Article V, part 2

Truth or Dare (Article 5)

In our last article we began looking into the three main philosophies prevalent in the world today (Theism, Pantheism, and Atheism). We also looked at several of the worldviews directly connected to the three main philosophies Philosophy 5 (Biblical Theism, Monadic Monotheism, Eastern Mysticism, Spiritism, Occultism, Darwinism, Secular Humanism, and Existentialism). We also mentioned briefly about the multitude of ideologies in existence today, as a result of the three main philosophies being blended together. So many, in fact, that they were too numerous to list in our post, though we named a few.

In this article we will be tackling the issue of truth, where wisdom is concerned. We will attempt to show you why it is only the philosophy of Biblical Theism that can connect the human mind to the truth, because it’s only God’s wisdom that is truth. So for the next few moments let’s avoid pondering past the truth God has laid out before us, in His Word, and let’s open our minds up to the message of wisdom He has waiting for us to learn.

Scripture promises that if we ask for wisdom, God will give it to us (James 1:5). If we truly desire wisdom, and we all should, then we have only to ask. With God’s wisdom we find knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6). Sir Isaac Newton, a devout Christian, became one of the most influential minds of his time in the fields of mechanics, mathematics, optics, philosophy, and physics. In fact, Sir Isaac Newton is regarded to this day as one of the most influential scientists of all time, and a key figure in the scientific revolution. There are others, as well.

Robert Boyle, was a biblical theist who became known for his advancements in the fields of chemistry, natural philosophy, physics, and theology. He is best known today as one of the pioneers of the modern experimental scientific method and “Boyle’s Law,” which states that the outcome of pressure and volume is continuous for a given mass of enclosed gas as long as the temperature is unchanged.

There is also Johannes Kepler, who was another key figure of the scientific revolution. This God fearing man is primarily remembered for his contributions in the fields of mathematics and astronomy. Mr. Kepler is best known, today, for his eponymous laws of planetary motion, which became codified by later astronomers.

And let’s not forget Galileo Galilei, a major influence regarding the scientific revolution. Galileo Galilei This biblical theist is remembered for his stellar contributions in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, and physics. To this day, it is Galileo that academia considers to be the “father” of modern observational astronomy, modern science, and physics.

There are many more godly men listed in the annals of philosophy and science. Far too many to include in this post, but the point is this: modern science was revolutionized because these four very devout men dedicated themselves to pursuing God’s wisdom. The result was God’s revelation of knowledge and understanding in the areas of astronomy, chemistry, mechanics, mathematics, optics, philosophy, physics, and theology.

Certainly the non-believers of many fields have made significant discoveries too, but it’s not because they did so on their own merit. Both believers and non-believers are instruments of God’s work. Given to knowledge and understanding because the Spirit of God chose to reveal such things to the world through them. Note this passage of Scripture from the Apostle Paul, written in his first letter to the people of Corinth:

“However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him’ — but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We [the believer] have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him [mankind]?’ But we [the believer] have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-16)

In short, what Paul was communicating is this — all the things that mankind knows of has been made known to him by the Spirit of God. It’s only the true worshipers of the Almighty that are allowed to understand where this wisdom has come from and how that knowledge is related to God’s purpose for humanity. A non-believer may tap into this knowledge from time-to-time, as the Spirit of God allows, but he will not see it as divinely given and will not understand how God has purposed it for mankind and God’s glory.

So how does this godly form of knowledge and understanding produce assurance, and peace of mind? Wisdom 2 By the fact that true, godly wisdom is divine, and not from the mind of humanity. You see, God’s wisdom is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive to the Almighty, full of mercy and beneficial to humanity, as well as impartial and sincere (James 3:17). God’s knowledge and understanding is true wisdom, because our Creator is all knowing and all understanding (Job 12:13, 36:5; Psalm 147:5; Proverbs 2:6; Isaiah 40:28; Daniel 2:20; Romans 11:33, 16:25-27), and mankind’s wisdom isn’t and can’t ever be.

Can you begin to see the logic behind why God’s wisdom is true wisdom? God is perfect, without flaw, but humanity is not perfect — humanity is flawed. Mankind does not know all there is to know, but God does. We cannot know true wisdom on our own, because we are the product of a rebellious choice (Genesis 3:1-24). A choice that removed us from God’s divine nature. Our rebellious spirit is equal to that of an occultic, black-hearted witch (1 Samuel 15:23). How can a rebellious creature, prone to doing evil, ever know the pure and perfect wisdom of its Creator? It can’t unless the knowledge and understanding that it seeks is given to it by the Creator, Himself. Whether that wisdom is of a scientific nature or of a spiritual nature, if wisdom is to be valid, right, and true then it must come from God.

An example of God’s Spirit revealing spiritual wisdom to humanity is found in the life of the Apostle Peter, as told in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter sixteen. Jesus was talking with His disciples about who the people of Israel thought He was. Several answers came back to Him from His followers, but none where correctly identifying Jesus as the appointed Messiah. So, Christ looks to the hearts of His chosen twelve, and asks them, “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15b) It’s Simon Peter who responds, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16b) Jesus then tells Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17) So even the revelation of Jesus Christ, as the Messiah, cannot be known merely by reading the Scriptures and knowing the prophecies unless God allows our “eyes to see,” our “ears to hear,” and our “minds to conceive.”

Still not convinced that all wisdom is from God? That it’s His wisdom that leads to real knowledge and understanding? Maybe the logic behind the perfection of divine wisdom verses the fallacy of humanity’s makes sense to you, but it’s the citing of Scripture that leaves you lacking. After all, the Holy Bible isn’t the only source of divine wisdom — is it? Actually it is, and I’ll explain why.

Though many of the world’s religions have their holy writings, none of these books bare the actual Word of God. The Vedas, and the Upanishads of the Hindu faith were all written by men trying to explain the wisdom of their enlightenment, as it relates to the “universal spirit.” The Qur’an was written by a man trying to explain the wisdom of his divine god, Allah, but it’s only the Holy Bible that holds the actual divinely inspired message of the Almighty to humanity (2 Timothy 3:16-17). How can we know that these holy writings are the very Word of God? There are many validations of the holy Scriptures.

