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Starting a Grassroots Apologetics Ministry

Starting a Grassroots Apologetics Ministry

Starting an Apologetic Ministry

I had the privilege of speaking with Chris Arnzen of Iron Sharpens Iron Radio about the birth of New York Apologetics and how to start an apologetics ministry.  We know that “unless the Lord builds it, it’s laborers labor in vain”, so we first want to thank our God for this awesome opportunity. 

 

And, although Nick Mitchell and I collaborated together to get this done, there were many people along the way that we learned from, are inspired by, and are still learning from.  I apologize if I left anyone out as there were so many people who have sown into us.

 

We are grateful to ALL of you and hope to continue to build the kingdom together with you.

 

Here is the interview with Chris Arnzen:

 

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Beware the Hebrew Roots Movement

Beware the Hebrew Roots Movement

Hebrew Roots is dangerous!

In my recent radio interview with Chris Arnzen on the Iron Sharpens Iron Radio Show, I was asked a question about the Hebrew Roots movement.  Although I’ve heard about the movement and knew some basic information, I promised to post some better information that would help that caller understand it and refute it.  The basic premise of the movement is that Christians must adhere to the whole law given to the Israelites as given to Moses- basically Judaism plus Jesus.  I hope this helps.

Please see the below information that will help you refute this teaching:

Dangers of the Hebrew Roots Movement

The Hebrew Roots Movement has influenced hundreds of thousands of Christians in recent decades. This article describes the nature of the movement, examines some of its major beliefs in light of relevant biblical passages, and challenges those who have been influenced by its teachings.

What is the Hebrew Roots movement?

What is the Hebrew (Hebraic) Roots movement? Is Messianic Judaism and the Hebrew Roots movement the same thing?

Refuting Hebrew Root Theology**

Since we have in the past and now just recently run into people who are either in Hebrew roots theology or are asking questions about it; it was time we did a post on it testing it against God’s full Word.

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Monday’s Musings and Thoughts on False Hebrew Roots Teachings

http://thelineoffire.org/shows/line_of_fire_02_06_12.mp3 [Download MP3] Dr. Brown catches up on the weekend events and shares some concerns about sensationalistic, false teachings. Listen live 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884! Other Resources: 60 Questions Christians Ask About Jewish Beliefs and Practices by Dr. Brown: Dr. Michael Brown answers sixty common questions about Jewish people and Jewish culture.

 

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Who was Jesus? | NY Minute

Who was Jesus? | NY Minute

New York Minute We’re using the “Handbook of Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli to go over the arguments for the existence of God.  Today, we will be covering the above referenced subject in relation to the existence of God. Dr. Kreeft teaches logic in two major universities, so his arguments tend to be clear, concise and very helpful.

There are only five possible answers to the question: If Jesus is not God, what is he? The bottom line on the argument for Christ’s divinity is that:

1. Jesus was either Lord, liar, lunatic, guru or myth.

2. He could not possibly be a liar, lunatic, guru or myth.

3. Therefore “Jesus is Lord” (the earliest Christian creed).

This argument can best be understood if it is developed slowly, step by step, from its simplest to its most complex form.

The Dilemma: Lord or Liar?

The dilemma is as old as the earliest Christian apologists: Aut deus aut homo malus, “Either God or a bad man.” That is the classic argument. Spelled out, it looks like this:

1. Jesus was either God (if he did not lie about who he was) or a bad man (if he did).

2. But Jesus was not a bad man.

3. Therefore Jesus was (is) God.

Few would challenge the second premise. But if the first premise is added, the conclusion necessarily follows. Therefore, non-Christians must challenge the first premise. What justifies this premise?

Common sense. Someone who claims to be God and is not, is not a good man but a bad man. Merely a “good man” is one thing Jesus could not possibly be. By claiming to be God he eliminated that possibility. For a liar is not a good man, and one who lies about his essential identity is a liar, and a mere man who claims to be God lies about his essential identity.

It is attractive and comfortable to say that Jesus was neither a bad man nor God, but a good man. To say he was a bad man offends Christians, and to say he was God offends non-Christians. To say neither offends no one. Therefore non-Christians want to say neither.

But that position offends logic.

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The Deity of Jesus: the alternative | NY Minute

The Deity of Jesus: the alternative | NY Minute

New York Minute

We’re using the “Handbook of Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli to go over the arguments for the existence of God.  Today, we will be covering the above referenced subject in relation to the existence of God. Dr. Kreeft teaches logic in two major universities, so his arguments tend to be clear, concise and very helpful.

