10 Quotes From “#Truth”

Josh McDowell has a book that is perfect for this generation of youth. #Truth is a 365-day devotional that brings biblical truth to bear on the issues today’s students face every day. You can check out my full book review of #Truth by clicking here. Below are a handful of quotes that caught my attention.

“All healthy relationships require a willingness to be known and have things pointed out so that all offenses can be addressed.”

“If a person is unwilling to forgive others, it’s a clear sign he or she hasn’t really experienced God’s mercy and grace. When people refuse to forgive those who wronged them, God knows that any confession of their own sins is less than genuine and sincere. How could anyone who truly experiences God’s amazing grace of forgiveness not also give mercy and grace to others?”

“Jesus died and rose again so that you could be set free from sin and death and enjoy the benefits of spiritual freedom. That freedom is not a license to live however you want to live, but to live as God meant you to live.” 

“Don’t believe the lie that you are alone and no one cares. Since Christ sees you as a member of His body, accept this as your new reality and realize that you are always wanted and very much needed.”

“Jesus too had a totally different view of this world than those around Him. … Because you have accepted Jesus as the Truth and follow Him, you too see the world differently. You see the world through a spiritual lens that makes you sort of like an alien.”

“Jesus’ Kingdom message is a whole new way to see God, yourself, life, and relationships. It is a view of the world defined by Jesus and His Word. … Loving God and making Him the first priority in your life develops a Kingdom mindset that brings everything into perspective—love God and those around you as you love yourself [Matthew 22:37-39].”

“This life is short in comparison to eternity, and God wants your thoughts to include Him and make His Kingdom a priority in your life. … Letting heaven fill your thoughts is about keeping Jesus first in your life.”

“Only those who have been made alive to God and have His Spirit can listen and understand the spiritual insights of Scripture.”

“When you read from the Bible you are reading God’s words as if He were writing them for you. … Scripture is a supernatural book that has come from God Himself.”

“Jesus felt misunderstood. He spent years telling His followers who He was and why He came to earth. ‘But they didn’t understand any of this…and they failed to grasp what He was talking about’ (Luke 18:34). Because Jesus faced misunderstanding He is able to identify with your hurt and give you the help you need when you need it.”

Can We Really Know If The Bible Is God’s Word?

inspired-scriptureHave you ever been stumped by someone’s argument against Christianity or the Bible? Has anyone ever made fun of you because the Bible sounds like a fairy tale? Over 100 years ago Oswald Chambers described how our post-Christian world was beginning to treat Christianity and the Bible on which it’s based—

“We have made ambition and competition the very essence of civilized life. No wonder there is no room for Jesus Christ, and no room for the Bible. We are all so scientifically orthodox nowadays, so materialistic and certain that rationalism is the basis of things, that we make the Bible out to be the most revolutionary, unorthodox and heretical of books.”

It’s that “rationalism” that we need to address. We need to ask scoffers and seekers alike, “What makes you so sure of your beliefs? How did you come to that conclusion?”

Every human being exercises some sort of faith—that the chair will hold them when they sit down, that their spouse will honor their marriage vows, and that their worldview is correct. We need to explore what kind of faith they (and we) have:

  • Unreasonable faith—believing in something in spite of the evidence.
  • Blind faith—believing in something without any evidence.
  • Reasonable faith—believing in something because of the evidence.

I want to show evidence that makes it reasonable to believe in the Bible.

Empirical evidence—

  1. The bibliographical test: determining whether the text of the historical record has been transmitted accurately.

Josh McDowell states, “No other work in all literature has been so carefully and accurately copied as the Old Testament.” He can make this claim because the profession of “scribe” was one of the most professional and exacting of all professions. The rigorous standards employed to prove the accuracy of a copy of a biblical manuscript was higher than for any other literature.

Most of our modern-day Bibles are based on a 1000-year-old manuscript. But after the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered, we found biblical manuscripts going back to 250 B.C. that confirmed the accuracy of the manuscripts we already had. This led Dr. Peter Flint to conclude: “The biblical Dead Sea Scrolls are up to 1,250 years older than the traditional Hebrew Bible, the Masoretic text. We have been using a one-thousand-year-old manuscript to make our Bibles. We’ve now got scrolls going back to 250 BC. … Our conclusion is simply this—the scrolls confirm the accuracy of the biblical text by 99 percent.

manuscript-evidenceThen regarding the New Testament, Josh McDowell says, “I believe there is more evidence for the reliability of the New Testament than for any other ten pieces of classical literature put together.” Check out this chart reproduced from McDowell’s book God-Breathed to see by comparison to other literature, how close in dating the earliest biblical manuscripts are, and how many of those manuscripts have been discovered!

