The Lord Lead Me to Share This

In the lead-up to the Truth Matters conference in October, we will be focusing our attention on the sufficiency, authority, and clarity of Scripture. One of our previous blog series, Looking for Truth in All the Wrong Places, strongly
emphasizes those doctrines. The following entry from that series originally appeared on June 12, 2017. -ed.

(Adapted from Reckless Faith.)

[Where in the Bible does it say to seek divine guidance through subjective impressions?]

You have undoubtedly heard people say things like, “God is calling me to the mission field,” or “God led me to attend this college,” or “We feel God wants us to get married.” Perhaps you have even said such things yourself.

Christians who use expressions like those often mean they have had an impression or a strong feeling that they interpret as a disclosure of the divine will. Even people who believe prophecy and divine revelation have ceased sometimes fall into the trap of thinking God speaks directly to us through subjective means.

Normally people who make such claims have no intention of equating their mental impressions with divine revelation. They regard the subjective “leading of the Lord” as something far less than prophetic. Yet they believe God somehow communicates His will personally to individuals through inner promptings, signs, feelings of peace or uneasiness, strong impressions on the mind, or other similar means.

For reasons we shall examine, it is not wise to seek divine guidance through subjective impressions like these. Nowhere does Scripture encourage us to attempt to discern God’s will through such means. As we shall see, that sort of decision making can lead to confusion, disappointment, and sometimes spiritual tragedy.

And the truth is that treating subjective impressions as messages from the Holy Spirit is not really much different from claiming to receive divine revelation. Though most Christians who follow subjective impressions would not dream of listening to extrabiblical “prophecies,” in effect they are doing the same thing.

[Insert the subjective thought of Matthew 21:28-31 here.]

Elevating Mental Impressions

In fact, some advocates of modern prophetic revelation want to erase any distinction between subjective impressions and the gift of prophecy mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12–14. Professor Wayne Grudem, for example, who has produced the most thorough theological defense of the modern prophecy movement, believes God is giving revelation today chiefly through mental impressions. He even defines revelation as “something God brings to mind.” [1] Wayne Grudem, The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1988), 42, 115. He suggests that when God providentially brings a thought to a believer’s mind, that is the New Testament gift of prophecy in operation. Thus he has elevated mental impressions to the level of prophetic revelation.

Grudem’s work has had widespread influence. And it is in many respects a fine study. He shows biblically why important distinctions must be made between Old Testament prophecy, apostolic prophecy, and the New Testament gift of prophecy. In places (but not everywhere) his exegesis of the pertinent texts is very helpful. He includes a crucial appendix on the sufficiency of Scripture which, if heeded by his friends in the modern prophecy movement, would provide a remedy against the serious abuses that have so plagued the movement. And he offers another important appendix showing that the canon of Scripture is closed.

[How To Reduce Confusion in the Church]

But it is at this very point that Grudem’s position seems most inconsistent. If the canon of Scripture is really closed; if (as Grudem rightly suggests) “it is in Scripture alone that we are to search for God’s words to us”; [2]
The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, 299. and if, in his words, “the Bible is sufficient to equip us for living the Christian life” [3]
The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, 300. —then what point is there in seeking additional “revelations” like the prophetic messages Grudem advocates? It is unfortunate that Grudem relegated his thoughts on the canon of Scripture and the sufficiency of Scripture to the book’s final appendixes. If this had been the starting point for his study of prophecy, perhaps he would have reached very different conclusions.

Grudem’s defense of prophetic revelation has opened the door to a host of bizarre and misleading “prophecies” that have plagued evangelical Christianity over the past several years. Scores of churches worldwide have implemented Grudem’s theology and are encouraging people to share mere mental impressions as if they were prophetic messages from God. Ironically, Grudem’s work is frequently summoned to defend even the most outlandish aspects of a movement that has utterly ignored his many clear warnings against abuse of the prophetic gifts.

