Defending the Faith

In the first few centuries of the church there came forth Christians who articulated a defense of Christianity against the pagan society of Rome; they were known as the apologist. Educated in Greek philosophy, they used commonalities to bridge the gap in understanding, showing that Christians worshiped the true and only God. At this early point in Christianity, many false assumptions where made about the new Christian faith. At first Rome believed they were just a branch or sect of Judaism and as such offered to them some relative peace in worship of their own God. Judaism had gained that exclusive privilege largely due to their history of rebellion to any suggested blasphemy and the Roman government had rather let them be instead of forcing the worship of other gods upon them as was the requirement of any other religion. However, when Rome realized the Jews hated the Christians it moved them into a new category of religion and that privilege was revoked. Soon rumors of indecency, cannibalism, and taboo rites begun to circulate from an ignorance of Christian doctrine and added to the fuel of persecution throughout the empire. The apologist rose to combat these false reports.

Early Apologist

The earliest known of these apologists was Aristides of Athens. Aristides contrasted other religions against the Christian faith to show how that it is superior to all others and is the only true religion.

Another early but unknown apologist wrote what is known as the Epistle of Diognetus. (click here to read earlier post on this work) Like Aristides, this work contrasted pagan idol worship and morals to present the Christian life as the only true way. He also used examples of persecution as evidence of this faith.

Athenagoras, a philosopher turned Christian, used his previous knowledge and understanding of Greek philosophy to articulate a defense Christianity against accusations of Atheism and for the foolishness of polytheism. He appeals to reason in his writing, “A Plea for the Christians” as can be seen here in part as he states, “it would be irrational for us to cease to believe in the Spirit from God, who moved the mouths of the prophets like musical instruments, and to give heed to mere human opinions.”

Another important apologist of this era was Theophilus, the bishop of Antioch. He also made strong use of Greek philosophy in his writing making cases such as in Chapter 4 of his book II, about the “absurd opinions of the philosophers concerning God.”

Justin Martyr

Finally the most well-known of the apologist was the skilled man named Justin Martyr. Justin wrote two apologies and another work called a “Dialogue with Trypho the Jew” that we still have access to today. Justin’s philosophical apologies took aim at the pagan high-society, the empire, Judaism and heretics who misrepresented the Christian faith. He drew a distinction between Christian morals and those of the pagans as well as pulled from prophesy to prove out the truth of God.

The Logos

Common between these early apologists was the doctrine of the Logos. The Logos (the Word) was a concept understood by Greeks and afforded the opportunity to convince them of the true Logos; Jesus Christ. The Logos represented wisdom in the Greek understanding and allowed the skilled apologist to connect the wisdom of the Greek philosophers and everything that was good in them to the incarnate Logos, Jesus Christ as illustrated in this passage from Athenagoras, “the universe has been created through His Logos, and set in order, and is kept in being–I have sufficiently demonstrated. [I say “His Logos”], for we acknowledge also a Son of God.”

Leaving a Legacy of Defense

We must give thanks to the early work of these apologists; many of who were killed for contending for voicing the truth. These early fathers of the faith show us how we today can combat the false accusation and heresies of twenty-first century and beyond by contrasting the truth of scripture and the false world-view of man pointing the hearer to the glory of God and His salvation for man.


The post The Early Apologist: Lessons in Church History appeared first on Hearts for the Lost.

by Dan Phillips

Love reading C. S. Lewis. Always have. Doesn't mean I think he's always right.

For instance, take one of Lewis' most oft-quoted observations on Hell:

There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.

This is quoted and re-quoted all over the place. I just read it again, in Ortlund's little book that treats parts of Proverbs (48). Why do we like this Lewis quotation so much?

Well, I think we like it because its binary, and many of us like binary. In fact, I suppose I could say there are only 10 kinds of people in the world: those who like binary, and those who don't.

Sorry. Anyway.

That Bible is certainly binary on most things that matter: two wisdoms, two ways, two ends. This Lewis quotation is like that: “only two kinds of people.” We like that. And we like that Lewis exalts the Lordship of God, makes clear that knowing God, belonging to God, necessarily involves an embrace of His will.

