Saturday, November 29, 2014

Friendship Evangelism Failing the Church

I'm reblogging this highly important article.


Friendship Evangelism Failing the Church - TruthWatch NZ

For decades western Christians have been regaled with the importance of non-judgemental, non- threatening, friendship evangelism. Forming relationships with the unsaved in order to ‘win them over’ is the universally approved method. Anything else is often met with doubts and mistrust. Despite the growing acceptance of what we like to call the law-to-grace method, which stresses using the ten commandments to bring people to see they are lost without Jesus, friendship evangelism is still the dominant methodology.

The problem is it is not working well. Over the decades since the 70s the western church should have seen substantial growth, given the supposed superiority of friendship evangelism, but it has not. Quite the reverse. Most studies, reported by the likes of the Barna Group, show a declining belief in Christianity, especially amongst youth. The oft-repeated and erroneous reaction to poor performance is to escalate commitment to a failing order in the hope that it will bear the fruit expected of it. If only we can do it better we will see it work. The emergent church movement and a raft of books like Kinnaman’s Un-Christian and Rob Bell’s book, which minimises the reality of hell, are at the forefront of this misguided escalation and fall naturally out of a mistaken emphasis on friendship as the only basis for evangelism.

To continue reading click here.

For Further Reading / Research:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Google Hangout - Brendan vs A Deist

Click here for video
Update: This comment made by someone in the comment section of the video sums up well the dishonest fallacy / tactic Matteo used:

"Snow Job: The fallacy of “proving” a claim by overwhelming an audience with mountains of irrelevant facts, numbers, documents, graphs and statistics that they cannot be expected to understand."


Today I hosted my first ever Google Hangout. The discussion was between myself and Matteo - a deist. I'd be interested to hear any feedback on the things we discussed. Also if you have any advice about some of the technical issues we had then please let me know how I can fix those the next time I host a hangout.

I think that I did a reasonably good job at exposing some of the absurdities of Matteo's worldview, and at showing why the biblical worldview is reasonable and provides a foundation for logic and knowledge. I was surprised that he denied the law of non-contradiction (which he seems to not understand - the law of non-contradiction is that something cannot be X and not X at THE SAME TIME AND IN THE SAME WAY - the examples he gave were not contradicting anything at the same time and in the same way). He spent a considerable amount of time arguing as to why logical impossibilities are actually possible. If that's not absurd then I don't know what is. In relation to this Matteo brought up the topic of Quantum Mechanics - to which I referred to the blog I wrote on this topic - Quantum Madness. According to Matteo Quantum Mechanics throws the idea of absolute truth out the window. (Is that absolutely true?!)

Another absurd thing was that at around the 15:50 mark Matteo rejects the idea of certain knowledge and absolute truth:

Matteo: "My point is, something like absolute truth, unless you are ok with getting there asymptotically, it's meaningless because it doesn't do anything for you. It doesn't do any work. It doesn't produce any results."

Me: "Is it absolutely true that absolute truth is meaningless?"

Matteo: "That's a very good question. Maybe one day we'll figure it out. For now I'm going to say the amount of precision, the closer I get to absolute truth about, again, how tall you are for example, the less I care."

To reject absolute truth is to make an absolute truth claim - which is why he had no real answer to my question about this. Absolute truth cannot be found via science - but in order to even begin to do science you must operate as if absolute truth exists, otherwise you'd have no reason to expect the scientific method to be a workable method. It is absolutely true that we can do experiments and expect consistent results when repeating the exact same experiments. This is possible because God exists and we all know it. We are hardwired to assume that our senses and reasoning are reliable, and that nature is generally uniform.

We discussed "Young Earth Creationism" for a while, and I tried to explain that if God did make a miraculous and mature creation in 6 days thousands of years ago and not millions of years ago, scientists would have no way of knowing this unless they accepted the truth of God's word. Matteo argued that this would be deceptive of God - but this is not deceptive of God because he has clearly told us that he made a mature creation - it is deceptive of modern secular scientists who present evolution, the Big Bang theory, and deep time as if it were a fact and in the process deliberately reject the possibility that God exists and made everything as he told us in the Bible. Even without the Bible's record - the idea that the earth is billions of years old is not something that we intuit from creation - it is something that must be learned from secular science.

