make. Increasingly the Ph.D. is becoming the degree of choice for many pursuing doctoral work. But it should be noted that not all fields offer Ph.D.s. For a musician focusing on composition, performance, or conducting, the terminal degree is the D.M.A. (Doctor of Musical Arts). It typically takes three years of full-time study to complete, and often requires a master's degree for admittance. As such I think the D.M.A. is academically equivalent to a Ph.D., it's just a different title.

There are also professional degrees, such as the D.Min., M.D., and J.D. Again I believe these degrees are equivalent to (though distinct from) a Ph.D. A D.Min. requires at least 30 hours of study, with a pre-requisite of a 90-96 credit hour Master of Divinity. A M.Div. would be equivalent to a Ph.D. in most fields (with the exception of a thesis/dissertation, sometimes). A M.D. is a professional degree as well, not an academic degree. But I still think a medical doctor is academically qualified to teach subjects of medicine at the graduate level. I find it odd that some people look at the D.Min., Ed.D., PsyD, or other doctoral degrees that are not Ph.Ds. as "lite" doctorates.

Well, this may be my most boring blog to date, which is probably quite an accomplishment in itself, but I think we need to open this dialogue.

God bless!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Atheism and Life

On my blog over at www.checkmate101.blogspot.
com I was challenged to approach the world from an atheists perspective and see what I came up with. I gave my word that I would post a blog to that effect and we could further discourse the issue. So I'm going to write about what some of my conclusions would be if, hypothetically, I were an atheist.

Just to make sure there is no confusion, I am not an atheist; I am a Christian theist. I'm simply trying to examine what conclusions an atheistic world view would lead me to, largely for the purpose of better understanding this philosophy and opening discourse on the issue.

One of the questions I've struggled with has been that of morality. I don't doubt that atheists behave morally, for the overwhelming majority do. What I question is the motivation for behaving morally.

Men such as Frank Zindler and Christopher Hitchens propose that we should behave morally because of an enlightened self-interest. That is to say, I want moral behavior not because I necessarily care about other people, but because I care about myself. For example; if somebody with AIDS is bleeding to death on my doorstep, I don't necessarily have to care about that person to intervene. I should intervene solely because of my desire not to catch AIDS.

We could also look to acts of heroism. For example older members of a family of apes often intentionally lag behind when attacked by leopards/other predators in order engage the predator in a suicidal fight to protect the younger and more healthy members of the family.

In both these cases we see some sort of self-interest. In the first case an interest in protecting my own life, in the second case an interesting in protecting my species. What I question though is what makes the individual "hero's" actions in either case good? I understand we're fighting for survival, but why is survival a good thing? I realize that we can't breed, promote our species, increase the quality of life, etc... if we don't survive; but why is it to our benefit we do those things anyway?

Under an atheistic world view, whether we survive and help the species and planet tremendously or whether we all go extinct instantaneously makes no difference. The end result is the same. I might be able to understand this if I thought pleasing our natural self was worth living for. But let's think about that, why should we try to please our biological nature by eating, making friends, having sex, etc...?

The only answers I've found as of yet indicate that we do this to survive, we do this because it's natural, we must do it. Thus it seems to me that naturalism has greater faith in fate than Calvinists do. Think about it, we exist because of natural processes, our behavior is controlled by natural processes, our world runs according to natural processes, and we try to survive to satisfy those natural processes so that more people can exist to further satisfy them. Is it just me or does that not seem very much like fate? Does it also not seem that a great deal of faith, at least the amount required by a Christian theist like myself, is required to live, eat, drink, breath, and die solely because of and for nature?

Aside from this, I must ask on what basis was Hitler morally wrong? The only bad thing, based solely on enlightened self-interest, was he caused the world to turn against him and thus nature caused his demise. See, enlightened self-interest assumes a great value to life, and it has no right to make that assumption. Based on a solely atheistic view we are nothing more than a bunch of organs and bones, we are matter, and that is all we are and that is all we'll ever be (remember, I'm trying to find atheistic answers).

If matter can neither be created nor destroyed, and we are solely matter, who is to say Hitler was wrong to make 6,000,000+ people change form? Remember, according to atheism we're just matter, thus I don't see a whole lot of difference between us and ashes and it makes no difference in what form the matter we are presently composed of appears. I don't see how an atheist can assume any inherent value to life. Hitler was simply a product of his biological make-up and life circumstances (as far as they influence it, I believe in both nature and nurture, rather then either/or), and I don't see how any atheist can make the claim in the least that their morals are superior to his simply because they have different morals due to biological/psychological processes.

I suppose some people might try to invoke the Utilitarian Rule, that we do the greatest good for the greatest number of people. But again I ask, what's good? According to atheism why is it better to survive than to change form into ashes? Why is it better to be preserved rather than to decompose?

I imagine my thoughts here may offend a great deal of atheists, but I assure you that's not my intention. I was asked to see what assuming an atheistic world view would lead me to, and this is the first big issue (I may write more blogs to this effect, depending on how many issues are addressed in comments). I dare say at this point most atheists would prefer I remain a Christian rather than de-convert, I'm afraid I'd be an ever-so dangerous atheist.

God bless!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

On Preaching To The Choir

I have very strong opinions on why the Church exists and what its role in society is. Other people, good principled people, have radically different opinions. Sometimes I think it's necessary to explain exactly why I disagree with their philosophies.

The most recent issue (and bear in mind it's only the most recent, not the most pressing or most important) deals with the Social Gospel. The Social Gospel was a movement who's early leaders included Josiah Strong and Walter Rauschenbusch (I have no idea if I spelled that correctly). The idea is if God's Kingdom is to come on Earth as it is in Heaven then we should promote the welfare of society by helping the poor, opposing war, etc...

I certainly agree we should help the poor. However, helping the poor is not the reason the Church exists; it is a natural result of the Church functioning as it should, but it's not why the Church exists. I'm often told I should help the poor, and sometimes condescendingly because for some reason certain individuals believe that, as a Libertarian, want to just let the poor die off and kill baby seals (o.k., no one has ever accused me of wanting to kill baby seals).

I do not want to let the poor die off. In fact I will happily pin my credentials for generosity against any of my Social Gospel-supporting friends. I'm a member of the ONE Campaign to end global poverty. I'm a member of the Save Darfur Coalition, and I orchestrated signing local Boy Scouts up to join the Coalition as well. I have refused to donate to any political campaigns because I think that money is better used going to organizations like the Save Darfur Coalition. I'm an Eagle Scout and have helped organize food drives for local homeless shelters and soup kitchens. I'm so extreme that I don't believe in dressing up for Church because I think God would be more honored by us using that money for missionaries to establish orphanages, wells, etc... Since I haven't managed to get the Church on board with that last one (even my Social Gospel friends, many of whom wear designer clothing and pay $4.00 for coffee at Starbucks) I generally wear used dress clothes; with the exception of a shirt, tie, and three pairs of pants that I got at a going out of business sale for something like 1/3rd to 1/4th of the list price. This last year I missed my city's "March for Jesus" to attend a 5k and raise money for a local deaf boy. I'm not going to mention the percentage of my income given to non-profits this year because I'm afraid I'd shame some people.

I'm not saying all this to brag, but to point out that many of my Social Gospel friends are big on talk but small on action. I believe talk is cheap (literally) and action is what is required. So by my philosophy, that the Church exists to evangelize, worship, disciple, fellowship, and minister I'm driven to much more action then most who believe the Church exists solely to help the poor (I realize the Social Gospel has other aspects, but let's handle these one at a time).

Now on to the issue of war. I don't like war, I don't like the war in Iraq, I would prefer we could avoid war. But sometimes moral principle does not allow us to do that. What? How can I say war might be moral?

Let me explain a few ethics rules:

1. The Utilitarian Rule: This rule states that, in order to be ethical, we should pursue the course of action that results in the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people.

2. The Moral Rights Rule: This rule states that we must not violate inalienable rights (the problem with this rule is not everybody agrees on what rights are inalienable).

3. The Justice Rule: This rule states that we must pursue the course of action that distributes benefits and harms equally among all the people affected by the decision.

4. The Practical Rule: This rule states that in making a decision we should be willing to communicate it to people outside those affected by it because the average person would think it is an acceptable decision.

Based on these rules there may be times where it would be more ethical to engage in a war then to avoid one. Opposing a dictator or fighting terrorists, as painful as it is, may produce more good for more people then letting that dictator or terrorist continue. Look at WWII, to produce the greatest good for the greatest number of people we had to oppose Hitler, he was not being just or moral; and certainly not practical. Was that a preferable option? Certainly not! But it was necessary.