I daresay many people really, really like this snippet because it makes Hell seem less objectionable. It takes the heat (no pun intended) off us — and off God — and puts it all on the lost. “They're in Hell because they want to be,” we say, echoing Lewis. Oh. Well then, that's not so bad, is it? We thought of Hell as a place God threw people, screaming and wailing and miserable. Terrified, not wanting to be there. But heck (again, no pun), if they want to be there anyway

Yes, well, except that's just the thing. They don't want to be there. There is no evidence whatever that they want to be in Hell. This quotation, at least as commonly used, is mostly fudging, and mostly balderdash.

Nobody wants to be in Hell! Look at the actual folks who are sent there. Look at the folks in Matthew 7:22f. Are they thinking, “Oh, terrific, what a relief; we were afraid we'd have to go to Heaven and, you know, that would really suck”? Heavens (again, no pun), no! Every last one of them wanted to be in Heaven, expected to be in Heaven! Jesus' pronouncement was unexpected and unwelcome.

What of those in Matthew 25:41ff.? Again, not a one hears what he expects to hear. Every one expected to hear an “Attaboy! Come on in!” from the Lord. His pronouncement of doom is a shock.

What of the lost in Matthew 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30 and so forth? Do these sound like folks who are being sent where they want to go? Do they sound happy, satisfied? Weeping? Gnashing their teeth? Are those happy sounds?

The image of God actually saying, “Oh well, look; I'd just as soon you come be in My Heaven; but if this is what you really want, if you insist, here you go: you can go over there and be rid of Me” may work in the short run. We don't have to explain the justice of God sending people to Hell. He's hardly even doing it. They're doing it to themselves. “They're there because they want to be,” we say, and we feel done.

Except, again, it just isn't Biblical.

First, God doesn't say “Thy will be done,” to the thwarting of His will of decree. Ever. To anybody. Check Psalm 115:3, Proverbs 16:4, Daniel 4:35, and Ephesians 1:11, for starters. God says “My will be done.”

Secondif God did say “Thy will be done,” none would ever be saved. We hate God, we flee God, we want nothing to do with God or His law (Rom 3:11-12, 18; 8:7). We are saved because God sovereignly, supernaturally transforms our will (Ephesians 2:1-10). If He did not, all would be lost.

Third, God does this transforming work in the hearts of some men, not all (Matthew 22:14; 2 Thess. 3:2)

Fourth, Hell isn't where you go to get away from God. There is no getting away from God (Ps. 139). That in part is what makes Hell Hell: eternal existence under the unrelenting wrath and displeasure and judgment of God. However, it is the ultimate, ultimately-failed destination in the flight from God.

Fifth, and perhaps most importantly, what sinful men actually want is not to be allowed to go to Hell. What men actually want is for God to go to Hell. Men actually want to do their will (this much Lewis has right), and they want to get away with it. They want no interference and no negative consequences. God represents both. Leaving a binary situation of two choices:

  1. We must repent and bow the knee to God; or
  2. God must be eliminated.

And which one does your Bible tell us is the choice of fallen man, left to ourselves?

Lewis' thoughts could be used with adjustment, I suppose. If I were to reword him to make it more Biblical, it might go like this:

There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “My will be done, despite your will.” All that are in Hell, are there because they rebel against God. Without rebellion against God there would be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened. Our problem is that none of us seeks those things, so long as we keep trying to be God instead of seeking Him. And none of us does seek Him — until God in sovereign grace transforms us.

What puzzles me is how many Reformed types who know their Bibles continue to use Lewis, without a bit of reworking.

Dan Phillips's signature

Don’tcha just LOVE Postmoderns? As a matter of fact, as a Christian I do. That is why every chance I get I want to show where their wishy-washy approach to life is not only incorrect, but detrimental to both the cause of Christ and to their own peace of mind (ironically!).

Justin Taylor
Justin Taylor

This morning, Justin Taylor of the Between Two Worlds blog (another blog definitely worth the time to read) quoted Kevin DeYoung, author of “Why We Love The Church” (one that is definitely on my reading list, if only I didn’t have to eventually sleep!) who took postmodern Christianity to task by illustrating the inconsistent nature of their criticisms of the traditional church. Not that there are not things that the traditional church can at least ponder and some things maybe even repent of, but if you are going to level criticism, make sure it is consistent with the Bible and at least with logic.

