The Primary Characteristics of the Postmodern Worldview – Part II

  • The Postmodern belief that there is no absolute truth and that truth is purely a social construct (as discussed last week) inevitably gives rise to the second characteristic of the Postmodern worldview, the notion that truth is relative.
  • Relativism can be summarized by the popular statement, “What’s true for you is true for you; and what’s true for me is true for me.”
  • The view that truth is relative has many fundamental flaws. First and foremost, it is a self-defeating position. When you claim that truth is relative, you are actually making an absolute statement about reality.
  • Another flaw with relativism is that it provides no basis for making moral value judgments. For example, were the terrorists of 9/11 evil? Were the atrocities of the Nazis evil? As a relativist, you cannot consistently answer ‘yes’ to these questions, for these people were simply following through with what they believed to be true for them.
  • Contrary to the claims of Postmodernism, there is absolute, objective truth. God who is personal and rational has revealed His truth to us in Scripture; and we can know it and be confident in it (Psalm 119:160; John 17:6-8).

For more information on the Postmodern worldview and how to respond to it with God’s truth, please check out the Apologetics Study Bible For Students, available in our online store.

The Primary Characteristics of the Postmodern Worldview – Part I

  • One of the chief characteristics of Postmodernism is its social construction of reality.
  • Postmodernism denies the reality of absolute, objective truth that can be discovered and known by all people.
  • Because there is no absolute truth in the Postmodern worldview, societies, people groups, and individuals themselves determine what is true. Thus, the Postmodern view of truth is that it is simply a social construct (an idea determined by people).
  • This basic premise of Postmodernism has significant consequences for the rest of the Postmodern worldview and those who embrace it. We’ll discuss those consequences more in the coming week’s Fast Facts.

For more information about the Postmodern Worldview, please check out Jason Carlson’s CD album entitled, Answering the Postmodern Challenge, available in our online store.

Responding to Common Mormon Arguments – Part VI

  • Often times when witnessing to a Mormon they will ask the question, “Have you prayed about whether or not the Book of Mormon is true?” When asked this question, remember and point out the following…
  • This question is a ploy on the part of the Mormon. Christians have no moral responsibility to seek God regarding whether lies and heresies are true.
  • The Bible says to test all things (1 John 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). Ask the Mormon, “Have you tested the Book of Mormon?”
  • Point out the numerous historical and theological errors and inconsistencies in the Book of Mormon.
  • When you’re asked if you’ve prayed about the Book of Mormon, simply reply, “Yes I have; and God told me that it was a false revelation written by a false prophet.” Now you’ve created a dilemma for the Mormon where it’s your subjective testimony versus their subjective testimony. At this point you can challenge the Mormon to examine the historical and theological basis for the Book of Mormon.

Responding to Common Mormon Arguments – Part V

  • Mormons claim to hold the Bible as one of their sacred books. However, Mormons will tell you that the Bible has been corrupted and cannot be fully trusted; which is why they argue that additional (Mormon) revelation is needed. In response to this claim you might share the following…
  • There is more historical documentation for the accuracy of the Bible than for any other ancient book. Today we know of over 24,000 partial and complete manuscripts of the New Testament dating from the first three centuries A.D. These manuscripts have consistently verified the accuracy of our modern day Bible.
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947 date from 200 B.C. They contain portions of every book in the Old Testament except for Esther. Our modern day O.T. has proven to be 99% consistent with what has been found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
  • History, archaeology, and geography all confirm the authenticity of the biblical record. The same cannot be said of the Book of Mormon.
  • Jesus quoted from the Old Testament regularly. Would he have done so if its integrity could not be trusted?
  • Ask the Mormon, “Have you ever read through the Bible?” Many Mormons know very little about what the Bible actually teaches. Most Mormons rarely read or study the Bible. Instead, what they know about it is primarily derived from their official Mormon sources, which distort its authority and teachings.

For more information on responding to the claims and teachings of Mormonism, please check out Dr. Carlson’s lecture titled, Mormonism: Christian or Cult?, available in CD or DVD in our online store.

Responding to Common Mormon Arguments – Part IV

  • Mormons practice an unusual ritual in their temples called baptism for the dead. They believe it is possible to save non-Mormons who have died and are in “spirit prison” by having them baptized by proxy today. This is one of the reasons why Mormons are so interested in genealogies. When discussing this practice with a Mormon, point out the following…
  • Mormons have formed this doctrine upon a single verse of Scripture, 1 Corinthians 15:29. Many Bible scholars disagree over the exact meaning of this reference and thus it is a highly questionable verse to build a major doctrine upon.
  • Show the Mormon that the context of 1 Corinthians 15 has nothing to do with baptism for the dead. Rather, it is an argument for the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the future resurrection of believers.
  • Ask the question, “If this is such a central doctrine of true Christianity, why is it not mentioned anywhere else in Scripture?”
  • Read 1 Corinthians 15:29 and point out that this verse says nothing about the act of baptism for the dead producing salvation for the dead.
  • Highlight the fact that there is no historical evidence that baptism for the dead was ever practiced by the Church in New Testament times.