2.  The external evidence test: determining whether the historical record has been verified or affirmed by data outside of itself.

Over one-fourth of the Bible is prophetic, and two-thirds of its prophesies have already been fulfilled. For example, 700 years before His birth, the city in which Jesus was to be born was identified by a man named Micah.

Time and time again archeologists discover articles that verify the claims in the Bible. This led archeologist Nelson Glueck to conclude, “It may be stated categorically that no archeological discovery has ever controverted a single biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible.”

3.  The internal evidence test: determining how of the historical record stands up to the test of internal validity.

The Bible was written by 45 different authors, over a span of 1500 years, on 3 different continents, and in 3 different languages. Yet there are no contradictions!

Anecdotal evidence—

  1. Changed lives. My life is one that has been amazingly impacted by the God of the Bible, as was a man named Saul, who had a total about-face after encountering Jesus. As a result, Christianity was spread far and fast through his writings and world travels.

2.  Changed societies. Wherever the Christian faith of the Bible has been put into practice, societies improve. Leonard Sweet notes—

“Before Christianity, there were cults that practiced all sorts of human sacrifice as well as self-mutilation and self-castration. Before Christianity, the weak were despised, the poor maligned, the handicapped abandoned. Before Christianity, infanticide was rampant, slavery run-of-the-mill, and gladiatorial combat a form of entertainment. In Jesus’ day, Corinth was famous for its temple prostitutes, continuing a long-standing tradition symbolized by the Corinthian athlete Xenophon.… Aristotle…not only condoned institutionalized slavery but provided an elaborate argument in favor of it. As if that weren’t enough, Aristotle called man ‘begotten’ and woman ‘misbegotten,’ and because a woman’s reasoning was ‘without authority’ accepted no female students.

“Only Jesus and His followers known as the church insisted on the concept of human dignity and the value of every human soul. Only the church built hospitals and took care of the abandoned and disabled. Only the church celebrated charity and selflessness as the highest virtue and elevated the status of women.”

Is all of this “proof positive” that the Bible is God’s Word? No, it’s not. But I think the evidence is compelling enough that it is certainly reasonable to reach this conclusion.

Here are some great application questions from this lesson:

  1. Other than because it says so in the Bible, how do I know that it is God’s Word?
  2. How can I let the Bible “thoroughly equip” me (2 Timothy 3:14-17)?  
  3. Is my worldview pragmatic or biblical? Does it really make a difference?

The Shadow Of An Agony (book review)

the-shadow-of-an-agonyWhat happens when all of your perfect plans, all of your neat and tidy ideas, come crashing down around you because of a tragedy? This is the topic Oswald Chambers took on in his book The Shadow Of An Agony when The Great War (or what we now call World War I) was ravaging the nations.

Many people have had their worldviews rocked because a tragedy hit them out of nowhere. What then? Do you throw out all you have believed was true? Oswald Chambers explorers this topic in depth in this book, and comes to the conclusion that these shaking events should send us back to the foundation of the Bible.

For example, Chambers says, “In the past the error of the Christian faith was that it paid no attention to a man’s actual life; it simply used human beings and made them catspaws for a religious line of things. The present error is that humanity utilizes Christianity; if Jesus Christ does not coincide with our line of things, we toss Him overboard; Humanity is on the throne. In the New Testament the point of view is God and Man in union.”

Throughout this book you will see that Jesus Christ stepped into our agony to make a way for us to go through it as more than conquerors.

In commenting on The Shadow Of An Agony, Samuel M. Zwemer said, “Oswald Chambers points out that because Jesus Christ is so like unto His brethren we can face this turmoil and stress, and stand with Him in the shadow of a great agony, undiscouraged and unafraid.”

And Pastor Walter H. Armstrong noted, “This book deals with root or rock principles. It comes, not from the surface, but ‘out of the depths.’ It is the work of a great brain and a great heart. It does not shirk the problems of life, but it looks them straight in the face. Over against the tragedy of sin and suffering it brings us to the tragedy of the Cross of Christ.”

If you are walking through a difficult time in your life, the insights Oswald Chambers shares in this book may be just the lifeline you’re looking for. This is also an excellent book to read to prepare yourself for any tragedies which may be lurking around the corner. Don’t get caught unaware, but use these faith-building thoughts to prepare you to stand firm through the trials of life.

The Beauty Of Intolerance (book review)

Beauty Of IntoleranceOur current culture sets tolerance as a high virtue, so those who exhibit the greatest levels of tolerance are upheld as the model for everyone else. On the other hand, intolerance is an ugly label for anyone to have. So what do you think when you hear that Josh and Sean McDowell have teamed-up to write a book called The Beauty Of Intolerance?