To his credit, Grudem appeals for a view of prophecy that “would still include a strong affirmation of the closing of the New Testament canon (so that no new words of equal authority are given today), of the sufficiency of Scripture, and of the supremacy and unique authority of the Bible in guidance.”[4]
The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, 15. He writes, “I am asking that charismatics . . . stop calling [prophecy] ‘a word from the Lord’—simply because that label makes it sound exactly like the Bible in authority.” [5]
The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, 14. Elsewhere he writes, “Remember that what is spoken in any prophecy today is not the word of God, but is simply a human being reporting in merely human words something which God has brought to mind.” [6]
The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, 262. He also warns that modern prophecy

should not be thought of as “God’s very words,” nor should the speaker preface his or her remarks with words which would give that impression, such as, “Thus says the Lord,” or, “Hear the words of God,” etc.—those statements should be reserved for Scripture alone. Something like, “I think the Lord is showing me that . . .” or, “I think the Lord is indicating that . . .” or, “It seems that the Lord is putting on my heart a concern that . . .” would all be much more appropriate, and far less misleading. [7]
The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, 133.

If those warnings were consistently heeded, charismatic “prophets” could save their churches much grief and confusion.

But even in the denomination Grudem himself once identified with—the Association of Vineyard Churches—his words of caution are frequently ignored in the prophets’ actual practice.

James Ryle is himself a Vineyard pastor [Ryle passed away in 2015, Ed.]. He does give lip service to Grudem’s caution. He writes,

How often have you heard someone say casually, “The Lord spoke to me,” or “The Lord told me” to do this or that?

. . . Many within the church use these terms to justify their own desires and opinions. Possibly they feel that this puts what they are saying beyond challenge. After all, how does one argue with a “word from the Lord”?

In light of this problem I have found it a good policy to avoid such expressions and simply say, “It occurred to me” when I am sharing some insight which I’ve received in prayer or devotions. This removes unnecessary stumbling blocks and allows more people to hear the message without being distracted with the way the word is being presented. [8] James Ryle, Hippo in the Garden (Lake Mary, FL: Creation House, 1993), 30-31.

But note the significant difference between Grudem’s position and Ryle’s. Grudem believes prophecy is merely “something God brought to mind”—not “God’s very words.” He seems eager to avoid confusion on this point. Ryle’s perspective is markedly different. He says he employs terminology like “It occurred to me” to avoid “unnecessary stumbling blocks.” But he clearly does think of prophecy as God’s very words. After analyzing the dangers of saying things like “God spoke to me,” he states, “Nonetheless, the Lord does speak to us today.” In practice he cannot avoid placing modern words of prophecy on the same level with the written Word of God.

Ryle does this perhaps without even realizing it. He repeatedly cites Matthew 4:4 in defense of modern prophecy: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God[9]
Hippo in the Garden, 32, 39, 62 (emphasis added).—taking a verse that clearly speaks of Scripture and applying it to modern words of prophecy.

Furthermore, despite his stated preference for expressions like, “It occurred to me,” Ryle never once uses that expression or any like it in his book. Instead, the book is filled with statements like, “I heard the voice of the Lord,” “The voice of the Lord spoke to me,” “God was speaking to me again,” “The Lord Himself was standing before me . . . speaking directly to me,” “Again I heard the voice of the Lord. . . . The Lord continued [speaking]. . . . The Lord seemed to pause. . . . Then He delivered the knockout blow,” “The Lord was saying to me,” “The Lord spoke to him, telling him to call [me],” “He speaks to me,” “I received a word from the Lord,” “I sensed the Holy Spirit say to me,” “I treasure these words from the Lord, holding them in my heart with the deepest regard,” “These were the exact words I was given,” “The prophetic word from the heart of the Lord was spoken,” “This is what the Holy Spirit showed me,” and similar expressions. [10]
Hippo in the Garden, 13-14, 15, 18, 20, 25-29, 83, 91, 113, 115-116, 142. All Ryle’s interpretations of his own dreams and visions are stated with dogmatic conviction.

Ryle continually uses terminology that suggests he has canonized modern prophecy—at least in his own mind. “The Holy Spirit inspires us to speak through any number of means,” he says, referring to his prophecies as “inspired utterance.” [11]
Hippo in the Garden, 99.] At the end of the book, Ryle suggests that when the hippo of modern prophecy comes into the garden of mainstream evangelicalism, “the church will be found in the midst of the world, speaking forth the words of God to a crooked and perverse generation, among whom we will shine as light, holding forth the word of life.” [12]
Hippo in the Garden, 292 (emphasis added).

