The Question, “Who Made God?”

  • Christians often point out the absurdity of the idea that the universe exploded into existence out of nothing, since something that begins to exist cannot come from nothing.
  • Oftentimes skeptics will reply to this position with the question, “If the universe needed a maker, then who made God?”
  • The skeptic’s rejoinder highlights a basic misunderstanding about the nature of God. The Christian position is that everything that “begins” to exist must have a cause, but God had no beginning.
  • The Bible reveals that God is the eternal “I am” (Psalm 90:2; Exodus 3:13-14). He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:13).
  • Because God is eternal, without beginning or end, He didn’t need a maker. Nothing caused God to come into existence, He has always been. God is the Uncaused Cause of everything else that’s ever come into existence (Colossians 1:15-17).

For more information on the existence of God and His nature and character, please check out Dr. Carlson’s lecture, What is God like? available in CD or MP3 in our online store.

True Love

  • God is love and He created humanity to know His love and share it with one another (1 John 4:7-8).
  • Our world today promotes many false ideas about love: love is sex, love is a feeling, love is personal fulfillment, etc.
  • True love is being totally committed to the betterment of another person. It is selfless and seeks to serve for the good of others (Ephesians 5:1-2, 25-29).
  • The world often labels Christians “intolerant” for not affirming its notions of love, but Jesus showed us that sometimes the most loving thing we can do is confront sin and point people to God’s will for our lives (John 8:3-11).
  • Jesus modeled true love perfectly. He came to serve and sacrifice; and he loved with both grace and truth (Matthew 20:28; John 1:14).

For more on the reality of true love, please check out the Apologetics Study Bible for Students, available in our online store.

A Biblical View of Technology

  • The ability to design and use technology is a gift from God and a sign that humans are uniquely made in the image of God (Gen 1:27).
  • Technology can be used for good or bad. As Christians our use of technology should reflect Christ’s commands to love God and others (Mark 12:30-31).
  • Technology influences our worldview and relationships. We must guard our hearts and be rooted in Scripture to discern right from wrong (Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 7:24-27).
  • No technology is worth compromising our walk with the Lord. If your technology causes you to stumble you may need to remove it from your life or seek accountability (Matthew 5:29-30; Ephesians 5:8-11; Hebrews 10:24).

For more information on the biblical worldview in relation to the challenges of contemporary culture, please check out the book, Apologetics For A New Generation, available in our online store.

The Claim that Christians are Anti-Science for Questioning Darwinism

  • A common charge by Secularists today is that Christians who question Darwinian evolution are anti-science.
  • Secularists are trying to convince the public that Darwinian evolution is a proven scientific fact. Thus, if you dare question it, according to the Secularists, you are anti-science.
  • It’s important to note, however, that a person can have legitimate questions about Darwinian evolution and still hold science in high regard.
  • Both Christians and Secularists share the same scientific data. How one interprets the data and the conclusions that are drawn are the real issues.
  • The goal of true science should be an open-minded examination of the evidence, letting it lead us to accurate conclusions whatever they may be.
  • For many Christians, rejecting Darwinian evolution isn’t the result of being anti-science. It’s simply the belief that the scientific evidence better points to a Creator, God.

The Question, “How Should Christians Understand the Old Testament Law Today?”

  • People are often confused by some of the strange laws found in the Old Testament (ex. Deut. 22:10-12) and some wonder what their purpose was and why it seems Christians pick and choose which laws to follow today.
  • There were 2 primary purposes for the laws given in the Old Testament. First, God wanted to distinguish His people, the Israelites, from all other nations in the world. Second, the Law was ultimately meant to reveal humanity’s sin and need for a Savior; and thereby point us to the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
  • There were 3 categories of the Law given to Israel in the Old Testament: civil laws, ceremonial laws, and moral laws. Recognizing these categories is the key to understanding why Christians don’t adhere to all of the Old Testament laws today.
  • Civil laws were those governing daily community life and they were limited to ancient Israel. Ceremonial laws related to Jewish worship and the sacrificial system and these were fulfilled by Christ. The moral laws, however, are upheld by Christ and the New Testament. Thus, Christians recognize these as binding for today.
  • Some are quick to point out that Christians no longer follow the punishments required by the moral laws in the Old Testament (ex. stoning for adultery). This is because Jesus mitigated the moral law’s punishments, but never did he deny the actions condemned by the moral laws were wrong (ex. John 8:1-11).
  • For Christians today the Old Testament moral law can serve as a powerful evangelistic tool. As a mirror highlights a person’s blemishes, so too does the moral law reflect each individual’s sin and need for a Savior. When we realize how far short of God’s righteous standards we fall, the beauty and power of the Gospel becomes all the more compelling.

For more information on the Old Testament Law in relation to Christianity, please check out the Apologetics Study Bible For Students, available in our online store.

The Question, “Did Christianity Steal the Resurrection Story from Pagan Mystery Religions?”

  • A popular claim by skeptics of Christianity is that the early church fabricated the story of Jesus’ resurrection by borrowing the concept of a dying and resurrecting god-man from pagan mystery religions originating in Egypt, Greece, and Persia. However, there are serious problems with this claim.
  • First, there is no archaeological evidence of these mystery religions being present in the area of Israel/Palestine in the 1st century AD when the early church began proclaiming the resurrection of Christ.
  • Second, nearly all of the pagan mystery religions’ accounts of a resurrection first appear in the late 2nd century AD, roughly 100 years after the early church first testified to the resurrection of Jesus.
  • Third, the resurrection accounts of the pagan mystery religions are vastly different and a far cry from the historical Christian testimony of Jesus’ physical resurrection from the grave.
  • For example, one popularly referenced account of a pagan resurrection story is from the Egyptian cult god, Osiris. In this story Osiris was killed and then cut up into 14 pieces and scattered throughout Egypt. Later, the god Isis reassembled him and brought him back to life in the Egyptian underworld. This is hardly an equivalent to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • Thus, it appears that the more likely scenario is not that the early church borrowed the resurrection story from pagan religions, but it was these mystery religions that stole the concept from the early Christian church following the true, historical resurrection of Jesus in the early 1st century AD.
  • Isn’t it interesting how the tactics of the cults haven’t changed in over 2,000 years?  All cults take pieces of true Christianity, but then twist them to fit their own man-made religious views seeking to lead people astray.