For more information on witnessing to Mormons, please check out Dr. Carlson’s book Fast Facts On False Teachings, available in our online store.

Responding to Common Mormon Arguments – Part III

  • Mormons are polytheists, they believe in a pantheon of gods. To attempt to support their position from Scripture they will often cite 1 Corinthians 8:5 where Paul refers to “many ‘gods’”. In response to this argument point out the following:
  • Mormons are taking 1 Corinthians 8:5 out of context. When read in the context of verses 4-6, this reference is not at all a defense of the type of polytheism Mormons embrace.
  • Ask the Mormon, “What does Paul mean when he says in 1 Corinthians 8:4, ‘There is no God but one’?”
  • Show the Mormon how the Bible uses the word “god” in other places such as Jeremiah 10:11, Psalm 82:6-7, or Exodus 7:1. From references like these it is obvious that the word “god” does not refer to “omni” or eternal beings.
  • Throughout the Bible God clearly reveals that He alone is God and there are no others (e.g. Isaiah 43:10; 44:6; 44:8). This is in direct contradiction to Mormon doctrine.

For more information on the Mormon religion, please check out the documentary DVD, The Secret World of Mormonism, available in our online store.

Responding to Common Mormon Arguments – Part II

  • Mormons claim to be the only true church on earth, saying that Jesus Christ restored the Melchizedek priesthood (that was supposedly lost after the death of the apostles) through Joseph Smith. Today, Mormon elders claim to hold the Melchizedek priesthood as the basis for their authority. In response to this claim, you might share the following:
  • Ask them to show you where in the New Testament anyone other than Jesus Christ ever held the Melchizedek priesthood? Hebrews 5:5-10 says that only Jesus Christ was ever called to the Melchizedek priesthood.
  • Mormons will argue that John 15:16 is where Jesus gave the apostles the priesthood. However, this verse says nothing about priesthood and only that the apostles were appointed by Christ to “bear fruit”.
  • Hebrews 7:1-3 & 26 give us the qualifications of the Melchizedek priesthood. Ask the Mormon, “Who is the ‘king of righteousness’ (v. 2) and who is ‘holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens’ (v. 26)?” The answer is obvious, only Jesus Christ fulfills these qualifications.
  • Affirm the Bible’s teaching that the believer’s authority comes through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit (John 1:12-13; Acts 1:8).
  • The apostle Peter tells us that all who believe in Jesus Christ are a “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:1-10).
  • Revelation 1:5-6 says that Christ has made believers “priests” through the forgiveness of sins by his shed blood.

For more information on sharing your faith with Mormons, please check out Dr. Carlson’s chapter on Mormonism in his book, Fast Facts On False Teachings, available in our online store.

Responding to Common Mormon Arguments – Part I

  • When witnessing to a Mormon, one of the common arguments you will hear is, “Why do you challenge our good works? Don’t you know the Bible says ‘faith without works is dead’?” In response to this argument, try the following:
  • Clarify their motivation for doing good works and point out whom they’re really putting their faith in (in other words, define the terminology).
  • Show them from the Bible that God is the one who gets the glory for our good works, not us (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12; Philippians 2:13).
  • Point out that Jesus gave us the definition of good works in John 6:28-29. Ask them, “In what/who are you placing your faith for salvation?”

For more information on sharing your faith with Mormons, please check out Dr. Carlson’s DVD lecture titled, Mormonism: Christian or Cult?, available in our online store.

Arguments for the Existence of God, Part IV – The Moral Law

  • There is a moral law that is the universal standard by which we judge good and evil. How do we know this moral law exists?
  • First, our intrinsic desire to oppose injustice reveals the moral law (note: even those who would deny universal moral values truly value their right to their right to deny them; just try silencing them sometime).
  • Second, without the moral law there would be no basis for human rights. Consider the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…”
  • Third, without the moral law we couldn’t know justice or injustice. As C.S. Lewis once observed, “(As an Atheist) my argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing the universe with when I called it unjust?”
  • Fourth, without the moral law there would be no way to make moral judgments, for example: Hitler was evil (why?); Murder is wrong (says who?); You shouldn’t abuse children (why not?). If the moral law doesn’t exist these statements have no objective meaning. They’re just someone’s opinion.
  • The evidence for the reality of the moral law points strongly to reality of a moral lawgiver; and that lawgiver is God.

For more information on the arguments for the existence of God, please check out The Apologetics Study Bible for Students, available in our online store.

Arguments for the Existence of God, Part III – The Ontological Argument

  • This argument is one of the most historically controversial arguments for God’s existence. As philosopher Bertrand Russell observed, it is much easier to be persuaded that ontological arguments are no good than it is to say exactly what is wrong with them.
  • The Ontological argument was originally formulated by Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109 A.D.). His version can be summarized like this…
  • God is the Greatest Conceivable Being.
  • If God is the Greatest Conceivable Being, nothing greater than God can be imagined.
  • There is nothing greater than God that can be imagined.
  • If God does not exist then there is something greater than God that can be imagined.
  • Therefore, God exists… Think about it!

For more information on the arguments for the existence of God, please check out The Apologetics Study Bible for Students, available in our online store.