Big Ol’ Catholic Billboard

billboard2 I took this picture today in Pueblo, Colorado. They also bought the other side of the billboard and it has a different message.

The thing that is just so painfully obvious to me is that Catholics do, in fact, worship Mary. Talking to someone who is dead, and expecting them to be able to help you, seems a lot like worship to me. I realize they don’t think of Mary as God or a god, but they think she can hear millions of prayers at once, and she can at least attempt to persuade her Son to do something.

While it’s obvious to me that they’re attributing abilities to Mary that belong only to God, and that prayer is an act of worship to be reserved for God alone, I’ll just quote a couple of standard Catholic prayers to Mary, and everyone can decide for themselves.

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

Morning Consecration to Mary
My Queen, My Mother, I offer
myself entirely to thee.
And to show my devotion to thee,
I offer thee this day, my eyes,
my ears, my mouth, my heart,
my whole being without reserve.
Wherefore, good Mother,
as I am thine own, keep me,
guard me as thy property and possession.

Ergun Caner Cover-Up

Each time this comes up, I’m surprised by how many people haven’t heard about it. I don’t think it’s been discussed on Defending Contending, so I think it must be pointed out.

Ergun Caner has been exposed as having embellished his resume in years past, and there is ample, irrefutable evidence of these lies. Rather than just admitting the obvious and apologizing, Caner is attempting to hide the evidence.

A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. (Matt 7:18)

A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. (Matt 7:18)

We wouldn’t hesitate to point out the lies of a Muslim. We would expect Muslims to point out a prominent Muslim’s lies, and call for him to step down from his position. How can we, as Christians, do anything less than we would expect of Muslims? We should be all the more anxious to stand for the truth.

None of us want a prominent evangelical to be caught in immorality. But, if they’re unrepentant, we need to point out that they are in sin, and may not even be Christian. How can a true Christian be unrepentant for so many years? Caner needs to be removed from the evangelical talk show circuit, which has yet to happen.

To find more specific information, check out these items:

YouTube Joins in the Great Evangelical Cover Up

Dividing Line Episode from June 4, 2013

A Lone Voice

I always thought that you would have to be old to look back over your life and see substantial cultural change. But now, we have seen a major cultural change over the last few years.

In 1991, Magic Johnson was diagnosed with HIV. Isaiah Thomas began to question whether Magic was a homosexual. In 1991, it was obvious why Magic Johnson would have been offended that his friend was questioning whether he was homosexual. I seriously doubt articles were written rebuking him. For the vast majority of men around in the 1990s, having someone doubt that you were 100% heterosexual was very offensive.

But sports writers today don’t see it that way. For example, this guy says:

It doesn’t matter how you got [HIV]. It doesn’t matter if some people thought you were gay, because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being gay. It’s as ridiculous as freaking out over whether or not people think you’re secretly left-handed.

Today, the big sports news is that Jason Collins announced he’s homosexual. He plays for the Boston Celtics. We are being assaulted with sports writers and newspapers falling all over themselves to applaud Jason Collins.

There is one exception to the deluge of accolades Collins is receiving. Chris Broussard had this to say on ESPN:

I think he did a great job answering the question.

As seemingly uniform as the honor Collins is receiving is the disdain Broussard is receiving.

For example, ESPN says, “We regret that a respectful discussion of personal viewpoints became a distraction from today’s news. ESPN is fully committed to diversity and welcomes Jason Collins’ announcement.”

It seems they’re not as excited about the diversity that Broussard brings. Some of those who pride themselves on their tolerance of perversion, cannot find it in themselves to tolerate Christianity, and are calling for Broussard’s career as an NBA commentator to be ended. This obvious inconsistency is because we all have a God-given conscience, and when Broussard calls sin a sin, he’s hitting the raw nerve that we all have–our conscience. For those who hate God, that is just too much to deal with, so they lash out at the messenger.

I doubt Broussard thought about whether he was putting his career at risk. Will those of us who do have the opportunity to think about what we’ll say choose career suicide and possible poverty or will we deny Christ and the truth? I think that we will all have to make that decision as the culture becomes more evil, but we should all make it today if we haven’t already. As for me, I choose Christ.