So in practice, Ryle finds it impossible not to equate his own prophecies with the words of Scripture, even though he appears to be trying to avoid this error. (In one place, Ryle says, “We must stop putting our own words in the Lord’s mouth. . . . Scripture alone is our sure foundation.” [13]
Hippo in the Garden, 54-55. To that I add a hearty amen.)

He is not alone in this failing. Anyone who is truly convinced that God is speaking fresh words of revelation will inevitably view the later prophecies as somehow more relevant and more personal than the message of Scripture, which is more than two thousand years old. Inevitably, wherever personal prophecy has been stressed, Scripture has been deemphasized. Two thousand years of church history confirms that this is true.

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Pattern of God’s Judgment: God Forgotten is National Suicide

I have been drawn to search for The Pattern of God’s Judgment. Is God consistent? Is God predictable in His judgment? These questions are in the forefront of my mind as I see America disintegrate at “break neck” speed.

In today’s study I was particularly interested in Deut 8:20. That verse points to the consistency of God’s judgment across all nations.

“Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so you shall perish; because you would not listen to the voice of the Lord your God.

This raises a number of questions in my mind.

  • How did God make the nations before them perish?
  • What hand did He have in their demise?
  • What insights would be gained by tracing their rise and fall?

The following homily is taken from The Pulpit Commentary by R. M. Edgar. The bulk of the passage in Deuteronomy relates to remembering God, but notice Edgar’s third point below where he labels God forgotten as the prelude of national decay.

  • Could it be said that all nations need something bigger than themselves to believe in to sustain themselves?

I pray that once again in my country it would be the one true God.

God Forgotten Amid Second Causes

Deuteronomy 8:7-20

7 “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; 9 a land where you will eat food without scarcity, in which you will not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 “When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.

11 “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; 12 otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 15 “He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. 16 “In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. 17 “Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ 18 “But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 “It shall come about if you ever forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish. 20 “Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so you shall perish; because you would not listen to the voice of the Lord your God.

The support of the wilderness was manifestly miraculous. They could not doubt their dependence there upon God. They might murmur even amid daily miracle, but they could not doubt it. It would be different in Canaan, and it is in view of this Moses warns them. There they would get sustenance in ordinary ways; and they might say that their own power, and not God’s blessing, made them wealthy.

I. There is a very great tendency to forget God amid the order of nature.

It is supposed God has nothing to do, because we get our supplies through steady “second causes.” But God claims recognition when he blesses us through ordinary channels as well as when he blesses us through extraordinary. The natural order is either due to God or arranged itself. We have not credulity sufficient for the latter hypothesis, and must accept the former.

II. When God asks us to be fellow-workers with Him, it is not to be engrossed with our work and to ignore His.

In the wilderness God fed them out of his own hand, so to speak. But in Canaan he directed them to work for their daily bread. They were raised from being “spoon-fed” to be “fellow-workers.” The temptation in Canaan was to think that their own hand and power had produced the wealth. It is the same still. From being fellow-workers with God, men, by mere forgetfulness, pass into the delusion of being sole workers. Life is workable, they think, without God. Atheism is the principle underlying such a life.

III. This unholy independence of spirit is the sure prelude of national decay.

It is not national “self-reliance” which serves a state, but national reliance upon God in the use of the means He has appointed. Nations that think they can get on alone are left at length to do so, and God-deserted they perish. The Canaanites were illustrating this in their own case. They should be a warning to Israel. Living without God in the world, depending on themselves, they were about to be removed violently from their ancestral scats. It was so afterwards with Israel. They were as a nation effaced from the land where they had been placed in probation. The captivity of the ten tribes was terrible, and so was that of Judah and Benjamin. It is this which nations must still guard against.
God will not be ignored. If nations attempt it, they only efface themselves. Dying dynasties and scattered nations proclaim the existence and retribution of God.

