Darryl's thoughts on the Christian Faith, Facts, and World Events
“The Least of the Apologists”
Keeping the Peace at Eternity In-Christ Airport
An Apologist Remixes Pilgrim’s Progress
Christian Apologetics In Cambodia
My name is Darryl and I truly am the “least of the apologists.” I’m not even close to being in the same class as C.S. Lewis, Ravi Zacharias, William Lane Craig, Ken Ham, Hugh Ross, Hank Hannegraff, or many other apologists. If you wrote a list of all the Christian Apologists starting with the most popular, my name would appear at the bottom of the list. I’m a small time missionary/apologist in Cambodia. I don’t have a lot of education, only an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola. I don’t have a big organization. My whole ministry, International Fishers, fits on a desk, that I share with my wife, which is located, in the guest room of whatever house we happen to be renting in Cambodia. As far as I know, I am the only full-time trained apologist in Cambodia (I welcome more because the fields are ready for harvest here!). The Christian community in Cambodia is so small that I have authored or co-authored two of the three books related to Christian Apologetics ever written or translated into the Cambodian language. The Christian community in Cambodia is so small that I teach Christian Apologetics at the Bible schools sponsored by the Presbyterians and the Assemblies of God. I also advise and provide free materials to other missionaries, churches, organizations, and denominations. At the moment, I am trying to help some Methodists here who have just lost six of their female church members to a cult from Korea and one of their Bible School students has recently converted to Islam. The greatest thing about this is that I am able to teach exactly the same things in all places and this is bringing unity to the Body of Christ here.
For me, Christian Apologetics should be about revealing and repairing the foundation that all true Christians have built our faith on. You see, here in Cambodia, we don’t have the luxury of dividing and fighting with each other because Christianity makes up less than 2% of the population and could be crushed with a word from powerful people. Despite this, Christianity is growing (9th fastest in the world). I believe that the growth relates to Jesus’ prayer, “ I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” The unity of Christians is a powerful testimony that God can bless with growth.
Being a Christian apologist is a lot like being a security guard at an airport. Normally we would call Eternity In-Christ Airport other names like the Body of Christ, the catholic (universal) church, the family of God, or The Kingdom, but for today, let’s just call it (EIA) or the airport.
Age of The Earth Debate
The Entrance Pathway: The airport’s entrance is a long straight pathway that begins at the Creation Gate, runs over the foundation of Scripture, and ends at three layer security check point: 1. The death of Christ for our sins. 2. His burial in the tomb. 3. The resurrection. Those who in this way receive their First-Class ticket on Heaven-air. All tickets are First-Class. Everyone who comes into the airport must follow this pathway. The tickets are free to the passengers who genuinely believe but they were purchased at an exorbitant price by Jesus Christ. Ticketed passengers can enter the airport by checking in at the Salvation-counter.
As a security guard at the airport (an apologist), I spend most of my time defending the Creation gateway, the Scripture foundation, and the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ checkpoints from attacks. I also work to fill in any pot-holes and clear away all the unnecessary obstacles between the potential passengers and the Salvation-counter.
There are many other security guards, who much better at defending the Creation Gate than I am. Ken Ham and his team from Answers in Genesis, work the day shift. I have learned a lot from him and his team. Dr. Hugh Ross and his team from Reasons to Believe, guard the gate during the night shift. Dr. Ross is an astronomer so he likes to look at the stars at night so he must enjoy staying up late at night. On their own, these two guards are very effective in protecting the Creation Gate from anyone who try to tear it down with ideas that the universe, earth, nature, and humans were not created by God, but merely happened by chance over billions of years.
The problem is that during the shift-changes Ken Ham and Hugh Ross and their teams keep arguing with each other about how far it is between the Creation Gate and Jesus’ cross. Ken Ham says it is only a few thousand centimeters while Hugh Ross says it must be billions of centimeters. They both agree that the Creator made everything, but when they are arguing with each other, this is when the enemies can make the most effective attacks on the Creation gate. Sometimes, they can even use the time when these two great guards are arguing to even attack the Scripture foundation or other things deeper in the airport.
I really wish these two security guards and their teams would be able to either agree or even agree to disagree on issue of the length of the pathway. I believe that if they stood shoulder to shoulder that they could pretty much block all of the attacks on the Creation Gateway and then we could really begin to repair the damage caused by Darwin. This is important because without the Creation Gateway, I can’t figure out how anyone could get into the airport. Hugh Ross’s ministry taught me a lot about the fine-tuning of the universe that prove that it and everything in it must have been created. It couldn’t have happened by chance. I tend to agree with Ken Ham’s estimate of the age of the earth, and I have learned to look at science through the lens of the Bible.
