Monday, July 25, 2011

Unshackled Apologetics

Unshackled! is a radio drama series produced by Pacific Garden Mission, in Chicago, Illinois, that first aired in 1950.  It is the longest-running radio drama in history (sorry, Johnny Dollar).
Well known evangelist and creation supporter Ray Comfort (and friend of Kirk Cameron) had his conversion story featured on Unshackled! 

WayneSpencer (M.S. Physics), who writes extensively on astronomy topics, had this to say:

The truth of Christianity is … born out in the real life experience of Christians who live by it.  Christian faith has a long track record for over 2000 years now of making positive changes in the personal lives of people.  So the reasons for having faith in the Bible are not merely intellectual, but also revolve around people experiencing God changing their lives and making life more meaningful for them.  It is usually the life of a Christian lived out with integrity that is more persuasive to most people, when it counts, than a logical argument.

C. E. M. Joad (d. 1953) was the head of the Philosophy Dept. at the University of London and was a long time critic of Christianity, but finally said, “I now believe that the balance of reasonable considerations tells heavily in favor of the religious, even of the Christian view of the world.”  Joad had appeared on BBC radio attacking Christianity in the 1940’s, but later wrote The Recovery of Belief in 1952.

Bishop John Subhan came to Jesus from a Muslim background.  When he read the Gospel the second time he came to see that is was the true Injil.  He was convinced that it was God’s Word and divine revelation.  He saw a dramatic difference between reading the New Testament and the effect of reciting the Qur’an. [1]

Have you ever heard a new convert say, “I wonder if Genesis One through Eleven is really true?”  The lost, who do not know Jesus, have not experienced regeneration and don’t have the assurance through the Holy Spirit that the Bible is true.

R. C. Sproul states, “The Scripture objectively gives evidence that it is the Word of God.  The Spirit … gives us the quiet assurance that the evidence is certain.” [2]  The Westminster Confession concludes, “… our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts. (ch. 1, sec. 5).  Sproul, Gerstner and Lindsley proclaim, “… the Spirit of God persuades and assures us of the infallible truth and divine authority of the Word of God.” [3]

For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.  And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit …  For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth … (1 Thes. 1:5-8).
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."  The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom. 8:15, 16).
How does God give us assurance of our adoption?  Through the Bible!

These things [the book of 1 John] I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. …  And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life (1 Jn. 5:13, 20).
Glenn Beck and other Mormons claim to have had a dramatic conversion experience.  Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? by Cowdrey, Davis and Vanick, provide strong evidence that the Book of Mormon was based on a work of historical fiction, A Manuscript Found.  The Book of Mormon has been changed many times.  Beck’s evidence for Early American Jewish influence is better explained by Phoenecians traveling to the New World.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things (Phil. 4:8).

How can we think on what’s true if we don’t know the true truth?
Frank Turek, while debating Christopher Hitchens at Virginia Commonwealth University, on the topic of theism said, “I’m giving a probability argument … you can’t prove beyond any doubt that there’s a God.  I’m giving probability …  I’m giving cosmological, teleological, moral, consciousness, reason, mathematics [arguments].” [4]  Turek should have stated that as Christians we know God is there and Jesus is Lord (cf. Jn. 7:17).

1)  Evidence that Demands a Verdict (Vol. 1) by Josh McDowell (Here’s Life Pub., San Bernardino, CA, 1979), p. 351.
2)  “The Internal Testimony of the Holy Spirit” by R. C. Sproul in Inerrancy ed. by Norman Geisler (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 1980), p. 342.
3)  Classical Apologetics by R. C. Sproul, John Gerstner and Arthur Lindsley (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 1984), p. 171.
4)  See this debate at 1:14:00.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

John Lennon: God, Hell & Evolution

John Lennon (1940-1980) on God:

If I’m going to be a monk with nothing, do it. … People got the image I was anti-Christ or antireligion.  I’m not at all. I’m a most religious fellow. I’m religious in the sense of admitting there is more to it than meets the eye. I’m certainly not an atheist.

Yes Virginia, there is a Hell – just imagine what John Lennon might say (& did):

The idea of being a rock‘n’roll musician sort of suited my talents and mentality, and the freedom was great. But then I found I wasn’t free. I'd got boxed in. … a physical manifestation of being in prison. … Rock ’n’ roll was not fun anymore.  So there were the standard options in my business:  going to Vegas and singing your greatest hits - if you're lucky - or going to hell, which is where Elvis went. [1]
John Lennon had some choice words regarding evolution:

Nor do I think we came from monkeys, by the way.  That’s another piece of garbage. What the [**/% is] it based on? We couldn’t’ve come from anything - fish, maybe, but not monkeys. I don’t believe in the evolution of fish to monkeys to men.  Why aren’t monkeys changing into men now?  It’s absolute garbage.

Lennon was critical of Young Earth Science (YES), but also recognized the limitations of Big Science and the dominance of Sacred Cows inScience:

[Evolution is] absolutely irrational garbage, as mad as the ones who believe the world was made only four thousand years ago [sic, Y6K], the fundamentalists. … I don't buy it [Evolution]. I've got no basis for it and no theory to offer, I just don't buy it. Something other than that. Something simpler. I don't buy anything other than "It always was and ever shall be." [fixity of Kinds?] I can't conceive of anything less or more. The other theories change all the time. They set up these idols and then they knock them down. It keeps all the old professors happy in the university. It gives them something to do. I don't know if there's any harm in it except they ram it down everybody's throat. Everything they told me as a kid has already been disproved by the same type of "experts" who made them up in the first place.

Fred Seaman, who worked with Lennon from 1979 till his death, said that Lennon would vote for Reagan and that Lennon, “did express support for Reagan, which shocked me.”  Raymond Damadian, a YES supporter, was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1988 by Ronald Reagan and in 1989 was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for inventing MRI.

John Lennon as prophet:  “The biggest prize is when you die - a really big one for dying in public. OK: Those are the things we are not interested in doing.”  Lennon was assassinated by Mark David Chapman in NYC in 1980. [2]
If you want to see John Lennon “alive” today you need to go see a Beatles tribute band.  The-Fab-4 , Lennon is far right, celebrated the Fourth of July in Big Spring, Texas this year (photo courtesy Francis Hall).

Did Lennon believe the Good News about Jesus Christ before he died?

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life (Jn. 3:16, AMP).

See my contact info in my profile (“About Me” top right).

Possibly The-Fab-4 could add this song to their repertoire:

Evo Submarine

In Shrewsbury where he was born,
Lived a man who sailed with gust
And he told us of his life,
In the land of Galapagos,

So he sailed on to the sun,
Till we found the finches mean,
And we lived beneath the waves,
In our EVO submarine,

We all live in a Darwin submarine,
EVO submarine, UCA* submarine,

And our fossils are all aboard,
Many more of them live next door,
As we live just as we please
Idols all and live for greed
Sky of blue, and sea green
In our EVO submarine

*UCA = Universal Common Ancestry

1) quoted in All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono by David Sheff (St. Martin's Griffin, 2000), p. 6.
2) Ibid.