IV. How needful, then, to recognize God’s hand in all things!

The procession of nature – all that is beautiful in second causes, has come from him. The “First Cause” may surely be allowed to work through “second causes” without forfeiting His right to recognition and thanksgiving. Our times are largely atheistic, because our little knowledge of second causes affords such fussy occupation to us, that we have not taste or time to see the First Cause behind all and using all for His glory. – R.M. Edgar

Source

Figure 1: www.preceptaustin.org

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Master Your Money Devotional Guide 1-1

We live in troubling financial times.  If you have money in savings the temptation is to worry that it will get Madoffed.  If you don’t have money in savings, the temptation is to worry because you don’t.  There is no reprieve in this world, but God offers comfort from a divine source.  I know when I lost my job with three kids and a wife to support the future looked bleak, but these truths helped me through troubled times.  Not only does God offer comfort, but He provides wisdom regarding money as well.

I’m reviewing this series to calibrate my thoughts on finances as well as to pass this information on to my children.  I don’t want to worry with all the commotion going on in the world and I don’t want my children to worry either.   These truths have seen many nations rise and fall.  It is my prayer that they would reach every troubled heart.

 

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How to Start Your Own Country in Four Easy Steps

Source: foreignpolicy.com

Like a worn out car has the time come to get a new country or try to repair the current one?  I wonder if I can do this in three.

Step 1: Make sure you are eligible

As tempting as it might be to declare your cubicle a sovereign state, customary international law actually does specify minimum standards for statehood.

Step 2: Declare independence

Congratulations on joining the ranks of Transnistria, Somaliland, and a host of other countries that won’t be marching at the Olympics anytime soon. Just because you’ve met the qualifications and declared yourself independent doesn’t mean that you’re going to be taken seriously. Even the Principality of Sealand located on a 10,000-square-foot platform in the North Sea has tried with mixed success to claim sovereignty under these qualifications.

Step 3: Get recognized

There’s not much point in having your own country unless other countries acknowledge your existence.

Step 4: Join the club

Since its founding in 1945, membership in the United Nations has become the gold standard of international legitimacy. When you are admitted to the U.N, that’s a form of approval, Talmon says. It’s like a stamp [that says] you are now a full member of the international community.

You can mail your application to:

Ban Ki-moon Secretary-General
The United Nations
|First Ave. at 46th St.
New York, NY 10017

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Did God Forbid Us to Critique or Criticize Church Leaders?

Did God Forbid Us to Critique or Criticize Church Leaders?

In the lead-up to the Truth Matters conference in October, we will be focusing our attention on the sufficiency, authority, and clarity of Scripture. Of our previous blog series, none better embodies that emphasis than Frequently Abused Verses. The following entry from that series originally appeared on April 10, 2017. -ed.

False teaching thrives in environments where it is unlikely to be questioned. Charlatans and heretics prey on uncritical minds, and work tirelessly to protect and preserve that gullibility. Their success depends on dismantling every challenge to their authority and accuracy.

John MacArthur describes why that problem is rampant in the modern church:

In a time like this of tolerance, listen, false teaching will always cry intolerance; it will always say you’re being divisive, you’re being unloving, you’re being ungracious, because it can only survive when it doesn’t get scrutinized. And so it cries against any intolerance. It cries against any examination, any scrutiny.

In recent decades, some of the most notorious charismatic church leaders have been doing just that. They continually warn their critics to back off or face the imminent danger of divine judgment. Claiming God’s stamp of approval, they wield Psalm 105:15 like a loaded gun: “Touch not [the Lord’s] anointed” (KJV).

And lest you think such a description to be hyperbole, the following clip from Benny Hinn is a spectacular example.

Hinn’s handling of Psalm 105:15, as well as the story of Saul and David, is hopelessly wrong on too many levels to address in one blog post.

For example we could discuss how Hinn utterly fails to understand Judas’s role in God’s sovereign plan for the crucifixion, while woefully underestimating the deity of Christ. We could invalidate Hinn’s warnings against criticism by pointing out the time Paul rebuked Peter—or when Hinn has publicly rebuked Joel Osteen, among others. Then there’s the problem of Hinn basing his threats upon the extra-biblical revelation of another false teacher (Kenneth Copeland).

What does it mean to “touch”?

