November 2nd, 2011 by Michael L. Brown

Ross Murray’s article on CNN’s Religion Blog, entitled “My Take: Why Christians are embracing their LGBT neighbors,” is the most recent in a steady stream of editorials and articles on liberal news outlets devoted to promoting a common theme: The Bible really doesn’t speak against homosexual practice and enlightened Christians are recognizing this in ever increasing numbers.

Although Murray repeats much of the standard rhetoric, he does distinguish himself by offering one of more egregious applications of a scriptural passage I have seen in nearly 40 years of studying and teaching the Scriptures. But first a word of background.

Murray is director of religion, faith and values at GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. This is a gay activist organization which would better be called the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Disagreement, glaringly demonstrated in their petition earlier this year which called on CNN to stop inviting “anti-gay” guests on their network to offer opposing viewpoints. (Yes, this is the voice of “inclusion,” “tolerance,” “equality,” and “diversity.”)

In his article, Murray argues that while “there is still a variety of scriptural interpretations, an increasing number of Christians are reading scripture and understanding that God’s design for the world includes LGBT people.” Those who with agree with his position he dubs “good Christians”; those who differ are described as “vocal anti-gay activists” who are putting forth “vocal misinformation” and becoming “more shrill.”

This is GLAAD-talk at its biased best, and to decode the language used, you are “anti-gay” if for religious, moral, social, or any other reasons you do not affirm homosexuality, no matter how much you love LGBT people; you are “vocal” if you write, say, or post anything that GLAAD does not agree with (although those on the LGBT side can write, say, or post anything they want without being “vocal”); you are spreading “misinformation” if you have any scientific, academic, or theological differences with the gay activist mantras; and you become “more shrill” if you do not capitulate to gay activist pressure.

And what is it that drives the views of the “vocal anti-gay activists” who by implication are not “good Christians”? It is “fear” and “lies,” since, in the logic of GLAAD, only fear and lies could cause a Bible-believing Christian to think that God is not giddy about homosexual practice. In contrast, LGBT Christians “build up love and break down fear.”

As for the “good [straight] Christians,” they are embracing LGBT people and their practices because they realize that “if God made them, then [they are] called to love and support them.”

But didn’t God make everyone? Didn’t He make the “vocal anti-gay activists” too? Then why does Murray disparage them? Why doesn’t he feel “called to love and support them”? And aren’t there others whom “God made” whose lifestyles or convictions Murray rejects?

Murray observes that, “Whole Christian denominations have accepted and embraced the reality of LGBT believers within their ranks and in their leadership. Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, the United Church of Christ and Unitarians have formally accepted LGBT people within their denominations.”

What he fails to note is that these denominations (or the parts thereof that are gay-affirming) have also moved away from other historic biblical values and beliefs, meaning that their embrace of homosexuality should be seen as a sign of spiritual regress rather than progress.

In similar fashion, he points to the large ideological gap “between those ages 18 to 29 and those ages 65 and older . . . with younger Americans gravitating toward [LGBT] equality,” without pointing out that surveys indicate that less than one percent of these young people have a biblical worldview.

But all this is standard fare. It is his closing (mis)use of Scripture that is so troubling.

He writes, “Those who oppose equality can call it what they like, but the reality is that we are living in a society that has learned how to value LGBT people as they would others. That attitude doesn’t rely on fear or lies, but on caring relationships and trust. It lives out the apostle Paul’s wish for the Corinthians that someday we will know fully, even as we are fully known. It is a biblically informed reality that is helping to make the world a better place.”

What does Murray mean when he speaks of “the apostle Paul’s wish for the Corinthians”? He is referring to 1 Corinthians 13:12, which is not a “wish” but rather a prophetic anticipation of what will happen when Jesus returns. At that time, Paul writes, “I shall know fully, even as I am fully known [by God],” in contrast with our present, earthly state, in which “we see in a mirror dimly” and “know in part.”

So, the glorious hope that we will know God fully at the second coming of Christ is twisted into a wish that we will get to know LGBT people better, thereby making the apostle Paul, arguably the strongest voice in the Bible against homosexual practice, into a gay advocate.

This is what happens when GLAAD does theology. Would it be an overstatement to call this a perversion of the Scriptures?

Dr. Michael Brown is the author of A Queer Thing Happened to America and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.

