Street Apologetics – Testimony

When young believers begin to share their faith, they often feel very inadequate. This is common and many times it results from the lack of understanding concerning the doctrines of Christianity. We’ve all been there. However, even though new believers find themselves on a sharp learning curb, they have one of the most powerful tools for witnessing…the testimony of their conversion! Every genuine Christian has this.

A casual reading through the book of Acts reveals the frequent use of personal testimony by the apostles. It is no different with us, as the power of a changed life is a piercing knife to this present generation. With it comes passion, conviction and a simple clarity about Christ and Him crucified. And the Lord knows we need more of this in the midst of abundance of dead orthodoxy. Continue reading “Street Apologetics – Testimony”

Does Man Have Free Will?

Extreme Calvinists say “no” and extreme Arminians worship free will. As always, there is a great need for balance! There are pitfalls as a result of the logical conclusions we will arrive at if we embrace either extreme. The greatest pitfall is the damage to a clear presentation of the gospel. We must, in order to remain biblically balanced, hold to both the Sovereignty of God and the Free Will of man. If we allow either truth to crush out the other, it will lead us to various levels of misrepresentations of the gospel.

The entire biblical text presupposes, implies and teaches free will. Biblical commands tell us the ‘oughts,’ and the oughts presupposes ‘choice,’ and choice implies ‘free will.’ This part is just very simple when we are not forcing conclusions by cherry picking verses to support extreme Calvinism.

When free will is denied, you’ll always hear and observe a struggling attempt to discuss people surrendering to Christ, especially if the teacher is honestly attempting to remain logically consistent with his position. Most brothers who are five point calvinists, will still present the call to repent and place your faith in Christ alone for salvation. Continue reading “Does Man Have Free Will?”

Christopher Hitchens – Without Excuse

The Apostle Paul wrote in the books of Romans that God has revealed Himself to every man. He teaches us that this knowledge is a result of creation and conscience. Because of this, every man is without excuse. (Rom. 1:18-20) Man’s rejection of God’s existence is not because there isn’t sufficient evidence. Rather, it is because he chooses to suppresses the evidence which exists.

Why would man suppress the witness of God’s existence through the voice of creation and conscience? Because man wants to justify his immorality and sin, and the only way to quiet his innate knowledge and conviction of his sin requires drowning his conscience. This can happen in several ways, however, I want to discuss something different in this post.

Christopher Hitchens died of esophageal cancer this week at the age of 62 in Houston, TX. Hitchens was one of the militant atheists who brazenly spoke against Christianity and those who believe it. He has become the hero and idol of thousands who Continue reading “Christopher Hitchens – Without Excuse”

Letter From a Witchdoctor – Darkness to Light

The power of the Holy Spirit reveals His work through the preaching of the Gospel. As Jesus is proclaimed, the Holy Spirit can break through the powers of darkness and deliver man. Satan’s deception and lies cannot prevent truth from piercing the heart of those seeking truth and setting them free in Christ. Below is a testimony received from a recent outreach meeting in a rural village of India. We rented a community hall and invited people to come to the meeting. Ten people openly came forward to receive the Lord’s offer of salvation. One man, who lived next to the community, just sent this testimony to us. (The English is rough as it has gone through translation from his native language of Telugu.)

My name is M________ . I am very bad person. Whenever I see a pastor or hear the gospel, I used to become very angry because I use to think bible belongs to white people. Jesus is not an Indian, why should we pray to him when we have 330 million gods and goddesses?

I am the person who does witchcraft. I practice the witchcraft to control and kill people. I operated in witchcraft with an evil spirit. Continue reading “Letter From a Witchdoctor – Darkness to Light”

Did Paul Make a Mistake at Athens?

I get many questions via email and personal conversations. One common one is, “Did Paul make a preaching mistake at Athens when he quoted Greek philosophers?” This question arises because many have heard preachers, some with strong personal conviction, share how the Apostle Paul made a mistake in his Mar’s Hill address to the Athenians. (Acts 17:22-34) This position was made prominent by William Ramsay. (1851-1939) It was also presented by F.F. Bruce (1910-1990) years ago when he said in his book, “Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free,” that Paul’s ministry in Athens was a failure because he failed to preach the “word of the cross.” (p.246) But is this correct?

We need a little background before answering this question. Paul visited Corinth immediately after leaving Athens. (Acts 18:1) While reminding the Corinthians of his visit to them, he wrote and reminded them how he came preaching “Christ crucified” and not “with lofty speech or wisdom.” (1Cor. 2:1-5) From this passage, many teach that Paul learned a meaningful lesson and was admitting to a fundamental mistake in his approach and discourse when he spoke to the Athenians by quoting their philosophers and poets. Also, they argue, Paul did not establish a church in Athens. Therefore, we have several questions which arise from this explanation of the text.

  • Does the position that Paul made a mistake in his preaching at Athens accurately represent the biblical text? 
  • Was Paul admitting in Corinthians that he had made a mistake in his approach at Athens?
  • Did he fail to properly present the gospel? 

Here is my brief explanation on the subject after many years reading and praying through each side. I do believe there are godly and sincere believers on each side, therefore, my take on this is not meant in any way as a slap at those who disagree, but rather as offering as to why I do not believe Paul made a mistake in presenting the gospel at Athens. Continue reading “Did Paul Make a Mistake at Athens?”