But there is one simple, glaring error that explains all the other problems and exposes Hinn as the incompetent and unqualified Bible teacher that he is. When David says, “I will not stretch out my hand against [Saul], for he is the Lord’s anointed” (1 Samuel 24:10), he is explaining why he didn’t kill Saul, not why he didn’t criticize Saul. In fact, David was openly critical of Saul on numerous occasions. Moreover, 1 Samuel 24:10 is part of a larger discourse where David rebukes Saul face-to-face over his murderous scheming: “I have not sinned against you, though you are lying in wait for my life to take it. May the Lord judge between you and me, and may the Lord avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you” (1 Samuel 24:11–13). Even if Benny Hinn was “the Lord’s anointed”—he’s not—none of his critics are attempting to “touch” him in the sense described in 1 Samuel 24:10 (or Psalm 105:15; or 1 Chronicles 16:22).

Who are the anointed?

There is another fatal flaw in Hinn’s interpretation. He—and all those who follow this teaching—assume that only certain persons are “anointed.” They claim that pastors and self-appointed prophets and apostles have a unique anointing from God that immunizes them from criticism. But such a concept is foreign to Scripture. In short, the Bible teaches that all believers have an anointing from God.

In his first epistle, the apostle John explained what it means to be anointed as a New Testament believer. After warning his readers about antichrists who were coming to deceive them, John reminded them of their security because of Christ’s anointing:

These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. (1 John 2:26–27)

The anointing John refers to is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit—a reality for all true Christians. John MacArthur explains the context and meaning of “anointing” as it appears in 1 John:

The false teachers who threatened John’s readers employed the terms for knowledge and anointing to describe their religious experience. They arrogantly saw themselves as possessing an elevated and esoteric form of divine knowledge, and as the recipients of a special, secret, transcendent anointing. That led them to believe they were privy to truth that the uninitiated lacked. John’s response, which was both a rebuttal to the antichrists and a reassurance to the believers, was to assert that, in reality, all true Christians have an anointing from the Holy One.

Because believers have received that anointing, they have the true understanding of God that comes exclusively through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6), “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). They do not need any secret, special, or transcendent understanding or esoteric insight. Anointing (chrisma) literally means “ointment” or “oil” (cf. Hebrews 1:9). In this text it refers figuratively to the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:21–22), who has taken up residency in believers at the behest of Jesus Christ, the Holy One (cf. Luke 4:34; Acts 3:14), and reveals through Scripture all they need to know (John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:9–10). [1] John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 1–3 John (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2007), 102.

The anointing we have as believers reveals the truth and therefore exposes the lies of false teachers. How ironic that the “anointing” Benny Hinn evokes to extort and manipulate churchgoers is actually our warning system to expose the self-serving deception of wolves like him.

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Christianity’s Superior Exclusivity

“Christian worldview is not the only one that claims exclusivity”