Matthew 16:26 says, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”

Matthew 10:28 says, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

This Is My Kind of Politician

Check out this story of an evangelical preacher who ran for president of Ecuador. He definitely doesn’t pull any punches. He has allegedly said:

  • He believes homosexual behavior is “immoral” and that it is a “severe deviation of conduct.”
  • Homosexuals are sinners.
  • The judge’s ruling against him was “contrary to the law of God.”
  • “[Those that]  judge me, they will be judged. They don’t have interference in heaven.”
  • “One day God will judge everything, and be prepared to explain to God why you called evil good, and good evil.”

He has been fined $3000, and banned from politics for one year for what he has said. I can’t imagine any American politician at any level saying such things. ecuador-mapI’m saddened that there are such blatant limitations on free speech in Ecuador, although I have to admit to a gross ignorance of their legal system.

While I’ve grown more and more pessimistic about America’s moral condition, I know that we Americans still enjoy great freedom of speech. The question is do we take a bold stand while we have the freedom to, or do we hide in the corner even though we don’t face a trial and fines like our Ecuadorean brothers?

Abortion Ministry

catholicsI took this picture—of about 50 Catholics and their priest performing mass—last Friday while standing on the sidewalk near the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood. The clinic performs abortions on Thursdays and Fridays (aided in part by any American who pays taxes). This was the first time I’d been to an abortion clinic.

Colorado Springs is sometimes referred to as the Mecca of Christianity. There are many Christian organizations headquartered there, such as Focus on the Family. However, only three evangelicals showed up to plead for the lives of the unborn and to proclaim the law and the gospel to those who were there to murder their children.

The woman who was the de facto leader of the Christian contingent has been doing abortion ministry for five weeks, and had to bring her 15 month old son. I’m very grateful to her for what she’s doing, but it’s indicative of the state of the church that the most experienced person there is brand new. I’m not at all surprised that so few evangelicals show up, but I am ashamed.

The same sad state of affairs seems to be the case (in my experience) in any type of evangelism. Those of us who wish to proclaim the gospel are told that we’re not doing it right while the critics don’t do anything.

The reason there are 50 Catholics there is because the priest was there. People follow their leader. Christian pastors don’t go out witnessing, so Christians don’t go out witnessing. It seems that very few of us really do anything.

I don’t mean to come off sounding bitter. I came to grips with this situation long ago. I’m merely pointing out the issues. But I’ve been thinking about how abortion ministry might be best done. After going once, I’m clearly not qualified to say anything, my few hours of experience now ranks me among the top 1% of American Christians.

It seems to me that there is a normal way to present the law and the gospel in most situations, and that’s what we should all be doing, and should be getting very good at. If you have that ability, you’re 95% prepared to witness at a gay pride parade, to a bar crowd or at an abortion clinic, because it’s all about the gospel.

Those of us thinking about trying something new may be hoping to find a qualified Christian leader to show us the ropes, but that may not happen. We don’t have the luxury of waiting for our pastors to lead us to do something. We are commanded to expose unfruitful works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11) even if we have to figure it out with just other laymen and the Bible.

Seven Reasons America Hasn’t Been Reached for Christ

Greg Stier wrote an article giving seven reasons why America hasn’t been reached for Christ. It’s an astounding thought that maybe America hasn’t been reached for Christ. There are so many Christians here. But, if you talk to 10 unbelievers I’d estimate that four of them wouldn’t know why Jesus died on the cross. Probably all 10 of them would know that Jesus did die on the cross, but that’s a far cry from possessing a clear understanding of the gospel.

I agree with Stier’s seven reasons (for the most part), and I thought I’d add a little to them.

1. We have outsourced the work of evangelism.

Stiers’ example of this is big events such as Billy Graham crusades. But my church does relatively small events where we’re supposed to invite the unsaved and someone will present the gospel at some point. Ray Comfort points out that this is like police throwing a party at the jail and inviting the criminals, so they don’t have to go out and catch the criminals. This is not only unbiblical, but it leaves evangelism to the one person who speaks. No one else has to present the gospel to anyone. And it’s way more work and more money to try to throw a big party than just walking up to someone and talking to them.

2. We have lost our sense of urgency.

Stiers says that hell has been taken out of the equation by some Christians. I guess this would be the only point I’m not really seeing eye to eye with Stiers on. The Christians I know certainly believe in hell. And for me, while not wanting people to go to hell is a motivation, a bigger motivation is a desire to obey and glorify the Lord. We should evangelize out of obedience, and leave the results to Him.