Posted in Culture, Sexuality & Gender Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

October 17th, 2011 by Michael L. Brown

In the midst of the lively and sometimes heated discussion about Mormonism in recent days (Is it a cult? Is it not a cult but still heretical? Is it part of mainstream Christianity?), there is one question that no one seems to be asking: Do Mormons believe that Christianity is a cult?

Let’s remember that Mormonism did not begin as a reformation movement within the 19th century Church but rather as a repudiation of the Church of the day. According to the Book of Mormon itself (1 Nephi 14:10), there are only two churches, “the one is the Church of the Lamb of God and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore whoso belongeth not to the church of the lamb of God belongeth to that great church; which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.”

For the first Mormons, the devoted followers of Joseph Smith, there was no mistake about what this meant: Those who adhered to their faith, who were part of the Church of Latter Day Saints, belonged to “the Church of the Lamb of God”; everyone else belonged to “that great church; which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.”

As explained by early Mormon leader George Q. Cannon (1827-1901), “After the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, there were only two churches upon the earth. They were known respectively as the Church of the Lamb of God and Babylon. The various organizations which are called churches throughout Christiandom [sic], though differing in their creeds and organizations, have one common origin. They belong to Babylon.” (See his Gospel Truth, p. 324.)

To this day, if you are a baptized Christian and you join the Mormon Church, you are told that you need to be baptized again as a Mormon, even if you were already baptized as an adult believer in Jesus. Obviously, your first baptism doesn’t count in the eyes of the LDS Church. What does this imply? And if Mormons accept the validity of another Christian’s faith, why are they proselytizing that person?

According to the Documentary History of the [LDS] Church, “Nothing less than a complete apostasy from the Christian religion would warrant the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (Introduction, xl) Precisely.

Why else did Joseph Smith allegedly receive his revelations? It was because all the other churches had departed from the faith. As stated in Joseph Smith History 1:19, in response to Smith’s question to the angelic beings about joining a church, “I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt . . . .”

That’s why Mormons have additional books they call scripture, grouped together in the Book of Mormon, which claims to be “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” In contrast, other reformation groups that arose within the Church have simply argued for a reinterpretation of the Bible itself as opposed to claiming to have new, additional books of revelation, equal to the Bible.

According to Brigham Young, “The Christian world, I discovered, was like the captain and crew of a vessel on the ocean without a compass, and tossed to and fro whithersoever the wind listed to blow them. When the light came to me, I saw that all the so-called Christian world was grovelling in darkness.” (JD 5:73)

These were clearly the views of the first generations of Mormons. As expressed by Mormon apostle Orson Pratt (1811-1881), “The Roman Catholic, Greek, and Protestant church, is the great corrupt, ecclesiastical power, represented by great Babylon. . .” (Orson Pratt, Writings of an Apostle, “Divine Authenticity,” no.6, p. 84). Yes, “Both Catholics and Protestants are nothing less than the ‘whore of Babylon’ whom the lord denounces by the mouth of John the Revelator as having corrupted all the earth by their fornications and wickedness.” (Pratt, The Seer, p. 255)

In recent decades, LDS missionaries have presented themselves as fellow-believers as they reach out to Christians, and in some ways, Mormons seem to be moderating their views. But the question they must answer is this: Do they believe that mainstream, historic Christianity is a cult (or, at the least, a departure from the biblical faith)? If so, let them declare it. If not, why does anyone need to leave their church to join the Mormons?

(My appreciation to Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries for directing me to the quotes cited here.)

Dr. Michael Brown is the author of A Queer Thing Happened to America and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.

Posted in Religions and Cults Tagged with: , , , , , ,

September 28th, 2011 by Michael L. Brown

Wayne Besen is a passionate gay activist and non-religious, liberal Jew who has dedicated himself to opposing the idea that homosexuals can become heterosexual. To that end, he founded the Truth Wins Out organization, and he writes extensively on the subject of “ex-gays,” with a monograph, hundreds of posts, and articles for the Huffington Post to his credit. (As to the question of “ex-gays,” see Chapter Twelve of my book A Queer Thing Happened to America.) Wayne has also appeared on O’Reilly and other TV shows, and he is never at a loss for words, especially when it comes to the “religious right.” In that spirit, he has graced me with several articles, including the not so subtly-titled, “Michael Brown Is an Anti-Gay Monster” (August 31, 2011).

In that article, Wayne claims that my “game is to try inciting followers to possible violence against LGBT people, while innocently maintaining that he loves homosexuals and simply wants them to meet his militant and perverted version of God.” He calls me “a slick dude,” a “sick and cynical” person, someone with “a messiah complex [who] is a diabolical individual who aims to manipulate impressionable followers to launch some sort of holy war,” noting however, that, I’m “too much of a coward to start the war” myself.

He even confesses, “I do strongly believe to my core that Brown’s ultimate goal is to create the conditions for a nasty physical clash.” Indeed, “The madman fully understands that he only has to create a hostile climate to inflame the most unstable of his thugs and they will eventually provoke the type of confrontation that this pathological monster deeply desires.”

God bless dear Wayne! He certainly has a way with words. After all, it’s not every day that you get called a pathological monster, a slick, sick, cynical, diabolical madman with a messiah complex, as well as get accused of trying to incite a bunch of unstable thugs “to engage in a violent physical clash with LGBT people.” (For what I actually advocate, namely, a totally non-violent, moral, cultural, and spiritual revolution, click here.)

Wayne even weighs in again in his own comments section, calling me an “ego-maniac,” while other commenters follow in his footsteps with sophisticated posts like these: “I would not be surprised if ‘Mein Kampf’ were to be found on his nightstand.” (This was followed by other comments too vulgar to print.) What a delightful, thoughtful bunch!

 

But I am only one of Wayne’s targets. In his most recent attack, “Mainstream Christians Must Stand Up to the Religious Right” (September 19, 2011), he reviles the hundreds of Christians with whom I attended the recent gay pride event in Charlotte, claiming that we “confronted and harassed festival attendees with [our] arrogant slogan ‘God Has A Better Way.’” He refers to us as “despicable bullies” and speaks of our “fanatical behavior,” although, for the record, our group of roughly 400 consisted of grandparents, moms, dads, kids, and college-age singles who handed out about 2,500 free bottles of water (labeled “Jesus Loves You”) and engaged in civil and respectful conversation with any who cared to talk with us. Oh, the horror!

All this, however, is the backdrop for Wayne’s heartfelt appeal. He is desperately concerned that religious “extremists” like me, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, and Michelle Bachman will “defile America – and permanently define Christianity.” Instead, Wayne wants the “Religious Left” to rise up and show America what Christianity really is. He writes, “It is time to stand up, speak out, and give voice to our values. If not now, when? Are we going to wait until it is too late and we have lost our country?”

The problem, of course, is that the “Religious Left” has rejected most of the fundamental tenets of the historic Christian faith, denying the authority of Scripture, espousing religious pluralism, defending abortion, and championing homosexuality. Could this be why these so-called “mainstream” churches are in such numerical decline while conservative churches are growing exponentially in many parts of the world? And could it be that the conspicuous lack of moral and spiritual absolutes in many of these “mainstream” churches is part of what fails to inspire their constituents?

Wayne himself is not optimistic about the prospects, writing, “This reluctance to stand up and speak out has created a hazardous vacuum where only the shrill and unreasonable voices of fundamentalism are heard. Instead of the dialogue that many progressives of faith claim to desire, this perceived weakness creates a lopsided right wing monologue, which is having a deleterious effect on our nation and the world.”

The reality, of course, is that the “Christianity” Wayne calls for bears little resemblance to the faith of the Scriptures or the faith of history, but that should not surprise us. After all, what else should we expect when a non-religious, gay Jewish liberal tries to redefine Christianity?

Posted in Sexuality & Gender Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

June 1st, 2011 by Eric Gilmour


[Link to Video]

Posted in The Kingdom of God Tagged with: , , , , ,

May 6th, 2011 by Frank Turek

Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com , used with permission. Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org.

It’s easy to spot militant atheists who attend my presentation called I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. They usually sit with their arms folded and scowls on their faces. During a recent presentation at Michigan State, I knew I’d get push back from one such scowling student sitting to my right. He looked mad and was mad. (He wouldn’t even smile at a hilarious Homer Simpson clip!)

He shot his hand up during the Q&A and yelled out, “You mentioned the problem of evil during your presentation but you didn’t answer it! If there is a good God, then why does evil exist? Why doesn’t God stop it?”