Rough Transcript

another text question is says if all religions claim to be truth then how can Christianity make that claim and think that it is correct appreciate that question and it’s a question that has the assumption that is very correct oftentimes the Christian takes the hit that he or she was a follower of Jesus Christ is the only one who lays claim to exclusivity that is not true Gautama Buddha was born a Hindu and he renounced to the fundamental doctrines of Hinduism the authority of the Vedas and the caste system he could not accept those two went on his own journey in search of enlightenment and came of course with the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path and the ultimate extinguishing of desire in his nirvanic pursuit so he turned his belief away from the religion of his birth in order to find a different answer Islam is also exclusive istic in its claim how in all of its precepts and its five pillars and so on what about these contradictions the first thing we need to know is there are distinctions there are fundamental differences at best there are superficial similarities I often hear the question posed wrongly they’ll say are all really aren’t all religions fundamentally the same and superficially different no they are fundamentally different and at best they are superficially similar what are the fundamental claims for example in Buddhism the goal is to extinguish hunger extinguished desire I remember talking to the first woman monk who was from Thailand to be ordained into the Buddhist priests hood but Thai Buddhists do not ordain women so she went to Sri Lanka to be ordained and she has a PhD in philosophy from McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario and Waterloo I guess Ontario and McMaster to the University there got her PhD in philosophy and she gave me the first interview we chatted for well over an hour one-on-one and I sort of angled into some questions because I didn’t want to be too discourteous and one of the things I said to her is I hear you’re married and she said yes I said you have children she said yes I said but you’re living in a temple by yourself she said yes I said you not see your children she started crying she said I have a car I said you have a car she said he said ok so she drove herself because she can’t allow a man to drive her she said so she has to drive herself and she says every evening at the end of the day I try and meet up with one of my children she said this is the hardest part of my life I said so you are on the journey to extinguishing the desire to be with your children is that right said a fair assessment she kept quiet and then I said this I said the Dalai Lama has primary pursuit now the freedom of Tibet she said that’s right I said why does he desire that she looked at me and she said we try not to get into these philosophical questions let’s just say that he chooses to you take a look at other world religions hmm and see where these 4 questions are dealt with origin meaning morality and destiny these 4 questions have to be answered in two ways follow me please every particular answer has to correspond to truth either through empirical form of measurement or through the logical reasoning process and when those four answers are put together they must go here and not be incoherent so the two tests correspondence and coherence I guarantee you only in the judeo-christian worldview will you find these four questions answered with corresponding truthfulness and with the coherence of a worldview let me take just one example and I don’t say this too slight but this is a fact and we have to deal with it I’ve been invited in many many Islamic countries and I have open forums there and going to go to one of the toughest Islamic countries with the next weeks they’ve hosted mean many parts there and we’ve had dialogues I want to give to you two things in the ‘quran it is the only historical acclaimed document that denies that Jesus Christ was actually crucified or died on the cross denies them the Greek historians say he died on the cross Roman historians say that pagan historians say that Jewish historians say that and Christian historians say that Islamic the Quran is the only one that says it appeared to him that he died but he didn’t actually die on the cross so historically it is making affirmation that is really historically untrue I got into a discussion with shaykh hussein of the leading Shiite cleric in damascus series a real gentleman for over three hours we talked with an interpreter between us and an audience listening and I was allowed to ask him one question about his faith and he was allowed to ask me one question but mine there was nothing no rancor no adversarial stance just a perspective and counter perspective and back and forth it’s the best way to do it really at the end of it Sheikh Hussein looked at me was very respectful to the whole time always referred to me as professor professor zacharias professor zacharias and then at the end he looked at me leaned over and he said you know professor I think the time has come for us in the Islamic world to stop asking if Jesus Christ died and to start asking why I said to him may I quote you on that sir he said yes you may I’m hopefully going to go there before long and I hope we can meet up again origin meaning morality and destiny the judeo-christian worldview is not the only one that claims exclusivity but it’s the only one that takes those four questions with corresponding answers that are truthful and coherent answers that stand the test time and the ultimate answer of the resurrection from the dead that gives you hope and meaning I see we have one more question left and that’s the sign here I’ll be happy to take that to that very very quickly because the question comes also in this in this fashion have you studied all the religions in the world in order for you to know that your religion is right could could it not be possible that you have missed something now that sounds like a very daunting question but it’s really not that difficult to deal with because all the worldviews in existence all the worldviews that exists can actually be grouped at a very basic level though you could spend an eternity maybe studying if just one of these regions but all the world views in existence can be grouped under only three categories or the world views the first category is the view that only the universe exists the other category is only God exists of course you find naturalism and atheism on the on the left side only the universe exists but when you movement some eastern regions who tell you only God exists and that’s cashed out in different ways I’m just using the name the what God just to make it easy for us to grasp these concepts then in the middle you have the view that both God and the universe exist both gotten the universe exists and that you have Judaism Christianity and Islam so it’s not difficult to apply the test that Robbie was talking about to these systems well as a whole without having to study each particular you just need to know what the basic ideas what the basic thoughts are for these views then you can critique all of them without having to be an expert in every core view that’s out there so it’s important for us to know that it is not this this is not so difficult to do we are not making it up in trying to come up with an answer to this kind of a question just gentlemen very humble guy and I we didn’t want to give another University too much of advertising here lest we be thrown out tea is just finishing up his PhD work at the University of Georgia and I’m going to carry the work out boys all right we do have time for one more question I’m sorry for those of you it’s been standing so long in line but we need to move on but let me invite you to come to the tables out front afterwards to continue the conversation