Here is Justin's post:

Kevin DeYoung, in Why We Love the Church (pp. 87-88, line breaks mine):

But then again, consistency is not a postmodern virtue. And nowhere is this more aptly displayed than in the barrage of criticisms leveled against the church.

The church-is-lame crowd hates Constantine and notions of Christendom, but they want the church to be a patron of the arts, and run after-school programs, and bring the world together in peace and love.

They bemoan the over-programmed church, but then think of a hundred complex, resource-hungry things the church should be doing.

They don’t like the church because it is too hierarchical, but then hate it when it has poor leadership.

They wish the church could be more diverse, but then leave to meet in a coffee shop with other well-educated thirtysomethings who are into film festivals, NPR, and carbon offsets.

They want more of a family spirit, but too much family and they’ll complain that the church is ‘inbred.’

They want the church to know that its reputation with outsiders is terrible, but then are critical when the church is too concerned with appearances.

They chide the church for not doing more to address social problems, but then complain when the church gets too political.

They want church unity and decry all our denominations, but fail to see the irony in the fact that they have left to do their own thing because they can’t find a single church that can satisfy them.

They are critical of the lack of community in the church, but then want services that allow for individualized worship experiences.

They want leaders with vision, but don’t want anyone to tell them what to do or how to think.

They want a church where the people really know each other and care for each other, but then they complain the church today is an isolated country club, only interested in catering to its own members.

They want to be connected to history, but are sick of the same prayers and same style every week.

They call for not judging “the spiritual path of other believers who are dedicated to pleasing God and blessing people,” and then they blast the traditional church in the harshest, most unflattering terms.

Excellent points all!

What is most striking to me is that by taking this approach to criticism of the traditional church, the Postmoderns refute their own argument. By their approach, they postulate that all truth is valid truth and that the details of your belief in Christ are not as important as what those beliefs mean to you. (Sounds like humanistic drivel if you ask me!) But, if all truth is valid truth, why is my belief in:

1. The literal, historical, Jesus, and His death, burial and resurrection (otherwise known as the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, our faith hinges on this point!),
2. The infallible, inerrant, Word of God known as the Bible, (the objective written standard on which our faith is built),
3. The doctrines of Grace as enumerated in the Scriptures, and espoused throughout the centuries by well respected Church fathers,
4. The doctrine of Justification by Grace, through Faith, and not of works, but unto good works, and among other things,
5. Truth is by definition objective, knowable, and ultimately exclusive,

Not a valid belief system? If all truth is valid truth, if you even HAVE a criticism of someone else’s belief system, isn't that a contradiction of your own? It looks at least like a validation of the objective, knowable, and exclusive nature of truth itself. They just may need to reevaluate their truth claims!


”Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” – James 4:14

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” – 1 John 3:1-2

Statistics that I have come across estimate that anywhere between 150,000 and 200,000 people die each and every day. The problem with quoting statistics such as this is that numbers of this size tend to be rather impersonal and most of us have a difficult time actually comprehending the magnitude of how many people that these numbers represent.

This fact has been brought to light recently with the passing of a number of famous people, including Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Ed McMahon, and even TV pitchman Billy Mays, but also in my own life. As I mentioned in my last post, our good friend Kathy Wilkinson went home to be with the Lord and caused me to ponder about our own mortality and how it relates to our understanding of the glory of God.

Well, a few weeks ago, one of my dearest friends in the world was hospitalized with what appeared to be a gall bladder problem. Ken Hankins, Pastor of Seven Lakes Baptist Church in West End, NC was my youth pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Madison Heights, VA where my Dad was pastor during my junior and senior year in high school. (Needless to say, we have been friends for a LONG time!) After a number of tests, the diagnosis has come back that they have found both pancreatic and liver cancer, both of which are very aggressive cancers, and the tumors are causing a stomach blockage which in turn has caused him to aspirate food leading to pneumonia. He is currently hospitalized in Charlotte, NC and when the doctors are able to get him stable and his lungs healed, they will send him home to spend time with his family, because there are no more treatment options. Please keep Ken, his wife and three daughters and their families in your prayers.