3. We are ashamed of the gospel.

Steirs says, “I believe that many Christians are secretly ashamed of this catalytic ‘narrow minded’ message.” Over the years, I’ve put a lot of thought into why Christians don’t share the gospel, and I’ve always held out hope that this wasn’t the issue. Recently I’m beginning to think this is the main issue. Christians, just like everyone else, want people to like them. That’s fine to a certain extent, but if we want people to like us more than we want to speak the truth to them, there is a problem.

The proclamation of the gospel is going to lead to problems and controversy in your life. A certain percentage of the people aren’t going to like you or your message. Some people will call the police. Some people will yell at you and mock you. Some will get saved. This is what happened to the apostles, and this is what is should be happening to us.

Besides that, the gospel isn’t something to be ashamed of. It is something that should give us so much joy that it overflows into telling others the good news. If you’re worried about people disliking you so much that you’re not sharing the gospel, I think that’s cause to question your salvation.

4. Many Christians can’t explain the gospel.

It is pretty clear to me that this is a problem, and Stiers hits the nail on the head with his explanation.

5. Church leaders are not leading the way.

This is pretty clear as well. The way I learned to witness is by tagging along with others who were doing it, until the guy I was with said, “Go talk to the people sitting on that bench.” There is no other way to learn than by doing it.

Don’t you think the “Teaching” part of the Great Commission (commonly known as discipling someone) would involve church leaders showing people how to evangelize? How many pastors are showing people how to witness? How many pastors can witness? Are they unwilling or unable?

6. We have forgotten how to pray.

Stiers says, “When church services spend more time in announcements than intercessory prayer then you know something is broken. If we want to reach every person in this nation with the good news of Jesus we need God to act on our behalf. We need Him to soften hard hearts and open closed doors. We need to pray like we mean it.”

I have to admit this is my weak spot, but I’ve committed to doing better, and praying for God to raise up laborers for the harvest.

7. Churches don’t mobilize their young people to share the gospel.

This is Stiers’ ministry—training and motivating teens to share the gospel. I like witnessing to young people (about ages 16-30) most of all. First of all, they are in less of a hurry to get where they’re going–they’re willing to sit around and talk. It seems, their minds are less made up, and they’re open to discussion.

Stiers finishes with, “It’s time we drop our lame excuses and reach this nation for Jesus Christ. Who’s with me?”

Christmas Parade Witnessing

I was able to go witnessing at the Pueblo, Colorado Christmas parade on Saturday, an event that attracted thousands of people. A friend and I passed out 500 tracts in about 30 minutes, covering only a portion of the parade route and one side of the street.

Among the few conversations I had, one was particularly alarming.

I asked a group of teens what they think happens when they die, and the young lady who spoke up said she would be going to heaven. I asked why she thought that, and she said she was going to heaven because she’s a good person. I specifically asked if we have to be good to go to heaven, and she responded in the affirmative.

This is a pretty typical beginning to a conversation. Most people think they’ll go to heaven because they’re good people. After that, I discussed a few of the Ten Commandments; she admitted to breaking them, and she seemed humbled by the law.
I asked her if she knew what God did so she could have her sins forgiven; she said Jesus died on the cross.

I elaborated on the gospel a little bit. She seemed to agree with everything I said. At the end of the conversation, her brother, who was listening to our conversation, said they were Christians—and that their dad is a pastor.

I didn’t ask what kind of pastor, but I was shocked that the teenage daughter of a pastor could think of herself as a Christian, and still be so confused about why she’s going to heaven.

The sad part is that this conversation, while alarming, isn’t all that abnormal. Many people claim to be Christians, but do not give a proper reason for why they’re going to heaven. It is pretty rare to catch someone who can correctly explain why his or her sins are forgiven.

If there is one thing I want to drum into my little boys, it is what the Bible says about how to get to heaven. It is by the cross of Christ alone, and not by any of our own good deeds.

How many of the people sharing our pews don’t have a proper understanding of why they can go to heaven? It seems to me that pastors aren’t doing a good job of explaining this fundamental truth.

It used to frustrate me that I would discuss the law and the gospel, and at the end of the conversation, find out that this “good” person I had been talking to was a Christian.
I used to think that I should get in the habit of asking people more about their beliefs so that I wouldn’t inadvertently witness to a Christian. But if someone who claims to be a Christian thinks he or she is getting to heaven by being good—even if that individual is genuinely saved—that person needs to hear the law and the gospel.


