Maryann Spikes’ Tweets

Maryann’s tweets are @Ichthus77

The Christian #apologist is burdened to reach that minority of persons who will respond to rational argument and evidence. -WLC, RF

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable in others because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. #CSLewis

Gould forgot you can’t have your NOMA and argue the panda’s thumb is evidence against design, too.

Avoid both 1) knowing, but lacking faith (even demons know), and 2) trusting, but lacking discernment (even idolaters trust). Know and trust.

Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil (or: disaster)? Job 2:10

Is there no truth (is that true?), are all beliefs true (even if they contradict eachother?), or is there only one truth/reality?

Douglas Groothuis: …redemption must originate from beyond the royal ruins of the self… (Christian Apologetics, p. 88).

Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature. ~ Augustine

Euthyphro’s dilemma resolved: God commands in accordance with his goodness. The Good is not over God, or arbitrarily created. God IS the good.

World: I make the standard. Religion: I follow the standard. Gospel: I am loved by the Standard.

“…the doors to hell are locked from the inside.” C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Jesus’ birth shows “God helps those who help themselves” is a lie.

Tatian’s gospel harmony, the Diatessaron (c150-160), before there was an NT canon, contains 96% of John’s gospel.

Every church should have an apologetics program for faith crisis prevention and intervention.

2 Cor. 2:5 We live by faith, not by sight. Genuine faith is based on evidence we’ve already seen. Nobody trusts anybody out of the blue.

If Jesus is God…he can do what he wants. He made the universe, so what’s the big deal about feeding a few extra people? –WLC

I step up and catch the apple. Have I broken the laws of science? The answer is no…I have stepped in and intervened. –WLC #miracles

When Christians ask God questions, does it mean they don’t trust him enough? No.  Jesus said, Ask, seek, knock (Matt. 7:7-8).

If the universe began to exist at some point in the past, then it must have had a cause with no beginning.  A beginningless God.

God has always existed. He never had a beginning, so he doesn’t need a cause to exist. –WLC

People only adopt the religion they grew up with?  That has been shown false by so many cross-cultural converts.

God is the only candidate for a perfectly good person in reality who makes moral standards true, or who is described by those standards.

“There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still” ― Corrie ten Boom

Prov. 2:3-5 If you…cry aloud for understanding, …then you will understand the (awe) of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

The evidence doesn’t save us, but removes obstacles to shifting our hope to the Gospel, and grounds faith.

Do you confidently encourage “Why?” questions, knowing that Jesus confidently calls us to A.sk, S.eek and K.nock?

Do you discourage “Just have faith” answers, knowing that faith is trust that follows knowing, as opposed to stopping there? (James 2:19)

Apologetics enables us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:28-30).

We dare not send them out to public high school and university armed with rubber swords and plastic armor. – WLC

Ask your questions without fear of being shut down.  God made us to hunger for true meaning.

“Let this then suffice to show that the firmest belief is that opposite assertions are not true at the same time” #Aristotle #Metaphysics

More Christians would be willing to talk about God dying for us if they knew the answers to questions they are terrified people will ask.

Leader: Someone willing to step up and help find answers, rather than shutting down questions.

Stephen did #apologetics in Acts 6:9-10: These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could not stand up…

Paul did #apologetics in Acts 9:22 …baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.

More #apologetics from Paul: Acts 1:1-3; 2:22; 14:17; 17:2-3, 17, 27, 31; 18:28; 19:8; 22:1; and 28:23-24. Blinding light=unblind faith.

Our moral beliefs, in order to be knowledge, must be ‘both’ justified by reasons ‘and’ true to a good being. #apologetics

Whatever begins to exist has a cause. The universe began to exist. Therefore, the universe has a Cause. #apologetics

Golden Rule love is found in every major culture because we all hunger for REAL goodness and meaning. #apologetics http://ow.ly/hl1OJ

Got questions? Get answers.  A.sk, S.eek, K.nock

To what always good being do your moral beliefs correspond? What being do your oughts describe?

Genuine faith is trusting what we already have good reason to believe. Blind belief is not biblical.

The #GoldenRule describes a God who died in our place and gave us his righteousness.  Treat the Other as Self, and vice versa.  Other=Self.

Jesus is a God we can approach without pride and before whom we can humble ourselves without despair. — Pascal (qtd in Groothuis)

Matthew 7:12 So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.#GoldenRule

Faith is not blind, but it is more than merely seeing.  Faith sees, but then it trusts, and keeps trusting even when it stops seeing.

“The goal of apologetics is…that we may have more faith in the God we believe in.” — @ThePoached Egg

Where does faith come in?  After you believe the evidence, and put your faith (trust) in God.

We are saved by grace through faith: Trusting God in response to positive evidence and despite negative circumstances.

Do you ever wonder why everything doesn’t just stop existing, what keeps it all existing, and how it even began?

Despite all the suffering we cause, God allows us to continue, and died in our place.

C.A.S.E. (Christian Apologetics Search Engine) Got questions? Get answers http://t.co/c2Uee1Ha

Churches for Apologetics petition — add your voice! –> http://t.co/po1yocgi0N

God He loves us no matter what, so much that He would die for us.

Why did Jesus’ followers go from hiding in fear, to boldly proclaiming, overnight?

Compare John 20:19 and Acts 2:14.  Only the resurrection.

MT: Differences show there was no collusion among them; agreements show they independently narrated the same transaction. — Simon Greenleaf

Compared to other ancient txts, NT docs enjoy the shortest gaps between 1) events and records, and 2) originals and copies (5,664 Greek!).

The king is familiar with these things…because it was not done in a corner. Acts 26:26

Is it enough that Jesus is a symbol of hope, or is it important…that his life, teachings, and resurrection are rooted in history? -Strobel

1. “centrality of supernatural in life of Jesus has no parallel in Jewish history” (cont.)

2. “…the radical nature of his miracles distinguished him. It didn’t just rain when he prayed for it” (cont.)

3. “Jesus…did miracles on his own authority. …you never find him asking the Father to do it” Done in Father’s pwr (cont.)

4. You don’t find rabbis talking like Jesus anywhere. “all authority has been given me” “honor me as you would the Father”etc

Jesus was unique. Quotes from my tweets numbered 1-4 are from Strobel’s “The Case for Christ” 157-158. :0)

G.K. Chesterton: “Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.”

C.S. Lewis:  I didn’t go to religion to make me ‘happy.’  I always knew a bottle of Port would do that.

C.S. Lewis:  If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.

Willing is only ever genuinely lovable when willing to love genuinely. #Nietzsche #GoldenRule

The apostles didn’t get “rising from the dead” right off because Jesus often spoke poetically and they thought he would liberate militarily.

The apostles wouldn’t have invented Jesus’ resurrection because they thought there would only be one resurrection for everyone at the end.

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good. 1 Thess. 5:21

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. 2 Corinthians 10:5

Acts 19:8 tells us that “Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.”

Acts 18:27-28 Apollos “vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.”

Matthew 7:11 The Father gives the best gifts. Romans 8:32 He gave his Son/life for us — what will he hold back?

“As it is, the lover of inquiry must follow his beloved wherever it may lead him.” –Socrates

The design inference is alive and well in archaeology, cryptography & the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI). -Groothuis’ Crstn Aplgtcs

Richard Dawkins: Biology is “the study of living things that give appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

Francis Crick: “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”

Methodist church’s Sunday school class supports #apologetics: http://wellsvilleumc.blogspot.com/2010/11/apologetics-mid-term-quiz.html

Catholic church’s high school class supports #apologetics: http://www.quia.com/pages/shayes298/page1

Baptist church’s bible institute supports #apologetics: http://www.bbcchurch.org

@FCFChurch Thanks for supporting apologetics! :0)

@calvarykazoo Thankyou for supporting apologetics and hosting Dr. Tim McGrew’s series on the Gospels! :0)

@redeemermodesto Thankyou for supporting Apologetics at the Bean :0)

@MVChapel Thankyou so much for supporting apologetics through the Reasonable Faith chapter and classes like “The Case for Christ”!

@BaysideChurch Thankyou for supporting apologetics by hosting the Thrive Apologetics Conference!

What churches do you know of that support apologetics and how do they support it?

Baptist church elective supports #apologetics: http://www.fbcliveoak.org/apologetics

Alabama Baptist church hosted SALT #apologetics conference: http://www.tacticalfaith.com/photo-gallery/salt-conference-jan-2013

Cherry Hills Community Church hosted Questions Every Christian Hopes No One Will Ask conference            http://incastevents.com/portfolio/events/

Jesus helped the man who said, “I do believe! Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) and he showed Thomas what he needed to see.

Add your voice to the “Churches for Apologetics” petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/churches-for-apologetics

God fulfills the #GoldenRule: For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

“weigh carefully what is said” 1 Corinthians 14:29

If God is good and all-powerful, why does he not allow us free will to love or reject him?  Oh, he does.  Nevermind.

If God doesn’t exist because he is an opiate or crutch for the soul, does food not exist because it satisfies physical hunger?

Jonn 20:27 “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian, that’s a tough call. That’s rebellion. – Alice Cooper

You study the Scriptures diligently…These are the very Scriptures that testify about me. -Jesus John 5:39.

False old wives’ tale #1:  Faith is belief without, or despite, evidence. Truth: Faith is trust despite circumstances.

False old wives’ tale #2:  The more virtuous the faith, the less evidence in favor of it.  Truth:  Faith is trust.

False old wives’ tale #3:  God helps those who help themselves.  Truth: Jesus died for us before we knew him.

False old wives’ tale #4:  Cleanliness is next to godliness.  Truth:  That “verse” is not in the Bible.

False old wives’ tale #5:  All you have to do to go to heaven is “be a good person.”  Truth:  Jesus paid it all.

1 Timothy 4:7 Have nothing to do with…old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.

Yes, atheists can be good without believing in God.  But, without God, there is no always good being that “moral truth” describes.

Luke 13:1-8 In a tragedy, don’t infer God’s punishment on others–instead, examine your own heart in light of eternal tragedy.

1 Corinthians 8:1’s “knowledge puffs up” is not about staying ignorant, it is about love and being sensitive to those who lack knowledge.

If there are true moral beliefs (iow, if there are moral facts), then a perfectly moral person exists to which moral facts are true.

We would not all have a hunger for soul-satisfying goodness and meaning if there were no being in reality that could satisfy that hunger.

Nihilists show a hunger for true meaning and goodness when they refuse to allow constructs to obligate them.

That the #GoldenRule is found in every major culture in history is evidence of our universal hunger for true meaning and goodness.

Only laws which correspond to a good being obligate us, as these are the only laws which satisfy our hunger for true goodness and meaning.

The Gospels were written too early for legend to develop. http://ichthus77.blogspot.com/2009/01/rfg-7-you-cant-take-bible-literally.html

Hostile witnesses would have busted the authors of the New Testament if they were lying.  http://ichthus77.blogspot.com/2011/09/three-reasons-we-know-gospels-are.html

No one dies for lies.  See how Jesus’ disciples died. http://www.ichthus.info/Disciples/intro.html

Apologetics is the Kung Fu of theology. It’s not about fighting. It’s about making peace with your enemies.

Relying on God has to start all over everyday., as if nothing has yet been done.’ ~ C.S.Lewis Mornings are an Eden.

1.  Matthew 26:67-68 Why ask him to tell them who slapped him? Luke 22 They blindfolded him. #UndesignedCoincidences

2: Mark 6:31 Why are many coming and going? John 6:4 The Passover pilgrimage. #UndesignedCoincidences

3: Matthew 8:16 Why in the evening? Mark 1:21 Sabbath over at evening (cannot bear burden). #UndesignedCoincidences

4: Luke 9:36 Why did they keep silent? Mark 9 Jesus told them to tell no one. #UndesignedCoincidences

5: John 6:5 Why pick Philip? Luke 9: The setting of the miracle is Bethsaida, Philip’s “hometown” (John 1:44). #UndesignedCoincidences

6. John 21 Why ask “…more than these?” Matthew 26:33 “Though they all fall away…I will never fall away.” #UndesignedCoincidences

7. Lk 23:1-4 Why Pilate find no guilt in Jesus? John 18:28 “My kingdom is not of this world.” Luke names the charge. #UndesignedCoincidences

8. Matt. 14:1-2 Why is Herod speaking to his servants? Luke 8:3 Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager. #UndesignedCoincidences

“God said it, I believe it, that settles it”?  What if you misunderstood him?

…the pages of a molecular biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer engineering journal. – Richard Dawkins

Basing your identity on anything other than God’s eternal love is basing it on something that will ultimately fail you.

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths … we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 2 Peter 1:16

Must an objectively true moral ‘ought’ correspond to the ‘is’ of reality?

In essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity. –Marco Antonio de Dominis

Outline of theistic arguments from natural theology: http://appearedtoblogly.wordpress.com/theistic-arguments

Bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. — C. S. Lewis

A quantum vacuum is far from nothing and [does] not constitute an exception to the principle that whatever begins to exist has a cause.”-WLC

There is, to my apprehension, nothing more unreasonable than to neglect and despise plain and sufficient evidence before us.” Thomas Sherlock

The teacher is able to form the letters for the child because the teacher is grown-up and knows how to write. C.S. Lewis

We hunger for meaning that exists, or we would not hunger for it.

We are all here to uncover the truth and skim out error.  Strengthen the guy on the team whose argument is too weak.

Moral Truth Litmus 1 of 3: Moral truth, like all other truth, must be discovered, not created.

Moral Truth Litmus 2 of 3:  Moral truth, like all other truth, must count the self and the other interchangeably, being true for all or none.

Moral Truth Litmus 3 of 3:  Moral truth must describe how and why we should be and/or behave with others and ourselves.

Of all the theories in Ethics, only the #GoldenRule passes the 3-part litmus test. 1. It is discovered, grounded in God’s nature. (cont.)

(cont.) Only the #GoldenRule passes Moral Truth Litmus 2: It treats the Other and Self interchangeably, by definition. (cont.)

(cont.) Only the #GoldenRule passes Moral Truth Litmus 3: How we should be, what we should do, the ultimate end, is love the Other as Self.

If your faith is crumbling because of evolution, please follow this link. http://biologos.org/questions

<—- unconditionally accepted. You, too.

Do you think moral truth is created, discovered, or that it doesn’t exist?

Theism and atheism are both beliefs. To lack belief is to be temporarily agnostic/apistic while investigating the questions that matter.

But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. (Deut. 4:29)

One can believe God exists and still reject him. Saving faith believes and trusts the hand that saves.

Only those with equal opportunity to know what they are rejecting can be responsible for freely choosing hell, or there is no God.

Before God pardons us, we are dead (wo)men walking.  The only people who go to hell are those who reject the pardon.

In order for there to be objective moral truths, they must both be justified and true (correspond to reality).

Jesus’ resurrection best explains these independently attested facts: (cont.)

1) Jesus was buried honorably by a member of the council who condemned him & who claimed his body was stolen from that tomb,

2) his tomb was discovered empty by witnesses considered uncredible and unbelieving Jews claimed Jesus’ body was stolen,

3) he appeared to individuals and groups after his death (delusions only happen to individuals), hostile witnesses would’ve objected,

4) the Jewish disciples believed in his resurrection, when Jews did not believe in ‘individual’ or ‘middle of history’ resurrection.

It would not have occurred to Jesus’ apostles to “make up” Jesus’ death or resurrection, because…

…Jesus’ disciples (Jews) thought the Messiah would free Israel from Roman domination, until his death and resurrection.

Eight years ago today, God knocked me upside the head and brought me back. http://www.ichthus77.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-day-i-converted-from-atheism-is.html

Help Thai women get out of prostitution by buying some Christmas gifts from Rahab Ministries. http://www.rahabministriesthailand.com

Should we lie to our kids about Santa and be surprised when they’re skeptical about Jesus?