Ken has been a great friend for most of my life and I cannot think of a better way to honor our friendship than to honor our Lord by sharing the hope that we have in Christ. But in order to do that, we must first understand that to have a cause for hope, there must first be a cause for despair. Because of Adam’s sin (the theological doctrine of “Original Sin”) each and every one of us is born in sin (Psalm 51:5) and is an offense to God, who did not “set” the standard of righteousness, He IS the standard of righteousness. Everything He is and performs is, by definition, righteous. As the Almighty, Eternal, Holy God, He is totally sovereign over all or He is not God at all.

By the fact that He is Holy and Lord over all (whether we acknowledge that or not) He cannot tolerate sin in any fashion. Our nature is so foul to nostrils of God, He even compares our “righteousness” to “filthy rags” in Isaiah 64:6 (some have said that the term “filthy rags” in this particular verse could be translated as “menstrual cloths.”) If this is what our “righteousness” is to God, imagine what our sin is to Him!

God progressively gave us the law in His Word in order to exhibit the standard of His holiness and character (Gal. 3:24-25) and to illustrate that no matter how much we attempt to follow the law, we cannot meet the standard of holiness that He alone has set by His every existence and which is by definition, infinite. For example, if we lie to our child we suffer no immediate consequence. If we lie to our spouse, we sleep on the couch! If we lie to our employer, we get fired. If we lie to the government, we commit perjury and could go to prison. It is the same sin in each case, but the consequence is different due to the level of authority the one to which we lied has over us. It only stands to reason that if the one against whom we have sinned is the infinite standard, there must be an infinite consequence. This is why hell is not only reasonable it is assured for all those who do not measure up to God’s infinite standard. (Rev. 21:8)

It is at this point that many object and say “Well, my god would never send someone to hell. He is a god of love.” And they are absolutely correct, because their “god” does not exist and they have in fact violated the second commandment (Exodus 20:4). They have fashioned a “god” in their own image instead of acknowledging that they were created in the true God’s image.

What they do not realize is that through the progressive revelation of God’s character through the Scriptures, God has revealed that He is a God of justice and holiness (Gen. 17:1; Ps. 62:11; Jer. 32:17; Mat. 19:26; Rev. 1:8, Heb. 1:13; I Pet. 1:15-16; I John 3:3, 5; Rev. 15:4) and because He is just and holy, His character demands that sin must be punished. Since He is perfect by nature, He will not by fiat just forgive us. In fact, if He were to just forgive by fiat, He would be denying his own nature and that is not possible. There must be retribution.

God has laid out the case against us. In our natural state, we are dead in our sins (Eph. 2:1b). This means we have no ability to come to God in and of ourselves. A dead man cannot act on anything by his own will. While we have the free will to choose our own particular means of sin, when it comes to salvation, our spirit is dead and is totally unable to make the right choice.

So there is only one verdict for us as lawbreakers. Guilty as charged and an infinite trespass, demands an infinite restitution. Only infinite punishment could be the sentence for our infinite transgression. The Bible is clear that the wrath of God abides on the children of disobedience. (Jn. 3:36, Rom. 1:18, Eph. 5:6, Col. 3:6, Rev. 14:10, Rev. 14:19, Rev.15:1, Rev.15:7, Rev.16:1)

So where is the hope?

It is here that the infinite, sovereign God of the universe implemented His perfect plan of redemption that He set in motion before the foundation of the world itself. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, born of a virgin (the sin nature is passed through the father), lived a sinless life, took on Himself the infinite punishment of all of our sin. Through the cross of Calvary, Jesus, the one who knew no sin, became the sin offering for us (I Cor. 5:21).

What does it take to satisfy the wrath of God? Only a perfect, infinite sacrifice, meaning that only God Himself could pay that price, which is exactly what took place at Calvary. What does it take to become a part of Christ’s reward? Repentance, which is a total forsaking of our sin, and total faith and trust in the work that Christ completed through the cross and His resurrection. (Eph. 2:8-9) Charles Wesley put it best when he wrote, “Amazing love, how can it be, that you my God shouldst die for me?” What amazing grace that the Creator would die for the created!