Transcript Time Stamp

00:00 another text question is says if all
00:05 religions claim to be truth then how can
00:08 Christianity make that claim and think
00:10 that it is correct
00:20 appreciate that question and it’s a
00:23 question that has the assumption that is
00:25 very correct oftentimes the Christian
00:28 takes the hit that he or she was a
00:30 follower of Jesus Christ is the only one
00:33 who lays claim to exclusivity that is
00:35 not true
00:36 Gautama Buddha was born a Hindu and he
00:39 renounced to the fundamental doctrines
00:40 of Hinduism the authority of the Vedas
00:43 and the caste system he could not accept
00:45 those two went on his own journey in
00:48 search of enlightenment and came of
00:50 course with the Four Noble Truths and
00:52 the Eightfold Path and the ultimate
00:54 extinguishing of desire in his nirvanic
00:57 pursuit so he turned his belief away
01:01 from the religion of his birth in order
01:03 to find a different answer Islam is also
01:06 exclusive istic in its claim how in all
01:09 of its precepts and its five pillars and
01:11 so on what about these contradictions
01:15 the first thing we need to know is there
01:19 are distinctions there are fundamental
01:21 differences at best there are
01:24 superficial similarities I often hear
01:27 the question posed wrongly they’ll say
01:30 are all really aren’t all religions
01:31 fundamentally the same and superficially
01:34 different no they are fundamentally
01:36 different and at best they are
01:38 superficially similar what are the
01:40 fundamental claims for example in
01:42 Buddhism the goal is to extinguish
01:45 hunger extinguished desire I remember
01:50 talking to the first woman monk who was
01:53 from Thailand to be ordained into the
01:56 Buddhist priests hood but Thai Buddhists
01:58 do not ordain women so she went to Sri
02:01 Lanka to be ordained and she has a PhD
02:03 in philosophy from McMaster University
02:05 in Hamilton Ontario and Waterloo I guess
02:09 Ontario and McMaster to the University
02:12 there got her PhD in philosophy and she
02:14 gave me the first interview we chatted
02:17 for well over an hour one-on-one and I
02:21 sort of angled into some questions
02:23 because I didn’t want to be too
02:25 discourteous and one of the things I
02:28 said to her is I hear you’re married and
02:30 she said yes
02:31 I said you have children she said yes I
02:34 said but you’re living in a temple by
02:37 yourself she said yes I said you not see
02:40 your children she started crying she
02:44 said I have a car I said you have a car
02:47 she said he said ok so she drove herself
02:51 because she can’t allow a man to drive
02:54 her she said so she has to drive herself
02:56 and she says every evening at the end of
02:59 the day I try and meet up with one of my
03:00 children she said this is the hardest
03:02 part of my life I said so you are on the
03:05 journey to extinguishing the desire to
03:07 be with your children is that right said
03:10 a fair assessment she kept quiet and
03:14 then I said this I said the Dalai Lama
03:17 has primary pursuit now the freedom of
03:22 Tibet she said that’s right I said why
03:26 does he desire that she looked at me and
03:32 she said we try not to get into these
03:34 philosophical questions let’s just say
03:36 that he chooses to you take a look at
03:41 other world religions hmm and see where
03:43 these 4 questions are dealt with origin
03:46 meaning morality and destiny these 4
03:50 questions have to be answered in two
03:52 ways
03:53 follow me please every particular answer
03:56 has to correspond to truth either
03:58 through empirical form of measurement or
04:01 through the logical reasoning process
04:02 and when those four answers are put
04:05 together they must go here and not be
04:08 incoherent so the two tests
04:10 correspondence and coherence I guarantee
04:14 you only in the judeo-christian
04:17 worldview will you find these four
04:19 questions answered with corresponding
04:21 truthfulness and with the coherence of a
04:24 worldview let me take just one example
04:26 and I don’t say this too slight but this
04:30 is a fact and we have to deal with it
04:34 I’ve been invited in many many Islamic
04:37 countries and I have open forums there
04:39 and going to go to one of the toughest
04:41 Islamic countries with the next
04:42 weeks they’ve hosted mean many parts
04:45 there and we’ve had dialogues I want to
04:48 give to you two things in the ‘quran it
04:53 is the only historical acclaimed
04:56 document that denies that Jesus Christ
04:59 was actually crucified or died on the
05:01 cross denies them the Greek historians
05:04 say he died on the cross Roman
05:06 historians say that pagan historians say
05:09 that Jewish historians say that and
05:11 Christian historians say that Islamic
05:14 the Quran is the only one that says it
05:16 appeared to him that he died but he