I said, “Sir, that is an excellent question. Sometimes I bluntly answer this way. ‘If God stopped all evil, he might start with you . . . and me because we both do evil every day.’ To end evil on earth God would have to take away our free will. But if he takes away our free will, he takes away our ability to love as well. Allow me to show you a video that beautifully illustrates this in less than two minutes.” I then played this outstanding video (developed by my friend and fellow seminary graduate, Jim Zangmeister), which traces evil back to free will.

Most in the audience appreciated the clip and applauded. But the atheist was unmoved. “Why do babies die, why do tsunamis occur? These aren’t the result of free will!” he protested.

“True, they are not the result of someone’s free will today,” I explained. “But Christianity traces all of our trouble back to a free will choice by Adam. As a result, we live in a fallen world where bad things happen, but God takes the initiative to bring good from evil. In fact, you can sum up the entire Bible in one word—redemption. Paradise lost in Genesis is paradise regained in Revelation. God initiated and achieved this redemption by sending Jesus Christ who suffered and died on our behalf. So we can question God about suffering as the biblical writers did, but God didn’t exempt Himself from it. Jesus was the only completely innocent person in the history of the world, yet he suffered horribly for our redemption. He brought good from evil.”

The atheist didn’t like that either. He interrupted me several times, so I finally asked him, “Are you an atheist?”

He refused to answer but then blurted out, “It doesn’t matter!”

I said, “It does matter because if you are an atheist (I later learned from his blog he is), then you have no grounds by which to judge anything evil. Objective evil doesn’t exist unless objective good exists and objective good doesn’t exist unless God exists. You can have good without evil, but you can’t have evil without good. In other words, the shadows prove the sunshine. You can have sunshine without shadows, but you can’t have shadows without sunshine. So evil doesn’t disprove God—it actually shows there must be a God because it presupposes Good. Evil may prove there’s a devil out there, but it doesn’t disprove God.”

The atheist persisted, “But if God exists, why do some babies die such horrible deaths?”

Well, if the atheist is granting that God exists, then he has a valid question. While he can’t explain evil and suffering from his atheistic worldview, I need to explain it from mine.

My explanation went this way. Although I know why evil in general occurs (see the video), I don’t know why every specific evil occurs. But I know why I don’t know why—because I’m finite and can’t see into the future. Since God is infinite and can see all the way into eternity, he may allow evil events that ultimately work together for good. In other words, he can still bring good from evil even if we can’t see how.

To illustrate, I referred back to the classic Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” That’s where George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, falls on hard times, becomes despondent and tries to commit suicide. He’s saved by an angel and is permitted to see how life in his town would have turned out if he had never existed. George sees that everything would have turned out far worse without him, and thus realizes that even though evil infects life, good can prevail in the end. George could only see this with God’s timeless perspective. Only God can see how trillions of free choices and events can interact ultimately for good even if some of them seem hopelessly negative at the time. (In fact, that’s one reason why God told Job to trust him.)

At that point, a man sitting ten feet from the atheist raised his hand.

“Go ahead, sir.”

He first looked over at the atheist, then back at me and said, “I know of a young woman who was raped and became pregnant. The rape nearly destroyed her.” His voice began to crack . . . “But she decided that she would not punish the baby for the sin of the father. She later gave birth to a baby boy.” (By this point he was weeping openly.) “And that boy grew up to be a pastor whom God has used to help bring many people to Christ. He ministers to people to this day. That boy grew up to be me.”

He then looked back at the atheist and said, “My mother turned evil into good, and God can too.”

The atheist left immediately after the event ended, but I did get to meet that brave pastor who spoke up. His name is Gary Bingham, and he’s the pastor of Hillside Wesleyan Church in Marion, Indiana. Gary told me that his mom had self-confidence issues for many years but is doing much better since becoming a Christian a few years ago. I thanked him and asked him to let his mom know that she touched many for good that night. I hope through this column she has touched many more today.

Posted in Featured Articles, Philosophy & Science Tagged with: , , , , , ,

November 2nd, 2010 by Bethany French

Author’s note:  This is the second article of a mini-series reviewing Princeton professor Kenda Creasy Dean’s book, Almost Christian. Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes are from the first few chapters of this book.  To read the first article in the series, click here.

