Why All Religions are Basically the Same

  • A popular viewpoint in our pluralistic culture today is the belief that, “All religions are basically the same.”
  • Oftentimes as Christians we seek to counter this claim by highlighting the many differences and contradictions between the world’s religions.
  • While the above tactic is appropriate, the next time someone raises this viewpoint with you, why not try a different approach? Consider the option of affirming their position.
  • As Christians we can affirm that all religions are basically the same. How so? All religions are basically the same in that they all posit ways to connect with God (or the divine, infinite, etc.) through acts of merit and works of righteousness.
  • Religion, fundamentally, is about men and women trying to earn favor with God: through good works, rituals, sacrifices, or money.
  • The problem with religion, however, is that the Bible says that all of our righteous acts are like filthy rags in the eyes of a holy God (Isaiah 64:6). Religion cannot save anyone (Rom. 3:23).
  • Unlike religion, the Gospel of Jesus Christ offers men and women the promise of salvation, not based on our merits, but based on Jesus’ atoning work on the cross and his resurrection from the grave (Rom. 5:6-9; 1 Peter 1:3).
  • All religions are basically the same, but in Jesus Christ we have something far better than religion. In Jesus we have been given a gift, a gift of grace, hope, and assurance of salvation (Eph. 2:8-9; Heb. 6:19; Rom. 8:1-2).

For more information on religious pluralism and the hope of the Gospel, please check out Jason Carlson’s DVD, Salvation: Is There Really Just 1 Way? available in our online store.

Prosperity Theology

  • Prosperity Theology is a dangerous teaching that declares that God wants us to be healthy, wealthy, and prosperous; and if we’re not experiencing blessing in these areas there is either some sin in our lives or we simply do not have enough faith.
  • Many false teachers today have used this corrupt theology to take advantage of hurting and desperate people. They claim that through a donation to their ministry, often described as a “seed of faith”, people can experience miracles and blessings from God.
  • Prosperity Theology is unbiblical because God never promises a life free of trials or suffering as a result of our faith. In fact, Jesus told his followers that in this world we can expect to suffer (John 16:33).
  • Prosperity Theology also misses the mark in that God’s word reveals that God sometimes allows trials to come into our lives for our good (James 1:2-4; Romans 8:28).
  • As followers of Christ it is wholly appropriate for us to bring our concerns to the Lord in prayer. However, should God allow us to continue in our trials, our greatest response is to trust Him, finding our strength and joy in Him (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

For more information on Prosperity Theology, please check out Dr. Carlson’s lecture, Health, Wealth, and the Prosperity Gospel, available in CD or MP3 in our online store.

My All-Time Favorite Apologetics Books

  • I am often asked to share what Apologetics texts have had the greatest influence on me personally. The titles below are not necessarily recognized as classics, but I’ll describe why they are so to me.
  • A Ready Defense by Josh McDowell... This summary of Josh’s classic work in Evidence That Demands a Verdict whet my appetite for apologetics as a teenager and really convinced me that Christianity was rooted in valid reasons to believe.
  • The Lie by Ken Ham... As a teenager this was the first book that really began to expose for me the flaws of Darwinian evolution. It also clarified for me the critical importance of upholding God’s word as our ultimate authority in matters of truth.
  • How Should We Then Live? by Francis Schaeffer... A “must read” for anyone interested in worldview apologetics. Schaeffer examines the profound role of the biblical worldview in shaping Western Civilization. He also speaks prophetically (written in the mid-1970’s) about cultural challenges and debates the Church is confronted with today. Schaeffer saw clearly the logical end of the West’s abandonment of absolute truth as revealed in God’s word.
  • The Case For Faith by Lee Strobel... I’m a big fan of all Lee Strobel’s books, but if I had to pick one this would be it. Lee’s books are engaging and read like mystery novels as he applies his background in investigative journalism to examining the validity of the Christian faith. This book is very helpful in addressing some of the most common, and challenging, skeptic’s questions.
  • A Reasonable Response by William Lane Craig... This is the book I read, and re-read, before I speak on college campuses. If there’s a good chance issues like “quantum physics” will come up in your apologetic conversations; Craig is your guy.
  • One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven by Mark Cahill... Apologetics is ultimately about evangelism; and this book revolutionized my view of evangelism. God used Cahill’s message to motivate me to be an evangelistic apologist.
  • Fast Facts On False Teachings by Ron Carlson & Ed Decker... How can I not include my Dad on this list? No apologist had a greater impact on me than my father and I still pick up Fast Facts when I want to hear his voice. My Dad was a master at balancing truth and love as he shared the faith with those caught up in false religious systems.

