Archive for the ‘wisdom’ Category


This is reposted from carm.org, a valuable resource for parents and students alike! For more on the article follow the link to their site!
Logic in Apologetics
by Matt Slick

Logic is typically very important in apologetics. To defend the faith, the Christian must use truth, facts, and reason appropriately and prayerfully. The Christian should listen to objections and make cogent and rational comments in direct response to the issues raised.

Logic is simply a tool in the arsenal of Christian apologetics. Logic is a system of reasoning. It is the principle of proper thinking used to arrive at correct conclusions. Of course, some people are better at thinking logically than others, and there is no guarantee that using logic to the best of one’s ability will bring about the conversion of anyone. After all, logic is not what saves a person. Jesus does that, and we are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1).

Therefore, the proper use of logic in apologetics is to remove intellectual barriers that hinder a person from accepting Jesus as Savior. Logic is not to be looked at as the answer to every problem facing Christianity nor every objection raised against it. Logic has its limits. It cannot guarantee wisdom. It cannot prove or disprove inspiration or love. It cannot replace the intuition gained through experience, the prompting of the Holy Spirit, nor the clear truth of God’s word. Nevertheless, logic is still very valuable and can be quite powerfully used by people, both saved and unsaved.

Advertisements

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:13-18

When my four children were preschoolers, they bickered constantly, I could hear their voices quickly rising in the playroom and I knew the inevitable, “Mmmmmoooooommmmm!!!” would soon follow. With the authority of parenting comes the responsibility of administering justice and offering wise counsel. Why me? Why don’t they take their grievances to one of their little friends? We all instinctively call upon those we know to be wise and understanding to settle our differences especially children.

It takes wisdom and self-control to bridle my own anger and patiently bear the anger of others. Who is wise and understanding among you? Are you the woman others go to for council? With maturity in Christ comes great responsibility. Not only do your friends and family draw on your wisdom, but the community is watching how you live your life and drawing conclusions about your God from what they observe. Knowledge of Christ is born of wisdom from heaven which qualifies you to enter into the King’s service. Let your prayer today be that your life demonstrates that wisdom so that in humility you will serve Him well.

This is a response to a “God Question” from a friend. I hope you are blessed as we examine scripture together.

#2) Does anyone know the scripture reference that says “God does not bring a desire to your heart that he will not fulfill”

This is a teaching that has emerged from Psalm 20:4 “May he give you the desire of our heart and make all your plans succeed.” An honest look at the context reveals that the promise you quoted is not supported by the text. The text does not say anything about God creating desires in someone heart. We must be very careful not to spiritualize the text such that we apply a meaning that was never intended lest we embrace a false teaching and miss the intended blessing.

This Psalm is a prayer for Israel’s king when he is called to defend himself and the nation in battle. And insomuch as David is a typecast for Christ we are justified in extending the application of the meaning to the church and the triumph of our Savior over his enemies. Setting the stage for this text we see that the king has been called into battle, that a prayer or song is composed to be presented at a sanctuary service on his behalf. After sacrifices were offered and accepted by God, the Levites (singers) and the congregation would join in the prayer of supplication for the king before he left for battle.

In applying this text to the church, it is the duty of all believers to gather together and intercede for the interests of Kingdom. We all experience distress and appeal to the power of our loving Father to protect us, rescue us and help us overcome the enemy whomever or whatever that may be. A final note, a man’s desires reveal his character. If a man loves the Lord, then his desires will reveal it. Righteous desires are always in agreement with God’s will as revealed in His Word, so we can be confident that when we contend for the faith, success is inevitable.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:14

The errant teaching occurs when we make man the center of scripture; for instance, some teach that if I have a desire, because I am a Christian and I claim that “God gave me this desire”, God will make it happen. We all have evil and righteous desires, believers included. Am I to assume that because I claim the blood of Christ that God can be manipulated to achieve my will?! Of course not! God does not serve us, it is the other way around! Secondly, how do you know that God gave you that desire? Our faith is not based on arbitrary indulgences; we have an objective standard by which we can determine truth. The degree to which we know God and surrender to His will as revealed in Scripture, is the degree to which we will experience victory in our lives.

The next two posts are a couple of “God questions” from a friend. I hope that you are blessed as we examine scripture together.

#1) In the book of Matthew when Jesus is performing his miracles why does he always tell whoever

he healed, “See that you do not tell anyone”. He says that a few times in Matthew and Mark.

