Why the Gospel is Offensive

The message of the Gospel is often seen as very hopeful and exhilarating, in a good way. But, what many may not realize is that several non-Christians find it VERY offensive. Here’s why.

The idea that we are all sinful. The Bible clearly states that all humans are sinners, and fall much short of the glory of the Most High God. So if some random person told you that you were a sinner, wouldn’t you be offended?

Sin leads to death. After being told that everyone is a sinner under God’s eyes, you most likely will be told that this sin you can’t control causes death. Wow, well that sounds hopeful right? The sin that I can’t control leads to death I must endure.

Not only is there physical death, but sin leads us to hell. This sin that is in every man causes physical death, but to make matters worse, there is also a spiritual death. In this spiritual death that sin causes, your soul goes to hell for eternity because God cannot be in the presence of your sin.

Read more

8 Ways You’re Doing Apologetics Wrong

From Caleb,

As I look around, I have come to realize a number of things Christians need to stop doing when it comes to apologetics. I am not perfect and boy-oh-boy do I mess these up, but my hope is that by the end of the article all of us will have realized an area we can improve our apologetic and ultimately our walk with Christ.

1.) You’re ONLY Doing Apologetics

Apologetics is great, but without sharing the Gospel it is useless.

The only productive thing that can be accomplished is debating if you’re well versed in apologetics but not sharing your faith. The apologetic information of the Christian has the power that it does because of the message of Jesus Christ. It has nothing to do with building strong, awesome arguments, but it has everything to do with the love of Jesus and his atonement for our sins on the cross.

2.) You Don’t Love the People You’re Talking To

Like #1 said, apologetics has everything to do with the love of Christ. Sometimes, utilizing apologetics can hurt, confuse, or offend the person that you’re talking to. As Christians, we know that what we are telling them is true, but if there is no love in the message, we will fail to communicate effectively. All love without truth is hypocrisy, and all truth with no love is brutality. The people you are talking to will sense this, and it will immediately become a turn-off that will turn their listening ears off and could potentially harden their hearts.

3.) You Use It to Boost Your Pride

This is a major no-go from God in everything, not just apologetics. In reality, using apologetics and sharing the Gospel is all about laying your pride aside and sharing the truth in love no matter what the cost is to you whether that’s losing your job, friends, possessions, or status. Plain and simple.

4.) You Don’t Use It to Share the Gospel

Using apologetics is great. Paul himself used as he said he reasoned in the Temple with the elders; however, Paul wasn’t reasoning with them simply for the sake of doing so or passing the time. He did it so that he could share the Gospel and communicate the Gospel more effectively with those around him. That is the purpose of apologetics; it was meant to go hand-in-hand with evangelism.

5.) You Don’t Use It

This should be impossible. I almost shy away from saying apologetics because to me it simply means you understand and have good reason to believe what you do. If you don’t have good reason to believe something, why on earth even bother believing it? It is impossible to not use apologetics in this day and age when sharing the Gospel because they should just blend together.

6.) You Don’t Think It’s For You

Allow me to blunt, so strap on you big boy/girl pants: If you do not think that apologetics is “for you” then you’re clearly not sharing the Gospel with people or interacting with unsaved people at all. If you are interacted with unsaved people and you’ve never had to use some sort of apologetics tactics or knowledge, you’re probably not taking your conversations with them past “Hi, how are ya?” These days you cannot avoid it, and if you are, this should raise serious concerns about how you’re practicing evangelism to the rest of the world around you.

7.) You Think It’s An Argument

If you’re in a conversation and are using apologetics, but you think it’s a argument, then you’re probably doing #1 incorrect as well. Using apologetics in a conversation is not something that you win or lose at; it’s just incorporating it into your conversations. We should not be aiming to beat another person down or to “win”; our aim should be sharing the Good News with them! If your aim is off, that means you’re striking out on #1 and #4.

8.) You Don’t Practice Conversation

Having all that information floating around in your head is like having an open fire hydrant: water is flowing with no direction. Without practicing these conversations in your mind, it’s impossible to direct, channel, and refine the information we are using in our conversations. Practicing using the information through imaginary conversations in your mind is like putting a fire hose on the fire hydrant: it allows you to pin point precisely how you want and would use the information you know in a real life conversation.

Why Christian Doctrine and Evolution Conflict

As scientific research continues to grow and technology gets more advanced, the more Christianity is validated. This is found in the extreme complexity and fine tuning of life in the universe. With this being the case, is it possible that someday the theory of evolution and Christianity will merge together because of overwhelming scientific research? No, it won’t.

I want to start by making a clarification. There are two kinds of evolution: micro- and macro-. In micro-evolution, slight adjustments are made to a species that enhance its ability to survive in a given environment. These are also called adaptations. Macro-evolution, on the other hand, is when changes in a species lead it entirely change species. Micro-evolution occurs for certain, this is easily observable in nature. Examples of micro-evolution include, bacteria becoming resistant to a drug and Darwin’s Finches. There is poor evidence (none) for macro-evolution in nature, for more on this check out my podcast with Sean McDowell; however, in this blog, that’s not where I want to focus. I want to focus on why the theory can be harmful to the doctrine of people following God if they chose to believe it.

Reality is the word theory has become thrown around. Both evolution and gravity are theories; however, there is clearly not as much evidence to support the first as there is gravity. Also, if (macro-)evolution was true, why do so many people doubt evolutionary theory unlike gravity. There is clearly difference in the significance of the term theory among the scientific community. Just food for thought.

Could God have used Evolution?

People have proposed the thought, “Why must they be separate? Couldn’t God have made all creatures through that process?” Why yes, he very possibly could have. He’s God; he can do it however he wants. Although, I’ll tell you why I have strong reason to believe that he didn’t.