05:17 didn’t actually die on the cross so
05:20 historically it is making affirmation
05:23 that is really historically untrue I got
05:28 into a discussion with shaykh hussein of
05:32 the leading Shiite cleric in damascus
05:37 series a real gentleman for over three
05:39 hours we talked with an interpreter
05:41 between us and an audience listening and
05:45 I was allowed to ask him one question
05:46 about his faith and he was allowed to
05:47 ask me one question but mine there was
05:49 nothing no rancor no adversarial stance
05:52 just a perspective and counter
05:54 perspective and back and forth it’s the
05:56 best way to do it really at the end of
05:59 it Sheikh Hussein looked at me was very
06:00 respectful to the whole time always
06:02 referred to me as professor professor
06:03 zacharias professor zacharias and then
06:06 at the end he looked at me leaned over
06:08 and he said you know professor I think
06:11 the time has come for us in the Islamic
06:14 world to stop asking if Jesus Christ
06:16 died and to start asking why I said to
06:25 him may I quote you on that sir he said
06:31 yes you may I’m hopefully going to go
06:34 there before long and I hope we can meet
06:36 up again origin meaning morality and
06:40 destiny the judeo-christian worldview is
06:42 not the only one that claims exclusivity
06:44 but it’s the only one that takes those
06:47 four questions with corresponding
06:48 answers that are truthful and coherent
06:50 answers that stand the test
06:53 time and the ultimate answer of the
06:55 resurrection from the dead that gives
06:57 you hope and meaning I see we have one
07:00 more question left and that’s the sign
07:03 here I’ll be happy to take that to that
07:08 very very quickly because the question
07:10 comes also in this in this fashion have
07:13 you studied all the religions in the
07:15 world in order for you to know that your
07:17 religion is right could could it not be
07:19 possible that you have missed something
07:22 now that sounds like a very daunting
07:25 question but it’s really not that
07:27 difficult to deal with because all the
07:29 worldviews in existence all the
07:32 worldviews that exists can actually be
07:33 grouped at a very basic level though you
07:36 could spend an eternity maybe studying
07:39 if just one of these regions but all the
07:42 world views in existence can be grouped
07:44 under only three categories or the world
07:46 views the first category is the view
07:49 that only the universe exists the other
07:53 category is only God exists
07:57 of course you find naturalism and
07:58 atheism on the on the left side only the
08:01 universe exists but when you movement
08:04 some eastern regions who tell you only
08:06 God exists and that’s cashed out in
08:09 different ways I’m just using the name
08:10 the what God just to make it easy for us
08:13 to grasp these concepts then in the
08:15 middle you have the view that both God
08:18 and the universe exist both gotten the
08:22 universe exists and that you have
08:23 Judaism Christianity and Islam so it’s
08:28 not difficult to apply the test that
08:30 Robbie was talking about to these
08:31 systems well as a whole without having
08:35 to study each particular you just need
08:36 to know what the basic ideas what the
08:39 basic thoughts are for these views then
08:41 you can critique all of them without
08:43 having to be an expert in every core
08:47 view that’s out there so it’s important
08:48 for us to know that it is not this this
08:51 is not so difficult to do we are not
08:53 making it up in trying to come up with
08:55 an answer to this kind of a question
08:56 just gentlemen very humble guy and I we
09:01 didn’t want to give another University
09:03 too much of advertising here lest we be
09:05 thrown out
09:06 tea is just finishing up his PhD work at
09:08 the University of Georgia and I’m going
09:10 to carry the work out boys all right we
09:17 do have time for one more question I’m
09:19 sorry for those of you it’s been
09:21 standing so long in line but we need to
09:24 move on but let me invite you to come to
09:26 the tables out front afterwards to
09:29 continue the conversation
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DSA Convention or Trigger Fest Convention?

Although this was funny in a sad way (I love Anthony Logan’s presentation of it here) I did imagine our halls of Congress filled with Representatives and Senators trying to get through a meeting like this. It may do the country a lot of good. Maybe I want to vote for a Party like this. We’ll see.

On a more serious note, I’m thinking God gave America 300 years to try out our government and now that it has come to this maybe I need to pray about running for president on the platform of not banning guns from people but banning people from government.

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