Many times there is a generational clash of worldviews: today’s grandparents and parents tend to hold to viewpoints which many of today’s youth find intolerant, mean, or even bigoted. Does that mean that the older generations are unenlightened, and the younger generations have seen the light? Or does it mean that the younger generations are rebelling, while the older generations are holding the line? Josh and Sean have become the “translators” between these two starkly-different worldviews.

It starts, the McDowells say, with an understanding of the word “tolerance.” It turns out that the this word has taken on a new meaning with younger generations, but that doesn’t mean that the younger generations don’t value what the older generations do. For example, consider a t-shirt that Josh McDowell designed. The front of the shirt says, “Intolerance is a beautiful idea.” But the back of the shirt clarifies this statement by reminding us:

  • Mother Teresa was intolerant of poverty.
  • Bono was intolerant of AIDS.
    Nelson Mandela was intolerant of apartheid.
  • Martin Luther King was intolerant of racism.
  • Jesus was intolerant of bigotry.

It turns out it’s not just the word “tolerance” that needs a tune-up, but also words like “respect,” “dignity,” “acceptance,” “morality” and “truth.” Fortunately for us, The Beauty Of Intolerance leads us through a modern-day understanding of all these terms.

Using true-to-life dialogue between parents and children, Josh and Sean help both generations see how intolerance really is a beautiful thing. The McDowells guide us through conversations we might encounter at home, in school, in the government, at church, and in day-to-day living. They give us the tools necessary to help everyone see that intolerance can be a beautiful thing!

For anyone who wants to speak the truth lovingly and convincingly across generational lines, The Beauty Of Intolerance is a must-read book.

I am a Shiloh Run Press book reviewer.

Links & Quotes

link quote

“Seeking the Kingdom is not an easy road; Jesus did not exaggerate when He used the term ‘violence’ to describe the progress of the Kingdom in this world. Like the Sharks and the Jets in Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, the citizens of the Kingdom of God are engaged in a turf war of cosmic proportions with the citizens of this world and the dark forces that shape their worldview and way of life.” —T.M. Moore

“This vain world is no friend to the principle of the work of grace. If you were of the world the world would love its own, but as you are not of the world but of a heavenly race, you may expect to be treated as an alien and foreigner, no, as a hated and detested foe. All sorts of snares and traps will be laid for you; those who sought to entangle the Master in His speech will not be more lenient towards you.” —Charles Spurgeon

“We do the work, but God works in us the doing of the works.” —Augustine

“One stumble does not define or break a person. Though you failed, God’s love does not.” Read more from Max Lucado’s post: God’s Love Never Fails.

Dr. Ben Carson has a great question for those who support abortion.

The importance of local elections: Ask not who’s running for president, ask who’s running for your local school board.

Eric Metaxas challenges us to see ourselves how God sees us: Wart Hogs and White Robes.

Parents, check this out: You can’t build heaven here.

12 Quotes From “In Light Of Genetics”

Dr. John SanfordDr. John Sanford’s ebook In Light Of Genetics is fascinating reading. It’s a bit technical in certain places, but I think Dr. Sanford does a good job making the genetic concepts accessible to almost anyone. Check out my book review by clicking here. Below are some quotes from this work.

“Forensic evidence is never conclusive, and so scientific claims about the distant past must always contain an element of belief. The direction of genetic change is down, not up. Humanity is devolving due to mutation.”

“We feel biological similarities between different kinds of life are better explained by a Common Designer than by common descent.”

“We are unique and alone now in the world. There is no other animal species that truly resembles our own. A physical and mental chasm separates us from all other living creatures. There is no other bipedal mammal. No other mammal controls and uses fire, writes books, travels in space, paints portraits, or prays. This not a question of degrees. It is all or nothing; there is no semi-bipedal animal, none that makes only small fires, writes only short sentences, builds only rudimentary spaceships, draws just a little bit, or prays just occasionally.” —Juan Arsuaga, writing in The Neanderthal’s Necklace

“Man is a singular creature. He has a set of gifts which make him unique among the animals: so that, unlike them, he is not a figure in the landscape—he is a shaper of the landscape.” —Jacob Bronowski

“From a genetic point of view, the genes that enable our unique capabilities, gifts, and talents (i.e., science, art, love, relation to God) could not arise by any series of random mutations filtered by natural selection—not in any amount of time. There is no credible mechanism that could lead to spontaneous origin of mind, consciousness, intelligence, soul, or spirit. Indeed, while these human traits are found within a biological context (i.e., within an animal-like body/brain), they clearly transcend mere biology. We are exquisitely programmed to be more than animals, and our bodies are well-designed vessels that house our immaterial being: mind, soul, and spirit.”

