Radicalized – the “Red Herring”

RadicalIn today’s constant terrorist activity news cycle, whenever an attack from Islamic jihadists occurs, the word “radicalized” is regularly tossed out. The impression is to convey the thought that a radicalized Muslim has abandoned the faith of Islam and taken on a violent and non-Islamic path of terror. This is a red herring (diversionary attempt) with the goal of being politically correct and to try and appease the Muslim community.

Are most Western Muslims violent? No. Most are peaceful and simply want to have a life of success with acceptance in our democracy, while providing for their families. However, there is no easy way to state the truth and keep it from stinging–Islam is a violent religion at its core. Based upon the Quran and the teachings of Muhammad in the Hadith, Islam teaches, promotes and endorses extreme violence against those who reject it.

Peaceful and law-abiding Muslims are those who have either rejected parts of the Quran and Hadith, or who fail to know the violent teachings contained in them. These facts become the greatest avenue to reach Muslims with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can offer them a coherent and truthful worldview that upholds the supreme ethic of love as its highest standard, while showing them the violent teachings of Islam.

All it takes for a Muslim to be a “radical” jihadist, is for him to simply believe in the truthfulness of the Quran and Hadith, gain the knowledge that they teach and command violence, and then simply obey those commands. In short, what the news media calls a radical Muslim is a faithful Muslim!  Continue reading “Radicalized – the “Red Herring””

The Journey to Faith

Questioning-GodMany in evangelical circles have thin skin. That is, they react unloving to others who do not hold to their view of God, faith, or truth. This must change if we are going to have a voice with the next generation. I have good friends who are atheist, homosexual or agnostic. And yet, we have very respectful and insightful discussions. Sure, we kick things around from different world views and philosophies of life, but we do not view our conversations as competitions or wrestling matches. Instead, we see the conversations as investigations of life and a pursuit of honest reflections.

Until those of us who claim to belong to Christ actually demonstrate a heart felt love for those who see things differently, we will continue to lose our voice in the marketplace of ideas and remain irrelevant to those who may be on a journey to faith. We must hear the questions of the heart from those who are our unbelieving friends before we will understand the questions they are seeking answers to. Continue reading “The Journey to Faith”

The Power of Singing!

Lifted handsI feel that many times we underestimate the power of singing. When the presence of the Holy Spirit permeates our being, our songs are highways of evangelism and life to those walking in darkness. However, as the old saying goes, “A song is not a song until you sing it.” This became ever so true to me as I recently received this testimony from the missionaries I train in India. I pray you will take a moment and let it sink in on the many levels that are present throughout this testimony. Through singing and worship we can reveal the power of the Gospel to others. (The names are changed to protect all involved from radical Muslims and Hindus.)

My name is Sada. I really thank God for the Project India ministries , through which Lord has changed me completely and I received Jesus Christ as my Savior. Joy and hope has come into my life.
 
In 2013 I was planning to running and jumping in front of a train to kill myself. I had no peace, no employment, and starvation and poverty was ruling over my family.
 
I have visited 1347 Hindu gods and goddess temples asking them to give peace, joy, happiness and victory over my difficulties over poverty, and I have waited many years for them to answer me, but I never received an answer.

Continue reading “The Power of Singing!”

How NOT to Communicate With Others

Indian to IndianThere are ways of proper discourse and persuasion, and there are ways guaranteed to fail. The photo to the left sums up vividly how NOT to communicate with others if you want to persuade them. Our culture is filled with the ‘up in your face’ form of shock journalism and dialogue. Even in many Christian circles rudeness and speaking down to people is defined as spiritual boldness. We must do better, we must think biblically, and we must get our example from Scriptures and not from the latest fad in social media.

Here are some quick points (with some sarcasm) on how NOT to communicate:

Fail to Listen – we understand it all anyway, right?

Fight for the floor – if both are talking, keep raising your voice until they yield the floor.

Ad Hominem – fill the discussion with personal assaults and zingers to embarrass. (Or you could dress up to match their culture…see photo at top of post!)

Fail to ask questions – after all, I’ve already googled the subject, so I know what they would say. Continue reading “How NOT to Communicate With Others”

Apologetics – The Bridge That Holds

Golden Gate Bridge FogThe traction of outreach and life-changing evangelism of the previous generation in America was weak, in my opinion, due to the belittling of apologetics. For the most part, the church failed to engage the mind and heart of the younger generation. Faith became an existential leap apart from a rigorous and coherent view of reality and a reasoned expression of thought. We left the young men and women of the previous generation stranded on a bridge and surrounded by the fog of irrationality. The result was that many ‘church kids’ turned away from faith under the battle cry for intellectual credibility when they went off to college. Their beliefs were assaulted from the secularists and militant atheists who set traps with slick word games that were filled with red-herrings and Zeno paradoxes.

Apologetics is as crucial to the life of a Christian as prayer is. If we do not discover the warrant that undergirds our beliefs, the world will toss us around like a ‘straw blowing in the wind.’ Christianity is not a faith of make believe or fantasy. It carries the evidence of history, archaeology, reason and the existential longings of the heart. We believe, not because we are walking along a foggy bridge, but because Jesus and Scriptures pass the Continue reading “Apologetics – The Bridge That Holds”

Answering Historical Objections to Christianity

ApologeticMany times when we present the Christian faith to a crowd or individual, we will get a strong push back reminding us of the horrors committed by Christians throughout history. It seems that people use this tactic of reaching back into ‘stonehenge’ to justify a rejection of faith. What should we do when people view the atrocities committed years ago as a static issue as if it happened today? How should we respond?

Unfortunately, this is a common objection we encounter whenever we present the Chrstian Worldview in any type of forum, discussion, or Q & A session, especially if any are aware of ancient or medieval history. Time is static to so many, however, with wisdom our response should restore it to fluidity. I have found that the best response is not the ‘ostrich’ or ‘distancing’ moves that ease us from the brutal reality of past sins within Christendom. In order to demonstrate honesty and integrity, we must take the questions head on by stepping up and admitting the mistakes that are associated with Christianity. I emphasize “associated” for a reason. (See below – Our Reponse) If we fail to face the music about the issue of the crusades, scandals, or hypocrisies of the past, we will be demonstrating a slanted view of reality and therefore fail to live consistent with our own worldview. This would make us no different from those in Islam, Jehovah Witnesses or Mormons who refuse to answer the character issues of the history of their movements. Continue reading “Answering Historical Objections to Christianity”

Faith is NOT a Leap

leap of faith2It greatly disturbs my heart when someone uses irrational, confusing and contradictory statements that are borrowed from existentialism or eastern philosophies and applies them to the Christian faith. Most on Facebook and twitter who share or post these sayings are usually assuming they are promoting ‘deep’ or ‘spiritual’ affirmations of faith. However, they reveal a lack of biblical pursuit to worship the Lord with all of our “heart, soul, and MIND.” (Matt. 22:37) The gospel of Jesus Christ engages the totality of man’s being, including his faculties of reason, emotion, will and intellect.

The Christian faith does not hang with its feet planted firmly in mid-air like relativism.¹ Instead, it is grounded in the propositional truth of Scriptures and in the revelation of Jesus Christ through God’s grace. We must never adopt the ebb and flow of philosophical synthesis in our pursuit of reasonable truth and rational faith. God has spoken. He has spoken clearly. He has spoken in the Bible. And nothing makes more sense than to place our trust in the God who created us and sent His Son to redeem us from our sin.

One such statement is that saving faith or the embracing of biblical truth is a “leap of faith.” Most who would use this term fail to realize that it has its roots in the teachings of Immanuel Kant and Soren Kierrkegard. These two men were responsible for dividing knowledge between reason and non-reason, applying the later to religious conviction and faith, and stating that faith is outside of rational verification and pursuit, and thereby giving rise to what became known as existentialism in the philosophical world, and Barthianism or Neo-Orthodoxy in the theological world. Of course, those who promote these epistemological dangers fail to see that they have committed the error of using reason to discount and reject reason. (Self-defeating) Continue reading “Faith is NOT a Leap”

The Longest Bridge

Lake Pontchartrain CausewayI have personally traveled across the top three longest bridges in the United States. They are all in Louisiana. The longest is the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge pictured in this article. In fact, it is the longest continuous bridge over a body of water in the world. The journey across it seems to never end with the ‘plank-plank’ of the tires across the concrete sections of this 24 mile long bridge. It has an eery sound which seems surreal and sobering at the same time. I always wonder at the ingenuity of man to be able to construct such a large bridge.

And yet, there is a bridge that is longer than this–the distant between the heart and the head. It seems to be traveled by few and maintained by even less. Here is a quote from Ravi Zacharias about that Bridge.