The Holy Bible was written by approximately forty different men, all of them inspired by God, over a period that spans over fifteen-hundred years. Bible 7 The inerrant spiritual and physical truths contained within its sixty-six books are evidences of this, but before we accept this as truth we’ll need to understand the meanings of the words “inerrancy” and “inspired.”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “inerrancy” as: (noun) exemption from error; infallible. So for the Holy Bible to be inerrant it must be without flaw — perfect. As we have already stated, only something divine can be infallible. So, since we know people wrote the holy Scriptures, and since we know people are not perfect, the only way the Holy Bible could be inerrant is if God’s Spirit moved in these men and inspired them to write.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “inspired” as: (adjective) outstanding or brilliant in a way or to a degree suggestive of divine [godly] inspiration. Did you get that? Something inspired is literally a work that is influenced by divinity. When these forty men began to write the holy Scriptures, they were moved by the Spirit of God to communicate His inerrant spiritual and physical truths (2 Peter 1:21). Not all Scripture is a direct recording of God’s message to mankind, in fact most of Scripture is a composition of God’s message, but all of Scripture is an outstanding and brilliant account of the Word of God.

O.K., so the original writings were inerrant and inspired, but what about the fact that the original Scriptures are no longer in existence? Are the copies on file today trust worthy? Yes, and I’ll show you why. First, though, we must note that none of the original ancient writings being studied today are in existence. Plato’s writings, the works of Herodotus, the writings of Caesar and Tacitus, even those of William Shakespeare are no longer around. All we have to go by are the copies that were created, and most of them are no longer available. Only seven of Plato’s writings are on file; with Herodotus we only have eight. William Shakespeare’s folio contains about two-hundred and thirty-eight copies, but when it comes to the holy Scriptures we have over ten-thousand copies of the Old Testament texts and nearly twenty-five thousand copies of the New Testament texts.

So what makes these numerous copies of the Holy Bible so special? Well, the fact that these many copies on file are within only a few hundred years of the original writings is pretty amazing. Copies of Plato’s writings are nearly one-thousand years removed from their original compositions, as are the vast majority of the ancient manuscripts still on file. And as far as inconsistencies are concerned, the Holy Bible is considered by experts to be ninety-five percent accurate. What of that five percent? Experts agree that these inconsistencies are only regarding spelling and conjunctions, and none of what is in question has altered the facts and meanings of the overall texts.

There are other evidences, too. Such as the prophecies mentioned and fulfilled within its sixty-six books. bible 2 These prophecies aren’t general predictions either. The holy Scriptures make very specific and detailed forecasts concerning a variety of specified individuals, nations, and events. The Qur’an doesn’t do this, and neither do any other religious writings. In fact, all other religious prophecies made in any other spiritual composition only deals in very generalized guesses. It’s only in the Holy Bible that you find such intentional forecasts, and most were predicted hundreds of years before their occurrences, but all the fulfilled prophecies can be historically verified.

The holy Scriptures also contain a unified message regarding humanity’s need for redemption. As stated earlier, despite its having been written by forty or so authors over a span of fifteen-hundred years, the Holy Bible consistently deals with this theme of redemption. We see in the Old Testament writings the issue of humanity’s fall from God’s grace, the prophecies regarding mankind’s salvation, and predictions of God’s judgment for the non-believing world. Then in the New Testament we see the messianic prophecies fulfilled and further prophecies of God’s judgment for non-believers laid out. Other religious documents are not nearly so consistent, and most of them were written by only one author (example: the Qur’an, the Book of Mormon, etc.).

There’s also archeological evidence that helps to validate the historical accuracy of the holy texts. A vast amount of historical locations, names, and events have been confirmed by archeologists who have used Scripture as a sort of road map into history. One such archeologist/biblical investigator, named Bob Cornuke, has used the Holy Bible to discover strong evidence as to the true location of Noah’s ark. A piece of what appeared to be petrified wood was removed from the site, located in Iran, and analyzed by the University of Cambridge. The analysis came back stating that the subject was a petrified piece of unknown wood, and that it had been coated in some sort of pitch to make it waterproof, and that there was evidence of fossilized marine life found, too. He’s also found compelling evidence regarding the location of the real Mt. Sinai, and Mr. Cornuke has even unearthed an incredible amount of evidence concerning where the Israelites crossed through the Red Sea.

The science of astronomy also validates Scripture. Long before Copernicus, Plato, or Pythagoras ever began to discover that the earth was round, Scripture was already telling us it was (Job 26:10; Isaiah 40:22). In Job chapter twenty-six, verse seven, we read that God “suspends the earth over nothing,” which indicates the fact that our planet free-floats in space. The Scriptures declare time-and-again that the universe is ever expanding (Job 37:18; Isaiah 40:22; Jeremiah 10:12), which is exactly what the astronomers of the 1920s discovered. These and other astronomical evidences found through out the Holy Bible are proof of its inerrancy and inspiration. After all, how else would the authors of these Old Testament texts know of such things thousands of years before the science of astronomy was founded, unless they were told by God.

There are other evidences to support the infallible spiritual and physical truths found in the holy Scriptures, such as in biological science (we’ll get into this more deeply in Article Six), and the process in which its sixty-six book were canonized. Also how quickly the message of the New Testament was embraced as fact, due to the over five-hundred “eye witnesses” still living when the writings began to appear (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). All were able to help deny or validate any-and-all stories being told concerning the teachings of Christ.

There are also the internal claims made through out the texts. Some we have already named, but the claims most compelling are the verses that teach on the deity of Christ (Proverbs 8:22-36). Christ in Clouds Why? Because it is Jesus, the Christ, who is the very Word of God (Isaiah 55:11). The book we call the Holy Bible isn’t merely inerrant and inspired to teach us of God’s divine wisdom, but to actually give us a direct connection to God’s living, divine wisdom — His very own begotten Son. It is Jesus, the Christ, who God spoke through to make all of creation (Proverbs 8:30; John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16). It is Jesus, the Christ, that God made into a man to live among humanity as His example of perfection (John 1:14). It is Jesus, the Christ, who sacrificed Himself so that we could be reconciled to God, and it is Jesus, the Christ, who conquered death so that all who believe could live forever (John 3:16-17).

Without Jesus Christ there is no holy text; there is no knowledge and understanding, and there is no peace in wisdom, because without Jesus Christ there can be no philosophy — only foolishness.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’ Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.’” (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)

Truth or Dare by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jasonmin.wordpress.com.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

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Article V, part 1

Truth or Dare (Article 5)

One of my favorite literary characters of all time is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s infamous detective of 221B Baker Street, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, and my favorite adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories is the British Broadcasting Corporation’sSherlock.” Holmes & Watson 1 This small screen redesign of the classic Sherlock Holmes mysteries certainly delivers on fulfilling it’s slogan by making Mr. Holmes into “a new sleuth for the 21st century.”