But the greatest news is
not only that He died in our place, but that three day later, He conquered death by rising from the dead! And now that He lives, we also can live through Him. (Eph. 2:1a) He has made us alive by His grace, through His gift of faith and not by our own works, so that we cannot be arrogant. As the redeemed we are the church, Christ’s bride and His just reward for His suffering! When I came to understand that as His bride, we are the reward for His suffering, it gave me a heart of gratitude for my Lord and Savior that I never had previously.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism states that “Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.” John Piper has said that “God is most glorified is us when we are most satisfied in Him.” Our lives here are not about us. We have spent so much time trying to find our “purpose” in this life that we have missed the clear purpose in these simple statements. We are here for the glory of the Lord and for that purpose alone. Phillipians 2 tells us that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The question is when will you do that? Will you do it here and then eventually reap the benefit of the presence of God for all eternity, or will you do it later and spend eternity cursing His name in hell?

Pondering our mortality is a sobering exercise. It can lead us to despair if we have no hope in this life or it can lead to the peace of knowing that all that happens in both heaven and earth is for the glory of God.

Ken has been a faithful servant to our Lord and a wonderful friend to me. I pray for his comfort through this trial as well as for his “ultimate healing.” Mostly, I pray for Mary, his sweet wife as well as his three daughters. This will be hardest on them. Please keep them in your prayers, as they will be in mine.

Ken, you are going home soon and you will be free from the ravages of this pain and suffering. When you get there, be sure to go see Dad. I know he’ll be glad to see you! But most of all, you will finally bow on your knees and cry “Holy! Holy! Holy is the Lord God Almighty!” All I can say is what a wonderful place to be! My dear friend, “I’ll see you when I get home!”


“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” – Acts 17:11

Robert Tewart has an excellent post today on his Street Fishing blog about Justin Peters excellent seminar “A Call For Discernment” which deals with the “Word Of Faith” movement and it’s dangerous implications affecting the Church and individual Christians alike.

I first met Justin about 3 years ago when he came and conducted his seminar at our church, First Baptist Church of Keller, TX. He is a long time personal friend of my pastor, Keith Sanders and I found him to be an especially effective communicator who relies exclusively on the Bible as his source of truth and presents it without the hype and theatrics that is many itinerate evangelist’s “bread and butter.”

Justin gives a clear presentation of the questionable tactics and spurious doctrines of many of the “Word of Faith” movements most prominent leaders and how they are not only far outside of the teachings of orthodox Christianity, their methods may even be condemning people to lives of hopelessness and despair. What else can a person with a loved one with a major affliction or maybe even their own illness think when these preachers, such as Benny Hinn has said on numerous occasions, that healing is as easy to receive from God as forgiveness is. Not only does that equate healing with justification (a clear heresy), but it places the responsibility of the affliction squarely in the lap of the afflicted! The Bible clearly teaches that it is God who directs the paths of those who belong to Him for His ultimate glory and if He chooses to afflict one of His own, there is a definite plan that will lead to His glorification. We can rest in the fact that even through major affliction we are in the perfect Hands of God Himself.

This becomes so compelling when you realize that Justin suffers from a mild form of cerebral palsy. He even considers it to be a vital part of his ministry. His testimony of his own encounter with a WOF evangelist as a teenager is illuminating to say the least.

As a personal note, when Justin was at our church the first time, my 10-year-old son (at the time) listened very intently at every session. He even would pull out Justin’s DVD and watch the seminar again and again. I am convinced that this was a turning point in his young life and has since been a real encouragement to me in his love for lost people and evangelism. Words are simply not adequate enough to express how much I am eternally grateful for the ministry of Justin Peters. I wholeheartedly recommend his ministry and pray that he will be as much of a blessing to you as he has been to my church and my family.


“I the LORD your God am a jealous God…” – Exodus 20:4

“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’” – Matthew 16:15

Back in the mid 90s, Joan Osbourne asked the musical question, “What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us?” To even ask this question is an attempt to bring the concept of an infinite God down to the level of a mere mortal, which is a first step in creating a god in our own image, rather than acknowledging that it is the other way around. You see, we fallen human being have this thing called pride. We think that we are the center of the universe (at least in our own eyes!) and live accordingly. It’s like the old joke that asks, how does a soprano screw in a light bulb? She stands at the top of a ladder and just holds the bulb in the socket because the world revolves around her! (Oh come on, Girls! It’s just a joke! The same could be said for us tenors!)