For more information on the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ, please check out Dr. Carlson’s lecture, The Resurrection: Fiction or Fact? available in CD or MP3 in our online store.

Jihad in Islam

  • For years the Secularist leaders of the West’s postmodern culture have repeatedly declared that jihad has nothing to do with terrorism, but is simply a peaceful, spiritual struggle undertaken by followers of Islam.
  • However, since the atrocities that occurred in Paris, these same Secularist leaders are now claiming that it’s “jihadists” who are responsible for this violence, but they have nothing to do with real Islam.
  • The truth about jihad is that for many Muslims it has long been considered a sixth pillar of the Islamic faith. It is the belief that fighting for the cause of Allah (holy war) is the greatest act of devotion a Muslim could undertake.
  • Surah 9 of the Koran, Mohammed’s final teaching on jihad before his death, encourages Muslims to fight and kill infidels (non-Muslims) for the cause of Allah. In this Surah Mohammed promises rewards in this life and paradise in the next for those who kill or are killed in jihad.
  • Mohammed not only encouraged his followers to fight for the cause of Allah (there are 109 “war verses” in the Koran), but Mohammed himself set a powerful example for all jihadists having ordered or led 74 military attacks during his lifetime.
  • It is absolutely correct to acknowledge that not all Muslims are terrorists and jihadists. It is not correct, however, to say that terrorism and jihad have no place in the religion of Islam.

For more information on the religion of Islam, please check out the documentary DVD, Islam Rising, available in our online store.

Responding to the Claim, “All Roads Lead to God”

  • One of the more popular spiritual beliefs in our culture today is the claim that, “All roads lead to God and one religious path is as good as another.”
  • A great response to someone who makes a statement like this is to simply ask the question, “So what path are you following?”
  • Oftentimes what you’ll find is that the person making the claim that “all roads lead to God” really isn’t following any particular religion. Many people use pluralistic statements like the one above to mask their own lack of any religious commitment whatsoever.
  • If you discover that the person you’re talking to doesn’t practice any religion, simply ask, “If all roads lead to God, don’t you think you should be following one them?”
  • At this point, suggest they try the Jesus path with you. Let them know it’s really great and invite them to join you on the journey!

For more helpful tactics for reaching today’s culture, please check out Jason Carlson’s CD album titled, Answering the Challenges of a Post-Christian Culture, available in our online store.

Responding to the Claim, “The Bible is Just a Bunch of Parables”

  • When engaged in evangelistic conversations you will often come across misconceptions about the Bible. For example, this past week someone asked our ministry, “How do I respond to a friend who says the Bible is just a bunch of parables?”
  • Many Christians often feel like they’re put on the defensive when statements like this are made; and it’s easy to get intimidated or discouraged if you’re not prepared.
  • When faced with challenging claims like this, don’t feel like you have to have all the answers right away to provide an effective apologetic response. Rather, try asking some simple questions like these…
  • “What’s your basis for this claim?” A lot of people make claims about the Bible that aren’t based on a genuine examination of Scripture, but simply on hearsay they’ve picked up from others. Asking this question can be a gentle way to expose this reality and encourage further inquiry.
  • “Have you ever read the Bible?” If someone has really read the Bible they would certainly know that the Bible is far more than a collection of parables. Ask this question and encourage your conversation partner to read the Bible. You could suggest the Gospel of John as a good starting point.
  • “Do you know what a parable is?” Some people might be confused about what they’re claiming the Bible to be. Explaining the nature of parables, and sharing how they’re just one of many genres in the Bible, could provide clarification and also be a good bridge for sharing the gospel.

For more helpful responses to challenging questions, please check out the Apologetics Study Bible For Students, available in our online store.

The Question, “Should We Still Use the ‘Cult’ Label?”

  • In recent years many in Christian apologetic circles have become more careful in using the label “cult” to describe unorthodox religious groups like Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • The concern is that the term “cult” is widely misunderstood in contemporary culture; and because of that, to label someone a member of a cult may be perceived as offensive and shut down further witnessing opportunities.
  • While there are a number of definitions for the word “cult”, when we speak of cults theologically, we are referring what Merriam-Webster calls, “a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious”.
  • The word “spurious” means, “of illegitimate birth; outwardly similar or corresponding to something without having its genuine qualities; of falsified or erroneously attributed origin” (Merriam-Webster).
  • Given the above definitions, any group that claims to be Christian, but does not hold to the historic, orthodox teachings of the Faith as revealed in Scripture can appropriately be identified as a cult.
  • However, when it comes to our personal witnessing opportunities with those involved in the cults, it is advisable to refrain from using the term “cult” until a positive relationship has developed and you’ve had ample opportunity to properly define your terminology.
  • As Christians we must not shy away from pointing out truth from error, but we must do so with the ultimate goal of bringing lost people to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Embracing a more sensitive use of the term “cult” can go a long way in this cause.

For more information on the cults and how to witness to them, please check out Dr. Carlson’s book, Fast Facts On False Teachings, available in our online store.