The fossil record shows that the population of animals on the earth looks more like an inverted pyramid: starting at the top there is a high population, and it decreases as you move down the pyramid. However, other people propose that there was one single organism and then all other organisms came from that. This is not what the fossil record shows. With the evidence that there were many more species and then it got smaller, it supports God creating all the animals on the earth like it’s said in Genesis.

This is another reason I think that God didn’t use evolution. Evolution steals glory right away from God; it diminishes the creativity of God. It doesn’t make sense as to why Christ would use a scientific process to create life, when he could further display his glory by individually crafting each unique animal. This appears to be counter intuitive of how Christ does things throughout the course of the Bible. God is not random, and he does nothing blind; however, evolution is blind. On top of that, unlike the rest of creation, mankind was created in the image of God and we have souls: we are different from all other creatures in this regard.

If we were to hold true to the theory, we would be considered no different than all other animals on the planet. There would be nothing unique about us, nothing worth saving. This directly conflicts with basic doctrine from the Bible.

Do Denominations Invalidate Christianity?

I could wish that no definitions had ever been felt to be necessary; and, still more, that none had been allowed to make divisions between churches.

~ C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

From Caleb,

First, I want to clear something up. It has too long been an issue among Christians about which denomination you follow. Too many people think they go to “the best” denomination church, and sorry to be blunt, but I am sick and tired of it. Whether you attend a church that is Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Nazarene, Catholic, or any other, you’re not anymore of a Christian than the next guy that goes to a different denomination church.

What is important is what you think about who Jesus is and the things that he did. There is no one “right” or “better” denomination. We are THE CHURCH; we are all followers of Christ. Reality is, no matter which kind of church you attend, there are people who go every single Sunday that could be dying and going to hell.

There are people who go to Lutheran churches that aren’t actually saved.
There are people who go to Presbyterian churches that aren’t actually saved.
There are people who go to Nazarene churches that aren’t actually saved. There are people who go to Baptist churches that aren’t actually saved.
There are people who go to Catholic churches that aren’t actually saved.

Attending a specific denomination of church doesn’t save you, following Christ wholeheartedly and trusting in his sacrifice does. When these divides go up based on “denomination,” the Church as a whole is being weakened. From the outside looking in, this conflict within God’s people makes us look foolish to non-believers.

Parents and older believers, listen up! We must stop indirectly creating this mindset in the minds of young believers through how we speak about other churches. Making stereotypical jokes, speaking bad of another church, or simply vocalizing assumptions we have about a particular church based on their denomination further encourages this mindset among other believers. It must be stopped for the sake of uniting the church in the future.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the answer is no: Christianity cannot be invalidated simply because there are many different denominations. The truth is The Church is all of the people that love Christ and believe that they have received salvation by grace through faith and because of that, repent and turn from their sins. Furthermore, the Early Church differences in many denominations are what I would like to call “Nonessential pieces of Doctrine”, these are things that even though they are slightly doctrinally different, they are not a deterrent to the truth of the Church. Ultimately they have no bearing when it comes to trusting in salvation from Jesus by grace and through faith.

Why Materialism Must be False

If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true…and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.”

– C.S. Lewis

From Ben,

One of the issues with an evolutionary perspective is the idea of materialism. First off, let’s define materialism in these terms. Materialism is the idea that everything can be traced back to physical matter; there is no spiritual aspect to things or even a mind apart from a physical brain. Everything can be explained as a chemical interaction. But how can this be logical?

How can anything be logical if all thoughts are chemical reactions occurring in our brains.

The largest issue with this point of view that often comes to my mind is the conscience found in every person- the moral compass inside of us all that separates right from wrong and produces feelings of guilt. How are human beings born with an idea of what is good and what is bad? Materialism says that it is all matter; there is no true good or bad because everything is simply chemicals reacting to create a response. Does materialism explain this idea of a conscience in humans? I believe it does not.

Another Major Issue

Another major issue with the idea that all things are only physical is the idea of truth itself. If every thought is simply chemicals interacting, then how can we trust anything that we say, or others say? The materialist point of view says that you have no control over what you say, think, and do. Because it is all simply a physical interaction within your brain that does not involve immaterial feelings or knowledge. Once again, how can we believe in ourselves and those around us to make “good” choices when they actually have no control over their thoughts or actions?

How do beliefs and values play a role in a materialistic evolutionary perspective on the world? They simply don’t make any sense. The thought that unguided evolution would produce beings that hold believes, pursue truth, and have values does not directly align with evolution, nor materialism. Evolution simply cares about behaviors, not beliefs. Materialists have no substantial argument as to how the ability of humans to think and hold personal views on things developed from only physical matter.

This leads us to the incredible complexity of the world and all processes that occur within. As science has progressed and academia has been able to study life on a much more microscopic level, the simple theories of evolution have begun to fall apart. The chances that a random occurrence would cause such complex and incredibly-designed life forms is just not plausible or rational. In this case, there had to be something (or someone) immaterial, that is supernatural, that created and designed such processes. This view completely clashes with the views of a materialist who would believe that random events caused unguided evolution, which produced human beings.

Practical Application:

When talking to someone who you know as an evolutionist, bring up the idea of materialism. Ask them if they truly believe that every thought they have and every belief they hold is simply a chemical reaction occurring in their brain. Bring up the fact that if materialism were true, how could we know anything to be trustworthy or moral. Also, ask your friend about their conscience and if they feel guilt when they do wrong, then ask them to explain how this developed simply through matter. Always be polite and respectful, showing the love of Jesus in every response and interaction.

If you want to educate yourself further on the idea of materialism, I highly suggest researching and reading articles on Thomas Nagel. Nagel is an atheist, but is not afraid to say controversial things on reason and evolution itself.