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory…as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Christmas, whatever its true date, is when God became one of us, so he could go on to show us that he loves us so much he would die for us.

And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 1 Corinthians 15:14

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic last speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tb9m81OwYH0

Which do you think was a neighbor? (person) #prolife #GoodSamaritan

Too Long for Twitter:

“Gentlemen of the jury, I am grateful and I am your friend, but I will obey the god rather than you, and as long as I draw breath and am able, I shall not cease to practice philosophy, to exhort you and in my usual way to point out to any one of you whom I happen to meet: ‘Good Sir, you are an Athenian, a citizen of the greatest city with the greatest reputation for both wisdom and power; are you not ashamed of your eagerness to possess as much wealth, reputation and honors as possible, while you do not care for nor give thought to wisdom or truth, or the best possible state of your soul?’ Then, if one of you disputes this and says he does not care, I shall not let him go at once or leave him, but I shall question him, examine him and test him, and if I do not think he has attained the goodness that he says he has, I shall reproach him because he attaches little importance to the most important things and greater importance to inferior things. I shall treat in this way anyone I happen to meet, young and old, citizen and stranger, and more so the citizens because you are more kindred to me. Be sure that this is what the god orders me to do, and I think there is no greater blessing for the city than my service to the god.” (Socrates, Apology, 29c-30a)

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“Different phonetic, syntactic and semantic elements [between languages] do not render judgments like “The earth is round” relative to culture. Therefore, if varying nonmoral linguistic affirmations can successfully capture objective reality, so can varying moral affirmations [between cultures/individuals] capture–or fail to capture–objective realities.” –Douglas Groothuis, “Christian Apologetics” (334)

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“‎”God’s moral will is based on God’s changeless nature. …Objective moral values, according to the Bible, are not created… Just as God does not create himself. … To hearken back to Leff, to say that God’s moral utterances are ‘performative’ does not mean that God brings something into being at a particular time that did not exist previously…he is speaking according to the eternal nature of his being.” –Douglas Groothuis, “Christian Apologetics” (356).”

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“Five worldview signs to look for in whatever you read: 1. An idea of God or (if lacking) of ultimate reality. 2. An idea of the essential nature of the world–ordered/chaotic, material/spiritual? 3. An idea of who a human is. What is human nature? 4. An understanding of ethics. 5. An idea of the meaning of history.” — James Sire (paraphrased via Ethel Herr) If you keep your eyes critically open to these things, you are a philosopher. If you measure them against a Christian worldview, you are an apologist.

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Jesus didn’t cause a lot of drama and try to beg Judas to do otherwise. He said to get it over with. I can totally relate to that. Judas wasn’t a dummy, and there was no changing his mind. Jesus impresses me, every time.

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Christmas, whatever its true date, is when God became one of us, so that when the time came, he could demonstrate, by dying for us, that he loves us despite our works, whether they are good or sin–…demonstrate that his unconditional love motivates choosing good works over sin, rather than the other way around: good works motivating unconditional love (which would be a contradiction). This took a while to sink in for his original disciples (hence, Paul), and most the world–even many claiming to be Christians–still don’t get it…even though Christ did not arrive, live, or die unannounced. He is the summing up of the Old Testament, all of which foreshadowed his coming…and his return. The world thinks this is crazy, and it is. But it’s crazy good.

In fact, Christmas is the only reason ‘good’ can possibly describe anything in reality. In order for goodness to be “true” it must describe a being that IS goodness. If there is no God who actually demonstrates that he always is and does Golden Rule love (which is what he did by becoming one of us and switching perspectives on the cross)–then there is no always-good being in reality to which “good” can correspond (be true). God did that, because his goodness is real.

That’s the true meaning of Christmas.

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“Question: “Should people who already believe in God ask for answers? If they wonder, for instance whether God is really fair, does that mean they don’t trust God enough? Should they just ignore the tough stuff and go on believing in God?”