Would Jesus support war? Well, He did have a Zealot among His disciples and He never condemned the Romans for their wars. I think the problem is we want God to be on our side, when really we should be on His side (you can thank Abraham Lincoln for that line). What's interesting is many of my Social Gospel friends are, like me, staunchly opposed to theocracies and yet they want our national policy to be based on their interpretation of Jesus teachings.

At any rate my Social Gospel friends prefer to preach to me about helping the poor when they are in fact preaching to the choir (sometimes hypocritically). Their message of no theocracy but national policy based on a theologically questionable interpretation of Christ's teachings is inconsistent. And lastly, if there's a problem do something about it, don't complain to me. Complain to your Senators and Representative, I must have a stack 5/6 inches high of letters they've written me about my numerous petitionings to their offices (most of which dealt with Darfur and poverty).

God bless!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Breaking God's Standards

As an assistant pastor, and one aspiring to full-time ministry in the future, I watch older ministers. I try to learn from them, I ask them advice, I look and try and see what they're doing right that I should strive for and what they're doing wrong that I should avoid.

I'm sure many of you are hearing about Pastor Michael Guglielmucci, the Australian minister who claimed to have cancer, wrote the hit song "Healer" (which appeared on Hillsong's latest album), and has now been discovered to be a fraud. Pastor Guglielmucci doesn't have cancer, he is not terminally ill, or anything of the sort. For whatever reason Pastor Guglielmucci decided to lie to his family, congregation, and essentially the world.

The Australian reports that Guglielmucci's credentials have been suspended, awaiting the complete results of certain medical tests (the full article can be accessed here:,25197,24216087-5006787,00.html)

Guglielmucci's family, friends, and congregation are in my thoughts and prayers right now. But there's a larger issue that needs to be addressed here. If we look at Titus 1:7-9 we find some qualifications for overseers:

"Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless–not overbearing, not quick‑tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.
Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self‑controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it."

Clearly Guglielmucci's actions violate this standard. I've heard pastors say "we're humans too, we make mistakes..." and I understand that. But as pastors; people whose actions either advance or damage the reputation of the Gospel, people appointed by God to leadership in the Body of Christ; there's a higher standard. God does demand more of pastors, teachers, evangelists, apostles, and prophets (basically, all who are called to leadership in the Church).

The philosophy that says "we all sin every day" is a lie; it's a cheap excuse that lessens the power and message of the Gospel. Christ gives us the victory over sin, sin has lost its power and death has lost its sting (see I Corinthians 15:54-58). Any pastor who teaches we can't live above sin is denying the power of Christ's sacrifice and resurrection.

I'm not saying we won't make mistakes; but the tolerance of sin as an everyday and common occurance inside the Church, especially inside the pulpit, indicates an atrocious philosophy being taught and lived in today's Church. We do have an answer to the problem of sin, and it's not like we don't know what it is!

Maybe our pastors don't know what the answer is, but allow me to quote the great Southern Gospel singer Joel Hemphill in explaining:

I claim the Blood Jesus shed on Calvary, those precious Blood stains were made there just for me. For all my sins, my sickness, and my pain, when I need healing I claim those precious blood stains".

As a Christian everything I do reflects on the reputation of the Gospel. It will either reflect poorly, or it will reflect well; but it will reflect. Don't you think skeptics watch and consider whether we're actually living what we preach? Listen, we can know every apologetic argument, evidence supporting our faith, and theological ism; but it doesn't mean much unless it reflects in our lives. I don't believe in having a theology that's just a paper tiger.

All of us will do well to consider how our lives reflect on the Gospel. Especially those of us in leadership in the Church. Today's Church faces enough problems, we don't need to add to that list.

God bless!

PS- While Guglielmucci himself lied about his condition, I listened to the song "Healer" and it is theologically sound; so regardless of the imperfect author the song itself is good.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Shortest Books Ever Written (Comic Relief Before the Upcoming Debate)

This post is to be entirely humorous, not taken seriously. I'm soon going to start posting the debate between Havok and I; but before I did that I wanted to show my readers I do have a sense of humor. Enjoy!

14. Don't Be a Geek and sequel Avoiding Socially Awkward Situations by Sweetswede

13. Dressing Culturally: How to Dress for Popularity by Sweetswede

12. Big Government Rocks by Sweetswede

11. Don't Upset Them: How to Preach Unoffensive Sermons by Sweetswede

10. Avoiding Issues in Debate: How to Never Address Your Opponent's Claims by Sweetswede

9. Psychological Sensitivity: Why Everything is Your Parent's Fault by Sweetswede

8. Success in Dating by Sweetswede

7. Chess Isn't Personal by Sweetswede

6. How to Play Winning Basketball by Sweetswede

5. Liberal Manifesto by Sweetswede

4. Ten Reasons I Support the ACLU and by Sweetswede

3. In Defense of Abortion by Sweetswede

2. Why The Church Should Avoid Apologetics by Sweetswede

1. Merits of Atheism by Sweetswede

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Biblical Church

Hey everyone, this is a transcript of the sermon I preached tonight. Bare in mind it's not word for word, but just the thoughts that I write out before the sermon (then I make an outline and speak from that, so I don't just read what's written here). At any rate this will give you a pretty good idea of the sermon, and all the main points will be addressed.

Not every point will apply to every Church, I was primarily aiming at the Church in general. Last night talking to Patrick Taylor I said "I'd never have to preach this sermon at Chi Alpha"; my point being as a corporate body I think XA more or less succeeds in these things, though there are certainly individuals who would benefit (I hope) from this. At any rate I'm sure we'll discuss this more, I may put the actual sermon on youtube if I can figure out how. If I do I'll let you know.

God bless, and enjoy:

The Biblical Church
“They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” -Acts 2:42-47, NIV

Background: Luke writes Acts around 60-62 A.D., basically as a historical tracing of the first 30 years of the Church. In tracing this history Luke explains and defends the Church, and also guides faith and practice (Adams et. Al.). This passage is one of the most well-known as a guide for practices in the Church, and it also provides details about the beginning of the Church’s witnessing in Jerusalem. Immediately prior to this passage we have the outpouring of the Spirit and Peter’s open-air evangelistic message that results in 3,000 people being added to the Church in just one day.

We can summarize what Luke is doing this way: The Church begins with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of this chapter. Immediately Peter begins fulfilling the Great Commission by preaching the Gospel. With this evangelism and the establishment of the Church we must look at where does the Church go from here, that is, what do we as members of the Church do once we accept Christ?

We are told the new found Church devoted themselves to the Apostle’s teachings, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. The idea of devotion in the Greek shows us they were “earnest towards, constantly diligent, attended assiduously to all the exercises, adhered closely to”. Think about that, they were constantly diligent in the Apostles teachings. They attended assiduously (with care and persistence) to prayer. They were earnest towards fellowship. These aren’t just some suggestions, this is what the early Church did. They were highly committed to these things.

The first of these things was the Apostle’s Teachings. There is a great parallel between the Great Commission and the events transpiring here: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” -Matthew 28:19-20. Peter preaches the Gospel in an initial sermon, and immediately we have the new Church being taught the Way. The new Church was instructed as to how to follow Jesus.

Today’s Church has missed on this instruction. The Church today is simply not training believers how to follow Christ. The Great Commission commands us to make disciples of all nations and to teach them to obey everything Christ has commanded us. Consider that 90% of Americans own a Bible, but only half can name a single Gospel; and 10% think Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife (Nancy Gibbs). It would seem to me we’ve failed on the teaching part.

While over 60% of Americans believe the Bible is the Word of God, only 35% believe it is the literal Word of God (I’m not sure if parables caused confusion here), we may have a problem. This is really an unfortunate thing. The Epistles were all written to provide some type of instruction. The Word trains us in righteousness and thoroughly equips us for every good work (II Timothy 3:16-17). If we fail at learning the Word, if we don’t continue in the Apostles teachings, if we don’t become disciples, everything else will deteriorate as a result of being on a weak foundation and having no roots.

Some would argue at this point “Well we have Sunday School, and we have sermons, etc…” I agree, but I also think those things are failing. Most Sunday school classes prefer to spoon-feed the Saints rather than get into the meat of the Word of God. Sermons have been reduced to 3-point strategies no longer than 45 minutes. I just read an article in Relevant Magazine where a journalist visited 6 different Churches over the course of 6 Sundays; when he visited a Pentecostal Church he complained because the sermon went over 45 minutes, and the other sermons had all been about 20 minutes. Honestly I wanted to go to that man and look him square in the face and tell him he sickened me.