There are just all kinds of dopey ideas that pass themselves off as so called “Christianity” out there. From Joel Osteen and his “fully loaded” analogy, to Gloria Copeland’s claims that we can command the weather (my question is that if Gloria or Ken Copeland can command the weather, why didn’t they go down to the Gulf coast in 2005 and command Katrina to dissipate? Hmmm??) to Creflo Dollar claiming that since all things reproduce after their own kind, we are little “gods” (never mind that since God is the Creator, he stands outside of His creation, has complete dominion over all of it and is not limited in any way by it. Also, Jesus Christ is the only one mentioned in Scripture as “begotten,” all of the rest of the chosen are “adopted”) to these totally weird followers of John Crowder and Ben Dunn who claim to have the “piggy anointing” or the “squirrel anointing” or even the “pheasant anointing” (if you haven’t seen this train wreck, consider yourself blessed!). The one common thread among all of these shenanigans is that every one of them has man as the central focus and not the honor and glory of Almighty God.

The Exodus reference comes directly from the law given to Moses (that would be the second of the Ten Commandments for our friends in the emergent village!) and is crystal clear in the intention that we are not to fashion any god to suit our own perception of God or even of our desire for God to be what WE want Him to be. God is serious about his Name or His reputation (as the third commandment states) and He will not hold them blameless who defame His Name.

The Name of God is serious business. This is why we need a proper Biblical theology in order to give the Name of God it’s proper reverence and to understand the sinful plight of Man in relation to God. Kevin DeYoung, author of “Why We Are Not Emergents (by Two Guys Who Should Be)” has written a great piece about our perceptions of who Jesus is and why it is so important to answer the question Jesus raised in the Matthew reference “Who do you say that I am?” You can read his piece here.

The bottom line is that many are putting their faith in a “Jesus” of their own making. And any “Jesus” that is not the true “Messiah” is no Savior at all

>I just read an excellent series of blog posts by Cameron Buettel at The Bottom Line with 5 observations on witnessing to atheists, using the “Atheist” debate on Nightline in 2008 and the third chapter of both the Gospel of John and Paul’s letter to the Romans. It captures the emotion that many evangelicals were feeling after the debate (including me, I’m sad to say!) that Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron failed to “go for the jugular” and decimate their opponents.

But wisely, Ray and Kirk had no interest in just “winning” the debate. Honestly, what would that accomplish? Our calling as God’s chosen is to “preach the Gospel to every creature,” (Mark 15:16) so if we go in with a “Commando Christian” attitude, all we are going to do is cause those on the other side to hunker down in their position even further. Let’s face it. When it comes to “debate,” people already are set in their ways and are not interested in changing. Paul in Romans 3:11, makes it clear that there is none that seeks after God. If any change is to be made in the heart, it must be facilitated by God Himself and the way that happens is through the preaching of the Gospel, the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).

Bottom line, again apologetics is a powerful tool that is best used for those who are at least leaning toward faith in Christ and just need a little nudge or for the Christian who struggles with a lack of faith. But for the ones with whom we are sharing our faith (you ARE sharing your faith, aren’t you?) apologetics is our last card, not to win the debate, but to allow God to populate His kingdom how He sees fit.

To Read Cameron entire posts, here are the links:
Take care and God Bless!

As I have said before, I love absurd humor. There is nothing better than absurdity being illustrated by the absurd. It reminds me of a sketch that I saw from Monty Python about two Australian brothers who hunted mosquitoes for their wings (I think a fully intact mosquito wing could bring n as much as a 3rd of a penny!). They brought so much firepower to catch these little bitty insects that it was absolutely hilarious. The most memorable line was when one brother said in a thick Australian accent (which just made it funnier), “People say why don’t you just use fly spray? Well, where’s the sport in THAT?”

Anyway, this came to mind when I was cruising around YouTube and found this one guy’s channel that took aim at a number of evangelists and street preachers affiliated with The Way Of The Master, some of whom are good friends of mine. He just literally lampooned them by using outrageous video clips, none of which came from WOTM, in essence propping up his own straw-man argument. He claimed to be a Reformed Christian but in some of his videos, he used clips with absolutely vile language and when I called him on it, he not only defended his use of the clips, he actually used some of the language to describe what he thought of me! Now, I’ve been cussed out in much more creative and colorful ways, but I certainly didn’t expect to have it happen from a “so-called Christian.” In my exchange with him, I was merely trying to get a coherent Biblical foundation on which he was building his opposition to WOTM and could never get one. All I got was ad hominem attacks, circular reasoning, straw-men, and profanity. My favorite was when he called me a “spineless jellyfish!” That one was a real crack up! Talk about a coherent well-reasoned response! But, I finally cut it off after the profanity and quoted to him Proverbs 9:7-9 (ESV):

7 Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

So I left him saying that it was up to him whether he was a scoffer or a wise man. Sadly, it seems to be the former and he will still be polluting bandwidth with his particular brand of hatred. But as an American, he has the right to be a scoffer. God can deal with him however he pleases, and that is more than satisfactory for me.