Answer: “No, because questions—especially questions about faith—are too important to let us do that. … Jesus said this: ‘Ask, and it will be given to you. Search, and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you.’ (Matthew 7:7-8) … Remember, even though it’s important to ask questions about God to find him, he is always searching for you. … If you ask and think and search for the answers with all your heart, maybe you’ll finally discover that every answer leads to God himself. Because, as Saint Augustine said, ‘All truth is God’s truth.’”

From “Introduction: Any Questions?” in “The Case for Faith for Kids” by Lee Strobel”

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“Question: “If science can explain so many things, does that mean there are no real miracles? …where does that leave God? Or is there some way both science and miracles can be true?”

Answer (from Bill Craig): “…if Jesus is God, as he says he is, he can do what he wants. He made the universe, so what’s the big deal about feeding a few extra people? Or walking on water? Or rising from the dead, for that matter?”

Question: “Still, doesn’t he have to break the laws of science—mess up his own system—to perform a miracle?”

Answer (from Bill Craig): “Not the way I look at it. Let’s say an apple is about to fall from the tree. The laws of science (gravity, actuality) say it will hit the ground. But I step up and catch the apple. Have I broken the laws of science? The answer is no, I haven’t. I have stepped in and intervened. A miracle is when God steps in and does something in the world. It’s supernatural—that means it’s not against nature but higher than nature.”

From “Chapter 2: Does science mean miracles can’t happen?” in “The Case for Faith for Kids” by Lee Strobel”

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Question: “Is there only one way to heaven? Many ways? No way? Is the answer important?”

Answer (from Ravi Zacharias): “If you ‘check the contents’ of religions, you find they are entirely different inside. … Christians, Jews and Muslims claim that there is one God. Hindus say there are many. Buddhists and atheists say there is none. Christians say Jesus is the Son of God, but Muslims say God has no son. They can’t all be right, can they? When people give different answers to the same questions, someone must be wrong while someone else may be right. But it would be irrational to say that all the answers were right. … When speaking of matters that are important to people, such as belief in God, we need to be gentle and understanding. Some people like Christ, but they don’t like Christians very much. Our failure to be gentle may be why. … Live out what you believe. Show people through your life that Jesus is not just an idea, but he’s real and we can know him personally.” (For the record, living out what you believe does not mean coming off as a morally superior goodie-goodie who has it all together socially, so please do not start expecting me to measure up to that. Living out what I believe means finding my acceptance in God, not what other people think of me–that’s the only thing that will coax me out of my shell. But, even if I stay in my shell forever, it won’t change how God feels about me. So there. But, I’m with Zacharias on this: Don’t be a jerk for Jesus.)

Question: “If Christianity is the true religion, why doesn’t everybody find that out and switch to Christianity or become a Christian? … What about people who haven’t heard?”

Answer (from Ravi Zacharias): “…people tend to adopt the religions of their homelands. … Some people reject Christianity because it’s demanding.” Zacharias emphasizes “Jesus calls upon us to be unselfish” but I think, too, that coming to terms with our own imperfection can be even harder than coming to terms with how we ‘ought’ to be—and it just feels legalistic, without talking about how we are saved (accepted) first, and works flow out of that. “…remember that missionaries travel all over the world to be sure that people hear about Jesus. Also, in Romans 1:19-20a the Bible tells us that since the beginning of the world, the true God has made himself plain to all people so that they would have a chance to know him. In Acts 17:26-27, we read that God carefully placed people where he wanted them to live. And finally, there is this wonderful verse in Jeremiah 29:13 in which God says, ‘When you look for me with all your heart, you will find me.’ There are two or three things we can be very certain about God. One is that he is fair. Another is that he loves everyone with a love that never lets up. He has placed a special need in the heart of each one of us—the need for him. It’s like being thirsty. There is only one thing you can do to get rid of your thirst, and that is to drink. There is only one way to fill our need for God, and that is to find him.” Amen and amen.