NOTE: Witnessing at the parade was a great experience. People are happy, friendly and open to talking or accepting tracts. It is a privilege to be able to proclaim the gospel at a Christmas parade where most people are thinking about Santa Claus and decorating their house for the season. It’s a privilege to remind them of the real reason for Christmas.

Feel free to download the Christmas tract I wrote a few years ago (here), and hit your local parade. The tract was inspired in part by “It’s About the Cross,” a song by Go Fish.


A Georgia member of the House of Representatives recently stated that he believes the Bible, and that evolution is false, and the earth is approximately 9000 years old. That’s not controversial as far as I’m concerned.

But since some people think it’s controversial, I appreciate the stand he’s taken. The truth will ultimately win the day, and isn’t determined by popular vote.

Here’s the story from the Washington Post.

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) Georgia Rep. Paul Broun said in videotaped remarks that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are “lies straight from the pit of hell” meant to convince people that they do not need a savior.

The Republican lawmaker made those comments during a speech Sept. 27 at a sportsman’s banquet at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell. Broun, a medical doctor, is running for re-election in November unopposed by Democrats.

“God’s word is true,” Broun said, according to a video posted on the church’s website. “I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

Broun also said that he believes the Earth is about 9,000 years old and that it was made in six days. Those beliefs are held by fundamentalist Christians who believe the creation accounts in the Bible to be literally true.

Broun spokeswoman Meredith Griffanti told the Athens Banner-Herald ( ) that Broun was recorded speaking off-the-record to a church group about his religious beliefs. He sits on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

It seems unlikely that Broun’s remarks were supposed to be kept private. The banquet was advertised, Broun spoke before an audience and the video of his remarks was posted on the church’s website.

Science & Faith: Friends or Foes?

I received an advertisement for a conference where the question “Science & Faith: Friends or Foes?” will be answered—or at least discussed. I don’t know what the speakers will say about it, but I thought it was an interesting question.

The answer is that anyone who puts any stock in science has faith that the future will behave as the past. This is one of the fundamental assumptions on which science is built. When you do an experiment on Tuesday, under the same conditions, you expect the same results on Thursday.

If you try to start your car, and it doesn’t turn over, you wouldn’t assume the laws of physics had changed. You would assume the laws of physics were the same, and that the battery was dead.

Atheists have no good reason for this fundamental assumption. They don’t believe there is someone or something that ensures the laws of the universe will remain constant. Essentially, their faith in science is blind.

Many atheists I’ve spoken with mock Christians for being unscientific. The irony is that they cannot account for why science works.

If you ask an atheist why he or she assumes the future will behave as the past, you won’t get a good answer. Usually, the individual will offer a fallacious answer: The future always has been like the past so it always will look like the past. That is begging the question. If you get him or her to understand this answer is flawed, the atheist will usually say that he or she will continue to trust in science as long as it continues to work. By saying this, he or she admits to being irrational and having no reason for his or her beliefs—taking a blind leap of faith.

Why, then, does science work? What makes the future behave as the past? Christians have an omniscient Being who has revealed to us that He upholds the universe (see Colossians 1:17 and Hebrews 1:3). He maintains order in the world. He is the reason science works.

The ultimate authority for Christians is the God of the Bible; He provides reasonable answers for why the world works. Atheism is bankrupt, because its ultimate authority and assumptions are fallacious. Atheists who love science are being inconsistent with their own worldview, and borrowing from the Christian worldview. Science and the Christian faith are indeed friends.

Giving Themselves Away

At the end of the story, after the student defeats his professor in the debate, it is revealed that the student is Albert Einstein. In actuality, there was probably no such debate, and this certainly isn’t a true story about Albert Einstein.

While it is an interesting tale, I don’t think this is the best answer Christians can offer to the problem of evil.

The objection the professor presented is sometimes known as Epicurean paradox.

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God

To answer the objection above by saying that evil doesn’t really exist rubs me the wrong way. To look in the face of someone who has suffered something terrible and tell them it wasn’t evil—only a lack of good—is something I couldn’t do.

Rather, I would agree with the angry atheist presenting this paradox that evil truly exists. (Note that he didn’t merely state that he dislikes acts such as rape and murder, or that a majority of society dislikes those things, but that there really is evil.)