Leaven of the Pharisees

In a previous post, we looked at the legalism which comes from much of what is called ‘Messianic Christianity.’ You can read that here. Now let’s look at another aspect of the damaging work of legalism through other so-called branches of Christianity. You get the emails and comments from time to time from these self appointed protectors of the faith who have a thimble full of truth with ocean sized mouths. Jesus faced them, you face them and I face them. Let us not let our focus get off on them, as they feed off of being the center of attention.

Jesus addressed these types of legalists in His day. They hounded Him every where He went. The book of Acts reveals that these same legalists followed and persecuted the Apostle Paul as he took the gospel of grace to the Gentiles. Let’s look at what Jesus had to say about them and then discuss the earmarks of this type of legalism.

“Then Jesus said unto them, ‘Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees…'” (Matt. 16:6)

One of the truths which ‘leaven’ symbolized was sin. Jesus used this image to describe the dynamics of how sin works. Like leaven, sin works secretly, silently, certainly and from within. The leaven/sin of the Pharisees works the same way. It is a scourge upon the body of Christ and, many times, it comes from surprising quarters. Let’s take a brief look at this. Continue reading “Leaven of the Pharisees”

Letter – Jesus is God of White People in USA

The power of the gospel is clearly seen when the preacher of the gospel clearly presents it. Too many times, in America, pastors in the pulpits present Jesus as a western version of a middle class idol. While our churches wonder if they can get new lighting equipment, projectors and nicer pews, millions around the world are dying who have never heard the name or gospel of Jesus. We may say we believe men who do not know Jesus will go to eternal damnation, but we sure do not live like it. We are too busy chasing the American dream and wasting our time and finances on the foolish and lustful pleasures of this life.

When others in foreign lands hear about our Jesus, they do not want Him. And that is good, because most of the time, if they get their understanding of Jesus from religious TV, they are not hearing about the Jesus of the Bible anyway. However, when the simplicity of the gospel is presented, the Holy Spirit is powerfully present to arrest the hearts of man to respond in faith. Hallelujah, what a Savior! Continue reading “Letter – Jesus is God of White People in USA”

Pray Big…Think Small

Yes, you read the title correctly; Pray Big… Think Small. After spending a lot of time with various people throughout many years of ministry, I find these two reversed in people’s life. Instead they are always thinking big, promoting big and wanting big, but are praying very little or in small measure. Many believers dwell in a cave of fear, pinned down by insecurities and fleshly barriers. Outreach is not as difficult as we make it, as long as we keep things in their proper order. Success as a believer is not measured by results, but by obedience. And each believer can be used if we remember these two simple issues.

Pray Big – Our Lord wants to reach those around us with the same redemption He has given us. The greatest impact we can have ‘now,’ is in the everyday, ins and outs, warp and woof of our daily life. Our biggest prayer should not be for opportunities with others, but first for our willingness to obey the great commission in the opportunities we already have in everyday life…we should pray for boldness! Why should the Lord give us more ‘doors of utterance’ (Col.4:3) if we are not taking advantage of the ones we already have? If our prayers are not dealing with our fears, insecurities, false self image, lack of gospel understanding and inertia in sharing Christ, then we are praying too small. Continue reading “Pray Big…Think Small”

Calvinism and Arminianism…Enemies or Brothers?

Calvinism and Arminianism…Enemies or Brothers? I love theology… everything about it. The spiritual pursuit of biblical balance by studying and evaluating various verses relating to sound doctrine ignites a passion for truth every time I engage in it. However, as much as I love doctrine, I love Jesus even more! Now, before someone blows a gasket with my last statement, let me say… Jesus can not be reduced to or separated from the disclosure and proclamation of propositional revealed truth.

Truth exists, it is universal, it is absolute, it is knowable, and it is descriptive through language. However, for Christians, truth is also embodied in the person and character of Jesus. When our proclamation and defense of truth abandons the character of Christ, we have failed to biblically proclaim the message. This fact is undeniable. (1Jn. 4:8) And yet, Continue reading “Calvinism and Arminianism…Enemies or Brothers?”

4 Keys for Successful Outreach

Before entering into full time ministry in 1985, I was in sales. Immediately I noticed that some salesmen were more successful than others, even when they operated within similar conditions and geographical locations. I inquired, gleaned and learned from many older salesmen on the secrets for their success.

As Christians, things are somewhat different. We are not asking people to choose our ‘product’ over other similar products. We are offering the only means for finding forgiveness of sin and acceptance by the God of creation. Also, we are not selling faith. We are offering the message of salvation through faith in the finished work of Jesus on Calvary’s cross. This great message seems to good to be true; that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.

Though there are obvious differences between secular sales and sharing the gospel, four of the principles definitely apply when we are attempting to reach out to the lost.  Continue reading “4 Keys for Successful Outreach”

Street Apologetics – Doctrine

Met a man recently who claimed to be a Christian, but who was adamant about his rejection of doctrine. After letting him lay out his rejection of doctrine with a long diatribe of reasons, and praying as he shared, I felt led to answer him. I shared with him how his position was self defeating and that he could not live consistent with his claim about Continue reading “Street Apologetics – Doctrine”

The First Apologetic!

I must admit, I struggled with the title to this post. The battle was between using the word final or first. In fact, I changed it a couple of times! However, regardless of whether we want to take it from top to bottom, or bottom to top, the main issue I’m bringing out does not change. This brief post looks at the question of what is seen by those whom we share the gospel with?

Of course, we would all say that we want our audience, whether one or a hundred, to see Jesus! After all, if they do not see or perceive His truth and offer of mercy to them as we share, then they are still far removed from the gospel. However, in our billboard happy and Continue reading “The First Apologetic!”