Why Do We Need To Teach High School Students Apologetics?

I don’t think many churches are teaching apologetics.  I know some that are, but I think they are the exception, not the norm.  I was never taught apologetics in high school.  The best answer I was given to why I should believe the Bible to be the word of God was to read 1 Timothy 3:16 – not the best answer!  In fact I wonder if that answer damaged the faith of the high school peer that asked it.

Here is a sampling of feedback I received from high school students after their first unit test on Christian Apologetics:

This section significantly helped me very much so. Not by strengthening my faith, I didn’t actually have any doubts or skepticisms about the Gospel that needed answering. I am already very strong in my faith. The way it helped me so much, is by making it easier for me to answer other people’s questions. Being a faithful Christian, many of my non-religious or skeptical friends, come to me looking for guidance or answers regarding Scripture. I would give them pretty good answers that would generally leave them feeling satisfied. Now I feel like I can answer all of their questions 110%, eliminating any doubt or fear in their minds.

This apologetics section definitely helped me to learn to better defend my faith. I have a lot of non-Christian friends who I regularly converse with about my religion, so this class gave me new tools & talking points that I can discuss with them, as well as raised new questions that I have further researched on my own. The most significant thing I learned was about the historical authenticity of Jesus’ life & the fact that there were pagan historians who affirmed Jesus’ life.

Yes, after studying this past month I have learned that I knew very little about how to defend my faith to those who don’t understand.

Studying the reliability of the Gospels and answering questions about who Jesus is helped me throughout my beliefs and doubts. As I was researching and reading the book, my doubts on the Christianity faded away, since it seems so true! There are so many evidences that Jesus was a real, existed figure and that he has been resurrected. These studies answered my question of if Jesus even existed because I sometimes thought that Jesus could be just a fictional character. The most significant thing I have learned from this section of the class is that only the New Testament had time gap less than 100 between the original and the copies.

Studying the Gospels and the questions about who Jesus is really helped, as it helps me to have more apologetic evidence to further back my faith, both in my own mind and to defend it to other people. The most significant thing I learned were the reasons for believing the resurrection. Since I don’t often see miracles, hearing of someone being legitimately dead, and the rising again, is worthy of attention. But it is also hard to believe. Reading the evidences for it helped strengthen the idea in my mind.

Studying the reliability of the Gospels and answering questions about who he is definitely helped me. I have gotten into situations before where I wish I had the knowledge that I need to answer various questions from friends. I feel more equipped to get into discussions from now on.

These questions have made me much more knowledgeable on the Gospels and Jesus. Before I just believed in these things because I knew that I should. Now I know that these things actually happened and are actually true. I feel a lot more confident in my faith now and feel like I can talk to people about Christ more now because I can support what I believe in.

If you still have any doubts about why you should apologetics in your church, send me a message or leave a comment.  If you need some help or suggestions in getting started, send me a message or leave a comment.  Thank you for your time and for reading.

Daoism – What is it, who believes it, who practices it, and how does it compare to Christianity?

My goal is to create group discussion guides for each religious symbol within the Contradict logo.  So far, I have one made for Hinduism and one made for Daoism.  I create a leader’s guide that gives suggested answers and Bible verses to be read for each question.  My goal however is to have participant’s be able to provide great answers on their own because all the questions are compare and contrast questions between Daoism and Christianity.  All the questions are very open ended and could go anywhere.  I hope that after such a small group discussion all the participants will be able to recognize Daoism’s influence in Western culture and to be able to share the Gospel and the truth of God’s Word in connection to themes and practices of Daoism whenever they arise in day to day life.

Here are the links to the Daoism guides:

Leader’s Guide

Participant’s Guide

I’d love to hear feedback on these guides, especially if you use them to guide a small group discussion.

To close here is a Daoism video that can be used to introduce the discussion:

Contradict #14 – God Bless All Nations and Postmodernism

This is the first Contradict – They Can’t All Be True video that does not present the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For that, I apologize.  Watch the other videos to hear the Gospel message.

Before the Modern world, we blindly trusted in authority.  For God, that meant we just trusted the Bible as the Word of God and believed whatever the Church taught us.

In the Modern world, we trusted in logic, reason, and science. These were helpful tools in helping us interpret the Bible.

In the Postmodern world, an emerging worldview that hasn’t yet fully replaced Modernism, we are confronted with many opposing beliefs, religions, morals, and customs and many of us can’t apply our logic and reason to justify why one belief system is true and another false, especially since we can see elements of truth in all of them.  This has led to relativism.  We now trust in experience and intuition to guide our beliefs concerning God.

I found a God Bless All Nations bumper sticker.  This is a good depiction of postmodernism.  Words and symbols can be deconstructed to mean anything an individual wants.  In relativism, everything goes.  What’s true for you is true for you.