There’s an old joke, that still surfaces from time-to-time, regarding Mr. Sherlock Holmes and his faithful friend Dr. John H. Watson. The yarn takes place on a camping trip, that the legendary duo have decided to enjoy. In the middle of the night, the ever alert Mr. Holmes nudges Dr. Watson awake, and says, “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.” Dr. Watson, though a bit lethargic, answers him, “I see millions of stars, my dear Holmes.”

“And what do you infer from these stars?” says Sherlock. “Well,” Dr. Watson begins to answer. But sensing that his friend is in one of his philosophical moods, he decides to think a moment before answering. “A number of things,” Dr. Watson retorts as he lights his cigarette. “Astronomically, Holmes, I observe that there are millions of galaxies and billions of stars and planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three in the a.m. Meteorologically, I expect that the weather will be fine and clear. Theologically, I see that God is all-powerful and man, His creation, small and insignificant. What about you, my dear Holmes? What is it that you infer?” Without a moments pause, Sherlock snaps back in a very agitated tone, “Watson, you fool — someone has stolen our tent!”

Often the answers to life’s many questions are setting there in plain sight, yet those who delve deep into the philosophical will somehow manage to miss them, and cause others to do the same. I like to say it this way:

Philosophers are the only people I know of that can sit on a haystack full of needles, and still manage to not get the point in the end.

Humanity’s infatuation with ideology, our romance with rationality, our intimacy with intelligence can be summed up in the word philosophy. “Philosophy” is a word deriving from two Greek words. Philos, is a Greek word meaning “beloved,” or “loving,” and Sophos is Greek for “knowledge,” or “wisdom.” So literally, philosophy means “beloved knowledge,” or “the love of wisdom.” As mankind has long enjoyed a deep tenderness towards discerning thoughts, and has worshiped a variety of worldviews, we will be addressing a few of the philosophies that have (and still do) preoccupied our minds.

Philosophy 2 There are three main worldviews influencing the various philosophies in existence today. These three worldviews are:

Theism — one deity, who made all things out of nothing.
Pantheism — the divine is everything, and everything is the divine.
Atheism — no deity exists, the universe simply occurred on its own.

“Theism” is made up of two main ideologies: Biblical Theism, and Monadic Monotheism. If you have a worldview that is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, as explained in the Holy Bible, then you posses a belief system that is considered “Biblical Theism,” or Trinitarianism (one deity, but three separate personifications — God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit). This Christ-centered, theistic ideology is the philosophical foundation of the Christian faith.

It is the understanding that Yahweh and Jesus are the same God; that the Old Testament writings teach and prepare both the Hebrews of yesteryear and the reader of today for the coming Messiah, revealed in the New Testament writings. It is the awareness of the teachings that proclaim the deity of Jesus, His life as a man, His sacrificial death on the cross, and His resurrection and ascension into Heaven, as well as His return and millennial rule on earth. All of these pronouncements, plus the gift of the Holy Spirit to the believer, are essential in conveying the truths of redemption that this godly worldview seeks to convey.

“Monadic Monotheism” teaches of a singular, divine being (a.k.a.: a monad). This is the theistic belief system held mostly by Jews and Muslims. This singular, divine being is wholly separated from humanity, leaving them under the mandate that says mankind must obey the divine statutes and live a righteous life. In short, the divine is both just and vengeful; separated from humanity because this deity is perfect, and only piety and righteousness can present mankind with the chance to beg for divine forgiveness.

Occasionally a theist will also relate a philosophy that denigrates the value of mankind’s physical existence, and they’ll teach either that the spiritual side of humanity takes precedence over the physical side, or possibly the opposite. This ideology is called Dualism. Though generally associated with “Pantheism,” this Greek rooted philosophy generally depicts the physical world in a negative light and encourages mankind to neglect their physical needs for the gain of spiritual enlightenment.

“Pantheism” is made up of three main ideologies: Eastern Mysticism, Spiritism, and Occultism. If your worldview states that the ultimate expression of reality consists of a “universal divine spirit,” galaxy 4 and that there is no singular, deity for humanity to relate to, or to reveal himself to, then you posses a pantheistic belief system that is considered “Eastern Mysticism.” Philosophically speaking, this worldview does not separate the secular and the divine, and teaches that all of reality is composed of, and reduced to, a single substance/”energy.”

“Spiritism” teaches that this world is inhabited by a variety of spirits. These spirits take on many characteristics too, as some are seen as angry, mean, comical, or kind. This pantheistic worldview, now known as Animism, states that humanity must appease evil spirits and attract good ones through rituals, liturgies, idols, or ceremonies. Voodoo is an example of a religion that is based on just such a belief system.

“Occultism” is the study of things that are hidden (paranormal), such as magic, alchemy, extrasensory perception (a.k.a.: ESP), astrology, spiritualism, and divination. Many religious belief systems are rooted in this pantheistic ideology. For example Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Theosophy, Wicca, Thelema, Satanism, and Neopaganism are all rooted in occultism. The sciences have mistakenly been connected to the occult, from time-to-time, as mankind has sought to understand the unknown, both within and without. Occultism, you see, attempts to understand a deeper spiritual reality, by way of superstitious and demonic rituals, that extend beyond human logic and academic science.

“Atheism” is basically the refusal to believe that there is a spiritual side to humanity. An atheist will not accept any deity, nor will they accept that mankind has an immortal soul. Atheism 2 “Atheism” is made up of three main ideologies: Darwinism, Secular Humanism, and Existentialism. The term “atheism” originated from the Greek word atheos, and literally means “without gods.” Most atheists believe that their worldview is an ideology of absolute truths, even more so than most theists, and therefore the burden of proof lies not on the atheist to disprove the existence of the divine, but on the theist to provide solid evidence for the divine.

“Darwinism” is the study of the origin of life, and is committed to the atheistic ideology that states that all of life is the result of natural selection and random causes. This belief system is founded on the scientific theory of evolution. Mr. Charles Darwin, the founder of “Darwinism,” had observed in his worldwide travels that the animal kingdom, within species, adapted to various conditions that made them better equipped to survive and thrive in an ever changing environment. It’s based on this scientific evidence, known as micro-evolution, that Mr. Darwin theorized that, given enough time and the right environment, a transformation of one species into another could occur. This process of successive mutations within a species, that ends in the existence of a new species, is known to Scientists as macro-evolution. Unfortunately for Charles Darwin, and all of his colleagues since, there has never been an observed macro-evolution mutation. Paleontologists can’t even find a transitional or mutated species in the fossil records. The result is that Scientists who commit themselves to the study of evolution generally refuse to understand their scientific findings, wholly, and stay committed to their atheistic ideology of “Darwinism.”