I just wish there was some way for these two ministries to focus their energies on defeating the actual enemies instead of each other. I guess it doesn’t hurt to wish… does it? In my humble opinion, if people don’t have a personal relationship with the Jesus Christ, the one WHO created the universe and everything in it, including us humans, we can’t go to heaven. However, if someone has a perfect knowledge of WHEN creation happened, but they don’t know the WHO, they are still lost in their sins. In Cambodia, we keep things simple. More and more people are developing personal relationships with the one WHO is the Creator. When we get to heaven, I’m sure He will tell us exactly WHEN, He created. Until then, I think we should treat the Young Earth, Gap, and Day-Age theories as what they are—theories. As the evidence comes in to support or weaken, each theory we should note it and apply it, but we shouldn’t fight about it. I know the age of the earth is very important, but I just can’t say that it is the most important thing in the world.
Next time, we will visit the Salvation Check-in Counter where we will discuss the Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate that seems so important to Christians in the USA. Click Here for Part 2. http://www.internationalfishers.com/blog/the-least-of-the-apologists-eternity-in-christ-airport-part-2-calvinism-vs-arminianism-debate
Should Christians Retreat from Serving in the Military (Public Education, Government, and Bakeries?)
For some reason, this article has disturbed me more than all of the more blatant attacks on Christians by Muslims or Progressives over the past couple of weeks.
According to former pastor and governor, Mike Huckabee. the US military has become "openly hostile" toward Christians. The military has probably never been an easy place for committed Christians to live out their faith. Complete this sentence "________ like a sailor." However, there are lots of examples of Christians being put under greater official pressure than before. example 1 example 2 example 3 example 4 example 5
However, I feel the need to address one part of his message. " I’d wait a couple of years until we get a new commander in chief". I don't think Gov. Huckabee is, "Ready for Hilary," because she has already come out in support of Same-sex marriage and it seems unlikely that she will be more understanding of Christians in the military who oppose it on Biblical grounds than President Obama. So Gov. Huckabee is probably trying to say, "wait for a Republican president who will fix everything." I have to say, I am tired of waiting for Republicans because regardless of whether they have the House, Senate, and the White House, most of them still lack the convictions or courage to do more than "believe ‘one nation under God’ and believe that people of faith should be a vital part of the process of not only governing this country, but defending this country." Republicans may still "believe" in good things, but we only have to look Indiana and Arkansas to see how fast they will "believe" new things when they come under intense pressure from activists, journalists, and corporations.
Christians, we can't keep withdrawing from situations that are hostile toward Christianity, because no matter how far we withdraw (become Amish) Satan will keep inspiring those "who don't know what they are doing," to come and attack the Bible and those who sincerely believe in it more and more. Christians withdrew from Hollywood when it was still producing movies like The Ten Commandments and Ben Hur and things got worse. We withdrew from public schools and universities, and things have gotten worse. I want to make it clear that I am supportive of homeschooling, as well as Christians schools and universities. However, Christians should at least make an effort to enter those places as staff and teachers, even if we can't send our kids there. If we follow the advice of Gov. Huckabee, Christians will retreat from the military, bakeries, flower shops, and pizzerias now, and we will retreat from other places later. This is what the "Christophobes" want.
This is why Christians must once again learn to depend on God's Word the Bible instead of human's advice (don't blindly trust me, read the Bible for yourself).
1. Christians are to be salt and light of the earth (Matthew 5:13-16). Even though most Evangelicals see the United Nations as "hostile to Christians," I know personally, very committed Christians working in the UN, while we all know that there are "fake Christians," who manage to work in Christian organizations.
2. We are to be in the world but not "conformed to the pattern of the world" (Romans 12:2).
3. "But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior." (Philippians 3:20)
4. We are Ambassadors for Christ. This means that, as Christians, we must represent Christ's (our King of Kings and Lord of Lords) interests to the world. Good ambassadors live in the foreign country, they learn the host country's language and culture so that they can communicate effectively. They remain loyal to their sending country. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
5. We should pay our taxes and obey governments' laws unless they violate God's law. (Matthew 22:21) (Act 5:29)
6. We should communicate the message of God's Word as clearly and as effectively as possible in order to overcome cultural or linguistic barriers, but we cannot change the meaning of God's Word, in order to match the latest cultural trends. Some churches in the past made this mistake by trying to gain the favor of the pro-slavery crowd, we cannot make mistake again. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23) (1 Peter 3:8-18) (Galatians 1:8) (Revelation 22:18-19)
7. Even though Satan is deceiving certain groups to persecute Christians, we must remember to love and forgive them "because they don't know what they are doing." We must remember that our real enemy in all of these situations is Satan and demons. "Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world." (Luke 23:34) (Matthew 5:43-48) (Ephesians 6:12)
8. Because our battle is spiritual, we can't depend on physical weapons. Politics, lawsuits, and protests, cannot protect us. Instead, we must first "put on the whole armor of God," "stand firm," and "resist Satan and he will flee from us." Once the spiritual battle is won, we can deal more effectively with the physical aspects.