Overtime this can leave us in a state of being dazed and confused, and when it’s been so long, we can’t tell what’s true anymore.  God Bless All Nations!  If God is blessing nations why don’t we see flags representing countries?  Are religions now nations?  Or it is trying to say that religions are now so spread out over the world that these religions can be found in many  nations, and since God blesses all nations, then he must therefore be blessing all religions too?  Of is it trying to say that God can be found in all of these religions and that that God blesses all nations?  Or is it saying that America isn’t a Christian nation?  Or is it saying that Americans shouldn’t say “God Bless America,” they should say “God Bless all Nations?”  In postmodernism, it can mean anything I want it to mean, and you can’t tell me I’m wrong, except I think words do have meaning, and so do symbols… these meanings can change overtime, but we still have to be able to recognize the different definitions, but in postmodernism changes can happen overnight based on some video or image going “viral,” and we don’t have to recognize the contradictions anymore, since everything is now true! So I am left in complete frustration.  Come Lord Jesus, Come!

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The Bible is Just a Story! Like Harry Potter is Just a Story!

Yesterday, I set-up an evangelism table at Saddleback Community College.  I had a Contradict poster taped to the table with print-outs of the Contradict page of explanation with me to hand out to people who seemed interested in the sign on the table.

A long conversation was sparked with a student who recognized that the religions contradicted each other and that they can’t all be true.  When I began to share about why I believe Jesus is God and the Savior of mankind, he objected, saying that the Bible is just a story.  He argued that the Bible was written by a person a long time ago, and it’s just a story, similar to how J.K. Rowling writes stories.  People eventually believed the Bible to be a true story, and he had no problem if people wanted to believe it was true, becuase the stories that form religions help keep society in order, by giving people a purpose and direction life, something to live for.

I noticed in his explanation that he referenced again, and again, that it was just “a person” who wrote the Bible. I corrected him on that point, that the New Testament was not written by “a person” but at least 8, likely 9, different authors.

I then told him that those 8-9 people suffered and were persecuted for their writings.  Some argue that we only know by tradition that the apostles died, not good hard historical evidence, and this is likely true, that it’s only in tradition that they died as martyrs.  But we do know for certain that they were persecuted, jailed, robbed, and many were executed for the Christian faith from the NT writings themselves, as well as from the writings of early Church fathers, and from historians of the 1st-3rd centuries outside of the Christian circle.

But he made no argument against my claim that the Bible had multiple authors, or against my claim that they were persecuted for their message.  He still wanted to argue that it was a story, so I drew a parallel to his Harry Potter comparison.

Author J.K. Rowling reads from Harry Potter an...
Author J.K. Rowling reads from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the Easter Egg Roll at White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I said, we know that J.K. Rowling wrote the Potter books.  We also have her own words explaining how she created the characters and conducted research into the practices of magic and the occult to write her books.  We records of interviews with her, and we have critics who have read and critiqued her work, both in praise and against it.  I told him that we have similar works with the BIble.  The Talmud mentions Jesus and claims that he performed his work through the Devil.  Other authors outside of the Christian refer to Jesus as a historical person who was crucified by Pontius Pilate.

What we find is that the apostles did not recant their beliefs when confronted to say that their story was fiction.  If J.K. Rowling claimed her Potter universe was real, and there was a gun put to her head, and she was told that she had to admit that her work was fiction or a bullet would be put into her head, would she maintain that Potter and his friends and his school actually exists?  He said no, of course not, at which point I told him that the disciples didn’t reject their “story.”
He responded that they could have been crazy.  I quickly refuted that argument, at which point he jumped to explain that Jesus probably had a twin brother!  Really?  I had heard that this was a natural argument to explain the resurrection, but I had never met someone who actually argued that it’s most likely that Jesus had a twin brother, than a bodily resurrection occurring.

I’ll share more about the Twin discussion in a post to come very soon.

One Nation Under God #3

The three local libraries that I frequent, all have a bookstore of used books.  These books usually cost 50 cents to $2.  Sometimes you can find some really great resource books for yourself or copies of the Bible or other books you already own that you think would be great to keep on hand for giving to others.  One such book I found recently is In God We Still Trust by Dr. Richard G. Lee.  It’s mostly just compilations of quotes from America’s founding fathers, presidents, and key reformers and ground breakers demonstrating that the God we trust in is not some generic, withdrawn, unknown deity, as many liberals want us all to believe now.  These quotes also show that when America used to be called a Christian nation, we actually were.  Does that mean we don’t have massive sins and flaws in our history, such as the Trail of Tears that starts in my home-state, TN?  No, it just shows that we as all people and nations are sinners and led by sinners, but at least, for a time, our nation was largely Christian, trusting in God alone for our salvation and provision.

Here’s a quote from Daniel Webster from a speech he gave before the HIstorical Society of New York, Februrary, 23, 1852:

If we and our prosperity shall be true to the Christian religion, if we and they shall live always in the fear of God, and shall respect His commandments, if we and they shall maintain just moral sentiments and such conscientious convictions of duty as shall control the heart and life, we may have the highest hopes of the future fortunes of our country; and if we maintain those institutions of government and that political union, exceeding all praise as much as it exceeds all former examples of political associations, we may be sure of one thing, that while our country furnishes material for a thousands masters of the historic art, it will afford no topic for a Gibon.  It will have no decline and fall.  It will go on prospering and to prosper.

But if we and our prosperity reject religious institutions and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity.