NEW EMAIL PROGRAM IN THE WORKS.
As many of you know, my present email program sometimes sends out multiple newsletters. Add the annoying fact that it arbitrarily dumped 1700 email addresses from the 10,000+ list and it is time to get a new program. So, please be patient with me as I work through installing and testing a new email program on my server.
DEBATES, DEBATES, DEBATES
This past Sunday I had a three-hour debate with a Muslim on "Was Jesus Crucified?" Now, you might think that this would be a short debate since the Bible tells us clearly that Jesus was crucified. Well, it isn't that simple.
Muslims are taught that Jesus was not crucified. Therefore, no matter what evidence you present in the Bible to support Jesus' crucifixion, the Muslim will find some way to interpret it so that Jesus was not crucified. When I quoted the verses that said that Jesus was indeed crucified, they were either ignored or the Muslim said the Bible was not trustworthy. This is proof that one's presuppositions affect how facts are interpreted. With the Muslim presupposition that Jesus was not crucified, all evidence to the contrary cannot and will not be believed. In other words, don't bother me with the facts. I will believe what I want to.
One particularly interesting comment that the Muslim made during our debate was that Jesus was not God. This was reminiscent of the previous week's debate. He quoted the verse where Jesus was on the cross when Jesus said, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me" to prove that Jesus was not God. Of course, I explained the fact that Jesus has two natures that Jesus is both God and man (Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; John 1:1,14, etc.) and that this was a quote from the prophetic Psalm 22 which prophesied Jesus' crucifixion. Then, I pointed out that the verse the Muslim had just quoted was what Jesus said while being crucified! I asked the Muslim how he could use a verse where Jesus is on the cross to prove that Jesus is not God while we are debating whether or not Jesus was crucified? It made no sense and the Muslim was caught in a huge inconsistency. What did he do? He ignored it.
This kind of profound inconsistency was repeated in other areas of the debate. But, I can tell you that with over 200 people in the room listening, I preached the gospel several times. Since the word of God will not come back empty without accomplishing what God wants it to (Isaiah 55:11), then the debate was well worth the effort.
I mentioned in the last newsletter that I also had a scheduled debate with a guy on Paltalk (www.paltlak.com) named Teshua. Well, we had our debate and it lasted for three hours. The topic was "Is Jesus God?" Of course, I "won" the debate because the Bible teaches that Jesus is God (Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; John 1:1,14, etc.) -- even though he refused to believe it. Without the Spirit of God, a person cannot understand this spiritual truth (1 Cor. 2:14) that God is our savior, not a created thing. He would not see and could not see this truth. He is lost because of it.
Finally, as far as debates go, I had the radio debate with Sir Anthony Buzzard a professor of theology at a local seminary on the east coast whose great grandfather was a physician to one of the Kings of England. After that impressive bio, they introduced me, Matt Slick. The contrast in names was humorous. The debate was on predestination versus free will. I believe in predestination in the Reformed theological sense and defended it from scripture. Now, this predestination topic is a touchy subject with a lot of people. I am not trying to convince anyone of it except to say, read Ephesians 1 and Romans 8-9 and make up your own mind. But, I was surprised to later find out that Sir Anthony does not believe in the Trinity or the deity of Christ. I recommended to the radio host that Sir Anthony and I debate this one. We will see what happens.
So, there you have it. Things are getting busy and I could use your prayers.
SHORT BIBLE LESSON - YOU BECOME WHAT YOU WANT
What do you want in life? car? house? good job? spouse? kids? etc.... There is nothing wrong with wanting those things -- as long as they do not become more important than Jesus. But what about wanting spiritual things? Do you want a moldable, shapeable, humble, kind, gracious, and loving heart that is ready and willing to be used of the Lord for whatever He would have in store for you? You might say yes, but if you do, read this paragraph again and see how much you really want to be moldable, shapeable....loving, etc. Getting to that place isn't easy. It is one thing to say we want Christian character. It is another to pursue it.
In the garden of Adam and Eve, when the first two humans rebelled against God, they suffered the consequences of their rebellion and the Lord let them have what they wanted. They sinned and hid themselves from God. God let them do this and, surprisingly, He gave them what they asked for. They decided to act independently of God's will and God let them have independence: loss of fellowship with Him. They did not trust in God's way of eternal life (keeping the Law in the garden -- remember, they were sinless at that time) and God let them have the consequences of it: judgment by the law. They covered themselves with their own works (fig leaves) and God let them have what they asked for: hard work in the world. Eve listened to the words of the serpent and for this rebellion was cursed with pain in childbirth. Why? Because as the bearer of life under the arrangement of God covenant, there was no suffering and God's command to multiply and fill the earth (Gen. 1:28) would naturally and easily be fulfilled. But, after sin, the very thing Eve was meant to do, bear life in a perfect world, would then be achieved in an imperfect world with the natural consequence of sin: pain and suffering.
Let's bring it home. We inherited the hearts of our ancient parents. There is in us all a tendency towards rebellion and independence from God. If you seek this independence either on purpose (by willful decision to reject God and/or His truth) or by accident (through actions or inactions not in harmony with God's word), then God will let you have what you want. If you are an atheist who rejects God, He will let you have that rejection and your heart will become more and more atheistic. If you are a Mormon who seeks to become a god, then He will let that desire in your heart grow until it crowds out the humility of standing before the only true God in the universe. If you are a Jehovah's Witness who rejects the Trinity and believes that Jesus is a created thing, then He will allow your mind to grow cold and believe that a created thing can save you from your sins as you cooperate with God to become saved in part through your vain works.
If you were to read Romans 1:18-32, you'd see where the wrath of God's judgment upon the unbelievers is to give them over to the depravity of their hearts and minds. God lets them have what they want. I cannot help but wonder that when we Christians openly rebel against God in some (minor?) way, will God not let us also have what we want? Will He not let us have our little rebellion and the consequences that go along with it? Of course, this cannot mean that we loose our salvation because we have eternal life (John 10:27-28; 1 John 2:19). But, are our hearts not affected by what we do and think and say? Perhaps this is why we are admonished in scripture to "... put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth," (Col. 3:8) and also, we are told "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things," (Phil. 4:8).
I for one, do not want to give way to the pride and selfishness in my heart that have helped to shape me into what I am today. Rather, I want the love, grace, and kindness of God to shape me and not the pride and rebellion of my flesh. How can I do this? I must choose what is good in thought, actions, and deed instead of choosing what is unholy. When I have been wronged and I want to strike out in anger, hopefully I will instead choose to love. When I am discouraged because of my circumstances, perhaps I will choose to have joy. When I am disturbed by a pending problem, may I instead choose to be at peace. When I am tempted to react quickly, may I choose patience. When I am treated unjustly, I will try to choose kindness. When someone is bad to me, perhaps I will show him goodness. When others have not kept their word, I will choose to be faithful. When others are harsh, I will seek to show gentleness. And, when I want something quickly, I will try and show self-control.
It is because of what Jesus has done on the cross for me and Him giving me a new heart that will enable me to live and walk by faith (Hab. 2:4). May He receive the glory.
Gal. 5:22-25 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."
You become what you want. What do you want?
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.
"And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you," (NASB).
Matt Slick, your missionary to the Internet.