But other times he does not say that.

 A word of warning is in order when we are seeking to determine what someone was thinking when he said or wrote something. We need to be very cautious in drawing conclusions about the meaning of a text when the meaning is not clear. In particular, assuming someone’s motives without proper sufficient evidence is not beneficial and can lead too errant conclusions. That being said let’s examine whether we can determine a motive from the context of these verses without superimposing false presuppositions.

 Jesus proclaimed the gospel openly, but when he was met with resistance he resorted to teaching in hard to understand parables. Then he would reveal the deeper meaning to those who believed. As you pointed out, Jesus tried unsuccessfully to keep his presence a secret. This is characteristic of a humble servant not to draw attention to himself, but to the Master. Matt. 12:16-21 quotes Isaiah 42:1-4 and gives us a better understanding as to the character revealed by Jesus’ actions and perhaps his motive.

 16 warning them not to tell who he was. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

18    “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,

the one I love, in whom I delight;

I will put my Spirit on him,

and he will proclaim justice to the nations.

19    He will not quarrel or cry out;

no one will hear his voice in the streets.

20    A bruised reed he will not break,

and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,

till he leads justice to victory.

21       In his name the nations will put their hope.”

 And again in Mark 8:27-33 Jesus gives a reason for his secrecy.

 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

28            They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”

29            “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”

30            Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

31          He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

33            But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

34            Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

 Unveiling Jesus’ identity as the Messiah initiated the unveiling of his destiny to die on the cross. It was the death of Christ that the church is to embrace and that Peter rejected. Believers comprehend the salvation of the cross and resurrection which was Jesus’ destiny and purpose, unbelievers however consider the cross an offense.

 “The secret of the kingdom has been given to you.” Mk 4:11

“What is truth?” –Pontius Pilate (~33BC)

Ideas have consequences. It only takes a brief scan of the front page of your local paper or a 60 second sound bite on CNN to confirm this reality. What determines whether our beliefs have ultimately positive or negative consequences? Could it be whether or not our beliefs correspond with reality?

As my children grew older, their insatiable desire for answers grew with their stature. I recalled at 8 years old my own persistent questions drove my mother to schedule weekly sessions for me with the pastor so I could quiz him… and give her a break. The sad thing was that he was ill equipped to answer my simplest questions. “Who made God? How do we know God is real? Why does God send people to hell who never heard of Him?” What is even more tragic is that 30 years later as my children began to ask these same questions, I realized that the church was still grossly ill-equipped to grapple with these issues. So where is a mother to go to find the answers?

 My journey to find answers led me to a study of Christian apologetics and I in turn invested that knowledge into my children. But I am still grieved by the failure of the church to equip members to defend their faith and give a reason for the hope they have. I think things are changing with the emergence of wise men and women welcoming challenges to their faith on the public stage. Conferences are popping up all over the country to educate and equip the faithful, but do conferences effect real change especially for women?

I know that for me as an external student separated from the camaraderie of my peers, my motivation is challenged in the absence of community. Conferences are good for me in that I can mingle with like minded people who are as passionate about equipping the church as I am. But that connection soon fades as everyone goes about the business of building the Kingdom. We are each islands to ourselves, lacking unity and ultimately effecting little change. One challenge I hear repeated by those in the field of apologetics is that it is an uphill battle, not for the faint of heart. But what if we all banned together creating a unified network focused on meeting the challenge at the grass roots level?

 The effort to equip the church with the tools to defend the faith has up to now been largely a top to bottom effort. We offer conferences, write books, speak to large audiences to get the information in the hands of the church, but is real discipleship accomplished in mass or in person? If those involved in the Christian Apologetics movement are really serious about equipping mothers raising up the next generation, they needs to offer community and one-on-one (or one-on-few) discipleship. When the church successfully equips moms such that they know what they believe and why, then our children will have a faith built on rock.

 The latest studies are showing that children raised in Christian homes are not losing their faith in college as previously believed; they are losing their faith in 7th and 8th grade when they are still in our homes. Our children need to know that the Christian faith corresponds with reality so that, when they do leave our homes, they know what they believe and why. It is the mother who speaks truth into her children everyday who will one day see her children “rise up and call her blessed.” Proverbs 31:28  When the women of the church are well prepared to answer the tough challenges to their faith, we can change the world.