Kenda Creasy Dean’s book Almost Christian covers five major findings of the National Study of Youth and Religion that may perhaps bring about a major change in the way many mainstream churches and/or parents  approach youth ministry or parenting:

1.  Most American teenagers have a positive view of religion but otherwise don’t give it much thought.

2.  Most U.S. teenagers mirror their parents’ religious faith.

3. Teenagers lack a theological language with which to express their faith or interpret their experience of the world.

4.  A minority of American teenagers–but a significant minority–say religious faith is important, and that it makes a difference in their lives.  These teenagers are doing better in life on a number of scales, compared to their less religious peers.

5.  Many teenagers enact/espouse a religious outlook that is distinct from traditional teachings of most world religions–an outlook called Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

Some of my conclusions from reading these first few chapters in conjunction with my own personal experience are as follows:  The problems that exist now are direct results of a culture of self-indulgence; a culture that equates physical, emotional, and spiritual discomfort as something to be avoided at all costs.  Christian vocabulary has been perverted:  the word “Love” does not mean anything more than an exalted version of “Warm fuzzies all around,” “salvation” means that “all generally nice people go to heaven,” and the biggest “sin” is to hurt anyone’s feelings or cause discomfort any way, for any reason. A version of the larger American culture, which holds all of these views, has been adopted by many parents and churches (consciously or not).

Dean clearly highlights the source of the problem as a breakdown of the parents’ and congregations intentionally modeling radical faith in God and demonstration of the gospel to their children, and the failure to recognize that the goal of the gospel is beyond the individual.

We ‘teach’ young people baseball, but we ‘expose’ them to faith…we blithely assume that religious identity will happen by osmosis, emerging ‘when youth are ready’ (a confidence we generally lack when it comes to, say, algebra).  We simply have not given teenagers the soul-strength to recognize, wrestle, and resist the symbiotes in our midst, probably because we lack [it] ourselves… Exposing adolescents to faith, as it turns out, is no substitute for teaching it to them…

By and large, Smith and Denton concluded, parents ‘get what they are’ religiously…Parents matter most when it comes to the religious formation of their children.

Although the child is still responsible for his/her own response to the gospel, and even in the cases where the parents are truly living radical lives and teaching their children to do the same may choose to diverge to the path of least resistance, families and communities that adopt an intentional way of living and teaching spiritual precepts will raise children who are much more able to talk articulately about what their faith means to them in their daily lives.  It may be that many parents in their own lives, as well as the lives of their children, have bought into one of the central precepts of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, which is that the main goal in life is to avoid interpersonal friction.  And, as Dean writes,

Spiritually sensitive youth often cause trouble in their communities (religious or secular) because of their alertness to the sacred.  It is hard to imagine researchers, interviewing Jesus after he turned over the tables in the temple, ascribing the act to religious maturity–but in Christian theology it is a story of righteousness and divine purgation.”

Which of the prophets, including Jesus as the Son of God, was not hated and persecuted, even killed for following the Spirit of God, laying down their lives as their sacrifice of love and obedience to God, and out of desperate concern and passionate desire for the restoration of those who were opposing the will of God?  How often did God send His prophets not to the ‘pagan’ nations, but to His own people, who were following Him with their lips, and not with their hearts?  How is that different than today, where so many in our churches say, “I am a Christian,” and yet they do not have the transforming love of God gripping their hearts to lay down their lives in obedience to Christ?  As Dean says,

It is in following Jesus that we learn to love Him; it is in participating in the mission of God that God decisively changes us into disciples.”

Let us awaken our hearts to experience the living God, as in Dr. Michael Brown’s Rhyme of the Modern Parishioner:

Pour your life out for broken lives –
Let God your heart break too.
Take up the cross, deny yourself;
Just live His will to do!

Wake up, be brave, be honest;
Today — oh hear His voice!
Be ruthless with your schedule;
Seek GOD. Make that your choice.

Posted in Culture, News Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

June 28th, 2010 by Frank Turek

Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com, used with permission. Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org

Do the New Testament documents tell the truth about what really happened in the first century? As I wrote in my last column, authors claiming to write history are unlikely to invent embarrassing details about themselves or their heroes. Since the New Testament documents are filled with embarrassing details, we can be reasonably certain that they are telling the truth.