“…life has to find a bridge from the mind to the heart. It was a famed archbishop of Canterbury who said that the longest journey in life is from the head to the heart.” ¹

This bridge is a necessary part of building a confident faith and a Spirit-filled walk with Christ. If we only engage the head, it makes us cerebral and dry, giving answers without compassion or empathy. If we only Engage the heart, it makes us over emotional and volatile, giving pat answers without the substance of intellectual vigor. Both extremes create a freakish anomaly in the name of faith. Continue reading “The Longest Bridge”

Wisdom is Known in Her Children

Wisdom ProverbsPharisees hate integration and humility. Why? Because it keeps them from claiming superiority and prevents them from sitting on the throne of their own absolute authority. Today, we see a lot of this in some circles. Sadly, we see this attitude expressed very arrogantly in some Reformed camps. When the present generation fails to understand the wisdom of the previous generation, they always create division instead of biblical unity. True unity depends on two essential elements–the truth of God (the Bible), and the Holy Spirit of God.

If we attempt unity only on the Bible, we are left with the dry orthodoxy of natural minded men holding to propositional facts about God. If we attempt it only with the Holy Spirit, we have existential foolishness apart from any standard to evaluate. True unity must have the Word and the Holy Spirit. The propositional with the experiential. The mind with the heart. The descriptive with the demonstrative. The facts of the message with the living fellowship with Christ.

Dr. John MacArthur is a prime example of ministering from the head without including the heart, the Word without the Holy Spirit, dryness of teaching apart from the living presence of God. He seems to be constantly leading a book promotion tour for his “Strange Fire” release by continually attacking and throwing non-cessationists under the bus of his fundamentalism. After years of watching Dr. MacArthur and reading many of his books, it is sad to see him spiral downward into this pit of hostility. This is especially sad when you watch some of the conference videos and see the laughter, mocking and snickering the speakers express as they toss out everything supernatural. Exposing the false always carries the danger of crossing a line and painting with too broad of a brush.

Thank God for lifting the skirts on the disgusting, manipulative and demonic activities of the majority of Charismatic leaders, especially those we see on religious TV programming. However, when wisdom is not used, those leading the charge will also implicate millions of godly believers who distant themselves from these extremes. The days of dry dogma are over. I know some dear Reformed brothers who minister under the living presence and joy of the Lord. They are not afraid of the presence of the Holy Spirit…in fact they cry out in prayer for it and their ministries are very fruitful. MacArthur and his Continue reading “Wisdom is Known in Her Children”

Young Earth Controversy

UniverseThere are some godly men who believe in the young earth position. There are some godly men who do not accept its position of the earth being only 6,000 years old. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the young earth position is indefensible and presents a major hurdle in communicating to men who are versed in the sciences and are familiar with cosmology.

I get asked questions about the age of the universe, the earth, or man in many different settings. From small groups to Q & A with students and churches, this seems to be a topic of interest. Inquiry about this subject is important for anyone attempting to reach out and evangelize this generation. We cannot lift the draw bridge and hide in our small castles and expect to hide from the issue of geology or cosmology when standing upon the authority of Scriptures. A refresher course on how the Church dropped the ball in the Nicholaus Copernicus issue (ca. 1532 A.D.), when he proclaimed that the earth was not the center of our solar system but that the sun was, should be a quick reminder of our need for humility.

It is my opinion that young earth proponents are missing the mark. I do not believe the Bible tells us the age of the universe. In fact, it appears to go at great lengths to avoid the issue. Holding to the young earth position does not make a person more or less faithful to being a Christian. However, it will make a person less credible in the defense of the gospel to those outside a rigid fundamentalist view of Scripture. Continue reading “Young Earth Controversy”

Politics – the Shibboleth of American Culture

Shibboleth of PoliticsIf I was Satan, the way I would divide believers in America is to force them to define their fellowship by the political party rather than by the gospel. Come to think of it, that is exactly what he has done. For the most part, Caucasians affiliate with the Republican party and African Americans affiliate with the Democratic party. It has become the Shibboleth of our Culture. Rather than standing for God’s Word and the truth He revealed in it, we sell our soul and divide from brothers over political party affiliation.

Christians give their allegiance to Christ and His Word… not to a political party or social institution of human ideals. It is a shame that most churches in America are known as right wing or left wing branches of Republican or Democratic demarcations. We should be know as Christ followers–period. That is, men and women of the Book.  Continue reading “Politics – the Shibboleth of American Culture”