From “Chapter 4: Can other religions get us into heaven?” (with my own thoughts inserted) in “The Case for Faith for Kids” by Lee Strobel

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“If Christians could be trained to provide solid evidence for what they believe and good answers to unbelievers’ questions and objections, then the perception of Christians would slowly change.
Christians would be seen as thoughtful people to be taken seriously rather than as emotional fanatics or buffoons. The gospel would be real alternative for people to embrace.” – William Lane Craig, On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision, 18.

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Question: Do you have any doubts or questions about God, Jesus, the meaning of life, etc.? If you are afraid to ask because you are afraid of getting shut down and guilt-tripped, message me. If you are genuinely seeking, we’ll find answers together. God made us to hunger for true meaning.

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“The prison break outs and Sabbath healing of the New Testament totally apply to today. We’re afraid of even crossing the street funny lest we get a ticket (legalism), and breaking someone out of prison? Only bad people do that. Stuff we are used to and don’t think twice about… We obey stop lights even when there is not a soul in sight–because there are cameras and you’ll get a ticket in the mail. Ridiculous! I appreciate law and order, but within common sense.”

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“God does not love arbitrarily or on a whim, but neither does he love based on human standards of merit: “For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.'” Romans 9:15 ESV)”

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“Do you ever wonder why everything doesn’t just stop existing, what keeps it all existing, and how it even began to exist from nothing in the first place? Of course theists don’t have to wonder (though they can and do still study cosmology), but that bugged me when I was an atheist. What sort of being is God, that a universe exists at his Word? That’s what my mind wonders at now.

With all the terrible things humans do to each other…what sort of being is God…having the power to erase us in an infinitely small moment…but instead allowing us to continue on…and dying in our place? When I was an atheist, I thought it was a fairy tale. A myth.

But we shouldn’t exist if it isn’t all true.”

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Can you imagine how many false reports and retractions we’d have to sift through from the media, if the events of Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection were reported LIVE in the news today? Still, he had to deal with his own kind of paparazzi (sp?), and his enemies were always leaking false information about him and his interviewers always trying to make him give politically incorrect answers. He would have done quite well, I imagine.

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I think the best argument against abortion (and answer to the question of personhood) is Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan, and his question: “Which do you think was a neighbor?” (person) ♥

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The disciples seem slow on the uptake when wondering what “rising from the dead” might mean, until you consider 1) they thought Jesus was supposed to liberate Israel militarily, and 2) he often spoke metaphorically.

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This past week I’ve been doing a study of the Gospels, highlighting every time Jesus talks about the reason he became flesh. One thing that has become obvious is that the Good News is synonymous with the kingdom of God/heaven and everything he says about it. James wasn’t joking when he said faith without works is dead. John said the work required of us is that we believe the Gospel. This is definitely no Stepford Gospel. But the number one error Jesus confronts is hypocrisy (especially in the form of religiosity)–but note that it is the hypocrisy of being harder on others than you are on yourself. The thing he commands the greatest is mercy (love)–the character of God. Mercy doesn’t mean calling sin ‘good’–it means loving despite sin. Those who lack mercy the greatest are the ones who receive the harshest judgment–so mercy requires judgment of those who are not merciful, and proper judgment requires mercy. Ironic? Those who don’t “get it” will be baptized with fire, and he refers to his crucifixion as a sort of baptism–so judgment, though harsh, is actually for our benefit, and so it is an act of mercy. I can vouch for that (for what it’s worth), because it is how he brought me back to himself. There is a harshness of mercy-fueled judgment that communicates love and will “raise them up on the last day”. Then there is a hypocritical judgment not fueled by mercy at all–it will be thrown into the fire (out of mercy). That’s Good News. ♥

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“Does the Bible command its reader to think and use reason? Yes, absolutely. Indeed, 1 Thessalonians 5:21 commands us to “Test everything; hold fast to the good.” 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

The book of Acts also gives us several examples of people who used reason and argumentation to persuade people of the truth of Christianity. For example, Acts 19:8 tells us that “Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.” Acts 18:27-28 tells us that “When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.” h/t Jonathan McLatchie”

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“‎”We’ve been told by more than one of our colleagues that, even if Darwin was substantially wrong to claim that natural selection is the mechanism of evolution, nonetheless we shouldn’t say so. Not, anyhow, in public. To do that is, however inadvertently, to align oneself with the Forces of Darkness, whose goal it is to bring Science into disrepute. Well, we don’t agree. We think the way to discomfort the Forces of Darkness is to follow the arguments wherever they may lead, spreading such light as one can in the course of doing so. What makes the Forces of Darkness dark is that they aren’t willing to do that. What makes science scientific is that it is.”

Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini (atheists)
h/t Jonathan McLatchie”

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“No one else will live our life or die our death. Each self is unique, responsible and indissoluble [Maryann: ‘indissoluble’ means that, though we may try, we cannot lose ourselves to the group]. Yet our fate is bound up with our world and our fellow travelers, each of whom has a particular way of coping with–or avoiding–these insistent immensities [Maryann: questions about life’s meaning or lack thereof]. We are alone–together.” –Douglas Groothuis, “Christian Apologetics” p. 16

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Intellectual faith/belief, if it isn’t blind, comes ‘after’ evidence. But it is one thing to know God and his promises exist; it is another thing to trust him and his promises. Some doubt, like Thomas did, even though he was daily in the presence of the miraculous before Jesus was crucified. Some all out reject him and everything he is about, as did most of the Pharisees in Jesus’ day, who would rather claim his signs were demonic than change their worldview. So even in the presence of overwhelming evidence, faith can be lacking. Genuine, biblical faith is more than just knowing, it is more than mere intellectual assent. It is trust, and is never blind.

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C.S. Lewis: “Don’t bother too much about your feelings. When they are humble, loving, brave, give thanks for them; when they are conceited, selfish, cowardly, ask to have them altered. In neither case are they you, but only a thing that happens to you.”

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The miracle Jesus gets in the most trouble for–the most controversial thing he does besides something on the sabbath–is forgiving sins. We mortals love our grudges.

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“Do you believe in the existence of Socrates? Alexander the Great? Julius Caesar? If historicity is established by written records in multiple copies that date originally from near contemporaneous sources, there is far more proof for Christ’s existence than for any of theirs.” (Dinesh D’Souza)

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“A man’s physical hunger does not prove that the man will get any bread; he may die of starvation on a raft in the Atlantic. But surely a man’s hunger does prove that he comes of a race which repairs its body by eating and inhabits a world where eatable substances exist. In the same way…my desire for Paradise…is a pretty good indication that such a thing exists.” — C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

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“Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith but they are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the passion of Christ.” C.S. Lewis

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“The post-modern person seeks diversion and overstimulation–a desperate bid to elude mortality by keeping higher realities out of sight.” Douglas Groothuis (ibid, p. 153)

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“…philosophy, whatever else it might be, is the investigation of significant truth claims through rational analysis. … A Christian-qua-apologist, then, must be a good philosopher… This is nonnegotiable and indispensable.” Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics

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“The Bible never tells us to take a blind leap of faith into the darkness and hope that there’s somebody out there. The Bible calls us to jump out of the darkness and into the light. That is not a blind leap. The faith that the New Testament calls us to is a faith rooted and grounded in something that God makes clear is the truth.” ~ R.C Sproul

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“In an age in which infidelity abounds, do we observe parents carefully instructing their children in the principles of faith which they profess? Or do they furnish their children with arguments for the defense of that faith? …it is not surprising to see them abandon a position which they are unable to defend.” — William Wilberforce

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A faith without some doubts is like a human body without antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. –Tim Keller

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“I haven’t always been a Christian. I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly do not recommend Christianity.” (C.S. Lewis)

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I think that it would be great if all Christian pastors, from the pulpit, agreed when talking about the essentials, but when it comes to where Christians have various viewpoints–respectfully presented all the major viewpoints, while free to voice which one they hold. What do you think?

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Apologetics is good for the flock because it protects them from the wolves of doubt. A shepherd who keeps apologetics from the flock is a shepherd who has turned the flock out to the wolves. Do you know why you believe? Do you know there are answers to your doubts? Feel free to ask questions

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