In Acts 20 the Apostle Paul is in Troas, getting ready to leave, and he preached all through the night until daybreak. What would the American Church do if we were confronted with actually having to be students of the Word? The Church that started at Pentecost thrived, and at the heart of that thriving was their continuation in the Apostles teaching, passed on to us in the Bible. In I Peter 2:2 we are told that we, as newborn babies, should desire the milk of the Word, and that through it we will grow.

The reason there are so many false prophets, strange doctrines, and private interpretations being popularized today is 1. People don’t know the Word, and therefore cannot spot false teachings; and 2. Those that do know the Word have failed to teach it to others and rebuke false prophets. There are people today (“cough… Joel Osteen…cough…Benny Hinn…cough”) teaching the strangest things, God can’t move on your behalf until you think positively; there are 3 levels to the anointing, etc… These are some pretty wacko doctrines! But the Church can’t recognize them because it has not continued in the Apostles teaching, we’ve not continued in the Message of Christ, and therefore the Church is being led astray. If we in the Church ever want to thrive like the Apostolic Church did, we must return to the Word of God that they preached!

We’ve lost a true expression of Biblical fellowship: Biblical fellowship, according the David Guzik, is about sharing something. Today we in the Church share, but I think we’re sharing the wrong things. We share gossip, we share feuds, we share anger, we share bitterness, we share mutual dislike, we share complaints, we share plenty, but we’re sharing all the wrong things! We ought to be sharing our lives, made common by the Savior and Lord we all share! If we share our struggles, we can share in rejoicing our victories!

Let’s look at this in context, Luke says they continued in fellowship, and he says they were together, had everything in common (all things were shared by all, in the Greek), sold their possessions and gave as others had need, met in the Temple courts, broke bread in their homes, praised together, and enjoyed the favor of all people. That’s a lot of stuff they were doing. The idea we get is they were always sharing their lives, always working with each other. Today we might say there were joined at the hips.

Fellowship was much more to the early believers than a 5 minute meet-and-greet at the beginning of each service. It was much more than a meal at Christmas and Resurrection Sunday time. How many times have we gone over to someone’s house with the intention of taking communion and praising God? Honestly the Church has set up such a hierarchy I think most people would be afraid to give communion because we haven’t given them a fancy enough title yet.

The early Church shared everything with each other.
The benefits of fellowship cannot be under-estimated. Fellowship provides accountability, it provides support, it helps intensify our heart for God, it provides a place of security and openness, it provides a place to receive prayer when we’re sick and struggling, the list goes on and on.

Now I must separate breaking of bread from fellowship. Breaking of bread was part of their fellowship, but it’s also a distinct activity. Sadly we’ve reduced it to a monthly ritual with little meaning. That is not, however, what communion is meant to be. To be as brief as possible, but still capture the essential meaning of communion I’ll quote a song:
“This is the body, this is the blood, Broken and poured out for all of us
In this communion, we share in His love, This is the body, this is the blood.
I will remember, everything Lord, You've done for me. I won't take for granted the sacrifice that set me free. I hunger and thirst for Your love, come fill me today. This is the body, this is the blood. Broken and poured out for all of us. In this communion we share in His love, this is the body this is the blood."

We are to do this in remembrance of our Lord (I Corinthians 11:25). We remember His sacrifice, we remember that His body was beaten and His blood was spilled so that we could be cleansed from all our unrighteousness. What Christ did is anything but ritual, Christ’s death and resurrection is the pivotal point in human history! As His followers we must remember what He did for us, in doing this I think it would be hard to follow Christ irreverently, or in word only in a dry and ritual way. When we realize what Christ has done for us we have no choice but to respond decisively and radically. On the other hand, if we fail to remember what Christ has done for us, than we will live as if He’s done nothing.

Just imagine gathering at each other’s homes to fellowship and break bread. It should not be a rare occurrence during Holiday seasons. Fellowshipping and breaking of bread should be sincere and it should be often. Let us bare in mind that these things are not suggestions, they are mandates.

Now we are told the early Church was devoted to prayer. I think today’s Church has failed when it comes to prayer.
Our failure has been 2-fold: 1. We don’t pray often enough. 2. We don’t understand what prayer is, so when we do pray it’s nearly meaningless.

As far as not praying often enough I’ve heard different accounts. Some assert the average American prays 2 minutes/day; while the average Christian prays 4 minutes each day and the average pastor prays a whopping 7 minutes each day. An Ellison Research Group study showed more favorable numbers, stating that the average Protestant minister prays 39 minutes each day, among those Pentecostal ministers compare favorably, averaging 47 minutes a day. Our pastors may be doing alright, but the overall population isn’t doing so hot.

Time, thank God, isn’t a very good measure of prayer. I think a good measure of prayer is the relationship one has with Jesus. Prayer is the key to intimacy with Christ, and as a result it would seem to me we could gauge the quality of one’s prayer life based on one’s relationship with the Lord. Here statistics fail, because to ask “are you in a good relationship with Christ” is to ask a question that will mean 1,000 different things to a thousand different people.

At any rate we think wrongly about prayer. We think it’s like a lottery, or we think of God as a magic genie waiting to grant our every whim. Prayer should not simply be a laundry list of things we want God to do for us, rather it should be conversing with God; seeking His face, searching for His guidance, discoursing about His will.

What individual topics will be addressed in prayer varies from person to person. As a student my campus comes up a lot. True prayer aligns us with God’s will, and once the Church starts walking in God’s will the Church will be unstoppable.

Now that we’ve examined these 4 marks of the early Church, we are told of their results. We are told there were wonders and miraculous signs. We are told the believers had everything in common. We are told they praised God. We are told they had the favor of all men.

It should come as no surprise we don’t see this when we realize we’re not continuing in the way of the early Church. If we don’t continue in the Apostle’s teachings (as given in the Bible), if we don’t continue in fellowship, if we don’t continue in breaking bread and prayer how can we expect anything good to come out of the Church?

Instead of a vibrant Church we’ve got one that accepts humanistic and selfish doctrines, teaching God was made to serve us. This is not what the Apostles taught. Instead of fellowship we’ve got an embittered, angry, and greedy Church. We think of relationships in economic terms. We invest in people, we value others, etc… I thank God He doesn’t think of us economically, if He did Christ would have never bought us.

We don’t praise like we should because we don’t think of God like we should. We don’t remember Christ’s sacrifice, we don’t realize how much He loves us, we don’t think of Him as the Lord of all Creation. If we did all these things we’d always have an attitude of praise and a heart of worship.

And if we fail in prayer how can we expect God to use us? How can we expect to see wonders and miracles? If we’re not walking with God how will we ever know when to pray or who to pray for or what to pray about? We have to be close to God and allow Him to show us these things, but if we don’t devote ourselves to prayer we’re cutting ourselves off at the root.

If the Church ever wants to see a true expression of worship, if the Church wants effective discipleship, if the Church wants vibrant ministry, if we want evangelism to flourish, if we want genuine fellowship, we’ve got to get back to the basics.

Now I’m tired of everyone sitting through the sermon saying “amen” and nodding your heads. God doesn’t just want your lip service, He wants your hands and your heart. God’s Word has practical application in our lives, and I think the Church has good theory but poor application. I can’t apply prayer to your life, I can’t make you fellowship, I can’t make you break bread, I can’t make you worship. How you come to apply all these things is something you’ll need to pray about and seek God’s face on. I’ve done my part in exposing you to the teachings of the Apostles.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Taking Issue With the Chapman Philosophy

Well, being that I've got a big debate coming up (it'll probably be about 7 blogs, each with my writing and my opponents) I wasn't going to write anything until then, but I saw advice so treacherous I had to take issue with it.

Don Chapman is a fairly prominent worship leader, his WorshipIdeas newsletter reaches over 50,000 people every week (including me). At one point I was so fed up with what Mr. Chapman said I un-subscribed, but eventually they started sending the newsletters to me again anyway. At any rate you can find out more about Chapman here: and www.worshipideas.blogspot.

I've never met Chapman, I don't know him personally, and I'm not here to judge his character in any way. But as he has proposed what I think is not just a bad idea, but an unbiblical one, I must confront that.

I was going through my inbox, and saw the Worshipideas e-mail, and I saw the title was about hiring non-Christians for your worship team. Based on my past experience I thought "Oh I'll have to disagree with him", and I thought that rightly so. Chapman proposes that hiring non-Christians on your worship team can be a great way to enhance your musical talent and also evangelize.

It seems like a good idea in theory, but truthfully I think it falls short. Matthew 15:8-9 states " ‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men.’" (NIV)
Upon examining the word for worship here we see it is Sebomai in the Greek. It means “To revere, stressing the feeling of awe or devotion” (Vine’s). Or “To revere, i.e. adore:--devout, religious, worship.” (Quickverse).