I was also surprised that he argued that Creationists deny the law of gravity - which is just not true. That is why I tried to explain the difference between observational science and forensic science - forensic science is the kind of science they do in CSI - and they have to make A LOT of assumptions - even more so when it comes to origins science that is dealing with things that happened in the distant past.
It's not science - creation.com
And if I hadn't been interrupted or had more time I would have liked to show how biblical Christianity alone provides a basis for science - and I would have asked him to account for the uniformity of nature without the biblical God - something that he would not have been able to do.
This is the atheist problem of induction - but as a deist Matteo has the same problem because he does not believe that God is active today.


Matteo admitted that he has no way of knowing if we are in the Matrix or not and argued that this is highly possible. He also admitted that he doesn't know if his reasoning is valid, and he had no answer to how he knows his reasoning is reliable to any degree other than that it works - which I pointed out is logically fallacious.

Towards the end of our discussion the issue of 'turning the other cheek' came up. Here is a link that supports what I said about that - The True Meaning of Turn the Other Cheek. See also 'What did Jesus mean when he instructed us to turn the other cheek?'

One of the things too that I didn't challenge Matteo on that in hindsight would have been good to discuss is the issue of empiricism - his worldview seems to be assuming that the best way to know things is via the empirical method - repeated scientific testing - but the belief that 'the best way to know things is via empirical testing' is itself not empirically testable, and it is therefore self-refuting. He is arbitrarily assuming that this is the best way to know things, because it seems to work, but as I pointed out - this is not a totally reliable way of knowing things.

At the end of the day, the problem with Matteo's deistic worldview is that it provides no basis for knowledge. It provides a nebulous and distant creator, without the moral accountability of the biblical God. Because deists reject the Bible as their ultimate authority they abandon the grounds for actual knowledge. Because of that they cannot really know anything, and their worldview shares the same kinds of problems that professed atheists have.

By challenging Matteo's basis for knowledge I was trying to expose the fact that he does know God but is suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. (Romans 1). While everyone we talk to has differing beliefs and worldviews, at the core of things there really are only two basic worldviews - 'God' and 'not God'. It's either God or Absurdity. (See www.godorabsurdity.com). Either a person has a worldview that starts with the biblical God and His Word, or their worldview cannot get off the ground without borrowing from the biblical worldview where rationally, logic, and truth can be accounted for.

Further Reading / Research:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Myth of the Christian Dark Ages

The idea of the Christian Dark Ages is a myth. Most historians no longer even use the term Dark Ages any more because they realise that the idea is a mistaken one - they use the term Middle Ages. Despite this change of terms, there is still a common misconception that the Middle Ages were a period of darkness brought on as a result of Christianity. The graph below supposedly represents scientific advancement over the last 3000 years, with the Dark Ages in black from roughly 500AD to 1500AD.

The problem is that this graph is an absurd load of nonsense that has almost nothing to do with what actually happened. In reality Christianity laid the foundation for modern science to advance. The majority of the early scientists were bible believing Christians and it was because of their belief in the uniformity of nature and the order in creation coming from a logical and non-capricious creator God that they were able to make their scientific discoveries. (See Biblical Roots of Modern Science & Christianity, Islam, and Science.)

The so-called dark ages never existed, and Christianity brought life and truth where it was practiced. (See the video The Myth of the Christian Dark Ages.)

Chronological Snobbery Fallacy

This is where we look back and judge the past based on our present situation in a highly biased way. The term was coined by CS Lewis (See Chronological Snobbery). And this is exactly what many professed atheists and non-Christians often do when they judge the past levels of scientific knowledge from the perspective of our modern western situation.


The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition

Another issue linked to the myth of the Dark Ages is the supposed horrors of the Spanish Inquisition around 1500AD (although it was active for centuries after this). This is another myth. The reality was that the Spanish Inquisition was ahead of its time in how well they treated prisoners. New research has found that only 3% of those taken into custody by the Inquisition were actually tortured, and that their prisons were so good compared to secular ones that people would actually request to go there rather than to a secular jail. (See the documentary Spanish Inquisition was 99% Myth (BBC)Historians say inquisition wasn't that bad | The Guardian.)

The Flat Earth Myth



(See Flat earth myth & The flat-earth myth and creationism )

How the Christian Celts Saved Civilisation

Not only did Christianity not bring about a dark age - it saved western civilization. (See the documentary How the Celts saved civilisation.)