Next, I would point out that evil cannot exist in his worldview. The existence of evil can only be accounted for if there are moral absolutes—and moral absolutes can only be established by God. If, as an atheist would say, we are merely evolved apes, there shouldn’t be any moral absolutes. Therefore, evil wouldn’t exist if there were no God.

When the atheist presents this objection, he is revealing that he can’t be consistent with his worldview. If he were consistent, all the atheist has to go on is personal taste. But in admitting a firm belief in evil, he is acknowledging that he knows moral absolutes exist and there is a God. He is giving himself away.

Atheists claim the existence of evil all the time. One young lady I spoke with said Christians are evil. I explained to her that in order for evil to exist that God had to have established moral absolutes. She said she believes morality is relative, and each of us can establish our own morality. I think she was being consistent with her atheism at this point. I specifically asked her if it was a sin for someone to violate her moral code, and she said it wasn’t. Mere moments later, she said that the Bible has been translated. (I assume she didn’t mean translated from Greek to English, but some  type of malicious tampering with the manuscripts.) I asked her if it was a sin to “translate” the Bible. At that point she made it abundantly clear she was no longer interested in talking to me.

Ultimately, the solution to the Epicurean paradox is that God has an adequate, moral reason for allowing evil. He may not reveal His reasoning for a specific situation, but ultimately it is for His glory.

What’s the Big Deal?

It is rather shocking to see this man arrested with no warning while reading the Bible in a public place.

Here’s some further explanation from the Advocates for Faith and Freedom website—the lawyers handling the case for the Christians.

Initially, when Mr. Mackey was arrested, the CHP officer stated that it was illegal to “preach to a captive audience.” After the defendants were placed in jail and upon learning that no such penal code prohibits preaching to a “captive audience,”  the officer issued a citation for “impeding an open business” with threats or intimidation under Penal Code Section 602.1(b). However, the district attorney again changed the charges claiming trespass after the government realized the business was not actually open and, presumably, saw the video showing no threats or intimidation.

It’s clear that the arresting officer had never dealt with this type of situation before—and that he has no real understanding of the freedom of speech granted by the First Amendment. He fabricated a charge out of thin air. Perhaps, people believe that this type of activity is illegal, based on the fact that they don’t like it and they may have never seen anyone do it before.

I discussed this with a couple atheists in the comments on this YouTube video. They are biased against anyone preaching about the Bible of course; they also believe these preachers broke the law. They say they support freedom of speech, but they don’t seem to understand that the whole point of the First Amendment is to protect speech you may find offensive or annoying.

The legal issues remaining in this case are not whether anyone has the right to speak at that DMV to a captive audience. That is a given. The only issue remaining is whether they should have obtained a permit. Even if the courts determine that a permit must be obtained, the state won’t be allowed to discriminate to whom they grant a permit based on the content of their speech. So these men could be right back there preaching to their captive audience any time they want.

One of the many symptoms of Christians not doing their job in evangelism is that many Americans are ignorant of our God-given right to free speech. Even police officers don’t understand. There are enough Christians in California that preaching at that DMV—or any other ideal location with a captive audience—shouldn’t be a rare occurrence that causes everyone to flip out and demand their arrest. It should be old hat.

So many people today who are not Christians have multiple misconceptions about our faith and believe they are OK with God. I would prefer they say, “I know what the Bible says because everywhere I go Christians keep telling me; I just don’t believe it.”

ABC–Always Be Closing?

Lately during really good witnessing encounters the question about what to do with someone who appears really remorseful over his or her sin has resurfaced for me. The other person who was witnessing with me took this as an opportunity to try to close the deal. Though this individual thankfully doesn’t subscribe to the sinner’s prayer nonsense, she wanted the person to pray a prayer of salvation from the heart. If the individual hesitated, she attempted to push him or her a little bit to go ahead and make a decision for Christ.

I’ve had trouble putting my finger on why this bothered me. Everything she was saying was technically true. Today is the day of salvation, and anyone can die at any time. However, it seemed she was coming off as a salesperson trying to convince a reluctant prospect.

As always the question to ask in evangelism is: “What did Jesus and the apostles do?”

It seems Jesus never tried to close the deal. He would command people to repent and believe the gospel, or believe in Him, or come to Him, or eat His flesh and drink His blood. He never asked anyone to repeat a prayer after Him. When the rich young ruler walked away (Luke 18), he didn’t chase after Him. He trusted the message to do its work, along with the Holy Spirit, even if it meant he would never repent.

Maybe the clearest example is Acts 10 when Peter went to Cornelius and his family to give them the gospel: “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message” (Acts 10:44).  He never had to close the deal or get them to make a commitment of some sort. God saved them while he was busy talking.

So what should we do when someone appears broken by the message? Exactly what Jesus and the apostles did. Deliver the message faithfully, and trust the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to push the individual for a decision or commitment of any kind. Maybe God is saving the person as we speak.

Living Dangerously: A Dangerous View

Almost a year ago now, I had a quick discussion with the author of Living Dangerously: Seven Keys to Intentional Discipleship in the comments of one of his blog posts.

Before I knew Shawn Anderson was the author of any book, I disagreed with the YouTube video he posted and with his related comments.

One of my points of disagreement is one I’ve argued many times before. Some people seem to think that “converts” are the lowly dregs of the Christian world, getting into heaven by the skin of their teeth. “Disciples,” on the other hand, are the real go-getters for Christ. However, there is no distinction between converts and disciples in the Bible. People are either dead in sin or born again. There’s nothing in between. (That being said, there are false converts and false disciples.)

The other point of disagreement is also a common misunderstanding based on the incorrect definition of disciples and converts. When Jesus commanded us to make disciples in the Great Commission, what exactly was He asking believers to do?

The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) has four parts that we should obey:

  1. Go.
  2. Make disciples of all nations.
  3. Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  4. Teach them to obey everything He has commanded us.

What does it mean to “make disciples”? To me, it’s obvious that making a disciple (part 2) is different from discipling someone. Discipling someone is teaching that person to obey (part 4). Was Jesus being repetitive? I don’t think so. Making a disciple means guiding an individual toward salvation through Jesus Christ. How does someone get saved? By hearing the gospel (Romans 1:16). The portion of making disciples that God has entrusted to us is proclaiming the gospel (Romans 10:14–15).

(I want to note that the discussion on this aspect of the blog post ended very strangely. The author of an entire book that promotes a viewpoint that is opposite to mine said he agreed with me. I doubt that I convinced Anderson he was wrong. If I had, he would have taken Living Dangerously out of print. I don’t know why he ended up saying he agrees with me other than to shut me up. I would have preferred that he block me rather than patronize me [if that’s what he was doing]).

What makes Living Dangerously appalling is that approximately half of it was spent explaining research about what aspects of a “discipler” caused the non-Christian to come to faith. On page 36, Anderson writes, “The next several chapters are devoted to examining the character traits that influenced people to become disciples of Jesus.”

For example, the characteristics that most influenced women to come to Christ (filtered to exclude related “disciplers”) were, in order: knowledgeable, trustworthy, caring, faithful, authentic, passionate and loving.

Christians should be all of those things. However, no one should get saved because of the qualities of another Christian. We should submit to Christ because we see the truth and love of Christ in the gospel. We love Him because He first loved us. We don’t love Him because a Christian was knowledgeable.

So to summarize, I don’t recommend the book. I think it shows a basic misunderstanding of what causes someone to come to Christ—the gospel (Romans 1:16). There are many more examples in the New Testament of people coming to salvation by a seemingly chance encounter with a stranger willing and ready to give the gospel than people being saved by a long process of the non-Christian getting to know a really lovable Christian. True disciples are made by Jesus when He raises someone from spiritual death when they hear the gospel and believe. In our evangelism, we need to focus more on getting ourselves out of the process and simply telling His story.

The Painful Truth

NEW YORK — An outdoor advertising company has taken down an anti-abortion billboard that pictured a black girl along with the tagline, “The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.”

Some residents had said they found the billboard offensive, and members of the black community were especially outraged by it.

Taken from this article

Members of the black community are outraged by the billboard. They should be outraged. Not because they take offense at the billboard’s message, but because its message is true.

Should We Tell People Jesus Loves Them?

I’ve heard bold, outspoken Christians tell strangers that Jesus loves them. I’ve heard of people passing out candy and balloon animals along with a heartfelt, “Jesus loves you.”

I hate to tell these individuals they should stop. Their proclamation of Jesus’ love is more witnessing than what 90 percent of Christians will ever do.

However, there is no shortage of people who want to tell me that I’m witnessing all wrong when I give people the law before the gospel; I should just tell people that Jesus loves them. Over the years, I’ve tried a few different approaches to try to explain to them that that’s not what the Bible teaches.

  • There are zero examples of that being anyone’s gospel message in the Bible.
  • There are examples of gospel presentations to the contrary.
  • Even John 3:16 says that those who don’t believe in Jesus will perish.
  • Biblically, does Jesus really love everyone? Does He have the same type of love for everyone?

I’ve recently thought of a new approach—one that is actually ancient, because it is in 1 Peter 5:5: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” That verse is repeated in James 4:6 and Proverbs 3:34.

So, I’ve asked those who question me: If God opposes a proud person, do you think I shouldn’t tell them that He opposes them, but that He loves them?

No one has really had a response to that yet. It’s so quick and easy that it even works on the street.

Wal-Mart Evangelism

A low-budget tract table at Wal-Mart

My friend invited me to help him share the gospel at Wal-Mart. The store’s corporate policy allows people to set up a table near the entrance. Most organizations I’ve seen taking advantage of this policy sell something as a fund raiser. We simply gave away tracts and had several good conversations about the gospel.

Wal-Mart isn’t public property, and I don’t think the store is obligated to allow anyone to do this. It has rules regarding the amount of time and number of days people are permitted to do this. The possibilities are endless for those willing to abide by these rules.

My friend simply asked to speak to the manager and she specified the time, but allowed us to choose the dates. We spoke to about 15 or 20 people in the three hours we were there, so while we certainly weren’t swamped, being there was worth the time. I would recommend a weekend so that more people won’t be too busy to stop and chat.

A Catholic Leap

There is little doubt that many Roman Catholic doctrines simply aren’t in the Bible. They’ve been introduced by the Roman Catholic Church over the centuries. Much as Muslims make weak attempts to find prophecies about Muhammad in the Bible, Catholics grasp at straws to find support for their doctrines in the Bible.

I recently had a conversation with a couple of knowledgeable Catholics. I started by discussing the fact that the Bible blatantly contradicts some of their beliefs. Specifically, they claimed that atheists “of good will” could end up in heaven. There are dozens of verses that prove that line of thinking wrong, and I quoted a few to them. Their response was that they don’t care what I say about the Bible, because according to Catholic teaching, no one is able to interpret the Bible outside the authority of Rome.

This was the first time I’d heard that from a Catholic, and it turns out that it really is the standard teaching of Rome, and it’s based on a misinterpretation of 2 Peter 1:20. Later, they mentioned that there really is no infallible interpretation of this verse, so I’m not sure what authority they have to give any interpretation of that verse.

I showed them Acts 17:11, which describes how the Bereans were commended for scrutinizing Paul’s teaching with the Scripture. I asked them why the Bereans were able to verify Paul’s teaching with the Scripture, but today I am unable to verify Rome’s teaching with Scripture. They never directly answered my question. I gave up asking the question when the only “answer” provided was:

Why did Paul have to “check in” with the Apostles and have them lay hands on him to continue his ministry?

That has absolutely nothing to do with my question. Honest, knowledgeable answers generally don’t start with a “why” and end with a question mark.

They do think that I should verify the doctrines of Rome, but not by searching Scripture. I should determine the truth of Rome’s claims by verifying that their doctrines haven’t changed over the last 2,000 years, and I should do this by reading church fathers. (They were kind enough to give me a list of church fathers to check out.)

But this only leads to more questions. If I’m not trustworthy enough to interpret Scripture, why am I trustworthy enough to interpret the writings of church fathers? Why should I read the second generation (or later) of Christian beliefs when the Bible provides the first generation? If two church fathers disagree (there are many early “Christians” who were outright heretics), which one is trustworthy?

There is no good way to test the Catholic Church. Bottom line: I’m supposed to become a Catholic, because the pope says so.

Trust me.

At the root of this disagreement is the epistemology of Catholics and Evangelicals. Evangelicals believe the Bible is the only source for absolute truth, and Catholics have the Bible plus their tradition. The problem is that the Bible is insufficient to arrive at modern Catholic doctrines (if not contradictory to those doctrines), and there is no other infallible, inerrant source to attest to Catholic doctrines. In order to buy into the teaching of Rome, you must take a blind leap of faith.