Now most of the time in the New Testament the word translated worship is Proskuneo. So why use Sebomai here? Well the verse quotes Isaiah 29:13. Notice that the definition of Sebomai here stresses reverence and adoration. The Biblical standard of worship goes far beyond a Sunday morning service, it refers to a consistent lifestyle of reverence, devotion, and service to God. In light of this by hiring a non-Christian to serve on a worship team one is putting an individual on said team that is worshiping in word only while the individual's heart is far from God.

This not only threatens the unity of the worship team, but it also makes the non-Christian a hypocrite, and sets a bad example. Worship team members are co-workers in the worship leading process. People in the congregation don't look at that stage and just see instrumentalists, they see worshipers and worship leaders. When the Apostles considered administrators to distribute food they required those people be full of the Spirit and wisdom (Acts 6:3). Any leader in any capacity in the Church should be someone of high integrity. There are high standards for deacons ("the practical servants of the Church" according to David Guzik), which, though it refers to a specific office in most American Churches (e.g.-the deacon board), does not have such a political definition in the Greek.

In addition to sacrificing the Biblical model of leadership, having a non-Christian on a worship team is just asking for discord. I'm not saying a non-believer can't play instruments, that would be absurd, but in terms of their approach to worship and the Church in general they will have radically different ideas. I remember at camp there were a few staff members (kitchen staff and maintenance) that were not very committed Christians. While other counselors and I tried to set godly examples and get the campers focused on God, these staff members would negate our work by keeping them aimed at the carnal. What's worse is the campers had the impression they could follow these staff member's example (and they should have been able to, but there is sometimes a discrepancy between a testimony written on paper and one lived out). As you might imagine this could have detrimental effects on one's faith.

Worship leaders and worship teams are not much different. They should be spiritual leaders as well. Mr. Chapman has complained in the past that most Church boards are made up of business men rather then Spirit-filled believers, but what he is proposing here is no different. If you don't want worldly business men orchestrating your Church's business why would you want wordly instrumentalists on your worship team? I don't think it takes a genius to figure out the error here.

No serious minister would hire a youth pastor hoping "he might get saved after a while", so why would one hire worship team members with the same hope? I think we need to take spiritual leadership in any form seriously. It is not only ordained ministers who are called to have high moral character. Let us not forget the first Christian martyr was not an apostle or bishop, but an administrator, almost a layperson by today's standards.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Movie Review, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

With all the hype going on regarding Ben Stein's documentary "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" I was surprised there was such a small turn out, no more then 30 or so in the entire theater, when I saw it yesterday.

I'd done a great deal of reading about people calling it "propaganda" and so forth, and I must say I don't think any of the criticisms I heard regarding the movie were justified. Some claimed the movie provided different definitions of intelligent design, was grossly unfair, and so forth. However, the people who say such things are only justifying the overriding principle of the movie; that scientists and academics who think God might possibly have had a role in bringing the universe into existence are unfairly treated as illogical "ignorant or insane" (Richard Dawkins).

Thus I feel inclined to take a fair look at the movie, and in doing so I'll articulate my opinion on the controversy regarding it. According to the movie's definition, intelligent design is the theory that certain scientific phenomena are best explained by the existence of an intelligent designer. Now this is not a sectarian religious claim, for as a Christian I'm in agreement with Muslims, Jews, and people of other religions in regards to the fact that God (or a god) created the universe.

This is not Young Earth Creationism, for though I am a YEC (Young Earth Creationist), I consider the debate between myself and evolutionists as secondary to the question of whether or not God is the original cause of the universe's existence. Thus the movie does not attempt to disprove or discredit evolutionary theory (even YECs such as myself believe in some evolution), but deals with whether evolution can answer such questions as "where did we come from originally?

Essentially the answer is no, by the National Academy of Science's own definition science is the study of natural processes, causes, and effects. Whereas God is not a natural process, cause, or effect it is beyond science to make a verdict on this issue. This is not to say religion and science are enemies, nor is it to say that they don't over-lap, but there are certain mutually exclusive territories regarding religion and science.

What Ben Stein proposes is there are certain members of the scientific community who are taking evolution and using it to justify an atheistic world view, thus making science and religion enemies. I don't know how anyone can deny this fact when Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers admit to this openly on camera. However it becomes apparent that the claims of these people stem not from science, but from their contempt and disdain for anything God.

The heart of the issue is not Creation V. Evolution, the heart of the issue is can you be a rationally thinking person and believe in God? Any of my frequent readers will know that I answer that question with an emphatic YES! I do believe God created the universe and I don't believe science in any way contradicts the rationality of that belief, I believe that there is a place where science can't go further and based on what we've learned by it we must come to some conclusions.

So what is this place? This is where intelligent design comes in, now some say "that's not science", fine! Let me say then that it is a philosophy rooted in scientific evidence. Saying intelligent design isn't science in no way diminishes what it proposes, here's why.

The ultimate question, as we've mentioned, is not one regarding creation or evolution, it's one regarding the existence of God. And what Ben Stein does is asks point blank "where did we come from", "how did matter begin to exist in the first place" etc... These are questions asked point blank in the movie, and one man dodges it, but Richard Dawkins did answer. Dawkins says (paraphrased) that perhaps some advanced life form, that itself developed through evolutionary processes, seeded a living cell on the earth.

Ok, Dawkins big conclusion that every atheist in the world hails as scientific is we came from aliens. I should like to ask, how is that conclusion any more scientific then the hypothesis of God? I'd also like to ask what caused those aliens to exist?

You see what I'm saying? Science searches for facts, but this is something that science isn't able to approach. What I propose is the Kalam argument:
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. The universe has a cause (that must necessarily be uncaused and never began to exist but always was, this I say, is God).

My argument is rooted in science, in that it's easily proved everything that begins to exist has a cause, and that the universe began to exist. The logical conclusion is not "natural" and therefore not scientific, but it does not contradict science. I will happily pose this hypothesis against Dawkins aliens.

So I'll end with a challenge, prove me wrong. I'll debate anyone, anytime, anywhere, unashamedly. The hypothesis of God that so many atheists have tried to suppress falsely in the name of science is certainly no less logical then Dawkins aliens (that fall short in that they still need a cause).

God bless!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The End of The World As We Know It

In response to my most recent post (The Interview) I've received a request to further explain my views on the end times. Eschatology is a deep, highly debated subject. I don't intend to examine every verse dealing with the subject, nor do I intend to provide a detailed analysis of everything that will happen from the Second Coming through the 7 year tribulation.

The first thing I'd like to address is the Second Coming. Now if you'll examine Matthew 24 there are signs given that will precede Christ's Second Coming. Wars and rumors of wars, the earth quaking in various places, famines, persecution and so forth will all be transpiring before Christ returns for the saints. There is one thing regarding this that causes much confusion, and that is in fact the actual return.

When people say "The Second Coming" they often refer either to 1. The Rapture, and 2. Christ coming, judging the nations, the Thousand Year reign and so forth. So many are confused as to what will happen when. However, this is easily understood by realizing there are two phases in the Second Coming, in phase 1 Christ comes for the Saints (the Rapture), and in phase 2 Christ comes with the Saints. Essentially phase 1 happens, we have the seven year tribulation, and then phase 2 of the Second Coming. I Thessalonians 4:16-17, Luke 21:20-33, and Matthew 25:31-46 help explain why I'm saying this. For one event is visible by all, and obvious (the 2nd phase); the other is unexpected and involves the Church being caught to meet Christ in the air (1st phase). See for more details.

Rest assured I'm giving only a brief synopsis of these events. There are many other details, passages, arguments, and views regarding this.

Now after the Rapture, I believe there will be a 7 year period of tribulation. I believe most of the book of Revelation deals with this time period and what will transpire then. This is the time that will see the anti-Christ, the plagues, great judgment on nations, and so forth. There are specific prophecies regarding the anti-Christ and other end-time events found in the books of the major and minor prophets in the Old Testament (Isaiah, Daniel, Joel, etc...).

Immediately prior to this tribulation the Church has been taken (raptured). At the end of this tribulation we will see Armageddon, and the return of Christ with the Saints. This will lead to the 1000 year reign of Christ.

Now to get to the point, we don't honestly know exactly when Christ will return. At any rate there is no reason He could not return before you finish reading this post; and on the other hand He might not return for another 50 to a hundred (or more) years. It is my personal opinion that it will be sooner rather then later.