“Secular Humanism” is the study of the humanities, with the focus being on the glorification of human accomplishment. This atheistic worldview is in stark contrast to that of “Classical Humanism” which gives glory to the divine when taking notice of human accomplishments. A secular humanist will give no credit to a deity, but will wallow in the idea that mankind can rise to, and capture, the moment with his/her own greatness. People with this atheistic ideology are very much in the present, and slaves to history. This philosophy reduces humanity to being nothing more than a glorified animal which seeks to fulfill its own selfish desires, and passions, at any cost.

“Existentialism” is simply all about living in the moment. People who adhere to this atheistic philosophy generally do not bother with questioning how or why something began, or ended, they will even oppose the reasons behind why something exists. They simply choose to embracing the fact that it is. Their three core beliefs are as follows:

Individualism (me, myself, and I)
“Carpe diem” (a Latin phrase for “seize the day”)
Freedom to do whatever, whenever, and however (anarchy).

Oddly enough, you can occasionally find theists who follow and live by this worldview, but primarily it is the atheists that adhere to this belief system. Why? Because such an ideology cannot have a divine entity telling it that there is an absolute right and wrong. An existentialist must be free to live life passionately and without any kind of inward or outward constraint.

I realize that when it comes to a subject as vast and as deep as “philosophy” it is hard for most of us to stay focused and retain the information that is being presented. I know that I certainly struggle with knowing and understanding them all. Comprehension, though key, can be hard to attain for some, thus the reason I have tried to present this to you in small portions; only giving you the essential information for understanding the various belief systems directly connected to the three main worldviews (Theism, Pantheism, and Atheism). Just know that for every one of these ideologies mentioned there are multiple worldviews that intersect and continue from them.

For example, where “Theism” and “Pantheism” intersect Polytheism (the belief of more than one god) and Postmodern Spirituality (the belief that no one religion will connect you to the divine; just believe what you wish) appear. Where “Pantheism” and “Atheism” cross paths Monism (the belief that humanity can become one with the “universal divine force,” and escape the illusion of this physical life) prevails, and where “Atheism” and “Theism” blend Agnosticism (the belief that mankind cannot know anything with certainty, especially the divine) and Deism (the belief that logic and the examination of nature are significant in determining the existence of the divine, as well as the rejection of religious authority and knowledge) exist. Yet, even these philosophies are only a few of the many worldviews that dwell in the minds of humanity.

So what does this all mean? What do we do with the information presented here? Philosophy 3 First, we must give a conscious effort toward knowing why it is only “Biblical Theism” that will give peace of mind to mankind (Philippians 4:7). Second, we must take note of what it is that makes God’s worldview the only ideology worth dedicating our lives to (Proverbs 8). Just as Dr. Watson was too busy waxing wise to notice the obvious fact that his, and Mr. Holmes’, tent had been stolen, so too do philosophers miss the truth of God because they are too deep in love with the pursuit of wisdom to actually receive the wisdom they are so obsessed with finding. (Proverbs 14:6, 17:24, 24:7; 1 Corinthians 1:20).

In our next post we will delve further into why the wisdom of God prevails over the philosophies of humanity, and help you understand how you can rest peacefully knowing that God’s wisdom is truth you can put your trust in.

Truth or Dare by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jasonmin.wordpress.com.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Sherlock © 2010, 2011, 2012 BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article IV, part 3

Truth or Dare (Article 4)

In part one, of article four, we discussed the basic belief systems of the three biggest religious groups in the world today: Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. In part two, we discussed how Christianity, based on Christ’s claim of deity, is the one true way for humanity to connect with God. church front collage In this post, we will explore the issue most people have with accepting Christianity as God’s truth, and that is the Christians, themselves.

Many people have said, in one way or another, “If Jesus is God’s son, and if all His teachings concerning salvation and eternal life are true, then why do so many Christians behave in contrast to His teachings? Why are Christians such hypocrites?” It can be explained in this one statement:

Christians are not perfect, they’re just forgiven.

Being a Christian, as stated earlier, means that you live by the teachings of Christ. What so many outside of the faith don’t understand, and this truth eludes many who claim to be Christians, is that perfection belongs to Christ; perfection does not belong to us. That is the very reason Jesus came to live, die, and return from the grave — we weren’t perfect and never could be, but God’s son is perfect. Christ paid our debt on the cross, because he loved us and could afford to pay it (Romans 3:21-26). Death to Him was physically and emotionally painful, as Jesus experienced separation from God the Father on the cross and as He experienced His Father’s wrath in the grave, but Christ knew He could endure it.

Again, let’s recall the Scripture passage from Romans, chapter three, verses twenty-two through twenty-four: “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” We (mankind) are all not perfect, but because of Christ’s perfection, and His graciousness, we can obtain perfection through Him. We have access to His perfection. That’s not to say that we will be perfect while living under the sun, but if we place our faith and trust in Jesus — if we daily choose Christ’s way over our way (Luke 9:23-24; Romans 6:11; Galatians 2:20) — then we can be transformed into the likeness of Christ and upon entering our heavenly destination we will be able to live perfectly under God’s son (Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 5:24).

Even though the Bible teaches us that we are a “new creation,” once we give our lives over to following the statutes of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), we must also remember that this new life is not an instant transformation. Our salvation is immediate, but this “new creation” that has entered into our lives is an re-birthing of our old, sinful spirit (John 3:3; 1 Peter 1:23). Just as a baby must be nurtured, taught, and raised to know how to properly act, function, and live, so too do reborn spirits have to be taught in the ways of Christ (1 Peter 2:2). Christians do not become perfect at their salvation, but at their journey’s end.

There is a popular allegory, known as The Pilgrim’s Progress, that aptly depicts the life of a Christian as a journey. This book, written by John Bunyan and published in 1678, is considered one of the most important works of religious English literature. Its importance and popularity has brought about its being translated into more than two-hundred languages.

The Pilgrim’s Progress is the story of a man, named Christian, who is living in a town called “City of Destruction.” Pilgrim's Progress 1 Christian is a man desiring to live in a far off place known as “Celestial City,” but the journey to “Celestial City” is a long and hard one. For example, one of his hardships is a “great burden” that Christian must carry with him along his way. There are also many people along this journey that wish to divert Christian from his goal. At one point, a dragon named Apollyon tries to kill Christian. However, there are also those who help Christian to find comfort and strength too, from time-to-time.

Faithful, who is also a former resident of “City of Destruction,” travels alongside Christian, for a time, helping him until his death. Then Hopeful joins Christian, as does a boy named Ignorance. It’s with good deeds and kindness that Ignorance thinks he can enter into “Celestial City,” but upon reaching the gate he realizes that he cannot because, despite his good works, he has no passport. Ignorance is then quickly banished to Tophet, by the Lord of the city.

