Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ministry Page?

I've been kicking around the idea of creating a web-page or blog site that was just a great apologetic resource to others that like me, want to offer the world answers about their Christian Faith.

The Bible says,
"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."

I have had that actual burden for one reason or another lay on my heart in the last few years of my walk. I cannot say that I have always been good about it or that I have any statistics from my critics about how successful they deem my efforts. However, I'd rather be out in the trenches than at home cowering for fear of failure. In doing this, I readily admit that I am an amateur apologist. Many more brilliant than I have come before me and many more will follow. My circle of influence and intellect are after all, only as vast/small as God wants it to be.

My particular journey has met with a pattern which in turn has spurred this idea. I would love to have your feedback. I usually set out on the net innocently enough. But it doesn't take long before I encounter someone that has an interesting viewpoint that challenges all of my preconceived notions. You would think more often than not, that these people would be my atheist pals. Yet more often than I care to imagine, I have professing Christians with some really unorthodox beliefs be the ones that spur me to get into a bit of research and/or rebuttal mode.

The latest of these encounters comes from a very well educated Christian man regarding the Bible. He spent a great deal of his life, like me, a fundamentalist…believing in the inerrancy of The Bible. I have to tell you that after watching just one of his vids, I quickly dove in and watch everything he had available on YouTube. He is actually quite convincing to some degree. And while I do not worship Scripture AND while I would still believe in Christ if someone were to ever prove the Bible to have some errors in it, he still rocked my world. It was one thing to have the non-believer in all of their flawed, often uneducated ways…point a finger of doubt toward my beloved “Word of God” but it was quite another to have an educated, brother in Christ doing so.

And like many of my previous encounters, I prayed. I struggled, I questioned, I researched. Wash, rinse, repeat. Often these exercises do end up changing me to some degree as I have never had the egotistical idea that “I” know it all. But then there are times like this one that I find a perfect resource that backs up my former stance. And it does so in a way that I could have never done on my own. Had I not gone out there and done a bit of searching, I might have watered down my belief in The Bible and let that turn into a slippery slope of backsliding. I will post another article that explains why I believe that inerrancy is so important.

Where did the research lead me?
Here. I suggest you look for other sources as well but I have found this to be quite wonderful in and of itself. I have even taken the liberty of duplicating the Index Page in a separate blog post for my readers to use and enjoy on their own. If the actual authors have any problems with that, I will gladly remove it. However, since I am essentially funneling people to their page and since these are believers, I doubt the request will ever come through.

This page covers the 143 most commonly touted Biblical “contradictions”. If there is something not covered here, I would be surprised. So the next time you find yourself in discussion or debate over a “contradiction” meant to prove your Bible fallible, then bookmark this resource and see what comes of it.

I get why my Christian brethren sometimes choose to abandon the inerrancy stance. It is a difficult one to defend. And most times people would rather abandon Scripture than God Himself, so they sacrifice for what they deem to be the greater good. I stand NOT in judgment of those that come to this point. When things like slavery and genocide are in The Bible and presented in ways that lead the reader to believe God might support one, the other, or both…where does that lead your witness? So please do not think that I am critical of those that felt compelled to claim errancy. I just think we are often too quick to take that strategy, when a bit more study can render a different result.

Suffice to say, this will not be the last time someone rocks my world. It won’t be the last time I do not immediately have an answer but eventually find one. I will continue to learn and hopefully help others do the same. And when I am wrong…that is fine. Iron sharpens iron. Hopefully all parties exit the other side having been changed for the better when all the dust has settled.

Biblical Contradictions Answered

Index of "Contradictions"

See why I decided to host this page here.

It may also be helpful to read the Introduction posted by the authors of these works.

1. God is satisfied/unsatisfied with his works

2. God dwells/dwells not in chosen temples

3. God dwells in light/darkness

4. God is seen/unseen and heard/unheard

5. God is tired/never tired and rests/never rests

6. God is/is not omnipresent and omniscent

7. God does/does not know the hearts of men

8. God is/is not all powerful

9. God is changeable/unchangeable

10. God is just/unjust or partial/impartial

11. God is/is not the author of evil

12. God gives freely/witholds his blessings

13. God can/cannot be found by those who seek Him

14. God is warlike/peaceful

15. God is cruel/kind

16. God's anger endures for a long/short time

17. God approves/disapproves of burnt offerings

18. God accepts/forbids human sacrifices

19. God tempts man/doesn't tempt man

20. God send lying spirits/doesn't lie

21. God will/will not destroy man

22. God's attributes are revealed/cannot be discovered

23. God is one/many

24. Robbery commanded/prohibited

25. Lying approved/forbidden

26. Hatred to the Edomite sanctioned/forbidden

27. Killing commanded/forbidden

28. Blood-shedder must/must not die

29. Making of images forbidden/commanded

30. Slavery and oppression forbidden/sanctioned

31. Improvidence enjoyed/condemned

32. Anger approved/disapproved

33. Good works to be seen/not to be seen by men

34. Judging of others forbidden/approved

35. Christ taught non-resistence/taught and practiced physical resistance

36. Christ warned his followers not to fear being killed/Christ avoided Jews for fear of being killed himself

37. Public prayer sanctioned/disapproved

38. Importunity in prayer commended/condemned

39. Wearing of long hair by men sanctioned/condemned

40. Circumcision instituted/condemned

41. Sabbath instituted/repudiated

42. Sabbath instituted because God rested/because God brought Israelites out of Egypt

43. No work to be done on Sabbath/Christ broke this rule

44. Baptism Commanded/not commanded

45. Every animal allowed for food/certain animals prohibited for food

46. Taking of oaths sanctioned/forbidden

47. Marriage approved/disapproved

48. Freedom of divorce permitted/restricted

49. Adultery forbidden/allowed

50. Marriage/cohabitation with sister denounced, but Abraham married his sister and God blessed the marriage

51. A man may/may not marry his brother's widow

52. Hatred to kindred enjoined/condemned

53. Intoxicating beverages recommended/discountenanced

54. Our rulers are God's ministers and should be obeyed/are evil and should be disobeyed

55. Women's rights affirmed/denied

56. Obedience to masters/obedience only to God

57. There is/is not an unpardonable sin

58. Man was created before/after other animals

59. Seed time and harvest never ceased/ceased for seven years

60. God/Pharoah hardened Pharoah's heart

61. All Cattle and horses died/all cattle and horses did not die

62. Moses feared/did not fear Pharoah

63. Plague killed 23000/24000

64. John the Baptist was/was not Elias

65. Father of Mary's husband was Jacob/Heli

66. Father of Salah was Arphaxad/Cainan

67. Thirteen/Fourteen generations from Abraham to David

68. Thirteen/Fourteen generations from Babylonian captivity to Christ

69. Infant Christ was/was not taken to Egypt

70. Christ was/was not tempted in the wilderness

71. Christ preached his first sermon on the mount/on the plain

72. John was/was not in prison when Jesus went to Galilee

73. Christ's disciples were commanded to go forth with a staff and sandles/neither staves nor sandles

74. A woman of Canaan/Greek woman sought Jesus

75. Two/one blind men/man besought Jesus

76. Christ was crucified on the third/sixth hour

77. Two thieves/only one thief railed at Christ

78. Satan entered Judas at the supper/after the supper

79. Judas committed suicide by hanging/died another way

80. Potter's field purchased by Judas/by the Chief Priest

81. Only one woman/two women went to the sepulchre

82. Three women/more than three women went to the sepulchre

83. It was early sunrise/sometime after sunrise when they went to the sepulchre

84. Two angels standing/only one angel sitting seen by women

85. Two angels/one angel seen at the sepulchre

86. Christ was to be three days and three nights in the tomb/only two days and two nights

87. Holy Spirit bestowed at/before Pentecost

88. Disciples commanded immediately after resurrection to go into Galilee/tarry at Jerusalem

89. Jesus first appeared to disciples in a room in Jerusalem/on a mountain in Galilee.

90. Christ ascended from Mount Olive/Bethany

91. Paul's attendants heard/did not hear the miraculous voice

92. Abraham departed to go to Canaan/did not know where he was going

93. Abraham had one/two sons.

94. Keturah was Abraham's wife/concubine

95. Abraham begat a son at the age of 100 years by God's providence/he then had six more sons without God's help

96. Jacob/Abraham brought the sepulchre from Hamor

97. God gave Abraham and his sons the promised land/they never received it

98. Goliath/his brother was slain by Elhanan

99. Ahaziah began his reign in the eleventh/twelfth year of Joram

100. Michal had five children/one child

101. David was tempted by the LORD/by satan to number Israel

102. Number of fighting men in Israel was 800,000/1,100,000, number of fighting men in Judah was 500,000/470,000

103. David sinned in numbering Israel/David never sinned except in the matter of Uriah

104. One of David's penalties for sinning was seven years of famine/there were only three years of famine

105. David took 700/7000 horsemen

106. David bought a threshing floor for 50 sheckles of silver/600 shekles of gold

107. David's throne was to endure forever/David's throne was cast down

108. Christ is equal/is not equal with God

109. Jesus was/was not all-powerful

110. The law was/was not superceded by Christian dispensation

111. Christ's mission was/was not peace

112. Christ did not/did receive testimony from men

113. Christ's witness of himself is true/untrue

114. Christ laid down his life for his friends/enemies

115. It was/was not lawful for the Jews to put Christ to death

116. Children are/are not punished for the sins of their parents

117. Man is/is not justified by faith alone

118. It is impossible/possible to fall from grace

119. No man is without sin/Christians are sinless

120. There will/will not be a resurrection of the dead

121. Reward/punishment bestowed in this/next world

122. Annihilation/endless misery the portion of all mankind

123. Earth is/is never to be destroyed

124. No evil shall/Evil will happen to the Godly

125. Worldly good and prosperity/worldly misery and destitution to be the lot of the godly

126. Worldly prosperity a reward/a curse

127. Christian Yoke is/is not easy

128. Fruit of God's spirit is love and gentleness/vengeance and fury

129. Longevity enjoyed by/denied to wicked

130. Poverty/Riches/Neither a blessing

131. Wisdom a source of enjoyment/vexation, grief, sorrow

132. Good name is a blessing/curse

133. Laughter commended/condemned

134. Rod of correction is cure for foolishness/there is no cure for foolishness

135. Fool should/should not be answered according to his folly

136. Temptation desired/undesired

137. Prophecy is sure/unsure

138. Man's life 120/70 years

139. Fear of man on every beast/fear of man not on the lion

140. Miracles are/are not proof of divine inspiration

141. Moses meek/cruel

142. Elijah ascended to heaven/none but Christ ascended to Heaven

143. All scripture is inspired/Some scripture is not inspired

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Salvation Crushers


Why it’s so easy to discourage those that have it?

There lies a conundrum in the Christian walk. Argue with this premise if you must but I have personally found that the closer I become in my relationship with The Lord, the less worthy I feel of Him or the gift of salvation that He so generously offers and I so humbly accept.

I suspect that I am not alone in this realization. So…if I am feeling more and more unworthy each day, then it would be fairly easy to jump into my life, even for a brief moment, point a finger of judgment, or exert an “add on” to Christ’s sacrifice, and effectively cause me to question myself.

It usually goes something like this:

Christian X decides that you can lose your salvation or that something in addition to the acceptance of Christ is required to earn and/or keep it. They share this view in a variety of ways…usually militantly as if they have it all figured out. Then they use some classic Scripture to drive their point home.

Matthew 7:21-23 (New International Version)
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

Or this one…

Matthew 7:13-14 (New International Version)
The Narrow and Wide Gates
13"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Their point? Well in the first set of verses, they are implying that there will be those on judgment day that thought they were of the Christian variety, that either actually were not or that somehow lost favor. That could even mean you!!! So you better listen to their message to you or else! In the second set of verses the intent is the same but less confrontational and direct. In the narrow gate analogy they mean to cause you to doubt that you are (a) on the narrow path (especially if you still do that thing called sinning) and (b) that you are probably not one of the few. After all in order for a few to be a small number, you probably won’t be there, right?

A combination of true humility and the unworthiness most of us already feel about being given such an incredible gift is hereby challenged and I dare say discouraged. I have never had someone successfully cause me to doubt myself to the point where I was convinced that I was never saved to begin with or somehow lost it along the way…but I can say they often end up getting me rather depressed and upset. It is certainly not the best way to be an encouraging part of The Body of Christ, to essentially make all in it doubt their security.

What they probably fail to understand is this:

1. Whether well intended or not, they are really hurting lots of people…especially new Christians that have just begun their walk with Christ

2. They are belittling the Cross and the power of Christ by making salvation about something other than Him and His free gift.