Either way, we should realize that life is a vapor (James 4:14). We need to live for Christ every moment of the day and every day of the week. Whether He's coming today, or next year, or 1000 years from now should have no impact on how we live; because we ought to live a life pleasing to God all the time!

Philippians 3:12-16 (God's Word Translation) sums up how we ought to live:
"It's not that I've already reached the goal or have already completed the course. But I run to win that which Jesus Christ has already won for me. Brothers and sisters, I can't consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don't look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God's heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus. Whoever has a mature faith should think this way. And if you think differently, God will show you how to think. However, we should be guided by what we have learned so far."
(Emphasis Mine)

Sunday, April 06, 2008


I just did this interview, I thought it was pretty interesting so I'll share and see what you all think (my answers in italics):

> What does Spiritual warfare mean to you?
Spiritual warfare, in simplest terms, is the enemy attempting to keep us out of relationship with God in way one or another. There are numerous "strategies" but the goal of all of them is the same.
> What do you believe to be your purpose in life?
> There is much confusion about this, but ultimately life's purpose is not about something or somewhere, but someone. I believe life's greatest purpose is intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Occupations/talents/gifts are secondary to this.
> What Bible passage is your favorite?
> As far as we can have "favorites" I'd say Hebrews 12:1-3
> Who is your favorite Bible character apart from Jesus?
> Apollos
> Other than Biblical figures, who have been your heroes
> of the faith?
> Jim Whittaker, Mark Carter, D.S., John Ervin, my father to name a few
> In your mind what event has had the greatest effect
> upon the moral degradation of America?
> The Church abandoning the Gospel of Christ for political power.
> In a nutshell. what are your end times views?
> I'm a pre-tribulationist with a futuristic interpretation of Revelation
> What role(s) do you believe that Holy Spirit plays in
> our lives as Christians?
> I don't know is if I can provide an exhaustive list; but He fills us, empowering us for righteous living and ministry, He makes intercession for us, convicts of sin, and guides us in our relationship with Christ, as well as speaking to us individually in regards to various things (like I said, not exhaustive, but a start).
> To what degree are you responsible for your own
> sanctification?
> Essentially, since it is the Spirit that empowers us to live righteously, our only role is in following Him as He leads us in living God's Word (both written and spoken). This is not to say we have a passive role though, for we must follow and I don't think God is going to stop moving.
> What does baptism mean to you?
> Baptism represents dieing to sin (going under) and being made alive in Christ (resurrected/coming up)
> How do you feel about the death penalty?
> I feel it is not preferable, but may be necessary. In regards to the political aspect I think it is a state issue and should not be handled by the federal government.
> How do you feel about physical war?
> It is certainly not desirable, but is sometimes unavoidable.
> What is your take on the Iraqi war?
> At the time the decision was made to go to war we had legitimate reasons to do it. However, the war has been badly mis-managed. We need to set practical goals for the stabilization of Iraq, reach those goals, and get out ASAP.
> What do believe about the New World Order conspiracy?
> It's not a conspiracy, it's a reality. Governments have tried many times in the last century to create similar bodies and I believe with the European Union we are closer then we've ever been.
> How do you feel about the Patriot Act?
> 100% un-Constitutional, it needs to be repealed and done away with immediately.
> What are your thoughts on the 2008 presidential
> election?
> We are not going to get a great president. At present I lean towards John McCain, though not very strongly. I'd vote for Ron Paul on a 3rd party ticket.

> In your opinion, which political system is most
> compatible with Christian spirituality?
> In terms of freedom to practice Christianity I'd say a Constitutional Democratic Republic. However, not political system should hinder a sincere believer from practicing, look at Paul and Peter in the Roman Empire.
> Can Christians truly be tolerant?
> Absolutely, in fact I think we as Christians should lead in the community of tolerance. That is not to say we must agree with or support everything, I certainly don't support same-sex marriage or abortion, but that is not to say I'm intolerant of people who do. I disagree with them, and I'll debate anyone anytime, unashamedly, but Christ was never intolerent, rather He left us an example of moral love and concern.
> What is your favorite movie?
> Amazing Grace
> Which 5 posts from your blog(s) do believe to be most
> significant? (post the links here)

> "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" -

"Time for Some Apologetics" -
Family of God"

"A Generation in Chaos" -

"When God Crashes a New Years Party"-

> What other blogger(s) would you like to see
> interviewed?
> N/A

Saturday, April 05, 2008

A Brief Response to Biblical Critics and an Examination of the Kalam Argument

The following are two related pieces I wrote in the last few days:

Part 1
Today I had the opportunity to discuss the meaning of Easter with various people; and in the midst of that someone told me they think there are lies in the Bible. Being the philosopher that I am I had to ask "why?" (nearly all philosophies attempt to answer that question in regards to something).

The response was (basically) "Well, it uses fear tactics... do this or you’ll go to hell, there’s no way to prove it". Now how often do we hear that? People are "scared" into religion, that accusation is thrown around a lot. Though I did not have the opportunity to discuss this at length with that individual, I do hope I got them thinking. However, I’d like to deal with it more in depth here.

I’d like to start by addressing that specific argument, that the Bible uses fear tactics to get people to believe. I must say Christianity has mis-represented God and His Word if people believe that the main reason one should be/is a Christian is to avoid hell. Now Jesus didn’t make any bones about, He was abundantly clear in stating that there is a hell, and that it’s not a pleasant place; but truly that is poor motivation to accept Christ. God doesn’t want a relationship with us based on fear, He wants one with us based on love. I’m of the opinion that the only reason God doesn’t force everyone to accept Him is He wants us to love Him because we WANT TO, not because we HAVE TO.

Now it should also be noted that the argument that was presented is an emotional one, not a logical one. As such it should not be one that really needs addressing, but unfortunately there is just as much mis-understanding about this issue in the Church as there is among non-Christians.

The heart of this issue is not one of whether or not there is a hell, but whether or not God exists; and if He does it begs the question "can we know Him?", and "What is He like?". I feel the Church may have been led astray on this, so I must confront it (this should answering many questions of skeptics as well).

In answering the question of God’s existence I will use two brief arguments.
1. To say God does not exist is a logically indefensible position. For example; if I were to say that I’ve hidden three golden coins somewhere in Fairmont and then ask you to find them, you could report back saying 1 of 3 things. You could assert you’ve looked, did not find them, and so they do not exist; you could assert you looked, but could not find them, but they may exist somewhere you have not looked; or you could assert the coins do exist, and you’ve found them (and then show them to me).

Now obviously the last two assertions can be verified; but the first one can not. To assert the coins do not exist one must have looked in every corner, hallway, street, box, cabinet, closet, book, etc... anywhere a coin may fit in the entire city! That position can not be verified. The second one may be, for it is very possible you did not look everywhere so the coins are somewhere you’ve not yet looked; and of course the third one is verified by producing the coins and telling me where you found them. So in short, to say God does not exist, an atheist must have searched EVERY philosophy, every religion, every piece of evidence, every space in the universe, etc... And where as NO ONE has searched the entire universe they certainly can not make the assertion God does not exist.

However, being that I’m attempting to make assertion 3 (the coins exist, I found them; in this case God exists, here He is) I must provide some type of evidence or logical proposition that verifies His existence. I will start with just one simple three-point argument:
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. The universe MUST HAVE a cause.

This gets us half-way through assertion 3. However, how do I know for certain that Jesus Christ is the correct way? There are three major monotheistic religions, how do I know Christianity is the correct one?

Well by means of reasoning we can safely say that there can only be one God. For it is quite impossible for there to be two all-powerful or infinitely powerful beings. They would eventually collide and thus limit each other and so they would no longer be all powerful. If you’ve seen "The Year Without a Santa Clause" think of the Coldmiser and Heatmiser; one of them can control a geographic area, but they can not possibly both simultaneously control the same area peaceably when one would lower and the other raise the temperature.

So we know that there can only be one Creator (Ockham’s Razor also leads to this conclusion). How do we know whether Judaism, Islam, or Christianity is correct?

The easiest way to draw lines here is the person of Jesus Christ. As a Christian I hold He is God-made-flesh and the Savior of mankind. Jews generally hold unfavorable (at best) opinions of Him; and Islamists hold He was a great prophet and nothing more, nothing less.

Now the central tenant of the Christian faith (and the greatest verification that Christ is God-made-flesh) is the Resurrection of Christ, for Islam or Judaism to genuinely discredit Christianity they must discredit the Resurrection. However, in light of all the historical evidence there is no logical reason NOT to believe the Resurrection as recorded in the Gospels.