 

The Impossibility of the Alternative

What is the alternative to this conclusion that Jesus is God? What do unbelievers say to this argument? Jesus claimed to be God, and Jesus is believable, therefore Jesus is God. The conclusion follows from the premises. Which premise can be denied?

Concerning the first one—that Jesus claimed to be God—perhaps the New Testament texts lie. Perhaps traditional Christianity is a myth, a fairy tale, a fantasy. But this raises questions even more unanswerable than the question of how a man could be God.  Here are seven such questions.

1. If the Gospels lie, who invented the lie and for what reason? Was it Jesus’ apostles? What did they get out of the lie? Martyrdom—hardly an attractive temptation. A liar always has some selfish motive.

2. Why did thousands suffer torture and death for this lie if they knew it was a lie? As Pascal points out, the human heart is very fickle, especially the heart of a liar; all the enemies of Christianity needed to do to destroy this new religion from the beginning was to produce one confession from one of Jesus’ disciples that it was all a lie, a hoax. They used many forms of torture and bribery. They never succeeded.

3. What force sent Christians to the lions’ den with hymns on their lips? What lie ever transformed the world like that? What lie ever gave millions a moral fortitude and peace and joy like that? Christianity conquered the world mainly through the force of sanctity and love. Saints, not theologians, converted the world. You can fake theology, but you cannot fake sanctity. Saints are not liars and liars are not saints.

4. If it was not a deliberate lie but a hallucination or a myth sincerely mistaken for a literal truth, then who were the naive fools who first believed it? There isn’t another idea a Jew would be less likely to believe. Imagine this: the transcendent God who for millennia had strictly forbidden his chosen people to confuse him with a creature as the pagans did—this Creator-God became a creature, a man—a crucified criminal. Hardly a myth that arises naturally in the Jewish mind!

5. And if it was not the Jews but the Gentiles who started the myth, where did the myth come from in the New Testament? Of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, twenty-five were written by Jews.

6. Whether Jews or Gentiles started the myth, they could not have done so during the lifetime of those who knew the real Jesus, for it would have been publicly refuted by eyewitnesses who knew the facts. Other religious founders, like Buddha and Muhammad, were indeed “divinized” by later myths, but at least two or three generations (more usually two or three centuries) had to pass before such myths could be believed. But the “myth” of Jesus’ divinity goes back to the very earliest times and documents.

7. Why has the “myth” continued to attract the brightest minds in history? If you pit Paul of Tarsus, John the Evangelist, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, John Damascene, Origen, Augustine, John Chrysostom, Boethius, Erigena, Anselm, Abelard, Aquinas, Bonaventura, Scotus, Ockham, Nicholas of Cusa, Cajetan, Luther, Calvin, Kepler, Ignatius Loyola, Dante, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Descartes, Pascal, Leibniz, Berkeley, Copernicus, Newton, Kierkegaard, Newman, Pasteur, Jaspers, Marcel, Galileo, Tolstoy, Chesterton, Dostoyevsky, T. S. Eliot and C. S. Lewis against Machiavelli, Hobbes, Renan, Freud, Darwin, Marx, La Mettrie, Skinner, Nietzsche, Sartre, Bertrand Russell, Ayer, Paine and the ACLU, it would hardly be a fair fight.

Conclusion:

Aquinas argues that if the Incarnation did not really happen, then an even more unbelievable miracle happened: the conversion of the world by the biggest lie in history and the moral transformation of lives into unselfishness, detachment from worldly pleasures and radically new heights of holiness by a mere myth.

The fundamental difficulty unbelievers have is with the data. How can they explain the data of history: a good and wise man who claimed to be God? No one has ever satisfactorily answered the simple question: If Jesus is not God, as Christians say he is, then who is he? If any answer to that question had even a specious staying power, it would have served as a mainstay of all unbelievers’ arguments for all time. But hypothesis after weak hypothesis is tried, and each fares about as well as fog on a sunny morning.

 

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Jesus’ Divinity leads to Trustworthiness | NY Minute

Jesus’ Divinity leads to Trustworthiness | NY Minute

New York Minute

We’re using the “Handbook of Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli to go over the arguments for the existence of God.  Today, we will be covering the above referenced subject in relation to the existence of God. Dr. Kreeft teaches logic in two major universities, so his arguments tend to be clear, concise and very helpful.

Christ’s Trustworthiness

Everyone who reads the Gospels agrees that Jesus was a good and wise man, a great and profound teacher. Most nonreligious people, and even many people of other religions, like Gandhi, see him as history’s greatest moral teacher. He is, in short, eminently trustworthy.

But what a trustworthy teacher teaches can be trusted. If he is trustworthy, then we should trust him, especially about his own identity. If we do not trust him about that, then we cannot say he is trustworthy, that is, wise and good.

In fact, if we do not trust him even to know who he is, then he certainly is not trustworthy, wise and good. If there is any one thing that disqualifies a person from being trustworthy, it is not knowing himself. A man who thinks he is God when he is not God clearly does not know himself!

The size of the gap between what you are and what you think you are is a pretty good index of your insanity. If I believe I am the best writer in America, I am an egotistical fool, but I am not insane. If I believe I am Napoleon, I am probably near the edge. If I believe I am the archangel Gabriel, I am probably well over it. And if I believe I am God? … Would you send your children to Sunday school to be taught by a man who thought he was God?

Why then did anyone believe Jesus’ claim to be God?

The psychological, personal, motivational reason—as distinct from the objective, logical, theological reason—is because he was so good and wise and trustworthy. This is the same reason so many believed Buddha’s almost equally incredible claim: that we are all living in perpetual illusion; that all our thoughts are false; that you and I and space and time and past and future and matter and soul are all illusions; and that the only thing that is real is totally nameless and indescribable, except to say sunyata (“emptiness”) and neti, neti (“not this, not that”). They believed this doctrine not because it seemed true but because Buddha seemed true. How could he deceive or be deceived? He was “holy to his fingertips.” The same psychological principle explains how Christians, from twelve apostles 2000 years ago to a billion believers today, believe this even more astonishing claim: they believe it because they believe him. To deny it, you would have to deny him. And that is unthinkable.

There is an instructive parallel in Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Lucy has entered another world, Narnia, through a wardrobe, and told her siblings about it. They disbelieve her, of course. A wise old professor adjudicates the argument by asking Peter, Lucy’s older brother, whether Lucy is a liar. Peter is confident she is not; he knows her too well. Well, then, is she insane? It is obvious from her behavior that she is not. Then there is only one possibility left, concludes the professor: Lucy must be telling the truth.

If Peter knows Lucy better than he knows the universe, it is more reasonable for him to believe Lucy and change his beliefs about the universe than vice versa. If we know the humanity and trustworthiness of Jesus better than we know what is possible for God to do, it is reasonable for us to believe Jesus and change our theological expectations, rather than vice versa.

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Divinity of Jesus Difficulties | NY Minute

New York Minute

We’re using the “Handbook of Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli to go over the arguments for the existence of God.  Today, we will be covering the above referenced subject in relation to the existence of God. Dr. Kreeft teaches logic in two major universities, so his arguments tend to be clear, concise and very helpful.

The Difficulty of Understanding Who Jesus Is

Christians ought to realize how difficult, how scandalous, how objectionable, how apparently unbelievable and absurd this doctrine is bound to appear to others. They ought to realize this for two reasons: for apologetic purposes to understand the state of mind of prospective converts; and for purposes of appreciating their own belief in all its astounding character— something that dulls with familiarity.

The difficulty is a double one. First, there is the immediate, instinctive, intuitive shock. Everyone who met Jesus was shocked. No one understood him—his disciples, his enemies, Jews, Gentiles, Greeks, Romans, Sadducees, Pharisees, the pious, the impious, the learned, the unlearned, liberals, conservatives—no one. No one had ever met anyone like Jesus before. “Never has anyone spoken like this” (Jn 7:46).

Second, on the reflective, rational level his claim seems patently absurd. It is the claim of a man who came from a woman’s womb, grew from a baby, got hungry and tired and angry, suffered and died—to be divine! It is not only intuitively shocking, it seems logically self-contradictory. Humans by essence are temporal, finite, fallible and mortal; God by essence is eternal, infinite, infallible and immortal. How can one person have two opposite essences simultaneously? It sounds like a round square.

The Answer

The answer to this latter question required many centuries and many church councils, and can hardly be adequately explained here. But we note that it is not a simple self-contradiction to say that one person can have two natures, though it is a simple self-contradiction to say that that person is both one person and two persons, or one nature and two natures, at the same time. There is even something of an analogy in ourselves—we are both material and immaterial, spatial and nonspatial, visible and invisible—for we are both body and soul.

Our argument for the truth of this doctrine consists of two steps. The first step is preliminary and consists of six clues. These clues merely show the possibility of God becoming man. The second step attempts to demonstrate that this actually happened in Jesus. In other words, the second step will be so unfashionably ambitious as to attempt to demonstrate that Jesus is indeed God and do so by rational, logical, philosophical argument.

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