Notice that the disciples frequently depict themselves as dimwits. They fail to understand what Jesus is saying several times, and don’t understand what his mission is about until after the resurrection. Their thick-headedness even earns their leader, Peter, the sternest rebuke from Jesus: “Get behind me Satan!” (What great press the disciples provided for their leader and first Pope! Contrary to popular opinion, it seems the church really didn’t have editorial control of the scriptures after all.)

After Jesus asks them to stay up and pray with him during his greatest hour of need, the disciples fall asleep on Jesus not once, but twice! Then, after pledging to be faithful to the end, Peter denies Christ three times, and all but one of them run away.

The scared, scattered, skeptical disciples make no effort to give Jesus a proper burial. Instead they say a member of the Jewish ruling body that sentenced Jesus to die is the noble one—Joseph of Arimathea buries Jesus in a Jewish tomb (which would have been easy for the Jews to refute if it wasn’t true). Two days later, while the men are still hiding, the women go down and discover the empty tomb and the risen Jesus.

Who wrote all that down? Men—some of the men who were characters in the story. Now if you were part of a group of men trying to pass off a false resurrection story as the truth, would you depict yourselves as dimwitted, bumbling, rebuked, lazy, skeptical sissies, who ran away at the first sign of trouble, while the women were the brave ones who discovered the empty tomb and the risen Jesus?

If men were inventing the resurrection story, it would go more like this:

Jesus came to save the world, and he needed our help. That’s why we were there for him every step of the way. When he was in need, we prayed with him. When he wept, we wept with him (and told him to toughen up!). When he fell, we carried his cross. The gates of Hell could not prevent us from seeing his mission through!

So when that turncoat Judas brought the Romans by (we always suspected Judas), and they began to nail Jesus to the cross, we laughed at them. “He’s God you idiots! The grave will never keep him! You think you’re solving a problem, but you’re really creating a much bigger one!”

While we assured the women that everything would turn out all right, they couldn’t handle the crucifixion. Squeamish and afraid, they ran to their homes screaming and hid behind locked doors.

But we men stood steadfast at the foot of the cross, praying for hours until the very end. When Jesus finally took his last breath and the Roman Centurion confessed that Jesus was God, Peter blasted him, “That’s what we told you before you nailed him up there!” (Through this whole thing, the Romans and the Jews just wouldn’t listen!)

Never doubting that Jesus would rise on the third day, Peter announced to the Centurion, “We’ll bury him and be back on Sunday. Now go tell Pilate to put some of your ‘elite’ Roman guards at the tomb to see if you can prevent him from rising from the dead!” We all laughed and began to dream about Sunday.

That Sunday morning we marched right down to the tomb and tossed those elite Roman guards aside. Then the stone (that took eleven us to roll into place) rolled away by itself. A glowing Jesus emerged from tomb, and said, “I knew you’d come! My mission is accomplished.” He praised Peter for his brave leadership and congratulated us on our great faith. Then we went home and comforted the trembling women.

There are other events in the New Testament documents concerning Jesus that are also unlikely to be made up. For example, Jesus:

• Is considered “out of his mind” by his own family who come to seize him to take him home (Mk 3:21,31).

• Is deserted by many of his followers after he says that followers must eat his flesh and drink his blood. (John 6:66).

• Is not believed by his own brothers (John 7:5). (Disbelief turned to belief after the resurrection—ancient historians reveal that Jesus’ brother James died a martyr as the leader of the church in Jerusalem in A.D. 62).

• Is thought to be a deceiver (John 7:12).

• Turns off Jewish believers to the point that they want to stone him (John 8:30-59).

• Is called a “madman” (John 10:20).

• Is called a “drunkard” (Mt. 11:19).

• Is called “demon-possessed” (Mk 3:22, Jn 7:20, 8:48).

• Has his feet wiped with hair of a prostitute which easily could have been seen as a sexual advance (Lk 7:36-39).

• Is crucified despite the fact that “anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse” (Deut 21:23).

If you’re inventing a Messiah to the Jews, you don’t say such things about him. You also don’t admit that some of you “still doubted” Jesus had really risen from the dead, especially while he’s standing right in front of you giving the great commission (Mt. 28:17-19).

Finally, anyone trying to pass off a false resurrection story as the truth would never say the women were the first witnesses at the tomb. In the first century, a woman’s testimony was not considered on par with that of a man. An invented story would say that the men—the brave men—had discovered the empty tomb. Yet all four gospels say the women were the first witnesses – all this while the sissy-pants men had their doors locked for fear of the Jews. (After I made this point during a presentation, a lady told me that she knew why Jesus appeared to the women first. “Why?” I asked. She said, “Because he wanted to get the story out!”)

In light of these embarrassing details—along with the fact that the New Testament documents contain early, eyewitness testimony for which the writers gave their lives—it takes more faith to believe that the New Testament writers were not telling the truth.

Posted in Philosophy & Science Tagged with: , , , , , ,

June 10th, 2010 by Frank Turek

Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com, used with permission. Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org

What are your most embarrassing moments? You don’t want to admit them. And if you do admit them, you certainly won’t add to your shame by inventing embarrassing moments about yourself to make you look even worse. Who’s going to lie to make himself look bad? People will lie to make themselves look good (especially politicians), but no one will lie to make himself look bad.

That’s why when historical accounts contain events embarrassing to the authors (or heroes of the authors) those events are probably true. Historians call this the principle of embarrassment, and it’s one reason why I think the writers of the Bible are telling the truth. There are far too many embarrassing details about the supposed heroes of the faith to be invented.

Just take a look at the Old Testament storyline. There’s little chance the Jews would have invented it. A story invented by Hebrews would more likely depict the Israelites as a noble and upright people. But the Old Testament writers don’t say this. Instead they depict their own people as sinful and fickle slaves who, time after time, are miraculously rescued by God, but who abandon him every chance they get. For example, after witnessing miracle after miracle that frees them from slavery in Egypt, they can’t resist worshiping the Golden Calf when Moses spends a few extra nights on the mountain. Talk about ungrateful folks with short memories! (We seem to suffer from this in America too).

Michelle MalkinThe Old Testament writers record a Hebrew history filled with bone-headed disobedience, distrust, and selfishness. Their leaders are all world-class sinners, including Moses (a murderer), Saul (a paranoid egomaniac), David (an adulterer, liar, and murderer), and Solomon (a serial polygamist). These are supposed to be the “chosen people”—the ones through which God brings the Savior of the world? Yes, and the Old Testament writers admit that the ancestors of this Messiah include deeply sinful characters such as David and Solomon and even a non-Hebrew prostitute named Rahab. This is clearly not an invented storyline!

While the Old Testament tells of one embarrassing gaffe after another, most other ancient historians avoid even mentioning unflattering historical events. For example, there’s been nothing found in the records of Egypt about the Exodus, leading some critics to suggest the event never occurred. But what do the critics expect? Peter Fineman imagines what a press release from Pharaoh might say:

“A spokesman for Rameses the great, Pharaoh of Pharaohs, supreme ruler of Egypt, son of Ra, before whom all tremble in awe blinded by his brilliance, today announced that the man Moses had kicked his royal butt for all the world to see, thus proving that God is Yahweh and the 2,000-year-old-culture of Egypt is a lie. Film at 11:00.”

Of course no press secretary for Pharaoh would admit such an event if he wanted to keep his head! The Egyptian silence on the Exodus is understandable.

By contrast, when the Egyptians scored a military victory, they went to press and exaggerated greatly. This is apparent from the oldest known reference to Israel outside the Bible. It comes from a granite monument found in the funerary temple of Pharaoh Merneptah in Thebes. The monument boasts about the military victory of the Pharaoh in the highlands of Canaan, claiming that “Israel is laid waste, his seed is not.” Historians date the battle to 1207 B.C., which confirms that Israel was in the land by that time. We know this account is exaggerated because, as history attests, Israel was not laid waste. Its seed lived on and sprouted into a great empire under David 200 years later. And its seed lives on to this day more than 3,200 years later.

How does the New Testament measure up to the principle of embarrassment? While embarrassing testimony is alone not enough to ensure historical reliability—early, eyewitness testimony is also necessary (which the New Testament has)—the principle of embarrassment is even more pronounced in the New Testament. The people who wrote down much of the New Testament are characters (or friends of characters) in the story, and they often depict themselves in an extremely unflattering light. Their claims are not likely to be invented.

Let’s put it this way: If you and your manly friends were concocting a story that you wanted to pass off as the truth, would you make yourselves look like dim-witted, uncaring, rebuked, doubting cowards who ran away at the first sign of trouble while the women were the brave ones who remained faithful? No way! But that’s exactly what we find in the New Testament. That’s one reason why I don’t have enough faith to believe that the New Testament tells an invented story.

I’ll highlight some of the New Testament’s more embarrassing details in the next column—even a few details that some could interpret as embarrassing to Jesus. In the meantime, you can find a cumulative case for God and Christianity in the book from which this column is adapted: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

Posted in Philosophy & Science Tagged with: , , , , , ,

October 4th, 2009 by M. French

Fifty thousand participants were expected for the Islam on Capitol Hill event in Washington D.C. on September 25th.  Roughly three thousand showed up.  As we reported prior to the event, a small group of Jesus followers from North Carolina were also there to give away DVDs documenting the conversion to Christianity of different Muslims thanks in part to dreams and visions of Jesus they had experienced.  The leader of this outreach, evangelist Fabian Grech, recounted their experience at the event:

We split up in small teams and were strategically located in different places. The main place where they were all praying (in front of the Capitol) only had 2 exits at the back. So we had a couple teams at both exits. We followed the strategies that God gave us: to go to them with love, look them in the eyes, show them value and put the the DVD “More Than Dreams (www.morethandreams.org – testimonies of Muslims get saved by Jesus visiting them in dreams) in their hands to take it home with them. When they asked me what it was about, I told them it was a DVD of dreams Muslims are having in different countries. Quite a few were excited to take it and some even asked me for more to give to their friends. I am still counting how many DVDs we have left, but I think we gave out about 1200 DVDs – which means about 1 out of every 3 took that powerful DVD home.

Posted in News, The Kingdom of God Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

August 26th, 2009 by M. French

Press Release from the Alliance Defense Fund:

LACONIA, N.H. — An Alliance Defense Fund allied attorney filed motions with a New Hampshire court Monday asking it to reconsider and stay its decision to order a 10-year-old home-schooled girl into a government-run school in Meredith.

Although the marital master making recommendations to the court agreed the child is “well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising, and intellectually at or superior to grade level” and that “it is clear that the home schooling…has more than kept up with the academic requirements of the…public school system,” he nonetheless proposed that the Christian girl be ordered into a government-run school after considering “the impact of [her religious] beliefs on her interaction with others.”  The court approved the order.

“Parents have a fundamental right to make educational choices for their children.  In this case specifically, the court is illegitimately altering a method of education that the court itself admits is working,” said ADF-allied attorney John Anthony Simmons of Hampton.  “The court is essentially saying that the evidence shows that, socially and academically, this girl is doing great, but her religious beliefs are a bit too sincerely held and must be sifted, tested by, and mixed among other worldviews.  This is a step too far for any court to take.”

The parents of the child divorced in 1999.  The mother has home-schooled their daughter since first grade with curriculum that meets all state review standards.  In addition to home schooling, the girl attends supplemental public school classes and has also been involved in a variety of extra-curricular sports activities.

In the process of renegotiating the terms of a parenting plan for the girl, the guardian ad litem involved in the case concluded, according to the court order, that the girl “appeared to reflect her mother’s rigidity on questions of faith” and that the girl’s interests “would be best served by exposure to a public school setting” and “different points of view at a time when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief…in order to select, as a young adult, which of those systems will best suit her own needs.”

Marital Master Michael Garner reasoned that the girl’s “vigorous defense of her religious beliefs to [her] counselor suggests strongly that she has not had the opportunity to seriously consider any other point of view” and then recommended that the girl be ordered to enroll in a government school instead of being home-schooled.  Judge Lucinda V. Sadler approved the recommendation and issued the order on July 14.

“The New Hampshire Supreme Court itself has specifically declared, ‘Home education is an enduring American tradition and right…,’” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Mike Johnson.  “There is clearly and without question no legitimate legal basis for the court’s decision, and we trust it will reconsider its conclusions.”

Simmons filed his motions and supporting brief in the case In the Matter of Kurowski and Kurowski (Voydatch) with the Family Division of the Judicial Court for Belknap County in Laconia.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.  Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

www.adfmedia.org

Note: Facts in ADF news releases are verified prior to publication but may change over time. Members of the media are encouraged to contact ADF for the latest information on this matter.

Thank God for the ADF. Who else would be able to fight cases like this which infringe on our religious and parental freedoms?

Posted in Law & Politics, News Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,