There are several theories that do attempt to explain the Resurrection as something else. Those of the Islamic faith hold Jesus was never actually crucified, but a criminal that looked just like Him was crucified in His stead and Christ was taken to be with Allah. The problem here is this story has NO historical backing or record, it is contradicted by accurate historical records, and it wasn’t even proposed until the 700-800’s A.D. so there are no witnesses and no way to verify this.

Judaism typically tries to deal with the Resurrection by saying the disciples stole Jesus body from the tomb. Well, here’s the problems with that argument.
1. The tomb was guarded by a Roman guard; and it doesn’t follow logically that 11 (Judas Iscariot would not have been among them at this point) mostly unarmed disciples could defeat a company of the most well-trained soldiers in the world.
2. The Gospels record the origin of this argument as one made-up by the religious leaders in Jerusalem to silence talk about the Resurrection (Matthew 28:12-14).
3. The Disciples would not have died proclaiming Christ crucified, risen, and coming again if they knew the Resurrection was a lie.
4. This does not account for all the post-Resurrection witnesses of Christ.

So now I’d like to propose just a little bit of the evidence for the Resurrection of Christ. There were, in fact, several eyewitnesses, including the 11 disciples, two disciples on the road to Emmaeus, the women and their company at the tomb, the apostle Paul, and over five-hundred cited by Paul most of which were alive at the time (See the last chapters of the Gospels, I Corinthians 15:4-8).

There was also reporting of the preaching of the Resurrection, and the life of Christ in secular writings such as those of Flavius Josephus, and Tacitus. Not to mention records of the early Church in early Jewish writings.

The fact is the Gospels are so well verified from an archeological, historical, philosophical, even medical perspective there is no significant reason to doubt the Resurrection of Christ. Here I’ve only presented a small sample of all the arguments and evidence in the apologetic world, hopefully I’ve left the door open for some debate and discussion.

Well, that seems enough to get the discussion going. God bless!

Part 2
For those of you that read my most recent note, you’ll find I used a three-point argument to briefly prove the existence of God.

For those of you who are familiar with Dr. William Lane Craig or Lee Strobel (individuals from whom I gather many of these arguments) the Kalam argument should ring a bell. For those of you not so engaged in apologetics I’ll re-cap it here:
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. The universe has a cause.

Now in my last note I discussed briefly why the cause must be God. In this note I’d like to get into some of the objections to this argument and a few of the finer points.

Now many atheists upon hearing this argument will say one of two things:
1. What caused God?
2. The cause of the universe: is a cosmic-vacuum, can be demonstrated by Hawking’s Oscillating Model, etc...

The first question is an absurdity and completely misunderstands the argument. Notice that ONLY things that BEGIN to exist have a cause. God never began to exist, He always existed. He is eternal; transcending time. It is not the case that God was around for an infinite number of years before He created the world; it is that years were not even in existence, time was not around.

Now the second argument, that the universe was caused by a cosmic vacuum, universe making machine, etc... does not eliminate the necessity of God. Why? Because that universe making machine would have had to begin to exist, and therefore it must have a cause. Based on the same reasons I previously stated that cause must be God I state this cause would have to be God.

No scholar will dispute the fact that everything that begins to exist has a cause. However, some do dispute that the universe began to exist. But, the universe is distinct from God as far as eternal existence goes. For we know that time does exist, and the universe must be finite. To say the universe has existed an infinite number of years is to commit a mathematical absurdity that can only be proved in theory with imaginary numbers.

The universe can not be infinitely old because that would lead to contradictory mathematical results. For example:
Infinity minus infinity= 0
Infinity minus infinity= infinity
Infinity minus infinity =1
To provide a concrete example, say I have an infinite number of dollars, and I give you all of my money, this would be case 1 (above).
If I give you half of my money, this would be case 2.
If I give you all but 1 dollar this would be case 3.

As you can see, these are mathematical contradictions, because infinity is simply a theoretical idea and does not truly exist.

Some would here say that "How did God exist for infinity?" to which I must reply God is eternal, infinity is a span we humans created. God transcends our measurements of time, power, wisdom, etc... God is unmeasurable, not infinitely measurable.

Therefore, the Kalam argument stands up to these various scrutinies.

(For more see: Dr. William Lane Craig,, and Lee Strobel’s "The Case for Christ" and "The Case for a Creator").

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Be Happy?

Today I was talking with a middle-school aged kid who mentioned people in his school who cut themselves, and relate with the "emo" crowd.

Last week there was a fire and shooting threat at my alma mater.

Yesterday there was a bomb threat at a different local high school.

Does anyone see something wrong with these pictures?

I do. I see unhappy, dissatisfied people. Particularly unhappy, dissatisfied young people.

Why? Isn't today's prevailing theory of secular humanism, which teaches that the chief aim of man is to be happy, working? Is it not making people happy? No, apparently it's not; it seems to me it's making people miserable. Now don't get me wrong, there are numerous contributing factors to the decay of youth, but the one that seems most prevalent is a lake of direction and purpose, which should ultimately come from God.

Secular humanism fails in that it teaches mans chief purpose is to be happy. I'm sorry, but being happy is not a purpose, it is a symptom of one fulfilling purpose, not the purpose in and of itself.

Why do todays youth feel abandoned, and depressed, and distressed to the point they are mutilating themselves, and threatening to kill their principals? Because they are missing their purpose. We tell them to be happy, but provide no way to be happy. Happiness does not come from drugs, and sex, and wild partying, etc... Happiness will come when people enter the purpose God has for them; happiness is not the purpose, it is a result.

Listen to these words of the great preacher Smith Wigglesworth:
"If you wish to be anything for God, do not miss His plan. God has no room for you on ordinary lines" (emphasis mine). Humanism only has room for you on ordinary lines. The reason people are not happy with humanism is because it forces conformity to mediocrity. It is no wonder people are unfulfilled and unhappy!

In a very real way people today are parched. They want some substance to life, the humanistic world is a desert, with nothing but sand. However life in Christ is fulfilling! John 7:38 (NIV) says: "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." You need some water to truly live an abundant, fulfilling life, and Christ offers streams of living water to all who believe in Him!

A.W. Tozer said "the chief aim of man is to glorify God". You will never achieve true happiness outside of the will of God! God has put desires and dreams in your heart for a reason, He wants you to live abundantly. Jesus came "that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10, NIV). Jesus wants us to have an abundant, full life; but you have to believe in the One who offers that life!

So humanism says you should aim to be happy; it is apparent that happiness is a result, not a method. The only way you will ever truly be happy is by submitting your life to Jesus Christ and His great will for your life!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Blog Catalog

So I've signed up for blog catalog, it looks pretty cool. You should all sign up for it.

I probably should update this blog more often. Maybe I'll make that one of my goals.

God bless!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Alright, I've got more stuff running through my head then I can fit in the title, so I think the above title pretty well explains this post.

First, as most of you know I can be fairly cynical and caustic. I guess in some scenarios being cynical can be good. But for that to be the case the cynicism has to result in some type of positive action. I always hear about how corrupt our two big parties (Democrat and Republican) are; well my answer is to stop voting them into office! There is a plethora of third parties that we could elect. There is literally a third party that could cater to anybody's trifling whims. Even if we only gave third parties 20 seats in the Senate, and the two main parties both had about 40 third parties would be powerful enough to tilt a vote. We don't need overwhelming majority, just a solid minority. Look at British Parliament and people like Gladstone; they weren't only prominent when their party was in power. They were prominent when they made up a strong minority. It would be benefitting to this country to give the third parties a little bit of power. Now that I've done my political rant I think I should sum this up: cynicism can be good when it produces positive change.

Next, I'm tired of the Church being mis-represented by ignorant people. If people like Rosie O'Donnel honestly think that Christianity can be just as dangerous as Islam then one of two things has happened. 1. We in the Church have failed to show what the Church is really about. 2. People like O'Donnel are greatly mis-interpreting our message. Maybe it's a little bit of both. Pat Robertson hasn't really been a beacon of Christian love in this country. We in the Church need to distance ourselves from being dominated by a political agenda. It's not wrong for us to be involved in politics; but when politics run our churches we are in for a slew of trouble. Aside from this we have a tremendous amount of ignorant believers. Either they are Biblically ignorant but are "logical" or they are Biblically educated but can't seem to grasp logic. I would like the point out that you don't have the leave your brain at the Church door. There is room for educated, logical people in the Church. Like Aristotle said "it is the mark of an educated man to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it". This is not the state of the Church, so many Christian's are so closed to anything anybody (except Pat Robertson) says is wrong they have lost the ability to think for themselves.