Christian, after receiving help from Hopeful, makes it across the “River of Death” and gets to enter into “Celestial City,” upon showing the Lord of the city his passport. Where did Christian receive this passport, and why was Ignorance not able to obtain one? Unlike Ignorance, Christian had earlier taken the “King’s Highway.” This highway was a small path, less traveled, that meandered through many tough obstacles, but ultimately brought Christian to a cross. It is at this cross, that Christian is relieved of his “great burden” and given his passport into “Celestial City.” Had Ignorance left the main road, and followed Hopeful and Christian along the small path to the cross, he too could have obtained his passport to “Celestial City.”

You see, Christianity is not about mystical, magical transformations. It’s not about achieving a perfect life that realizes its connection to a “Universal Spirit” by detaching itself from worldly desires. It’s not a life committed to accomplishing a greater struggle, which ultimately leads us to living a godly life. No. Christianity is the surrendering of our imperfections to Christ. It’s Jesus who willingly takes our flaws upon the cross and covers over them with His perfect blood. By doing so, God no longer sees us as filthy, dirty wretches awaiting damnation, but sees us through Christ’s holy eyes as pure, clean children clothed in His son’s perfect glory, and adopted into His family for all of eternity (Ephesians 1:4-6; 1 Peter 2:4-6).

Yes, for the world to judge Christianity by it’s carnal members is to see all that is ugly in this physical life. Many Christians struggle to totally let go of their sinfulness and allow God to make them into the true worshiper that He intends them to be. This fighting with God only slows the growth of the reborn spirit and allows Satan the opportunity to attack and distract the rebellious Christian from reaching their divine purpose (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Hebrews 5:11-14). So what the world sees from the carnal Christian is not Christ’s reflection, but the agitated filth that is being forced away from the spirit. Much like cleaning dirty laundry. Dirty laundry appears more soiled when water meets the filth and creates mud, so too does sin look worse to other sinners as Christ’s blood begins to remove and clean away our sinfulness (Isaiah 64:6).

There are also charlatans that exist in Christianity who, like Ignorance in The Pilgrim’s Progress, latch onto doing good works in the name of Jesus (Legalists), or they use the Gospel message to gain monetary wealth (Prosperity Evangelists). They don’t see Christianity as anything more than a religious endeavor; a means to an end. They think their legalistic actions, their “acts of kindness” will give them prestige, honor, and physical wealth, but God still sees their imperfections and judges them. Not because He is a mean and hateful God, but because (as explained earlier) He is perfect and cannot abide where imperfection exists. Again, this is the reason for Christ’s sacrifice.

Time-and-again, true worshipers and the world will see many forms of carnality and immaturity from many who claim to be Christian. In American churches we see nearly half of all marriages ending in divorce. We also, see many young people, under the age of thirty, choosing to be sexually active outside of the marriage relationship. On-line pornography is becoming a very common problem for ministers, and destroys seventy-five percent of clerics lives. The Christian churches are becoming more acceptant of homosexuality, bisexuality, and many Christian teachers are incorporating eastern religious philosophies into their teachings. The Christian church, no matter what denomination it may be, will not be affective in transforming lives for Christ if it continues to abandon the truths of Christ (Romans 6:1-3, 12-14; 1 Peter 2:9-12; Revelation 3:14-19). You can remove the many avatars of Brahman and still follow Hinduism. You can remove the prophet Muhammad from the teachings of Allah and still follow Islam, but you cannot remove Christ from His teachings and still follow Christianity. It simply can’t be done; it will no longer be Christianity.

The Apostle Paul saw early on how Christians would be a detraction from the truths of Christ if they didn’t live as the true worshipers they are purposed to be, and he gave this stern admonishment in the second chapter of Romans, verse twenty-four: “As it is written: ‘God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’” Christians, though called by Christ to be salt and light to a world that is deteriorating into darkness (Matthew 5:13-16), can and often do become a large part of the reason people reject the truths of God’s holy Word — Jesus Christ. What needs to happen, to prevent this? Two things.

First real Christians, true worshipers of Jesus Christ, need to stay focused on living out the truths of Scripture (Romans 6:4; Ephesians 4:1, 5:2; Colossians 2:6). Bible 9 They must be the salty preservative that Jesus has called them to be. If Christians don’t remain true to Christ’s statutes, then they run the risk of losing their saltiness and the world will decay at an even faster rate than it already is. Another part of being focused on the truths of Scripture is to reflect the light of truth, like the moon reflects the sun’s light to the earth at night. To obtain the truths of Christ from the Bible and not share them with others, is like hiding a lit candle under a bowl. No one can enjoy its warm glow, and all will remain in the dark. Not to mention that the bowl will eventually extinguish the light, as the flame burns up the oxygen.

Second, the world needs to stop judging Christianity by its members and look to its founder. This is easier said than done, but as Christians live up to their purpose, as they allow themselves to become the true worshipers God intended all people to be, then the world will have no choice but to see Christ in Christianity. They’ll finally begin to sense the preservative teachings of Jesus slowing down the decaying filth of their spirits. The world will finally be able to see the light of God’s truth shining into the darkest corners of their lives (Matthew 5:14).

The grace of Christ’s sacrifice can only be as affective as those who have already received it allow it to be. Hindus will not see the road less traveled unless the Christians light the way. If Christians continue to allow themselves to reject some of the teachings of Christ, and continue to choose to only follow some of the teachings of Christ, then their light will remain hidden and their spiritual growth will be minimal. Again, the grace of Christ’s sacrifice can only be as affective as those who have already received it allow it to be.

Muslims will never get beyond their “no-grace” mentality, and will continue down the destructive path of “jihad,” if Christians don’t shower them with grace. Only Christianity can sprinkle the salty preservative of Christ’s truths into their lives. Christ’s amazing grace can lead a Muslim to see that they can have an actual relationship with God, and they can do so without bringing destruction to their selves and others. God’s grace is sufficient, and we must live that truth.

Remember, if Jesus existed (and history proves He did) and was seen by all to be a good teacher (and all religions acknowledge this), then His truths must be realized and followed as God’s truth. Why? Because, anything less simply makes Jesus a liar, and a lunatic. Jesus has to be seen and heard as He is — the living breathing Word of God, incarnate. If any part of His message is truth, then all of His message is truth.

