Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What is "Power Evangelism"?

I found this very good article on "Power Evangelism" that I'm reblogging. I agree with most of it, and I'm posting it because I'm finding that there is an increasing focus from some Christians on power evangelism but it is often missing the preaching of the Gospel and apologetics that give an explanation for the reason as to why the gospel is true.

I'm not against Christians praying for the sick or praying for people to experience God's power. What I am against is the way that many charismatic Christians are relying on this method as if it is more powerful or more important than preaching the Gospel.

Anyway, here's the article:

'Power evangelism’ is the term coined by the founder of the charismatic Third Wave Movement, John Wimber, to distinguish his evangelistic method from traditional evangelism, or what he disparagingly refers to as ‘programmatic evangelism’. According to Wimber, ‘power evangelism’ is evangelism which “comes with a demonstration of God’s power through signs and wonders,” and “is preceded and undergirded by demon-strations of God’s presence, and frequently results in groups of people being saved.” (Power Evangelism: Revised Version, John Wimber and Kevin Springer, HarperCollins, 1992,  p.78.)
These demonstrations consist of words of knowledge – which bear more resemblance to clairvoyance – healing, prophecy, and deliverance from evil spirits. Traditional gospel centered evangelism, it is argued, may result in conversions, but since these new believers do not experience dramatic signs, there is something missing from their conversion experience, resulting in incomplete, weak, and powerless Christians.
Since its inception in the mid-1980’s, power evangelism has captured the attention of millions of Christians worldwide. But is evangelism which relies upon the miraculous to prompt saving faith biblical evangelism? Is a believer’s assurance based on witnessing the miraculous? Is power evangelism scripturally based, or experientially based?

Do Signs Prompt Saving Faith?

When the scribes and Pharisees demanded that Jesus perform an attesting miracle, He did not view it as an opportunity to prompt saving faith in his interlocutors. Rather, He labeled the desire for further signs as the mark of “an evil and adulterous generation” (Mt 12:38-39). Compare this with the blessing which Jesus pronounced on “those who have not seen and yet believe” (Jn 20:29). The demand for a sign was not limited to just the Pharisees. Sometimes it came from his many followers. The request seems to have been prompted by more than mere curiosity, for they ask, “What then do You do for a sign, that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform?” (Jn 6:30). The crowd asks this after they had just witnessed the feeding of the 5000 (Jn 6:1-14). Jesus made it clear that the motivation which the crowd had for following Him was not that they had seen signs, but it was the fact that He had met their immediate desires, i.e. being fed (Jn 6:26). They did not look to Jesus for salvation, but for a fish sandwich. The desire to see signs is vigorously repudiated by Jesus. The clearest reason for this is given in Luke 16:19-31.
In this parable, the rich man begs Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to warn his five brothers of the certainty of God’s judgment (Lk 16:27-28). “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them’” (Lk 16:29). But the rich man questions the sufficiency of God’s Word. His brothers need a sign (Lk 16:30). Abraham lets the rich man know that “if they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead” (Lk 16:31). Signs and wonders are incapable of prompting saving faith. The persuasiveness of the gospel is not enhanced by the addition of signs and wonders. Consider the response of the Pharisees to Jesus’ raising of Lazarus (Jn 11:53).
According to Jesus, the Pharisee’s unbelief was not due to a lack of signs, wonders, or revelation, but of their failure to believe what had already been revealed (Jn 5:31-47). Their failure to believe Jesus was the result of their rejection of Old Testament teaching concerning the Messiah (Jn 5:37-47).
In the purpose statement to his gospel, the Apostle John indicates that he has presented sufficient evidence to lead someone to saving faith:
Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. (Jn 20: 30-31). NASB (Emphasis added)
John does not say that his readers needed to have personally witnessed Jesus’ miracles in order to prompt saving faith. The testimony recorded in Scripture is sufficient. The demand for convincing signs did not end with Jesus’ death and resurrection. In 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul defended the sufficiency of the gospel against Jews who asked for signs (1 Cor 1:22). Rather than capitulate to their demands, Paul simply preached the gospel of Christ crucified (1 Cor 1:23; 2:1-2).
The testimony of both the Old and New Testament affirms that its documentation of signs and wonders is sufficient to lead anyone to saving faith. Those who deny the sufficiency of the Bible’s witness are judged by Scripture as unbelievers. ‘Power evangelism’ denies the sufficiency of Scripture. In ‘power evangelism’ Scripture is not sufficient to bring about conversion (Rm 1:16), to produce mature Christians (Jn 17:17), for effective evangelism (Acts 8:30-39), nor is the promise of Christ’s return sufficient comfort for those who are suffering. Assurance of salvation does not come from experiencing the miraculous, but by belief in, and faithful obedience to God’s revealed Word. (2 Pt 1:1-11).
Historically, it is not the absence of signs and wonders that has been a stumbling block, it is the message of the cross, and Jesus’ demands of discipleship which have caused people to reject the gospel (Jn 6:28-66; 1 Cor 1:23-24). Unfortunately, it is these key elements of the gospel, along with a call to repentance that is often missing from power evangelism.