Of course the same can be said of the far-left progressive movement. If the ACLU says it they believe it, no questions asked. They spout their mantras like is Canon; and if you disagree they respond as if they expect God to strike you down (even though they generally don't believe in God; which makes me ask, if there is no God then why should we give any thought to morals?).

Now getting a little bit more personal; I don't like it when people decide to take interest in me. Let me clarify: if I'm reading a book intently, please just leave me alone. I don't want you to sit there and watch me, I don't need your opinions of the author. If I want that stuff I'll engage you in conversation. I don't mind if you ask the title of the book, and what it's about; but don't go into a big speel about how much you disagree with the author. I honestly doubt you've read everything they have written in the first place. Now this applies not just when I'm reading, but when I'm talking with friends, when I'm writing, when I'm on myspace, when I'm doing anything like that. Please just let me do my thing.

Right along with that is I'm a very personal person. Let me try to put this into perspective for you. Think of a football field, I'm at one end of it. How open I am about personal matters with you depends on where you are in relation to the end zone that I'm at. There are few things that drive me nuts more then someone at the 50 yard line that thinks they're at the end zone. It is not my intention to be rude, but if you're at the fifty yard line I don't even know if you're on my team yet! Now keep in mind, this is a football field, you can always move closer (or farther away). Every mark you pass opens up the possibility for a closer relatinship, which opens the door for more openness and benefits as a friend. How do you become friends with me? Or anyone for that matter? Well, you have to talk, spend time with, help, encourage, and genuinly love anyone that is going to be a true friend, and that's just a start.

I know I normally do not get personal in my blogs, but this is something I've really been thinking about. What does friendship really mean? What does it entail? What is it in one person that would spark a desire for friendship with another?

I've always been of the opinion that we are measured by actions. But can we apply that measure to friendship? Having discussed this issue with a good friend we came to this conclusion: friendship is measured by your comfort around a person, how well that comfort allows you to communicate with that person, and what kind of bonds that allows you to form. This will then determine what you do with and for that relationship.

Any other thoughts on the topics?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Lost Tomb of Jesus

Alright, many of you have probably already heard about "The Lost Tomb of Jesus". A documentary that will air on the discovery channel Sunday night. This documentary will present the idea that Jesus family tomb has been found, with some evidence of Jesus and Mary Magdalene having a son (named Judah, ironically).

I'm going to point out the facts about this whole find right now; because otherwise the skeptics will have a field day with this, perhaps even moreso then they did with the Da Vinci Code (which has been refuted and completely debunked, by the way; a work of fiction with no historical backing).

First, lets look at some of the theological considerations. In fact, I'll go straight to what the Discovery channel says on their website: " It is a matter of Christian faith that Jesus of Nazareth was resurrected from the dead three days after his crucifixion circa 30 C.E. This is a central tenet of Christian theology, repeated in all four Gospels. The Lost Tomb of Jesus does not challenge this belief." (Bold emphasis theirs). So there you have it, one might just dismiss the whole matter right there. But I'll go a little deeper into it. The term translated "Jesus" that is found in the tombs is the Hebrew name "Yeshua", which is indeed the name for Jesus; but also the name for Joshua. So perhaps Joshua and Mary had a son named Judah, this would explain the second Mary found in the tomb; and eliminate any theories about Jesus marrying Mary Magdalene.

But I'll go even deeper then that. What they are thinking could possibly be Mary Magdalene is in Greek "Mariamene e Mara", they translate it as "Mary, known as master". Well there are a few other possibilities here. First Mara is a diminutive of Mary, they say that right on their site. Second, it is from Aramaic they get "master" because mara is Aramaic for master; but the lettering of this inscription is Greek! Not Aramaic. Third, though the lettering is Greek, mara in Hebrew means bitter. So there are at least three possibilities of translation there; they chose "known as master" because it fits Mary Magdalene; but there is no reason I can concieve to believe it should be translated that way over the others (especially the Greek, since that inscription is in Greek).

The next thing I would like to examine is why are there three different languages for the inscriptions? (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic; ironically the languages of the Bible). If these people were a family, they would have died relatively close in time to each other; and it would make sense the inscriptions would have been put there by people speaking the same language, around the same time. I would also like to ask is what period have we dated these coffins and inscriptions to? Where the inscriptions put there at the burial or after the burial? If after the burial, by whom? And would that person be trustworthy? These are just questions I have.

Next, I would like to cite on an article they did on it entitled "Resources and Responses to 'The Tomb of Jesus and His Family' Story".
This is a portion of what they had to say:

"But Bar-Ilan University Prof. Amos Kloner, the Jerusalem District archeologist who officially oversaw the work at the tomb in 1980 and has published detailed findings on its contents, on Saturday night dismissed the claims. "It makes a great story for a TV film," he told The Jerusalem Post. "But it's impossible. It's nonsense."

Kloner, who said he was interviewed for the new film but has not seen it, said the names found on the ossuaries were common, and the fact that such apparently resonant names had been found together was of no significance. He added that "Jesus son of Joseph" inscriptions had been found on several other ossuaries over the years.

"There is no likelihood that Jesus and his relatives had a family tomb," Kloner said. "They were a Galilee family with no ties in Jerusalem. The Talpiot tomb belonged to a middle-class family from the 1st century CE."

Well, I honestly think that answers the claims about "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" and any serious argument a skeptic might try to use from it. Please take the time to examine the evidence for yourself: ""

God bless!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Sleeping Church

Well, I'm filling in for my dad at Church tomorrow so I figured I'd share the text of my sermon with you all. Enjoy.

The Sleeping Church

Ephesians 5:13-14 “But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”

In examining this text there are a few things we need to look at, a few questions we need to ask, firstly:

I. What is a sleeper? Not a sleeper as in someone entirely without Christ, a sleeper as in someone who claims to have Christ but is in some type of spiritual slump. A sleeper has several characteristics.
A Sleeper:
? Has eyes closed. Anyone who has their eyes closed obviously can’t see. Their only hope is to wander around aimlessly or open their eyes. It isn’t that light is unavailable, just one who closes their eyes refuses to accept light.
? Lets their guard down. It is impossible to sleep and be alert. A good soldier in war will never sleep without some assurance of protection, either a friend on watch or a well hidden spot. The problem with Christians having a friend on watch to alert them of the Master is no man knows the day or hour, the problem with a hiding spot is you can’t hide from God, ask Jonah! Psychology tells us that we think of so many crazy things when we are asleep because our mind is letting all of its mental guards down. Likewise when a Christian begins to let their guard down we open ourselves to the filth of the world, no resistance to the world without our guard up. Also can you imagine trying to drive a car while asleep with your guard down? I can assure you it is a sure-fire way to prevent old age. I can also tell you it’s a sure-fire way to get a ride in a hearse. Thirdly I can say if everything is coming your way you are in the wrong lane! We wouldn’t try steering a car asleep but we think we can manage our Christian life asleep.
? Allows nonsense to run through head. This is because the mental guard is down. What’s going through our heads doesn’t necessarily have to be evil to keep us from God, there are plenty of distractions that are not evil; books, board games, telephones, sports, etc... however, they become evil when we begin to put them before God. Those things can help us sleep because there is no thought put into them, they require no energy. However, service of the King requires a lot of things we just aren’t willing to give, prayer, study, dedication, but we drown all those things out because we can spend all sorts of time doing other things that allow us to remain spiritually dead! It’s amazing that we can spend two stinking hours at the theatre, but can’t spend 15 minutes praying everyday!
? Can talk but doesn’t say anything. Lots of people talk in their sleep, seldom do they ever really say anything. We see so many Christians who can talk and talk and talk about what Jane wore to work yesterday or how the Steelers didn’t make the playoffs, but how many Christians can talk just as much about the Bible? About Jesus? We have a serious problem, we might label it as gossip, or in terms of spiritual things, sleeptalking.
? Doesn’t get anything done. Obviously, how can you do anything when you are asleep? It just doesn’t make sense, it isn’t feasible. Surely Jesus calls us to go into all the world and preach The Gospel! He doesn’t intend for us to sit idly around, sleeping! What a boring life! If the Christian life is all sleeping it’s no wonder we can’t fill our Church on Sunday morning, in fact I would go so far as to say if the Church is meant to sleep we have done a wonderful job! I dare you to go home and ask your neighbor what time they got up this morning. If you ask someone under 30 there’s probably a 50% chance it wasn’t before 9:00. You ask someone under 25 and I’ll almost guarantee it wasn’t before 12:00. Yes, the Church has done wonderful job of training sleepers, good ones, just look at all the mattress commercials on TV, we are excellent sleepers. Yes, we can spend all day doing nothing but we don’t have time to spread the Gospel.
? Is indifferent to circumstances. Lastly I’ll say a sleeper is indifferent to circumstances. They don’t care what’s going on. You know why? As long as they are asleep it won’t affect them one way or the other. What difference does it make if I’m out riding my bike? As long as you are asleep you’ll never know I went by. Now if I go out and preach and wake you up then I’ll get arrested for disturbing the peace. That’s a completely different story, because loud preaching doesn’t generally encourage sleeping. A sleeper doesn’t care if their neighbor is going to eternal damnation. What difference does it make to them as long as they can go on sleeping.

