Fast Facts is a weekly email program where we provide our readers with relevant and practical resources to contend for the faith (Jude 3) and to be ready with an answer (1 Peter 3:15). We trust that these quick and helpful tools will give you greater confidence in sharing the truth of Jesus Christ.

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This Week’s Fast Facts

Fast Facts on the question, “Can we really know the true meaning of Scripture?”

  • Recently during a Q&A session a young man suggested to me that we can never be certain of the true meaning of the Bible as there are so many different interpretations; and because of this, he proposed that Christians should be less rigid in our beliefs and more open to other religious and cultural perspectives.
  • While this is a popular notion with many in our world today, there are some fundamental problems with this idea that we as Christians must be ready to address.
  • First, the Bible is actually very straight-forward in what it teaches. The will of God, his norms for our lives, his plan of salvation for the world, these are all concepts that can be easily discerned by a plain reading of Scripture. Different interpretations of the Bible are more often the result of people choosing to willfully reject the plain teachings of Scripture than they are the result of Scripture being hard to discern.
  • Second, what is the purpose of the Bible? It is our loving Creator’s message about how men and women can have a relationship with him and know his will for our lives. Now, if that is God’s intention for Scripture, wouldn’t we expect that our perfect God would communicate that to us in a clear and easily discernable manner? And again, this is what we find in the Bible.
  • Third, while different interpretations of the Bible are possible, different actual meanings are not. The Divinely inspired authors of Scripture actually intended to convey discernable truth to us. In other words, there is a correct interpretation for every verse in the Bible.
  • The Bible is the inspired word of God, given to be “useful” to us (2 Tim. 3:16-17). God superintended the writing of Scripture so that we could know and be confident in his revealed truth to humanity (2 Peter 1:20-21).
  • When difficulties arise in our reading of Scripture, the answer isn’t to throw up our hands and say, “We can never know the Bible’s true meaning.” The answer is to pray, study, practice good exegesis, and allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate the meaning of God’s intended message to us.

For more information on the authority and reliability of Scripture, please check out the Apologetics Study Bible for Students, available in our online store.

Follow CMI on Twitter at @jasoncarlsoncmi.

This Week’s Fast Facts

Fast Facts on the Mormon’s question, “Have you prayed about the Book of Mormon?”

  • When witnessing to a Mormon it is not uncommon for them to ask the question, “Have you prayed about the Book of Mormon?” When faced with this question it can be helpful to recall the following points...
  • This question is a ploy on the part of the Mormon. Christians have no moral responsibility to seek God over whether historical fabrications and theological 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 inconsistencies in the Book of Mormon.
  • One of the most helpful responses to this question is to simply answer, “Yes, I have; and God told me that the Book of Mormon is a false revelation written by a false prophet.” This response creates a dilemma for the Mormon, for it is now your subjective testimony versus their subjective testimony. You can then invite the Mormon to join you in an objective examination of the Book of Mormon.

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

Follow CMI on Twitter at @jasoncarlsoncmi.

Past-Fast-Facts

This Week’s Fast Facts

Fast Facts on Advent Apologetics – December 25th as the Date of Christmas

  • There is no historical evidence that Jesus was born on December 25th. However, while this date is improbable it is not impossible. A springtime date, though, better fits the gospel accounts of the birth of Christ. So, where does the December 25th date for Christmas come from?
  • Historical evidence shows Christians observing December 25th as the date of Christ’s birth as early as the 200’s A.D. However, the first official Christmas celebration occurred on December 25, 336 A.D. after Roman Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity.
  • The most likely reason the early Church chose December 25th as the date to celebrate Christ’s birth was simply because of the metaphorical significance of the winter solstice to the arrival of the Messiah (i.e. the idea of light, new life, etc.).
  • It is also possible the Church chose December 25th as a rival to certain pagan religious practices in the Roman Empire that were centered on the winter solstice and the “birth” of their sun gods (Saturnalia, Mithra, Sol Invictus, etc.).
  • Some Christians become concerned when considering the possibility that our December 25th celebration of Christmas might have any association with pagan religious practices, even if as a rival.
  • However, while it is right to be concerned as Christians about syncretism with non-Christian religious practices, we must also remember that the Church has historically viewed the reshaping of culture as a positive endeavor.
  • When it comes to our celebration of Christmas on December 25th, like Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.), we can affirm that, “We hold this day holy, not like the pagans because of the birth of the sun, but because of Him who made it.”

Give the gift of apologetics this Christmas! We’ve got some great resources, like the book, Apologetics For A New Generation, available in our online store.

Follow CMI on Twitter at @jasoncarlsoncmi.

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