I’ll close with this last thought. Whether you claim to be a Christian, or not, if your faith is simply something you do. If your faith is nothing more than a religious right, then stop and ponder the cup of Christ. Jesus didn’t create you to be religious. Christ didn’t suffer and die for a pious philosophy. God’s son created you, lived as you, died for you, and conquered death — for you. True Christianity is not about religion; not at all. It’s about knowing and being known by the Creator of heaven and earth, Yahweh — the Lord, and savior, Jesus Christ. Listen to His call:

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:20-22)

Truth or Dare by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jasonmin.wordpress.com.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

The Pilgrim’s Progress” (Reissue edition) © 2009 by John Bunyan

All rights reserved. Published by Oxford University Press, USA, 2001 Evans Rd., Cary, NC 27513; www.oup.com/us.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article IV, part 2

Truth or Dare (Article 4)

In our last post we began to look at the three largest religions: Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. We quickly looked at the ideals, philosophies, and theologies of these three dominant belief systems. In this article we will examine why no other religion, but Christianity, is one-hundred percent truth. robe & thorns

It’s obvious that this blog, as others on this site, are focused on the truths of Christ. I’ve made no attempts to state otherwise. So, how is it that I am so confident that the teachings of Christ are true? For many reasons, actually, but for the purpose of this article we will focus on the person, character, and deity of Jesus Christ. Why? Because, if Jesus didn’t exist, and wasn’t perfect, and wasn’t God, then Christianity is all a lie. All three have to be true.

History never doubts the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, so I’ll not linger on this point, and as far as His perfection is concerned — well, there is not a single religion that doubts Jesus’ good and perfect nature, and Scripture is full of statements concerning His spotless character (Leviticus 22:19; John 1:19; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Even “non-believers” will tell you Jesus was a good man, but was Jesus of Nazareth deity? Was Jesus Christ, God? Yes, Jesus is God incarnate, and there is plenty of evidence to back this statement up.

Before doing so, though, I must reiterate the fact that humanity is flawed. All religions agree on this very key point. The “non-religious” even know that people are in need of improvement; that mankind lacks perfection. However, it’s only Christianity that proclaims time-and-again that humanity cannot save its self (Romans 5:12). It’s this teaching, found only in Christianity, that people need a savior to help them reconnect to God, that causes all aspects of Jesus to be so vital (Romans 5:15). For if mankind can save its self, as all the other religions teach, then Christ’s existence and death was for nothing, and God wasted His time and effort.

Would an all-knowing, always existing, deity of perfection allow Himself to be caught in an act of waste, and futility? After all, this all-powerful being created all that we can behold, and experience, and more. Right? Would this deity not have the intelligence, and understanding to know that sacrificing a being of perfection is unnecessary, if people can just cycle through the reincarnation process and work their imperfections out on their own, as the Hindus believe? Would this super-being allow His flawed creation to just flounder around pursuing “jihad,” giving them only a fifty percent chance of working their way back to Himself and into His presence, as the Muslims teach?

God is indeed the maker of heaven and earth (Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 48:13; Colossians 1:16), and He is truly the only being that is all-knowing (Psalm 147:5b; 1 Samuel 2:3b; Isaiah 55:9), self existing (Exodus 3:14-15; Isaiah 48:12; Revelation 4:8b), perfect (Deuteronomy 32:3-4; Psalms 5:4; 1 John 1:5), and all-powerful (Psalm 62:11b,89:8, 147:5a). Nothing can escape God’s sight — nothing (Psalm 139). It’s because of God’s perfection that He cannot allow within us imperfection. Just as darkness flees from light, so too will our sinfulness keep us from God’s perfection.

You see, laws exist to expose what is wrong with humanity. Anarchy allows all kinds of activity to go unpunished, but laws do not. Religion exposes us to a higher law; a higher morality. God’s law, the Ten Commandments, was given to mankind to expose our unrighteous acts, and guide us to know that we cannot escape our just punishment without divine help (Romans 6:23; Galatians 3:10; James 2:10). God cannot help but demand perfection, as He is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Therefore, all aspirations of perfection that any other religious faith may wish to achieve can never be reached. All that remains for mankind is the hope of Christ, the only perfect person to have ever lived and offer Himself up as a sacrifice for our sins (Romans 8:3-4). So now that we have laid out the reasoning behind why humanity needs Jesus to be its savior, let’s examine the proof of His deity.

First, Jesus Christ knew His purpose and understood His destiny from the beginning. clouds 6 You see, unlike any other religious founder that ever lived, it’s only Jesus of Nazareth who possessed a clear vision of His calling. You can see God’s calling being exhibited in the life of Christ as early as twelve years of age (Luke 2:41-52) in Scripture. All other religious founders painfully sought to know their purpose and calling, in life. This evidence can be found in a book, by Robert E. Hume, entitled: The World’s Living Religions.

Second, Jesus of Nazareth claimed to be the exclusive “door way” to eternal life (John 10:7-9, 14:6). No other religious founder ever made such a bold, and selective, statement. Hindus don’t have any one founder for which to enter into enlightenment. Their teachings refuse to say that any one way is the only way into eternity, but Jesus taught: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13)

Islam doesn’t teach that heaven is obtained through their founder, either. They see the prophet Muhammad as an example for how to live a life that is pleasing to Allah, but the Apostle Paul, after encountering the resurrected Jesus, taught that: “He [Jesus] saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.” (Titus 3:5) If Jesus was not God, then He could not state that: “No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Third, Jesus Christ claimed that He could make right the flaws of humanity, by forgiving the sins of mankind. No Brahman avatar ever made this claim, and the prophet Muhammad refrained from such statements, as well. Jesus, however, never avoided the subject (Matthew 9:1-8; Luke 23:39-43).

Fourth, Jesus of Nazareth over came death. No other religious founder has ever raised the dead (Matthew 27:52; Luke 7: 11-16, 8:41-56; John 11:1-44), and certainly none of the religious founders from history has ever died, been buried, and then three days later returned to life (Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-10; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18). Only a deity could accomplish such a task. Skeptics will claim the resurrection story is fictitious and part of Christian folklore, and lacks evidence, but that isn’t so.

The fact that the resurrection story was included in the New Testament writings, and the fact that these writings were taken down within a few years from the actual event (which was widely accepted as fact) is significant evidence for the authenticity of this happening. Why? Because the witnesses in and around Jerusalem, at the time of the resurrection, would still have been alive when these writings began to circulate. Any one of the over 500 witnesses could have began to discredit the accounts, had there been any ounce of falsehood recorded.

And what of these 500 plus witnesses? Could they not have all made this event up or shared in an elaborate mass hallucination? Well, if these 500 plus individuals were to share a hallucination they would have to have experienced it at the same time and in the same way, but that was not the case. There was the woman who saw Jesus at the tomb (Mark 16:9-10; John 20:11-18). Christ’s disciples saw Him in the upper room, where they had been hiding (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-31). Two men saw Jesus on the road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35). Several hundred saw Christ resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:3-6). The Apostle Paul saw the resurrected Lord on the road to Damascus, well after Christ’s ascension (Acts 9:1-20). This theory of a shared hallucination is absolutely ludicrous.