For other terrific Apologetic resources please visit our online store.

Abortion in Light of Scripture

  • God is the Creator of unborn life (Job 10:8-12; 31:15; Psalm 139:13-16) and God alone has the right to take life (1 Samuel 2:6).
  • God cares about the unborn (Isaiah 49:1; Jeremiah 1:5).
  • Men and women must not take the life of the unborn (Exodus 21:22-25; Amos 1:13; Matthew 5:21).
  • Abortion is impermissible in God’s eyes, even in cases of rape or incest (Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 8:28).
  • Unborn children who have potential disabilities deserve life. God alone is the Designer and Author of all (Acts 17:24-28).
  • God opposes abortion, but He loves all people and will forgive any sin if we turn to Him in repentance (1 John 1:9; Ephesians 1:7-8; 2 Chronicles 7:14).

For more information on a Christian response to many contemporary cultural challenges, please check out the book Apologetics For A New Generation available in our online store.

The Sign of the Rainbow

  • With the Supreme Court legalizing same sex marriage across America this past week, the sign of the rainbow is more popular than ever in our culture.
  • While the rainbow has long been used as a symbol of the LGBT community, we must never forget where the sign of the rainbow originated.
  • The rainbow was created by God as a sign of His covenant between Himself and the human race; it represented God’s promise to never again destroy the world in a massive flood (Genesis 9:8-17).
  • Genesis 6:5-7 reports that it was because of the wickedness of humanity that God was grieved and thus determined to bring judgment upon the earth. The flood of Noah was a cataclysmic instrument of God’s judgment, destroying all living things except for those on Noah’s ark (Genesis 7:23).
  • When we see the sign of the rainbow in the sky today we should pause and thank God for His abundant grace, for all of us have sinned and are deserving of His righteous judgment, like those who died in the flood (Romans 3:10-12, 23; 6:23).
  • The prominence of the sign of the rainbow in our culture today affords Christians an excellent opportunity to build bridges for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • When issues related to the LGBT movement come up in conversation, as Christians we can ask a simple question like, “Do you know where the sign of the rainbow came from?” From there we have a great opportunity to affirm the sign of the rainbow as God’s and highlight the incredible, undeserved grace He offers all of us in Jesus Christ (John 3:16-18).

For more helpful responses to challenging cultural issues, check out the book, Apologetics For A New Generation, available in our online store.

Why We Can Confidently Trust God’s Promises

  • One of the greatest truths of our great God is His unchanging nature.
  • While other gods are capricious and changeable, the true God of the universe, the God of Scripture, is unchanging and ultimately trustworthy.
  • In Malachi 3:6 God declares, “I the Lord do not change.”
  • In Numbers 23:19 we are told, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.”
  • In James 1:17 we are assured that God “does not change like shifting shadows.”
  • What all of these biblical truths mean for us is that God’s word is reliable. We can trust his promises. We have reason to hope in his faithfulness.
  • The next time you’re facing doubt, discouragement, or a trial in life, remember, trust in the Lord with all your heart (Proverbs 3:5-6). You can count on his faithfulness because he does not change.

For more information on God’s unchanging nature, please check out Dr. Carlson’s lecture, What Is God Like, available in CD or MP3 in our online store.

The Fundamental Deception of the Cults

  • When witnessing to those caught up in various cults it is essential to properly define your terminology.
  • Many cults today masquerade as genuine Christianity. They will often look and sound very much like true, Bible-believing Christians.
  • What must be remembered though is that in many cases these cults are redefining Christian terms and practices to fit their man-made religious teachings.
  • For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to believe in Jesus Christ. However, their Jesus is very different from the Jesus of the Bible. The Jesus of the JW’s is really Michael the archangel, the first creation of Jehovah God.
  • What these cults have essentially done is they’ve adopted the outer packaging of Christianity, but they’ve emptied it of its historical, orthodox meaning as defined by Scripture.
  • Many members of the various cults are not even aware of how their organizations have twisted the truth through this tactic of redefining Christian terminology.
  • By asking simple questions like, “Who is Jesus Christ?” and then pointing out the truth from God’s word (Col. 1:15-20), you can make a powerful impact on someone caught up in these false belief systems.

For more information on witnessing to those caught up in the various cults, please check out Dr. Carlson’s book, Fast Facts On False Teachings, available in our online store.


  • Wicca, also known as white magic or witchcraft, is one of the most popular areas of the Occult today.
  • Wicca is essentially a monistic/pantheistic worldview. Wiccans believe in one universal, impersonal force called “the One” or “the All” which permeates all things; and they believe that everything in the world is spiritually interconnected.
  • Wiccans believe that “the One” is represented by a host of pagan deities, but Wiccan worship is primarily directed towards the Mother Goddess (referred to as Diana, Isis, or Demeter) and her partner, the horned god, Pan. The worship of nature deities is also prominent in Wicca.
  • The primary rule of Wicca is known as the Wiccan Rede, it states, “Do what thou will, and harm none.” Wiccans often point to this “moral code” to attempt to justify their religion.
  • Wiccans practice casting spells in order to improve everyday life situations and to transform themselves personally. In contrast to Black Magic or Satanism, casting harmful spells or curses against others is forbidden in Wicca.
  • Wicca is a false religion based on selfish pursuits (“Do what though will”), the worship of creation rather than the Creator, and the practice of casting spells, which God forbids (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). God opposes Wicca because it sets up nature and the individual as idols of worship (Romans 1:25).

For more information on the influence of Wicca and the Occult today, please check out the documentary DVD, Pop Culture Paganism available in our online store.

Being a Ready and Gracious Apologist

  • The primary mission Jesus Christ gave the Church was to go into the whole world and make disciples of him (Matthew 28:19-20). Apologetics is an essential tool in fulfilling this mission.
  • Apologetics is the science and art of defending the Christian faith. The word apologetics comes from the Greek legal term ‘apologia’, which means ‘to give a defense’.
  • Having an ability to practice apologetics is necessary for believers as we are called to proactively ‘contend’ with non-believers and false worldviews (Jude 3).
  • The skill of apologetics is also helpful as Christians are called to be ready always to give an answer to those who ask us about our faith (1 Peter 3:15).
  • However, having answers alone is not enough. The manner in which we do apologetics is as important as the words we express (1 Peter 3:15).
  • In sharing our faith we must always balance our proclamation of the truth with a demonstration of God’s love for people- through the tone of our words, our mannerisms, and our reactions to critique or questions.
  • Remember, it’s possible to win the intellectual battle yet lose the war for a person’s heart. Having the best arguments and winning the debate will mean nothing if we don’t also convey the love of Christ.

For more information on why and how we should engage in Christian apologetics, please check out the book, Apologetics for a New Generation, available in our online store.

The New Tolerance

  • In today’s culture a new brand of tolerance is being lifted up as society’s highest virtue. This new tolerance flows directly out of a postmodern culture that denies the reality of absolute truth.
  • The new tolerance of today says that because truth is relative you must uncritically accept all people in the areas of beliefs, practices, and lifestyle. And should you fail to practice this uncritical tolerance you will earn labels like “intolerant”, “bigoted”, or “hateful”.
  • This new tolerance is far different from the historical understanding of tolerance. Historically, tolerance always implied disagreement, but it called people to live respectfully and peacefully with one another amidst their disagreements.
  • What many in today’s culture fail to recognize is that to disagree with someone in a respectful manner isn’t being hateful; it’s being tolerant. To disagree with someone and then call them names or beat them up, that’s true intolerance.
  • As Christians today we must help our culture understand the true nature of tolerance. We must do this philosophically, but as importantly, we must demonstrate genuine tolerance in our speech and actions, even towards those who would label us “hateful” or “intolerant”.

For more on the Christian response to today’s new tolerance, please check out Jason Carlson’s CD album, Answering the Challenges of a Post-Christian Culture, available in our online store.