A Different Gospel

It should be obvious that any evangelism which is dependent upon signs and wonders for its effectiveness is inherently unbiblical. When signs and wonders become the basis for evangelism, the true focus of the gospel – the death and resurrection of Jesus, the need for repentance, and submission to Christ’s lordship – take a back seat. The object of faith becomes the signs and wonders, not the Savior, and a mystical, nebulous Jesus is substituted for the historical Jesus. The object of saving faith must be Jesus Christ, not self-serving signs and wonders. The gospel, not signs and wonders, “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rm 1:16).

Experience Over Truth

Despite claims of being biblical, ‘power evangelism’ is experiential and pragmatic. Personal experience becomes the basis for reality, not the teaching of Scripture. The focus on experience as reliable is made abundantly clear by reading the testimonies on any ‘power evangelism’ web site. Experience, not the Bible, determines both its theology and its practice.
Advocates of ‘power evangelism’ are eager to point to the rapid church growth which their method seems to produce. Results are used as proof as its legitimacy.
Do not be fooled by the dramatic claims of ‘power evangelism.’ Remember, the last days will be characterized by false signs, and false teachers (Mt 24:24; Mk 13:22). The only true test of authenticity is whether a person’s teaching conforms to the Word of God. Let us be good Bereans (Acts 17:11).

For Further Reading / Research:

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Popular Presuppositional Apologist Exposed as Covert Krishna Devotee

Earlier today someone posted on the God or Absurdity Revolutions Facebook page agreeing with us that atheism was absurd. I noticed that this person - "Purusha Dasa" had a FB profile with lots of Hindu related pictures and his profile said that he worked for ISKCON (the 'International Society for Krishna Consciousness' - an offshoot of Hinduism a.k.a. Hare Krishnas).

So I replied to Purusha and said that Hinduism is more nonsensical than atheism:

For Purusha to reply as he did is odd because Hindu is not an ethnic designation. Most Hindus are ethnically Indian, not ethnically Hindu, so I think that he was just trying to obfuscate at this point. When he said what his YouTube channel is I was surprised because I've watched quite a lot of the videos on his channel. He has posted a lot of presuppositional apologetics videos (such as the PROOF OF GOD: Laws of Logic video above), including videos with Sye Ten Bruggencate and Jason Lisle. He has nearly a thousand subscribers on YouTube and some of his videos have had thousands of likes.

Here's my next comment along with Purusha's gracious response:

I asked the question 'Who is God?' because it was pretty clear from his FB profile and YouTube channel that he wasn't talking about the God of the Bible, but that he was talking about a false god that is whatever people want him to be. In Hindu belief the different religions are seen as different paths to God and the different names of God are seen as merely different manifestations (avatars) of the one God (who is an impersonal force (known as Brahma or Krishna?).

This is also articulated in these '1GodOnlyOne' videos:

Also when you look at the hundreds of videos that Purusha has liked with his channel, you find that around half of them are Hare Krishna videos (and the other half Christian apologetics videos):

So it's no wonder that Purusha got angry with me when he saw that we'd posted this meme on our page:

His response to this was:

Come on Purusha - I'm not feeling the love from you - just hatred and bigotry, which is rather hypocritical isn't it?

It's also ironic that you've blocked me, while on your YouTube channel on all of your "Presuppositional Apologetics" videos it says that your channel is "Youtube's foremost stronghold of free speech":

It's your choice if you want to block me on Facebook. It will be interesting to see if you block me on your YouTube channel.