Then there’s the devotion of Jesus’ disciples. These timid men went from hiding in the shadows to dying for their Lord. If they had been a party to any type of lie, they would have abandoned it at the first threat made against them. These were not brave warriors out to perpetrate a lie, for a false god. James, the half brother of Jesus, abandoned his belief that his brother was crazy and died preaching Christ’s Gospel message. The Apostle Paul had once been a persecutor of the Christian fanatics, and was considered a Jew-of-Jews. Why would he have abandoned his duties to the Synagogue, and his faith, had he not really experienced an encounter of a divinely kind? None of the apostles abandoned their Lord, when death came knocking — none. And all of them died very painful deaths, according to documented historical accounts.

There’s also the fact that Jesus’ tomb was found empty, Empty Tomb 1 and history records this to be true (Matthew 28:5-6; Mark 16:1-6; Luke 24:1-3; John 20:1-9). The disciples could not have stolen the body from a tomb guarded by Roman soldiers, as the Jews claim happened (Matthew 27:62-66, 28:2-4 & 11-15). Again, these eleven men were timid, scared, and hiding. They were in no frame of mind to understand what had just happened to Jesus, much less take on a dozen or more Roman guards in a fight for Christ’s body. Besides none of these eleven men had military training, and none of them really even paid attention to the fact that Jesus told them He was going to have to die, and return from the grave to accomplish His mission. These were simple, uneducated fishermen, for the most part, and they weren’t clever enough to create a lie of this magnitude in the midst of such grief.

Then there’s the “swoon” theory, that claims Jesus never died but passed out and later awoke from within the grave. This theory states that this nearly dead Jesus, somehow loosed Himself from His death-wrappings and pushed away an extremely heavy rock. There by enabling this horrifically wounded man the chance to walk past the dozen or so Roman guards and into the night air a free religious rabbi. This one is so ridiculous I’m not even going to take the time to explain the medical reasons that prove just how absurd it is, but again — just as with the previous theories — it would have been up to the “witnesses” to maintain the story or abandon it. No one will die for a lie, not knowingly. Jesus of Nazareth’s tomb is empty because Jesus Christ, is the living Creator.

Jesus also promised to one day return to earth and judge its inhabitants (Mark 13:23-26; John 5:20-30, 14:1-3), our fifth proof of His divinity. Only a madman would make such a claim. Only God, Himself, could promise it. No other religious founder has ever attempted to make such a promise. No Hindu Vishnu ever made this claim, the prophet Muhammad didn’t, nor did Buddha, or any other religious leader. Only Christ made such a vow. Which brings us to point number six — Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh.

You see, no religious founder ever had the audacity to claim to be God in the flesh, except for Jesus of Nazareth. Brahman’s many Vishnu’s never claimed to be the actual “Universal Spirit.” The prophet Muhammad never claimed to be Allah, incarnate. It’s only in the person of Jesus Christ that we find the Creator of heaven and earth existing in human form, by His own admission (Matthew 26:63-64; Mark 2:1-12; John 8:56-58, 10:11-18 & 24-30, 18:33-37) — Jesus is God.

If Jesus had simply come to earth as a good man who taught us a better way to enlightenment, or if He had simply modeled a better way to live for God, then Christianity would have never lasted past the first few followers. Again, as the death threats would have increased the followers would have certainly decreased. But Christ’s claim to deity, and His proof by way of His miracles and the resurrection account, gave strength and veracity to His followers, as does His Holy Spirit (John 14:15-20). This is why Christianity grew and why Christianity gives a sure path to restoring mankind to God.

Author, and former atheist turned theologian, C.S. Lewis explains Christ’s account this way:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the real foolish thing that people often say about Him [Jesus]: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say.

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.

You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a mad man or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, You can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

What kind of good, moral man would live a life teaching of truth, and yet lead people to put their faith in a lie? What kind of good, moral man teaches about peace and love, and yet allows people to be slaughtered in his name because he lied about being God? No! Jesus had to be the promised Messiah. He had to be the perfect “Son of Man,” come to sacrifice Himself for our sins. Christ had to be Immanuel, God with us — the incarnate Word [Davar] of God — the one, the only begotten Son of God, or else nothing moral and good would have existed in His name. It’s all a devilish lie unless Jesus is Yahweh, and over four-hundred fulfilled prophecies prove that Jesus IS.

I’ll close with this thought from author, teacher, and former agnostic Josh McDowell. Josh McDowell 1 In this post from TRYJESUS.COM Mr. McDowell tells of a group of people hiking into a forest, but after a while they became lost. Fearful for their lives, these people begin to look for a way out. In the distance some of them spot a split in the trail, and at the edge of the split there appears to be two human forms. The group makes a run towards these two people, in hopes of receiving their help. As they draw near they come to realize that one is alive and wearing a park ranger’s uniform, the other man is dead. Josh McDowell writes: “Now which of these two are we going to ask about the way out? Obviously, the one who is living.

When it comes to eternal matters, we are going to ask the one who is alive the way out of the predicament. This is not Muhammad, not Confucius, but Jesus Christ. Jesus is unique. He came back from the dead. This demonstrates He is the one whom He claimed to be (Romans 1:4), the unique Son of God and the only way by which a person can have a personal relationship with the true and living God.”

Truth or Dare by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jasonmin.wordpress.com.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

“The World’s Living Religions” © 1997 by Robert E. Hume

All rights reserved. Published by MacMillan Publishers, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010; www.us.macmillan.com.

Josh McDowell‘s study entitled “Why is Jesus the Only Way to Get to God?,” Copyright © 1993 by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, from the book “Answers To Tough Questions,” can be found at: http://www.tryjesus.com/QandA/questionJ3-print.htm

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article IV, part 1

Truth or Dare (Article 4)

We have discussed the dangers of worshiping wealth, power, and pleasure as Satan, and the world, would have us do. We have also looked at how drinking from the cup of Christ gives us access to real wealth, true power, Religion 1 and deeply satisfying pleasure, but we haven’t really discussed why the cup of Christ is the only drink that will satisfy our minds, bodies, and souls. We haven’t really analyzed why Christ’s cup is right and Satan’s, and the world’s, chalices are wrong. So, allow me to restate the premise of this series and to delve deeper into why the cup of Christ is the only choice for consuming and knowing the truth.