“Leading human geneticists agree that in mankind deleterious (bad) mutations are accumulating faster than they are being selected away, and so the human genome is degenerating. … The data are highly consistent. The coefficient of determination (matching the curve to the data) is very high: 0.96. Due to the consistency of the decay rate, we can also rule out the idea that there were hundreds (or thousands) of missing generations that were not recorded. We conclude that the genealogical record must either be complete or very nearly complete. This validation of the genealogical record very powerfully points to the historicity and reliability of the book of Genesis.”

“Mounting evidence shows that natural selection is not a creative force, but is a stabilizing force that helps preserve the various kinds of life (i.e., it culls out the most dysfunctional individuals). It is very clear that natural selection cannot create our genome, let alone our mind and soul. At best, natural selection can only slow down the rate of genetic degeneration. … Because of the great abundance of deleterious mutations and the extreme rarity of beneficial mutations, it is not possible for mankind to achieve a net gain of genetic information.”

“Our latest numerical simulations show that in the type of pre-human population that supposedly gave rise to modern man, billions of years would be required just to create and establish a new genetic text string as small as six or seven letters, such as ‘GTCGCT’ or ‘GAGTTCA.’ Yet such a string would be just a drop in the ocean of new information needed to transform an ape into a man.”

“In the biblical model, humanity begins with Adam and Eve, who descendants rapidly multiply, and then, went through a one-generation bottleneck at the time of the Flood, then the population once again rapidly increased, followed by rapid divergence at the Tower of Babel event, creating today’s people groups.”

“If Adam’s genome was intelligently designed, it would obviously have had a great number of designed genetic variants. Otherwise all people would essentially be clones of Adam and Eve, which would be bad design, for many obvious reasons. … Even though many mutations have accumulated in the genome during human history, it is reasonable to conclude that most observable human genetic variation was created by God. The biblical perspective has unique explanatory power in terms of giving a credible explanation for the amazing range of human traits and abilities. There is no single ‘superior genotype.’ We all have unique sets of gifts and talents, which very reasonably reflect good design, and for which we can give thanks to God.”

“We have statistically analyzed over 800 human mitochondrial sequences and have been able to reconstruct and publish a very close approximation of Eve’s mitochondrial sequence. We found that the average human being is only about 22 mutations removed from the Eve sequence, although some individuals are as much as 100 mutations removed from Eve. Can we account for this amount of mutation in a biblical timeframe? Easily. The most recent estimate of the mutation rate in human mitochondria is about 0.5 per generation. Thus, even for the most mutated sequences, it would only require 200 generations (less than 6,000 years) to accumulate 100 mutations.”

“Now, by God’s grace, we do not have to choose between faith in God’s Word vs. faith in science, we can embrace both. There is now very strong genetic evidence that strongly supports Scripture and refutes evolution.”

In Light Of Genetics (ebook review)

Dr. John SanfordWhen I went to college, I went as a biomedical chemistry major. I began my collegiate education at a Christian liberal arts university, and then transferred to a very secular state university. Ever since that time, I have always been deeply interested in the scientific fields, especially biology. So I was excited to read Dr. John Sanford’s paper In Light Of Genetics: Adam, Eve and the Creation/Fall.

In my Christian education experience, the scale was slightly weighted in favor of a biblical view of Creation. In my state university experience, the scale was overwhelming tipped toward an evolutionary paradigm. At both universities, I had rather intense conversations with my professors and classmates about hard science viewed through a biblical paradigm. Dr. Sanford’s paper was an encouraging study to read because of its balance between science and the Bible.

You can read Dr. Sanford’s full paper by clicking here, but here are a few highlights for me:

  • Genetic evidence is pointing more and more toward the biblical description of Creation.
  • The “junk DNA” claim that Darwinists need to support their theories of evolution are being proven invalid.
  • There is clearly a “Mitochondrial Eve” whose DNA sequence is evident in living human beings today.
  • There is also a “Y Chromosome Adam” whose DNA sequence is equally as evident.
  • Molecular clocks point to a young genome for biological life.
  • The Y chromosomal differences between man and chimp are far greater than evolutionist theories predicted.
  • The genetic differences/similarities seen today fit perfectly with the account of the biblical Flood.

For all my geeky science friends, I will post some quotes from this paper soon.

Whether you are a geek or not, this is fascinating reading! I encourage my friends who hold Darwinist views to read this, and then let’s talk. I also encourage my Creationist friends to read this too, and use these studies to strengthen your apologetics.

Read more about Dr. Sanford and his work here.

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