"So give yourselves completely to God. Stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you. Come near to God, and God will come near to you. You sinners, clean sin out of your lives. You who are trying to follow God and the world at the same time, make your thinking pure." (Ephesians 6:10-18) (James 4:7-8)
9. We cannot allow ourselves to be afraid that if we stand firm in our faith, that we will lose our jobs, financial, security, and even houses. Instead we must all be willing to give up those things at anytime that God leads us to leave them behind for the sake of the Gospel. If we give up our faith in order to keep those things, we will have gained the whole world but lost our soul. Retirement plans and personal wealth of all kinds can be taken away at any time. Heaven is the only truly secure investment. (Matthew 19:27-29) (Mark 8:36) (Matthew 6:19-24)
Christians throughout the centuries and around the world have been persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. This persecution has lead to great revivals. The USA has been blessed to have had growth of the Body without suffering persecution. However, if we look at Church History, we see that the blessings that were on the USA are the exception rather than the rule. Now it seems that it is our turn, as Americans to be "blessed" as our brothers and sisters throughout history and geography have been.
'They are blessed who are persecuted for doing good, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. “People will insult you and hurt you. They will lie and say all kinds of evil things about you because you follow me. But when they do, you will be blessed. Rejoice and be glad, because you have a great reward waiting for you in heaven. People did the same evil things to the prophets who lived before you." (Matthew 5:10-12)
Hebrews 12:4-8 could easily be applied to the Body of Christ in the United States, "You are struggling against sin, but your struggles have not yet caused you to be killed. You have forgotten the encouraging words that call you his children: “My child, don’t think the Lord’s discipline is worth nothing, and don’t stop trying when he corrects you. The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as his child.” Proverbs 3:11–12 So hold on through your sufferings, because they are like a father’s discipline. God is treating you as children. All children are disciplined by their fathers. If you are never disciplined (and every child must be disciplined), you are not true children."
The time may come, when Christians in the USA, will be killed for our faith in Jesus Christ. We have long prayed for "revival" but we often forget that it Tertullian, who lived under the severe persecutions that the Roman Empire inflicted on the early Christians, said, "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church"
Jesus said to them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to receive his glory. I tell you the truth, a grain of wheat must fall to the ground and die to make many seeds. But if it never dies, it remains only a single seed. Those who love their lives will lose them, but those who hate their lives in this world will keep true life forever. Whoever serves me must follow me. Then my servant will be with me everywhere I am. My Father will honor anyone who serves me.
“Now I am very troubled. Should I say, ‘Father, save me from this time’? No, I came to this time so I could suffer. (John 12:23-27)
If we must suffer or even die for our faith we should do so with joy. Salvation is free for us but it was expensive for Jesus. No matter what it costs us, it is worth it.
We hear a lot in the news about how Islam is a "religion of peace" and how most most Muslims are "moderate" which means that they are non-violent. This may be true. When 100 people (both Muslims) and Christians boarded an inflatable boat to make voyage across the Mediterranean, all of the Muslims would probably have been categorized as "moderate/non-violent/peace-loving" people.
When people face life and death situations, their true beliefs surface and politeness is thrown overboard. Therefore these 15 Muslims, spontaneously radicalized and started throwing Christians overboard one-by-one. "When 12 migrants were mercilessly thrown overboard, the other Christians formed a human chain and protected themselves against the attackers by clinging to the dinghy."
Christians, it is time for us to be united. We live in an increasingly anti-Christian world. It is time for us to form a "human chain" with all genuine Christians around the world and cling to Christ. Dividing along denominational lines or non-essential doctrinal distinctives (calvinists vs. charismatics etc.) is a luxury that we can no longer afford. Nearly 2000 years ago, Christianity began in a time and environment when it was literally "open season" on Christians. During that time the Christians' statements of their core beliefs such as the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed were short, simple, and tended to unify Christians. However, when Christians not only had religious freedom but also their churches were sponsored by the governments, they had the luxury of much longer, complex, and exclusive doctrinal statements (such as the Westminster Confession).
It is my hope and prayer that Christians will once again return to a simple but robust faith in Jesus Christ and that we will be able to be united in life. One of the founding fathers of the USA, Benjamin Franklin, said, "We must indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately"
Jesus Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, shows us just how much Jesus longs for his followers to be united.
John 17:20-23 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me."
Christians, we may never agree with each other. We might not even like each other. But, Jesus Christ commands that we love each other. Like it or not, we are all in the same boat. As a Christian, I do not hate the 15 Muslims who killed 12 of my siblings in Christ. By their hateful actions they only prove Jesus' words true.
“I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith. For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God. This is because they have never known the Father or me." (John 16:1-3)
On the Cross, "Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice." (Luke 23:34)
As a Christian (don't worry I'm not planning to insult Christians), I believe that my faith in God as the Creator of heaven and earth should make a difference in how I live my life including how I interact with the Earth that God has given me to live in. Here are some scriptures that help shape my thinking:
Based on these verses, I try to be a good steward of all of the resources that God gives me. Just as I don't believe that Christians should waste their financial resources, they shouldn't waste natural resources either. Personally, I like solar panels, windmills, and alternative fuel vehicles because they have the potential to save money and also lead to greater flexibility and reliability than relying on power-grids and oil markets that tend to funnel money to countries that persecute Christians.
However, there is a growing danger that political elites will use an exaggerated fear of "climate change" as a means to gain tyrannical levels of control over common people, while exempting themselves. One way to identify those who are using environmentalism as a tool of political oppression is to see how they themselves live in their daily lives. Are they good stewards of natural resources? If I see someone flying around in private jets as they seek to make laws that condemn common people for driving SUVs, I have to doubt their motives. I believe that as good stewards, we should buy, use, and maintain, the most efficient and affordable vehicle that we really need. If you really need an SUV, great. But, if you really need an economy car, you can keep more money in your pocket to use for other things (your family, your church, and helping others etc.) and you don't have to send so much money to countries that persecute Christians.
I have heard a lot of talk from scientists, politicians, and pundits over the years. However, I have to say that veteran Bible teacher Hal Lindsey (in less than 30 minutes) makes more sense than anyone I have ever heard talking about the whole topic of climate change.
When soldiers enlist in the US military they promise to "defend the Constitution...against all enemies, foreign and domestic....So help me God." According to a recent Daily Caller article, certain members of the Defense Department, have declared that the Bible, Constitution, and Declaration of Independence are their enemies because they perpetuate sexism and other kinds of discrimination. Taken on its own, this article would seem like a joke, but when we remember other recent actions by the military related to Chaplains we have reason to be concerned. Is the Pentagon attempting to weed out Constitutionalists in general and those with a Judeo-Christian worldview in specific? If US soldiers are successfully indoctrinated with the false belief that the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are evil (sexist, racist, etc. etc.) then, they will not be prepared to protect our "Inalienable Rights" life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and the Constitutional Rights. I would encourage you to bring this issue to your elected representatives and to keep it in mind when you vote.
Defending the Bible: My First Priority
As a Christian Apologist, I have a duty to defend God's Word against all enemies, "foreign" (those who don't claim to be Christians) and "domestic" (those who claim to be Christian). The Declaration of Independence and Constitution are based on the foundation of the Bible and so I must defend the Bible before I can defend the Constitution or Declaration of Independence.
The Bible Is Not Sexist
It would be much easier to charge the Koran and Muslims with sexism in doctrine and current practice than to apply that charge to the Bible but yet the Koran and Islam was not mentioned in the training course.
The equal value of men and women are defined from the very first book of the Bible:
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26-28 KJV)
Even in the King James Version, which was translated long before political correctness it is clear that man="male and female." Therefore, man=mankind or all humans have the image of God and were placed in dominion over the earth and were commanded to be fruitful and multiply. If the image of God were only given to "males" it would be impossible for males to multiply on their own.
It is essential that we interpret old writings according to the meaning that they had in their original culture and context instead of according to our modern usage of the term. For example, in the past, the term "intercourse" meant conversation. Now, it means sexual intercourse. When I visited my brother, his wife, and daughter in Pennsylvania, I really enjoyed the time we spent in Intercourse, PA. I really love eating the ice cream that the Amish make and sell right in the middle of Intercourse. Obviously, I mean Intercourse (the village) and not a sexual activity. The same is true for Bible, especially when it says "man" it means "male and female" unless there is some other contextual clue to indicate that it only refers to human males. Even in modern English if we say "you guys" it can mean males and females or males only depending on the context. Given that the King James Version of the Bible was very widely available at the time of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, we also should give the phrase "all men" the benefit of the doubt as well and assume that "man" or "men" means "mankind" or "humans" unless there is a contextual clue that limits it to specifically to males. Even if there was "sexism" in the Constitution, the 14th and 19th Amendments have removed it.
In the Bible, women are frequently shown as heroines and are often presented in a much more positive light than their male counterparts. The books of Esther and Ruth present those women as virtuous heroines and their sins are not mentioned. On the other hand: Noah got drunk, Abraham was a liar. Jonah was disappointed that God didn't destroy the people of Nineveh. David was an adulterer and murderer. Solomon was an idol worshiper. Peter denied Christ. Thomas doubted Jesus, and so on.
The New Testament presents Mary Magdalene such a positive light that people falsely assume that Jesus married her. Women were the first to discover that Jesus rose from the dead. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is presented in such a positive light that the Catholic Church has often gone so far as to revere her (a human woman) more than Jesus Christ (100% God and 100% Human), the Savior of the World.
The Bible correctly identifies the fact that males and females are different (biologically, roles, and other related characteristics) but it makes it clear that men and women have equal value before God our Creator. In Christ, there is no difference between Jew and Greek, slave and free person, male and female. You are all the same in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28 NCV)
If we replace the concepts of the "image of God" and the "Inalienable rights" with evolution and "survival of the fittest" (natural selection) then we erode the very foundations for equal value and equal rights for all people. In every society that has applied "survival of the fittest" to human relationships, the inevitable result is "might makes right." I have spent 11 of the past 15 years in Cambodia trying to help repair the damage that Pol Pot wreaked on Cambodia when he inflicted the people of Cambodia with the lessons that he learned in university classrooms. I pray that America will not repeat this tragic history.
Some of you may wonder why I even bother responding to this offensive statement made by Britney Cooper, a Rutgers University Professor:
"The Jesus I know, love, talk about and choose to retain was a radical, freedom-loving, justice-seeking, potentially queer (because he was either asexual or a priest married to a prostitute), feminist healer, unimpressed by scripture-quoters and religious law-keepers, seduced neither by power nor evil."
Even though these statements are untrue and very offensive, I recognize Professor Cooper's First Amendment rights and so I am not calling for any boycott, protests, or for her to be fired from her job. I can only hope that she will be equally tolerant of others.
As a Christian Apologist, I cannot continually let these attacks on the identity and character of Jesus Christ go by unchallenged because, as we noted yesterday, that if we allow a lie to be repeated over and over people eventually believe it.
Even though it is a popular for people to claim to be Christian, while attacking Christianity, people are not Christian because they claim to be Christian but we are Christian only if Jesus Christ claims them. Jesus Christ said, "But all who stand before others and say they do not believe in me, I will say before my Father in heaven that they do not belong to me." (Matthew 10:33 NCV)
In other words, we don't have the right to "choose to retain," a version of Jesus Christ that we like. Instead, we must accept Jesus Christ as He really is. Otherwise, we are denying him before others here on earth and risking that He will deny us in heaven. At least Professor Cooper did correctly identify Jesus as a "Jesus, a brown, working-class, Jew." so, at least we have something we can agree on.
Here are two main points I need to deal with.
1. Jesus Christ never married: I have several personal friends both men and women, who have never married. They are wonderful missionaries and their lives illustrated the Apostle Paul's teaching that
"Now for those who are not married and for the widows I say this: It is good for them to stay unmarried as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry. It is better to marry than to burn with sexual desire." (1 Corinthians 7:8-9 NCV)
It is hurtful when our godly unmarried brothers and sisters are overlooked of looked down upon. If they are able to live a fulfilled life as a single person, there is no reason to assume that Jesus Christ was married. They deserve our admiration and respect.
In addition, Jesus Christ wasn't just an ordinary man, He was 100% God and 100% human and He knew that His mission in life was to die on the cross to pay for our sins. With this knowledge, it seems unreasonable for Him to subject a wife and children to the pain of being a widow and orphans, just so he could have the pleasure of sex and the comfort of a family for a few years before dying at the age of 33.
Finally, the Bible is very clear about Jesus' family tree. For example, Matthew 1:1-17 lists Jesus' ancestors all the way back to Abraham and Luke 3:23-38 goes all the way back to Adam. In addition Jesus' brothers and sisters (sorry Catholics) (see John 7:5, Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-56) but they didn't mention that Jesus had a wife or children. They had no reason to leave out this important information. The Jewish historian Josephus even wrote: Ananus ... assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: Wikipedia
At the crucifixion Jesus gave Mary, His Mother, to the Apostle John (See John 19:26). If Jesus had a wife or children, doesn't it make sense that He, being sinless would have made similar arrangements for them? If Jesus had had a wife and/or children, that would have been such important information that, I'm sure the New Testament writers would have mentioned them. So, the Biblical evidence confirms that the idea that Jesus was married was "made up" later.
2. Jesus Christ Was Not Homosexual (or any kind of sexual):
Jesus said, “Don’t think that I have come to destroy the law of Moses or the teaching of the prophets. I have not come to destroy them but to bring about what they said. I tell you the truth, nothing will disappear from the law until heaven and earth are gone. Not even the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will be lost until everything has happened." (Matthew 5:17-18 NCV)
Because of Jesus Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, we as Christians today are not required to live under the Mosaic Law. However, Jesus Christ lived under the Law, as did all of the disciples until after His resurrection. At Jesus' trial, the Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy, sedition, and claiming to be the Messiah but he wasn't accused of homosexuality. Despite Jesus' opponents search for accusations, they were only able to come up with false accusations. If there had been any evidence that Jesus was a homosexual, they would have thrown Leviticus 20:13 and a whole bunch of other verses at Him and they would have stoned Him as a sinner. If Jesus had been stoned as a sinner: 1. He would not have rose from the dead. 2. His disciples would not have believed in Him. 3. Christianity never would have started given the "Christiphobia" of the Roman Empire. Meanwhile the Roman Empire was very supportive of homosexuality. When Christians were in the minority, we wanted to stay "in the Catacombs" but we were "outed" and brought out to "Christian Pride" events at the Colosseum. At these events the Christians were fed to a pride of lions. Christians understand bigotry, because historically we, along with Jews, have been some of its greatest victims.
Because Jesus really lived, died, and rose again, we are no longer under the law. We no longer have to make animal sacrifices and risk capital punishment for our sins. "In the past you were slaves to sin, and goodness did not control you. You did evil things, and now you are ashamed of them. Those things only bring death. But now you are free from sin and have become slaves of God. This brings you a life that is only for God, and this gives you life forever. The payment for sin is death. But God gives us the free gift of life forever in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:20-23 NCV)
We should be thankful for Jesus Christ. It is only because of His love and grace that we can all be forgiven of our sins no matter how serious they are. The real Jesus Christ offers forgiveness and salvations even to those who defame His Holy name.
On the other hand, you "Jihadi John" seem to be dedicated to killing those who don't accept the Shahada.
How do you know that what you believe is true?
If I made a new religion called "Mathism" and I required my followers to chant "2+2=3 and 3+3=7" over and over, would it make it true? If I put a gun to someone's head or a knife to their throat, how many people would say, "2+2=3 and 3+3=7" but it still wouldn't make it true.
How can you be sure that the Quran is completely true? It was only written by one man, who had an encounter with one angel. Isn't it more likely for one person to be wrong than 40?
What about the prophecies, archeology, and scientific facts?
Because of your beliefs, you are causing a lot of pain to a lot of people. A lot of people want to kill you or put you in prison for your beliefs. Therefore, you must have even stronger evidence to support your beliefs and actions that I do. If I am wrong about Christianity, I will have lived a good life and I will have helped a lot of people but you have to ask yourself, "What if I am wrong?"
Jesus loves you, and because of His grace, I love you too. It is only because of Christ's love, that I pray that you and many others like you will turn from radical Islam and will come to have a personal relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
In Christ's Love,
I believe that the most unloving thing that a Christian can tell a non-Christian is, "You don't have any sins. You don't need to repent from your sins." Because this simply is a lie that will make the person feel better for a moment but will result in them suffering in hell for eternity.
Dear President Obama, (Open Letter)
I want to take this opportunity to say that I agree with what you said, "When I listen to less than loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned." Since you didn't explain what you meant by that statement, please allow me to explain to you what I would mean if I said it.
We hear a lot about "love" these days but most people don't know what "love" even means anymore. Jesus said, that in the last days, "Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold." (Matthew 24:12 NLT) Sometimes people wrongly assume that if you love someone that you must like or approve of everything that they say, think, or do. Mr. President, you have two daughters and I'm sure that you love them but when they were babies, I doubt very much that you liked changing diapers any more than I do. But but you did it because you love them and you didn't want them to get diaper rash. I'm sure that as they grow up and go to college they will say and do things that you don't like, but you will still love them. What if one of your daughters came to you one day and said, "Dad, I'm a Republican." Would you like it? Would you still love her? I'm sure you would. I'm sure the at First Lady loves you but if she catches you eating junk food, she wouldn't like it because she doesn't want you to get sick or die too early.
Sometimes, true love means telling people the painful truth. Let's imagine that the First Lady started having headaches and the only doctor that was available to you was Dr. Ben Carson. I'm sure that Dr. Carson would do his best to read the various test results as accurately as possible and then he tell you the truth, about whether or not she has a brain tumor, needs surgery, and the risks and pain associated with the surgery. I believe that Dr. Carson would tell your wife the truth because that is the loving thing to do. If Dr. Carson was unloving, he would tell her that she is fine and healthy even when he saw a treatable brain tumor on the MRI scan. Your wife would go away happy because, Dr. Carson said "I am completely healthy." How would you feel if she died a painful and unnecessary death a few months later? That would be unloving. This is what Ephesians 4:15 says, "but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ," Contrast that verse with what Psalms 52:3 says about "Doeg", "You love evil more than good and lies more than truth."
I believe that the most unloving thing that a Christian can say to a non-Christian is, "You don't have any sins. You don't need to repent from your sins." Because this simply is a lie that will make the person feel better for a moment but will result in them suffering in hell for eternity.
Let's take a look at a frequently misunderstood passage 1 Timothy 1:5-11,
The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions. They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently. We know that the law is good when used correctly. For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God. http://biblehub.com/nlt/1_timothy/1.htm
If we are honest with ourselves, we all are mentioned in this passage, while most of us aren't slave traders, many of us are sexually immoral, liars, promise breakers, and anything else that contradicts wholesome teaching. It is sad that Christians have used this verse to single out homosexuality as a special sin, when in reality this verse says that homosexuals are equal sinners in God's eyes as the rest of us. Just as it would be unloving to tell a slave trader, "you were born that way and so while Jesus Christ may be able to forgive and transform the promise breakers, God can't change you." It is also unloving to tell homosexuals that God can't transform their lives as well.
Here is another passage that has been frequently misused 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
If you took this list and made it into a scavenger hunt, I'm sure you could find people with most of those sins in Congress! I'm sure the NSA could find all of them in Washington DC. Of course, don't get too excited because, there are a lot of people who feel pretty cheated over Obamacare so if you look at yourself you are on that list too, as am I (but I'll leave that to you to work out between you and God). But the point of this passage isn't that "none of these (sinners) will inherit the Kingdom of God" but that "Some of you were once like that but you were cleansed...." I do not believe that Christians should discriminate against homosexuals by telling them that all of the other sinners (like me) can be cleansed and made holy but that they cannot be made holy so we need to just pretend that they don't need to be forgiven and transformed by Jesus Christ.
On a final note, we must acknowledge the fact that not everyone who claims to be Christian really is a Christian. That is clear from Matthew 25. Some people are just pretending to be Christian, in your own words, "if a jayvee team puts on Laker's uniforms, that doesn't make them Kobe Bryant." The good news is that if we genuinely turn from our sins and turn to Christ for forgiveness and allow Him to take his rightful place as God and King of our lives, He will "clothe us in righteousness." This is better than being a real Laker and having a real uniform.
I just want to say that Jesus Christ truly loves you, President Obama, and because of the grace that God has given me, so do I.
In Christ's Love,
Apologist in Exile
Jesus Christ said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:43-48 NKJV
Dear Mohammad (An Open Letter)
First of all, I want to say that I pray to my Lord Jesus Christ, that you and your like-minded friends do not find this post until such time as your hearts have been prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive this message of Christ's love for you in the same spirit that I am writing it. Jesus said, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces." (Matthew 7:6 NKJV). I am not calling you a swine, but I understand that sharing the true Gospel of Jesus Christ with you could easily cause you and your friends be tempted by Satan to come and murder me and those whom I love. I do not say this because I am afraid to die because for I agree with the Apostle Paul that "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:22) However, I do not want you all to add more murders to your list of sins. But, since you and your friends have vowed to kill anyone including (Shia) Muslims who don't agree with you completely, I would rather die because I told you the truth about Jesus Christ's love for you than die because I made some foolish cartoon about Mohammad (the founder of Islam). When people insult Jesus Christ, I too feel pain, but Christians are commanded to "turn the other cheek" so we keep our peace. When Jesus Christ was being crucified to pay for our sins, "Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots." (Luke 23:34) It takes more courage to love and forgive than to hate and kill. It is my prayer that Christ will give me the strength to rise above my natural sinful instincts to kill and to hate so that I will be able to love and forgive as Christ loves and forgives me.
As I briefly looked at your biography on wikipedia I realize that we have a lot in common.
Obviously there are some differences between us, which we will discuss in more detail later. For example:
I do not point out these differences to shame you but because many people in the world cannot distinguish between a committed Christian and a radical Muslim. While you behead people and chant "death to America and death to Israel," President Obama is concerned about Christians being "less than loving." By the way, how are your parents in England doing? Have the Christians treated them the same way that you and your friends treat Christians? If it were not for the love, grace, and forgiveness that Jesus Christ gives to his followers, their lives would not be as good as they are now. You should be thankful to Jesus Christ for this teaching, because it protects your family. "Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. “Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26: 52-53 NASB)
I hope to write more to you later, but for now I want to remind you that Jesus Christ (God with us) loves you. Because of the love, forgiveness, and grace that I have received from Christ Jesus I can honestly say that in my spirit, I love you too.
In Christ's Love,
The Church (the Body of Christ) didn't break down the wall of separation, the State (government) did. Now that the wall is broken, as a Christian Apologist, I have no choice but to defend Christianity against the attacks that come from the government just as I would if they came from a false teacher, a cult, or another religion.
We used to be beaten over the head with the phrase, "separation of church and state", by those who wished to argue that religious people in general and Christians in particular should not pass laws that would, "impose their morality" on society at large. Every time Protestants or Catholics would mention the Bible in the context of the pro-life vs. pro-abortion debate, "separation of church and state" was the automatic retort followed by, "you can't impose your morality on me." Now, those same voices are silent as their allies use the power of the courts and threatening protests to, "impose their morality (or lack thereof)" on the Church.
The First Amendment of the US Constitution says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
The phrase "separation of church and state" does not come from the First Amendment but it comes from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Church. In that letter he wrote, "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.
Until recently, the First Amendment, was commonly understood that: 1. There would be no national religion. 2. People were free to exercise their religions so long as that exercise did not harm the rights of others. 3. That no one should be punished for their opinions and beliefs (no matter how crazy or offensive) so long as they didn't translate those opinions into actions which would violate the inalienable rights of others. Here is an exaggerated example: Someone could believe in human sacrifice and they could in speech and in writing express their opinions that human sacrifice is the "will of their god". So long as they did not make the action of actually sacrificing a human, their beliefs and speech were protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution, even if everyone found their beliefs offensive and disgusting.
I grew very politically aware. I was born in 1976 and my mother showed me a special certificate I received when I was born related to the bi-centennial of the Declaration of Independence. I remember at the age of 4 listening to the radio with my family and hearing about the election of Ronald Reagan as President. Growing up, while my classmates were engrossed in major league baseball, I was equally engaged in politics and history. I went on to earn a BA in Political Science (honors). I aspired to become a civil-rights attorney and then pursue elected office. However, in 2000 God called me on a spiritual journey that has caused me to serve as a missionary and a Christian apologist in Cambodia.
Since beginning that journey more than 15 years ago, I have laid down my political aspirations and have refrained as much as possible from commenting on political issues and endorsing candidates. Because it is ten times more difficult to vote while overseas, there wasn't any candidate really worth that much trouble, and there is a much greater chance that overseas votes won't be counted anyway, I haven't even voted since 2004 (I will make every effort to vote in 2016). Since the turn of the 21st century, I have been content to stay on the church side of the "wall of separation" using my time and talents to campaign for Jesus Christ as King of Kings among the people of Cambodia instead of ______ for President in the USA. Jesus Christ has not disappointed me but the politicians have rarely failed...to disappoint me.
While I have tried my best to refrain from politics, I have still kept up to date with issues. Within the past year or two I have noticed more and more stories of people's freedoms of religion, speech, and press being violated. As a political scientist, it bothers me because I still believe in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. As a Christian Apologist I am troubled by the rise of religious persecution around the world and the use of the powers of government and lynch-mobs to force people to conform their beliefs to the politically correct fad of the day. In case you were wondering, the USA already has an established national religion- secular humanism. Anyone or anything who dares to question the "sacred doctrines" of evolution, environmentalism, feminism (abortion on demand) or same-sex marriage is now labeled a "heretic" (religious fundamentalist, climate change denier, sexist, racist, homophobe etc.). Then they are subject to, as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said, "a high-tech lynching." Now, the lynch-mobs threaten to burn down pizza places, whose owners have religious reservations about serving pizza at a same-sex wedding (I can't imagine who would want pizza at their wedding). Right now, people are losing their life-savings and their livelihoods through lawsuits. I fear that if this is left unchecked people in the USA will start losing their lives through death or unjust imprisonment, as they already do around the world.
I believe that Thomas Jefferson and all the Founders would be appalled at the use of the courts to punish people for their convictions, the firing of people for Facebook posts, and the lack of willingness of governments at all levels to respect, accommodate, and provide space for their citizens' sincerely held religious beliefs and conscientious objections.
They say that "good fences make good neighbors." I tried to be a good neighbor. I was willing to stay on my side of the "wall of separation" but the government has broken down the wall and has invaded the territory of the Church (the Body of Christ). Some think that the gate in the wall should be one-way so that the government should have the power to influence, criticize, and control, the church but not the other way around. I see a one-way gate as a prison that I am not willing or able to accept quietly. As a Christian Apologist, my ministry is to defend God's character, God's truth, God's Word, and God's people against attacks from within and without. The Church (the Body of Christ) didn't break down the wall of separation, the government did. Now that the wall is broken, as a Christian Apologist, I have no choice but to defend Christianity against the attacks that come from the government just as I would if they came from a false teacher, a cult, or another religion.
As an Apologist in Exile (living in Cambodia) I believe that I have more freedom to speak the truth that some of you living in the USA may not have anymore. The pizza delivery guy has trouble finding my house even when I give him directions so I think that the protestors will have trouble too. If they sue me (I hope it is in a Cambodian court) and they take everything I have, they still won't get enough money to buy a certified pre-owned car. If they take away my income as a missionary, I will move my family back to the USA, sign up for welfare, Obamacare, and food-stamps and let the government finance my ministry until I get my money back (then I will go get a job). If they kill me, I will graduate to heaven early. Sen.Ted Cruz called for "courageous conservatives." I am calling for, "courageous Christians."
Here are some Scriptures that guide me:
Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense (apologia the Greek root for Apologetics) to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. (1 Peter 3:13-17 NASB)
Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:17-21 NASB)
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:20-21
Ambassadors must live in the host country. We must learn to use the World's language to effectively communicate the Good News to the World. We must do our best to build relationships with those who are in the World so that we can show them God's love. However, our highest loyalty must be to the interests of our King of Kings, Jesus Christ. We must represent His will to the people of this world. We can trust Him to protect us and if necessary to withdraw us to Heaven, our true home-country when it is time.
Cambodia, April 8, 2015
by Darryl Record
A Christian Apologist, Author, Missionary, Husband, and Father. Darryl has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University (CA), an MA in TESOL from Azusa Pacific University (CA), and a BA in Political Science from Truman State University (MO).