In our introductory article, we stated that we would be examining the various chalices that mankind may choose to drink from while searching out eternal life. We noted that each of these chalices would be full of deadly lies, save for one. You see, truth (contrary to popular opinion) is not relative, but very definite. It’s in this one single cup of absolute truth that, if found, will lead humanity to abundant, and eternal, life. Christ’s cup is the vessel we have to drink from for this truth, and in this article we will divulge how you can know this is so.

Mankind, since the fall, has been worshiping various deities in a whole variety of ways. This practice of worshiping an infinite higher power, or even just worshiping another person with a supreme importance, has always been apart of humanity. We call this practice of worship “religion.” Religion is what has developed from our primary reason for existence — worship. The fact that mankind, and all of creation, was made to glorify and worship our Creator (Colossians 1:16) is the reason religion is such a huge part of the human experience. Satan, knows this too.

Lucifer was, himself, made for this same reason. Yes, the Devil was made to worship and glorify God, but he has not only refused to worship his Creator — he has also been an intricate part of seeing mankind embrace atheism or some other religious belief system. But, before we get any further into this truth, let’s take a moment to examine three of the largest religious belief systems in the world, today. Religion 2 These three religions are identified as:

Christianity — which makes up about thirty-three percent of the world’s population.
Islam — which makes up approximately twenty-one percent of the world’s population.
Hinduism — which makes up close to thirteen percent of the world’s population.

Hinduism actually comes in behind a slightly larger group of people identified as “non-religious,” but as we will be dealing with this “non-religious” group in another article (Article Six) I have chosen to exclude them for the time being.

Hinduism, one of the oldest existing religious belief systems, was established in about 1300 B.C. God, or Brahman, to a Hindu is an eternal being; he is the one supreme and universal spirit who created all things. Brahman is infinite, devoid of form, impersonal, and everything is Brahman. For a Hindu to be able to approach the impersonal, divine creator, other forms of Brahman have been created. One such divine form of Brahman is Vishnu.

Brahman’s avatar, Vishnu, comes to earth from time-to-time as a wise teacher. This human form of the divine brings to humanity enlightenment. A Hindu recognizes Buddha, Rama, Krishna, and even Jesus Christ as avatars of Brahman. You see, Hinduism accepts a broad belief system for reaching out to, and becoming one with, the divine. The holy writings of Hinduism teach of this broad road which can lead to humanity’s enlightenment and salvation. These holy writings are partly known as the <em>Vedas, and the Upanishads.

The Vedas, and the Upanishads, are vast and consist of several documents that teach the Hindu about their rituals, mantras, history, philosophies, and spiritual disciplines. The Hindu’s religious teachings tell them that humanity’s goal in life is to realize its own connection to Brahman. This divine connection will allow mankind to detach from worldly desires and allow them to gain freedom from reincarnation. Reincarnation occurs when enlightenment and salvation are missed and the soul must remain on earth in other forms until enlightenment and salvation are achieved.

With Hinduism you have no one founder, no one theological structure, and no central religious organization. Most Hindus are polytheists, worshiping many gods, but they are pantheists according to their doctrines. In other words Brahman, the “universal spirit,” manifests himself as many gods and in all things.

Islam, is one of the newer religious belief systems. It has only been in existence since about 622 A.D., and the name “Islam” means “submission to Allah’s will.” Allah, is Islam’s supreme and eternal spirit. Allah is unimaginable and unapproachable; he is distinctively individual and cannot be revealed to humanity. Thus, Allah cannot be known personally by mankind.

Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim, also known as the prophet Muhammad, is credited as the founder of Islam. The prophet Muhammed, was a pious, political, and military leader who unified Arabia into a single religious belief system when he claimed to have received revelations from Allah. The prophet Muhammed recorded these revelations into a book, known as the Qur’an.

The Qur’an, is the very words of Allah given to mankind through the prophet Muhammed. In these writings Muslims are commanded to spend their entire lives in “jihad.” Jihad is the struggle all Muslims are commanded to actively pursue, as they strive to live in the ways of Allah. This “faith by human deeds” is the only hope of salvation for Muslims, and consequently is also the reason they have no assurance of their salvation.

There are two primary sects that comprise Islam, the Sunnis and the Shiites. The Sunnis live under a more liberal interpretation of the Qur’an, and believe that a “greater jihad” should be pursued by Muslims. They seek the greater struggles of life from within the human soul, and choose to eradicate evil from within themselves. The Shiites, however, are traditionally the more militant. These Muslims have interpreted jihad as being a literal “holy war.” A war in which every Muslim is called to destroy all of Allah’s enemies. Their goal is to establish Islamic theocracies throughout the world.

Christianity, is the largest religious belief system in the world, today. It is also the oldest, and yet relatively one of the newer, religious belief systems in existence, too. How is that? I’ll explain. Christianity, which simply means “one who follows the teachings of Christ,” was recognized by the world as a religion in approximately the year 33 A.D., but these teachings of Christ, for which the Christian adheres to, are based upon the teachings of the Creator of heaven and earth, Yahweh, and are found in the writings of the Holy Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments.

In Article One, of the series His Name Is . . . , we learned that Yahweh’s name means “I AM,” or the “Self-Existing One.” By declaring this name to Moses, in Exodus chapter three, verses thirteen and fourteen, God was establishing the fact that He was, and is, the always existent deity that created the heaven’s and the earth. Then in Article Seven, of the same series, we learned that Yahweh made all things by His Word — Davar — and that holy Word became a man, and lived, and died for man’s evil deeds (John 1:1-14). That man is Jesus Christ, and by this teaching Jesus, and Yahweh, are established to be the same God. Therefore, the teachings of Christ are not a newer religious belief system, but rather the original religious belief system. One that the Hebrews lost sight of, and moved away from (theologically) in about the year 200 B. C.

Christianity teaches that because mankind sinned against Yahweh, in the beginning (Genesis 3:1-19), they could no longer hope to approach the presence of their Creator for all of eternity (Romans 6:23a). Yahweh, out of the loving kindness of His divine character, shows grace to all of humanity by sending His incarnate Word, in human form, to be the sacrifice that would restore mankind to Himself (John 3:16-17). It’s this unique message of redemptive hope, through Christ’s sacrifice, that makes Christianity unlike any other religion. All other faiths teach that mankind can become righteous by his own efforts, but not Christianity (Romans 3:10). All a person must do to become a Christian (a true worshiper of Christ) is to simply confess Christ, and believe (Romans 10:9-10).

We have examined the basic religious belief systems connected to the three largest religious groups. In part two of our study, we will reveal the truths of Christ’s teachings and expose the false doctrines connected to the other religious belief systems.

Truth or Dare by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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