The Myth of the Crusades

The crusades are another important part of the history of the Middle Ages that are often misunderstood. While it is true that the crusades were a time when wrongs were committed, the true picture of what actually happened is very different from what most people think. They were primarily a defensive series of around a dozen wars that were in response to hundreds of Islamic jihad invasions. (There were 548 jihad battles in total, and jihad in the name of Allah has continued to this day). In just a short number of years Islam had conquered most of the Middle East, India, North Africa, and much of Spain - Muslims were even knocking on the doors of Germany. Rather than being a dark period of Christian history - the defensive wars of the crusades were a time when the church finally got some spine and motivated people to get involved in the fight for civilization against the barbarism of Islam - much like what we are seeing with ISIS today - the Muslims brutally murdered millions of innocent people - delighting in beheading and enslaving people as they went. (See this 5 minute YouTube video by Bill Warner Jihad vs Crusades that includes a dynamic battle map of the jihad / crusade battles.)

Darkness vs Light

Finally I'd like to conclude with a question for professed atheists - by what objective standard do you determine that anything is "Dark"? Darkness and light presuppose an objective standard of right and wrong. How can you know what 'crooked' is if you don't know what 'straight' is? How do you determine that the right goal is to live a long, comfortable and enjoyable life? From a Christian perspective we have a foundation for judging right and wrong, good and bad, but without God there is no way of determining those things.

Further Reading / Research:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Is Shepherd's Chapel a Cult?

The Shepherd's Chapel is a church in Arkansas, USA, that has gathered a large following via their TV ministry as well as YouTube videos. The "pastor" of the church, Arnold Murray, says he has a PhD but suspiciously refuses to show any evidence to prove that this is true. On one occasion Mr Murray made an off joke about using a gun to threaten someone who was out of line - these things alone raise serious questions about the integrity and teachings of their leader and church. (See Who is Arnold Murray? - CARM).

The church teaches many unorthodox things such as:
  • Modalism (a heretical view of the trinity)
  • The highly racist idea that the Jews are of the seed of Satan
  • White Anglo-saxons are the true spiritual Israel and chosen race
  • That the earth was created millions of years ago (the unbiblical gap theory)
(For more on the above points see here)

The belief that the earth was created millions of years before Adam and Eve is something that many Christians nowadays hold to - but this compromise on a literal and straight forward reading of Genesis is something that is in common with most cults because of their lack of grounding in biblical teaching and biblical authority. (See Cults and Creation - creation.com)

One Bible translation that was recommended to me recently by a follower of Shepherd's Chapel is the Ferrar Fenton Bible. This is the second worst Bible version I have EVER seen (the worst is the Jehovah's Witness NWT Bible which perverts references to the deity of Christ). Below are the first few verses from Genesis chapter 1 of the Ferrar Fenton Bible. (The fact that it wildly deviates from ALL other English Bible translations is a major warning sign.)

(For all of chapter one of Genesis from this "Bible" see here)
The above "translation" is so bad it could easily be mistaken for a joke or satire. In fact CMI has a satire article on an imagined New Compromise Bible Version.



(The Ferrar Fenton Bible also translates the fish in Jonah as "the great fish" with quote marks and a footnote explaining it was actually the name of a ship! - See here).

Of course the Bible doesn't say that God used evolution or millions of years, and the doctrine of a literal 6 day creation and "young" earth is one of the clearest doctrines in the Bible - it only gets confusing if you accept evolutionary presuppositions of deep time - but those beliefs are based not on actual science but are based on flawed philosophical ideas that start with the belief that God does not exist and that everything must be explained in naturalistic ways - i.e. the possibility of a miraculous and mature creation by God are a priori ruled out by secular scientists. 

When everything is considered about the Shepherd's Chapel I believe it to be a cult. It is not as bad as cults like Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons, but the Shepherd's Chapel is highly unorthodox and lead by someone who is immature at best, and outright dangerous at worst. My advice is to stay well away from the Shepherd's Chapel and their toxic religious teachings and to ground your thinking in the word of God.

For Further Reading / Research:



.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Refutation to Shabir Ally's 101 Contradictions

I'm reblogging this from another blog as I've noticed a lot of Muslims using Shabir Ally's supposed contradictions by just copying and pasting 10 or 20 of them (usually without saying that they are just copying and pasting - which is consistent with the Islamic doctrine of taqiyya - using dishonest tactics or outright lying for the cause of Islam). They may be unaware that all of the points have already been refuted...

REFUTATION TO SHABIR ALLY’S 101 CONTRADICTIONS PART 1

I will be making a Refutation to Shabir Ally’s 101 Contradictions in the Bible. And I will be dividing the Sections into Parts.
i Will show by the help of God’s Spirit that the Bible has no Contradictions.
You Can Find his 101 supposed Contradictions at Osama’s Website here:
http://www.answering-christianity.com/101_bible_contradictions.htm
I will be using the New King James Bible:
Now Let us Begin.
1. Who incited David to count the fighting men of Israel?
  • God did (2 Samuel 24: 1)
  • Satan did (I Chronicles 2 1:1)
Here are the Verses:
24 Again the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.
And
21 Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.
Now the answer to this is simple God allowed Satan to move David to count the number of Israel.
In other wards both God and Satan were Involved BUT FOR DIFFERENT PURPOSES.
For Example in the New Testament Both Satan and God were involved in the Crucifixion.
In 1 Corinthians 2:8 we Read:
Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
And 
Isaiah 53:10
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath puthim to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Notice how Both Satan and God were involved the Death of Jesus, however both had different purposes in Mind.
God wanted to Crush his son so he can redeem Mankind and satisfy his Justice or Wrath, while Satan wanted to kill Jesus because he hates God and wanted rid him of this World.
Here is another passage.
In John 13:27 We Read 27 Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”
So again We See here that Satan prompted Judas to Betray Jesus and hand him over to the Jews.
Here is another Passage:
In Luke 22:42 we Read;
42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
Notice here Jesus is asking for the Cup (Sin of the World) to be passed however he says not my Will but your will.
So since it was the Father’s will and since Jesus was not Rescued then obviously it was his will for Jesus to die and bear the sins of Humanity.
So when this passage talks about God and Satan prompting David to count, both were involved however for different purposes.

For the full refutation see here

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Islam - Warning to the West

We are living in a time when Islamic terrorist attacks are becoming more and more frequent all over the world. Unfortunately most people are clueless about what is going on, why it is happening, and what we can do about it. I encourage you to watch the following videos, and to read the information in this blog carefully. If you want to do something to make a difference then I encourage you to share this with your friends and to email it to your politicians.

Below are the 10 key points from the video The True Face of Islam - Geert Wilders Warning to America. (This speech was given to America, but the same principles apply to all western nations.)


(The above quote is from Bukhari 2:24. For more on this see Islam and Forced Conversion).
  1. Stop Cultural Relativism - our western nations have been built on Christianity, Judaism and Humanism.
  2. Show how Fundamentalist Islam is not a religion - Islam is a totalitarian political ideology. Sharia dominates every aspect of society.
  3. Show the true face of Fundamentalist Islam - compare Islam with other totalitarian ideologies such as fascism.
  4. Stop the mass immigration from Muslim countries.
  5. Outlaw Sharia Law and deport its practitioners - if they are happy to integrate and don't want Sharia then they are welcome.
  6. Immigrants must sign legally binding pledge of integration to their new home country.
  7. Stop building new Mosques.
  8. Reciprocity with Saudi Arabia for western Churches and Synagogues - as long as Saudi Arabia bans Churches and Synagogues in their country then we should not allow them to build Mosques in our countries.
  9. Close all Islamic Schools - they are being taught an ideology of hate and terror.
  10. Get rid of our current weak leaders - instead of governments like the UK banning people like Geert Wilders who are speaking the truth we need leaders who will take the same strong stand against Islam and for freedom.  
Warning to the West in Relation to ISIS

Attack on Canada's Parliament - Michael Coren & Geert Wilders - YouTube. (6 minute video)

Key points:
  • Don't stop jihadists that want to join ISIS - jail them or let them leave the country, but never let them back - it's better to have them do crazy stuff in Iraq and Syria than crazy stuff in our own countries.
  • We are at war - war has been declared on the west by the Islamic State - in a time of war our number one priority needs to be to protect our own people.
  • Detain those who are clearly strongly supporting the violent ideology of ISIS.
  • Stop the immigration from Islamic nations.
  • Get rid of the political correctness that says that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam - the Quran tells Muslims to behead those who will not submit to Islam.

For Further Reading / Research