I hope that you all had a great holiday 4th (for those of you in the U.S.) and that it was relaxing. Mine certainly was and my kids loved the fireworks.
DEBATES, DEBATES, DEBATES
Sometimes life gets a little busy. Lately, I've been scheduled for several debates on the internet. Three days ago I debated a Muslim on the topic "Is Jesus God?" We were only allowed to use the Bible. The debate was held in paltalk (www.paltalk.com, a free voice chat program that is great). There were over 200 people in the room listening. The Muslim I debated was named Wasam. It lasted three and one half hours. For the most part, the debate went well. He made his assertions and I answered them. He tried to quote many biblical verses that showed Jesus' humanity and tried to establish that they meant Jesus was not God. I answered those verses and quoted additional verses demonstrating the divinity of Christ and repeatedly told him that Jesus has two natures, that He is both divine and human per (Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; John 1:1,14, etc.) (For more info on this go to http://www.carm.org/doctrine/2natures.htm.
After the debate, I left the room and went on to another for further discussions on Christianity on paltalk. Several people then sent me messages that the Muslims were claiming victory in the debate. Of course, this is to be expected. But, what is sad is that Wasam did not win the debate. If anything he failed to answer my questions and support for Jesus' deity. I answered most every single objection he raised along with the numerous verses he quoted. He respond to only two verses I raised (John 1:1; John 5:18) in the 3.5 hours and even then he barely addressed them. He also completely ignored the numerous other verses I quoted demonstrating the deity of Christ (Exodus 3:14 with John 8:24 and 8:58; John 20:28; Heb. 1:6-8; Matt. 2:2,11; 14:33; 28:9; John 9:35-38, etc.). Even after telling him an answer to an argument, he would continue with that argument. For example, when he said that Jesus could not be God because Jesus said that only God is good (Matt. 19:16-17), I told him that Jesus was not denying that He was God by saying that only God is good, but that He was asking someone "Why are you calling me good? Only God is good." In other words, was Jesus good? Of course He was. I asked Wasam to tell me if Jesus was good or not. He simply ignored the question and went on to something else. This was typical throughout the debate.
Furthermore, whenever he would quote a verse, a Muslim would post that verse in the text chat area. Whenever I quoted a verse, no such courtesy was offered. In fact, when I asked if they would post verses that I had quoted, nothing happened. Nevertheless, I kept answering his objections and supporting the deity of Christ with numerous scriptures, which he routinely ignored. I showed a gentlemanly attitude and even preached the gospel several times. For that I am grateful. After the debate, we had a question and answer period from the listeners where we were restricted to no more than 3 minute timed responses. Of course, when I answered questions, I was timed and signaled when my 3 minutes was up. When the Muslim was allowed to respond, he repeatedly exceeded the 3 minute limit and was never warned. Need I say that this was a Muslim controlled room?
Such is the situation a Christian is in when he or she debates Muslims on their terms and under their control. But, that is okay. I relish in the opportunity to defend the truth about Jesus, preach the gospel, and refine the skills necessary to answer objections. This Sunday at 3pm on Paltalk in the Arabic section, I have another debate with this Muslim on the crucifixion and whether or not it really happened. It will be more of the same methods from them, but that is okay. May the Lord be glorified and may those who are undecided hear the truth and come to Christ. Please pray for me.
Also, I have a debate tonight, again on Paltalk, on the deity of Christ with a gentleman named Teshua. He denies that Jesus is God in flesh, believes he is a created thing, and, of course, denies the Trinity. The debate is for 6pm California time in the Christianity section of paltalk.
I will be involved in a radio debate soon on predestination and free will. I will take the predestination side. This is soon to be arranged since the previous scheduled debate we had was postponed due to technical difficulties.
In addition, I've been challenged to a debate by an atheist on "Is Atheism true?" which will occur on the CARM discussion boards in the debate 1 forum. Also, I've been challenged to another debate to be held on Paltalk on the subject "Is baptism necessary for salvation?" Of course, I will be taking the position that it is not necessary to do in order to be saved.
So, there you have it. Things are heating up and I could use your prayers.
MORMONISM RESEARCH MINISTRY
I thought I would plug a friend's website at www.mrm.org. It is run by Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson. Both are godly people who work very hard to expose the errors of Mormonism. Bill and I had lunch last week and we blabbed about Mormonism and his trips to Mormon Temple openings where he passes out literature to visitors. Lord willing, if I get full time in CARM, I will be able to join him doing this on those occasions when the Mormons gather to try and get the unsuspecting into their unchristian religion.
So, please stop by the site and check it out. It is worth it.
NEW CARM CONVENTIONS
Since the success of the first annual CARM Convention in Colleyville, Texas, other churches have expressed interest in doing the same thing. We have a tentative date set for August of 2003 in Minnesota. A church in Arizona is inquiring and we are looking at trying to get one in Austin Texas as well. Of course, we have the next years CC in Colleyville again (that is definite). Hopefully, I'll also be able to get one going here in the San Diego area later this year or early next. It is all in the preliminary stages, but it is exciting.
SHORT BIBLE LESSON - A CALL TO FELLOWSHIP
Why did God create us? This is a deep question and theologians have been discussing it for centuries. Let me throw in my two cents worth. Now, I suspect that there are many reasons why God created us: for His glory, to have people to love, to demonstrate His greatness, etc., and I am sure they are all true. But, there is another one that I want to focus on: Fellowship.
1 Cor. 1:9, "God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord," (NASB). In Greek, the word "fellowship," is "koinonia." It is also translated as "communion." God wants to have an intimate communion, a close fellowship with us. Remember the garden of Adam and Eve and when they sinned? Who hid themselves? Adam and Eve. Who went looking for who? It was God looking for them. After the expulsion from the garden, after the flood, and at the time of the Exouds, God says to the people, "And let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them." Again, who is seeking to dwell with who? It is God seeking man. Take a look at John 1:1, 14 which says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." The word "dwelt" is the Greek "skano-o" and it also means to tabernacle, to tent, to dwell among. Again, it is the Lord who is seeking us, who is dwelling among us. Of course, we see that we are the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16) and this signifies that the Lord is in us and with us.
All this simply tells us that God is a God of fellowship, that He desires to have people to be with and to love. God is love (1 John 4:8) and the nature of love is to give (John 3:16). God desires that we have an intimate relationship with us through His Son, Jesus.
Do you have that intimacy with Jesus? Do you spend time with Him talking to Him? Do you seek the relationship and fellowship with God that He desires and has manifested throughout history -- especially in the cross?
Seek Jesus. Have fellowship with Him. It is what God wants.
I will be working harder to bring CARM to full time status this year. My goal is to visit different churches and make proposals to various people hoping to raise the commitment to support CARM. If you could help by sparing a $5 monthly deduction from your credit card, then please check out the donations page at http://www.carm.org/goods/donations.htm. If enough people signed up for just $5 a month, I could do this full time and start to work on getting a staff. It is slowly working. Please seriously consider this.
PLEASE VISIT THE CARM HOMEPAGE
CARM is approaching the 2 million mark for visitors on the Home Page at http://www.carm.org. Right now, there have been 1,927,000 visitors and because of the summer slowdown, the visitors have slowed to about 17,500 a week. Therefore, in about four weeks CARM will hit the 2 million mark. Praise God for his Grace in blessing this ministry.
GOT A SUGGESTION FOR CARM OR THIS NEWSLETTER?
If you have suggestions for what you would like to see in this newsletter or for CARM, please return e-mail me and let me know.
VERSE OF THE WEEK.
1 John 1:3-4
"what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete," (NASB).
Matt Slick, your missionary to the Internet.