3. They imply a works-based theology as if you can actually DO something to earn and/or lose favor. If we are on a works-based program people, be afraid…be very afraid. For who amongst us is good?

The ONLY possibly fruit I can even get myself to imagine when these kinds of Christians do their deeds is this:

There are those (like I once was) that believe they are Christians just because they attend a Christian-themed church. They really do not understand salvation, either because it was not taught (as in my case) or it was not taught well. They check off the to-do list for the week that they went to Church; they live their lives in the best way possible, and believe that they are good and deserving of heaven. I suppose it is worth a bit of discouragement being thrown my way IF INDEED they reach this group of people somehow and get them to turn it around.

However, I am a bit skeptical that is what is actually happening. Call me crazy!

Here is a video that I made to combat the Salvation Crushers. Enjoy!

Another Humility Lesson

I experienced a first with my participation on YouTube. As usual, I had an idea. I considered it much and often. Slowly I got excited about it and figured out ways to best articulate it. Assuming as I often do that my inspiration ONLY comes from The Lord (never my own selfish desires or from some darker place) I jumped into my vehicle, pressed record and let go. I don’t rehearse videos, nor do I script or over-produce them as so many tend to do. It’s not because I have any purity-of-product stance but rather the lack of time and/or a lazy disposition. Mostly though it is because I like to be “as real as possible” and not gloss over the umm’s or the stammers and pauses. You get me as I am in that moment. I am comfortable being me and do not feel the need to present an air-brushed version.

This process has rendered lots of fat. After reviewing many videos that I just knew were going to be great, many of them have been scrapped or abandoned completely. You see, sometimes the point does not come across the way I wanted it to. Or I feel The Holy Spirit leading me to nix the idea or completely re-shoot, changing the aspects that fell short. It can be frustrating still when a project you know has some merit or some value never hits the web because you never do work out those kinks. And as much as I love the comments, replies and the interaction of others when a new video gets posted up…I would rather a quality product representing Christ than just another video for the sake of the interaction that comes from it.

Somehow…one slipped through my fingers. I filmed a rant about Supernaturalism. I admit when I watched it there were parts that were embarrassingly unpolished. But hey…that’s how I roll and those that love my channel hopefully love it because of such things. I posted it up. Commentary came…the wonderful interaction with others had commenced. The next day I awoke to check on the commentary and to my shock there was a fellow Christian not only taking issue with the video but questioning my salvation. How had this happened? What had him so confused? I had officially been rebuked.

You have a couple of choices when things like this happen. You can let ego drive you and remain certain that you only make the best of videos, all of which glorify God of course…OR you can investigate and engage your critic and find out what lies beneath the statements. I realize that if you have lots of haters, choice two can be a daunting task. And if this criticism had come from my typical atheist detractor, I would be gracious but essentially blow it off. Now it might also be beneficial to understand that I have met my fair share of professing Christians that I find to be (for a variety of reasons) a bit less than trustworthy with advice. I will leave it at that. However, this particular guy had never given me any indication that he was of that variety but rather much the opposite…that he was a true, solid, trustworthy brother in Christ.

Communication began. I emailed, he responded. I explained my video and the topic; he told me why it failed for him. Back and forth, back and forth it went…all very civil mind you…though I was incredibly hurt. We finally decided to bring a fellow Christian into the mix and get his thoughts. Call it a combination of seeking council and grabbing a brother in a rebuke situation. I had been rebuked and I could not deny that. But since I found myself to be Not-Guilty, I either needed a third party to back me up or stand with this other man in rebuke of me. An interesting hybrid outcome emerged. This third party concluded that it was wrong of my critic to judge me an unbeliever BUT that he did have a leg to stand on with his criticism of the actual video and how I worded the contents therein.

Essentially he got rebuked for being too harsh and judgmental and I got rebuked for letting my quality control system fail.

I can deal with that.

I am dealing with it.

But man! Humility stings.

Lord, can this be my last lesson of that variety?

Post Script:

1. This situation has me thinking much about the salvation issue that was raised and why people tend to make such accusations. A follow-up post in that vein will soon be written.

2. I have concluded that my Supernaturalism video was poorly worded and as such was confusing. However, I do believe that there was some value in it and will either re-shoot things or just post an article about it here.