1. Is the Church sleeping?
Now I ask is the Church in this state? Is the Church sleeping? Does the Church have it’s eyes closed? Have we let our guard down? Are we letting nonsense run through our head? Are we talking but not saying anything? Are we not getting anything done? Are we indifferent to circumstances? I believe the answer to all these questions is yes!
? Are our eyes closed? Well, we certainly seem to be wandering pretty aimlessly for having our eyes open. If our eyes were truly open we would see what a crises the world is in! “Oh, well we know the world’s in a crises” really, could’ve fooled me, if you really believe the world is in a crises what are we doing about it??? We could be accepting the light Christ gives us, but we can’t sleep in the midst of light! There has to be darkness for spiritual sleep (or death), because if there is light then Christ is there! If someone walks in darkness but claims to have Christ then they are lying! Light and dark are mutually exclusive, they can not co-exist! I believe the Church’s eyes have been closed for too long.
? Have we let our guard down? Where were we when abortion was legalized? Where were we when they took the Bible out of school? What are we doing now that they want to legalize gay marriage? Let me tell you right now, the Republican and Democratic parties are not going to solve the Church’s problems. There are problems inside the Church that the Church hasn’t solved yet. What are we doing now that they are celebrating Evolution Sunday? Bet you didn’t know that there are people who call themselves Christian’s celebrating Evolution Sunday; I don’t know if they planned it but it’s the same Sunday as Scout Sunday, just last week. They celebrate it under the name of “progressivism”, if telling people there are many ways to Heaven, that you don’t have to accept Christ to get to Heaven, and that we should celebrate evolution is progressive then they can keep it cause I don’t want it! What are we doing now that preachers aren’t even preaching from the Bible? They’ve taken the Bible out of school and you can see the results, are we going to let them take the Bible out of our Churches? Come on Church, stop catering to the world, let’s have a backbone! “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15).
? Are we letting nonsense run through our head? If not our heads then it is certainly running from some of our mouths, and pulpits! Preachers preaching that Jesus isn’t the only way, you know what? The Bible has a word for people who don’t teach the Bible, they’re called false!
? Are we talking but not saying anything? Well, it seems we’ll talk about anything but the Bible. We’ll talk about anything but God. We can talk... talk... talk, talk, talk, talk, but we can do all that talking and not say anything! Talk is cheap, most Americans have heard someone talk about Jesus, but very few have had someone show them Jesus! Come on, according to verse 13 whatever makes manifest is light; so by means of deductive reasoning I would argue that if we are not making manifest then we are not light! But we are meant to be the light of the world; holy vessels of the Living God! Before gold can be made to a vessel it must be purified, and the way of telling if gold is purified is you heat it to liquid, and when the refiner can see his reflection in it he knows it’s ready! We need to be that pure gold and reflect Jesus, and show His light!
? Are we not getting anything done? Well, evangelism has slowed down tremendously. They estimate that only 4% of my generation will grow up to be true, born-again Christians! The baby boomer generation had 35% and look how bad America’s gotten already! Can you imagine what it will be like with 4%? That is what will happen if the current rate of evangelism continue. I would say that at least in terms of evangelism we are not getting much done. However, in terms of compromise many Churches are moving in leaps and bounds. We’ve got people who have figured out how to compromise on homosexuality; compromise on Jesus life, death, and resurrection; compromise on the authority of Scripture; compromise on weather the Bible is “absolutely right”. Well isn’t the Church just a theological oddity! Compromise everything! The only reason we haven’t compromised evangelism is because it doesn’t exist among sleepers!
? Are we indifferent to circumstances? Well, if we aren’t getting anything done, and if we aren’t opening our eyes, and if we aren’t keeping our guard up then I can only come to the conclusion that we just don’t care anymore! This is a problem! How can we reflect the Wonderful Counselor and not care? If a counselor doesn’t care then he or she is not a good counselor, at all; I’ve been a camp counselor for three years, and have never seen a good counselor that didn’t care! Now Jesus cared, so have we so easily given up on following in His steps? “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” I Peter 2:21. Tell me, can we be indifferent and follow in His steps?

II. The Remedy. Now we can see the sleepy, dead state the Church has fallen into. And realizing your sleep is one of the first steps to awakening, spiritually speaking. So how can we wake up? What does it take?

1. Awaking
? Realize your spiritual sleep. We have got to realize that we are in a state of sleep, we have to acknowledge being in the darkness. If you don’t know your in the darkness what motivation is there to enter into light?
? Realize the darkness. We also have to come to an understanding of this darkness. It is nothing short of spiritual death. This darkness is some type of sin(s), it’s either doing what you know is wrong, or not doing what you know is right, or a combination of the two. But we have to get away from the darkness, we can no longer be partakers of it if we are going to live in Christ. Verse 11 tells us we are to have nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness but that we are to reprove them! So get away from that darkness that is causing your sleep. Stay away from it, repent of your sins and never go near that darkness again!
? Something has to rouse us. If you are going to wake up there is normally a cause, a mental clock that says you’ve slept to long, or an alarm clock, or the appearance of light. In terms of spiritual sleep I believe there must be something to rouse us; The Holy Ghost moving as our alarm. Now what happens when the Holy Ghost begins to move? Well, let’s see, sins are repented of, revival begins, people begin turning to Jesus, lives are healed, Christian’s begin using this God-given power to really make a difference in this world! We have a Church like that of the Apostles that turned the world upside down!

2. No longer dead. All those happenings lead to the increasingly apparent fact that the Church is no longer dead. Instead of a sleeping Church we have a giant out causing raucous in the darkness. The mighty Army of God is on the move and the forces of evil know because the move is so strong, so powerful, so crushing that those forces are defeated left and right. Come on people, Jesus was only in that tomb for three days and then He defeated death, hell, and the grave. On that third day I can picture it now. Satan is going to death, ‘can you hold him?’ ‘Of course, no one ever beat me’ Death says confidently. Second day same thing, Satan says ‘can you hold Him, I got plenty of legions if you need back-up.’ Death replies, ‘back-up, I don’t need no back-up, no one can beat me!’ Then the third day comes, and Satan says ‘can you hold Him?’ And Death frantically replies, ‘I don’t care how many legions you’ve got, I’ve tried everything I can and there just no stopping Jesus! He’s gone out of that tomb with Resurrection power!’ We can overcome this Spiritual death by the Blood of the Lamb! Jesus was victorious, and the Church is meant to be victorious! No weapon that is fashioned against us shall prosper!

III. Christ’s light.
1. Obliterates darkness. Now we can really look at this triumphantly. We don’t have to be a dead, sleeping Church. And once we are no longer dead the last part of verse 14 tells us that Christ shall give us light! We are roused and awoken by the Spirit, And then, oh then There is Light! Jesus is apparent. Christian’s are out preaching the Gospel, strongholds of the enemy are shattered because they can not co-exist with light, this sleepy world is turned upside down! The darkness that has haunted the Church and this world begins to break, but it doesn’t stop there, the darkness is completely gone! When Christ shall set us free we shall be free indeed! We aren’t in the darkness, we aren’t bound to the darkness, we aren’t slaves to the darkness. That is the Christian life I want to live, I don’t want to be some boring old dead Christian who just barely makes it into Heaven, or who doesn’t make it at all. When I stand before that great White Throne I want to hear well done thou good and faithful servant!
2. Produces fruit. Once we are living in the light we will inevitably produce fruit. Good fruits, not the wicked fruits of this world. If you are not producing fruit then you are still dead, because faith without works is dead; a tree without leaves is dead, or at least on break for the fall. We have to produce fruit if we are to live in the light! If you dwell in Jesus and Jesus in you then John 15:4 tells us that you will produce fruit. But don’t forget you have to dwell in Jesus, for a branch produces no fruit outside of the vine, you must dwell in the light!

IV. Conclusion: So what I want to ask you today is are you asleep? Will you continue in the dead patterns of sin or will you wake up and come to Christ and live in His light? The choice is yours, I can’t make it for you, your husband or wife, or father, or mother can’t make it for you. I’ll leave you with these words: “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”

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