So what is the point of this? One thing this guy brought up in one of his videos is the use of apologetics when evangelizing and totally blasted Ray Comfort in particular for not answering direct questions regarding apologetics. Apologetics are an important part of the Christian faith and can be useful in evangelistic settings. But they must be carefully used. I view apologetics like major firepower and when used without discretion for the purpose of just winning an argument, they become like using a bazooka to catch a mosquito! Apologetics are useful when a person is genuinely interested in knowing whether or not the Bible is true, if God really exists, and if He really did create the world (in 6 literal days, I might add!). The important thing though is to get the conversation back to the conscience and to heart matters. (Romans 10:10a, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” This is the area that galvanizes a person’s convictions and worldview and is where we must spend the majority of our time.

So when you are out there talking to people about their soul (you ARE doing that right?!), keep the heavy firepower close, but don’t pull it out too soon and only use it sparingly to get the conversation back on track. Don’t blow away the “mosquitoes.” Find the sheep!

On Thanksgiving, after a wonderful time with my family, my son Daniel and I met up with our friends Dennis, Chris, Trish, and Josh and went to our local Best Buy to street preach and evangelize, while people stood in line to wait for the store to open the next morning. Talk about a captive audience!

After a couple of engaging one on one encounters, a few of our guys got up to do some street preaching (including my son Daniel, who is growing in Christ right before my eyes, and I just couldn’t be happier!). At the end, Dennis stood back up on the stool and asked if there were any questions. All of a sudden a man toward the back of the line shouted out something at Dennis that I did not fully understand but apparently was a derogatory comment since Dennis said “That’s not a question, Sir!”

The man then proceeded to get out of line and walk in our general direction, yelling and cursing us as he went. When he realized that Trish was filming the encounter, he started toward her and she stopped the video. He then left the scene.

The next thing we knew, Chris was warning us to get out of the way and that man came dangerously close to running us over with the car! One thing is for certain, since the world hated Christ before us, why should we expect anything different? We are so blessed in this country to be able to preach the Gospel without any legal restraint from the government (at least that’s what the Constitution says!) because so many millions down through the ages have been persecuted, tortured, and even murdered for their faith. After the consideration that Christ Himself suffered immensely for our salvation, is it not reasonable that we suffer for His sake? This kind of makes today’s evangelical pragmatism seem trivial and trite.

Many so-called evangelicals are taking a much too pragmatic view of their Christianity and in the process are not engaging the truth with anyone in this culture. When we preach our transgression of the law, we should expect opposition. This is a culture that does not desire to know God and as such will fight it at any cost. Aldous Huxley, the noted humanist, author of “Brave New World,” and who was sometimes considered the “spiritual father” of the hippie movement, wrote in his book “Ends and Means,”

“I wanted to believe the Darwinian idea. I chose to believe it, not because I think there was enormous evidence for it, nor because I believed it had the full authority to give interpretation to my origins, but I chose to believe it because it delivered me from trying to find meaning and freed me to my own erotic passions.”

Without any moral law, man is subject only to his own passions. This is why the Gospel is so offensive to the unregenerate. They have no means of understanding unless God Himself brings life to their dead spirit. This is only accomplished in the “foolishness of preaching.” God only uses the Gospel to raise men’s spirits from the dead and we are the means which He uses to bring this about.

I am honored, blessed and humbled to be a bond-servant of Jesus Christ. Just like the Apostle Paul, I know that in my flesh dwells no good thing but it is Christ who has brought me to life and is using me to speak truth into people’s lives. This is the “Brave New World” of evangelism! Let’s use every means possible to reach as many people as we can for Christ, while we still have the open door.