The reality is that while Purusha may think he is using Presuppositional Apologetics, he is not, and he has no basis for anything that he is claiming. Take for example his video about the laws of logic - you can't justify or account for the laws of logic without the biblical God because the biblical God alone has clearly revealed Himself to us through His Word and provides a basis for logic based on his character which is logical and never contradictory. This is why most Hindus reject the idea of logical absolutes and instead see logic as being illusory - which is what happens if you believe that everything is Maya (illusion) and that all is one because ultimately they see god as an impersonal force where any distinctions between you and me and between gods or the universe itself is merely illusory too. The fact is that you can't get laws of logic from an impersonal force - you can only get universal and unchanging logical laws from a logical mind that is also universal, and unchanging.

If you do not accept the Bible as being true or just try and pick and choose the bits of it that you like (as Hare Krishnas do) then it all falls apart, because if you do not accept all of God's Word as true when the Bible says that all of it is true (2 Timothy 3:16) then you don't really believe it and have made yourself and your own reasoning your ultimate authority. And if you are your ultimate authority then you have no way of knowing that your reasoning is valid because you end up reasoning that your reasoning is valid, which is viciously circular and would make it impossible to truly know anything (which makes it ironic that Purusha has called me ignorant, because in His worldview he is the ignorant one in terms of Him being unable to justify how he knows anything to any degree of certainty).

This is why true Presuppositional Apologetics starts with God. God is not the conclusion of our argument (as Purusha's is) but the necessary starting point. (And not just any god, as it is the biblical God alone that exists and has shown himself to us through the Bible - a book that is unique in its claims and message and totally unlike any other book - books like the Bhagavad Gita don't even claim to be the infallible Word of God, let alone describe a God that is personal and revealed Himself in history by coming down to earth to sacrifice Himself for the sins of the world as Jesus Christ did.

Another problem with the Hindu worldview is if there are many different manifestations (avatars) of God that have revealed themselves as different gods how would you know which god is really speaking truth, especially when they all contradict each other?

The answer to that is that you could never know, and what Krishnas believe are different manifestations of God are really idols, behind which are demonic forces that are working hard to keep people in deception.

As the Lord says in His Word, "For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens."

What it comes down to is that biblical Christians and true presuppositional apologists have the Bible as their ultimate authority, but those who follow Krishna either have themselves as their ultimate authority (in which case they can't know anything for certain because they are validating their own reasoning with their own reasoning and so wouldn't know if they were insane or not), or they have the Bhagavad Gita as their ultimate authority.

When you compare the Bible with the Bhagavad Gita (the holy book that Hare Krishnas follow) they are totally different. The Bible has many fulfilled prophecies and lines up with what we see in the world around us. (For example the Bible says that the earth hangs on nothing and is spherical (there is no separate word differentiating circle and sphere in biblical Hebrew). The Bible explains the history of our world from the beginning of creation to today (including a global flood, for which there is much evidence), and is rooted in actual historical events that can be verified such as the history of the Israelites and the existence and crucifixion of Jesus. In contrast the Bhagavad Gita does not account for the creation of the universe and is not rooted in verifiable historical events. It doesn't even claim to be the infallible word of God and is more along the lines of sayings or poems of those who claim to be wise, but in reality are fools. (Romans 1:22)

When it comes to other Hindu scriptures there are things in it that are patently false, such as this:

Some might think that all of this is just semantics, but it's not. Ideas have consequences, and when it comes to false religions such as Islam and Hindu philosophies they have created immense suffering in the world. With Islam there have been around 270 million people killed by Muslims practicing violent jihad over the last 1,400 years since Muhammad started his evil and demonic death cult. And with Hindu philosophies it has lead to the impoverishment of India because there is no ultimate reason to not oppress the poor or commit crimes if you can get away with it and believe that objective morality is just an illusion.

I'm not making this blog post to be vindictive but to expose this false teacher, and also to refute the false ideas that Purusha is teaching on his YouTube channel. It is my hope and prayer that Purusha will repent and turn to Jesus Christ, who alone is God, and who alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and apart from whom no one can come to the Father (John 14:6).

POST EDIT: This is a response from a Krishna follower to the above verse about the sun being closer to the earth than the moon. This person said that the Vedas (Hindu scriptures) were their ultimate authority. They believe that the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita are infallible and inspired by God.

He said: "when we say the sun is closer to the earth than the moon it means this: A is earth. B is sun. C is moon. The sun is described as closer because it is situation in a plane closer to the earth."

This is just nonsense, especially given the fact that the sun (point B) is 400 times further away than the moon (point C). But that's the kind of absurd and intellectually dishonest nonsense it takes to avoid the true God that everyone knows exists but are in rebellion against. I hope and pray that he repents and turns to Jesus Christ.

For Further Reading / Research: