Sharing and defending your faith. Proclaiming the gospel, the good news of Christ.
Sharing and defending your faith. Proclaiming the gospel, the good news of Christ.
'Gospels of sin management' presume a Christ with no serious work other than redeeming humankind … [and] they foster 'vampire Christians,' who only want a little blood for their sins but nothing more to do with Jesus until heaven.
-Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy
DOCTOR VANHELSING'S JOURNAL
31 October. On the dark side of twilight, I at last have reached Count Dracula's castle. The Count greeted me eagerly if not warmly, then ushered me into his dining room, where "Our encounter will be most appropriate," whatever that means. I am grateful for the food offered me, but the Count eats naught. From across the table he stares, intently, or almost hungry. Those eyes… I have a creeping feeling this interview was a mistake, but Dracula is the most influential Christian in this region, and I must challenge him with the questions that have seized my psyche over the last three months!
COUNT: What brings you to my home, Doctor…?
ZBLOG: VanHelsing. My name is Zonder VanHelsing. I've come to interview you about the King you serve.
COUNT: I serve no King. I am the sovereign of Transylvania, and you do well to remember that, my good Doctor.
ZBLOG: Forgive me, I just mean, it is said you've been a Christian for some time now?
COUNT: Oh. Yes, in my youth I made a decision for Christ.
ZBLOG: What did you decide?
COUNT: What do you mean? I decided to believe the gospel.
ZBLOG: Please tell me, what is "the gospel"?
COUNT: [He furrows his brow, as if trying to decide whether I'm playing a joke. There are tense moments, but at last he continues.] Everyone knows what the gospel is, but very well, I'll play your game.
We're sinners. If we believe in Jesus, his blood saves us from hell. Jesus died on my behalf so that I do not have to. And that's that.
ZBLOG: And how does your decision to accept Christ connect to discipleship?
COUNT: What do you mean?
ZBLOG: Well, I've recently read in Dr. Scot McKnight's new book The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited that as many as 75 percent of Americans have made a decision to accept Christ, but only about 25 percent Americans go to church regularly.
McKnight also claims this: "Most of evangelism today is obsessed with getting someone to make a decision; the apostles, however, were obsessed with making disciples." So, tell me about your transition from the Decided to the Discipled.
COUNT: Discipled, what nonsense. I became a disciple when I decided to believe in the power of Jesus' blood! The blood is the life! You cannot let the power of the blood and salvation by faith become eclipsed by discipleship. No, you don't need to do anything if you know and believe the central idea of "justification by faith."
ZBLOG: It's interesting you think so, since justification by faith isn't mentioned in the Gospels. And I happen to believe that if we're not growing in our faith, we're, er… undead.
COUNT: You try my patience, Doctor! Why don't you tell me what you think the gospel is!
I’m excited for a debate happening October 1, called “Can We Trust the Text of the New Testament?”
The debate will feature Dr. Daniel B. Wallace and Dr. Bart D. Ehrman, who present cases ‘for’ and ‘against’ whether we can trust our New Testament manuscripts to tell us about Jesus and the early Church.
Since I can’t make it to the debate I will probably buy a DVD. Here’s why I’m excited: while I’m a professing Christian who trusts the New Testament, I only began to trust the Bible near the time I began to trust Christ. And I know plenty of people who trust neither. Some people I know are convinced by Dr. Ehrman’s arguments, or similar ones, so I’ll listen to the debate with one ear tuned to its value for apologetics. But I’m intrigued by these scholars’ points of view anyway; I expect Dr. Ehrman to give all the best evidence against trusting the New Testament, and I expect Dr. Wallace to have clear, excellent counter-arguments.
Below you’ll find event details, debater profiles, and a short list of recommended reading on whether we can trust the New Testament.
Attending the SMU Debate
WHEN October 1, 2011, 7pm CDT.
Learn more about the DVD Release
I jumped at the opportunity to interview Tom Roy, former baseball player for the San Francisco Giants, and President of Unlimited Potential Inc. (UPI). UPI is a world-wide ministry that serves Christ through baseball, and Tom has appeared at speaking events and in baseball clinics in over 60 countries.
Tom graciously gave his time to discuss how baseball has informed his view of Christian mission; how we can navigate failures and successes; and how we can make a difference for Christ wherever we work, play, and live.
|Tom Roy & his wife, Carin.|
ZBLOG: Tom, I challenge you to tell me about UPI in the time it takes to run to first base.
TOM: (Hmmm…I am a very slow runner!) The purpose of UPI is to Reach, Teach, Train for the purpose of Sending ballplayers onto the mission field in the clubhouse, the community, the church and the entire world.
ZBLOG: UPI does a lot of cool things, but what is it about the ministry that gets you most excited? What makes you think, “This is why I do what I do”?
TOM: I get fired up to see God working in the hearts of men to be men and reach their world — to see the light go on about what living an authentic life with Jesus looks like. Jesus said in John 17, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but rather that you protect them from the evil one.” Infiltrating their culture with Jesus gets me excited.
ZBLOG: I like how you say “infiltrating” our cultures for Jesus. How would you advise someone who wants to do that, but doesn’t know how to get started? Do you have any tips on being salt and light?
TOM: Yes I do —
Evangelism has been on my mind this week, ever since I saw the results from Zondervan Blog's "Am I a Christian Atheist?" Quiz. Of the 402 people who took the quiz so far, two responses have proven especially popular. Take a look:
By a long shot, the top two picks are "I worry often" and "I am hesitant to share my faith with others."
Do these results surprise you? Not me. I can worry about anything, including evangelism. So I thought about some reasons I've been nervous about outreach (i.e., I didn't know how the other person would react; I didn't want to sound judgmental; I was afraid I would get branded as a religious weirdo; I just didn't know what to say!). Since I'm not alone in these fears, I wanted to share some books that have helped me take steps into more actively sharing my faith.
Does the following list leave out your favorite book on evangelism? Drop your recommendation in a comment on this post.
(-Adam Forrest, Zondervan Internet Team)
1. The Faith
2. The Best-Kept Secret of Christian Mission
3. Just Walk Across the Room
4. Organic Outreach for Ordinary People
PS – I recently discovered Lee Strobel is kicking off a newsletter about investigating the reasons for faith. Learn More
Yesterday AnGeL Ministries, the ministry of Anne Graham Lotz, announced plans for a worldwide simulcast to occur on September 11, 2011 – the ten year anniversary of the 9-11 attack on America. Titled “A Wake Up Call for the Church with Anne Graham Lotz and Joel Rosenberg,” the simulcast will feature messages from both speakers and will be broadcast into churches and homes.
Why select the tenth anniversary of 9-11 for a simulcast? Alluding to the recent Qu’ran burning controversy, Anne Graham Lotz says, “This 9/11, one small church in Florida is capturing the world’s attention … [W]hat if this time next year, churches all across America marked [the] anniversary – not by looking around, but by looking up and getting right with God?”
Lotz continues, “I have long felt the original 9/11 attack was allowed by God as a wake-up call for His people,” she says. “But did we sleep through the alarm?”
An urgent wake-up call may be needed, but Lotz is hopeful: “My prayer is that this simulcast … would serve to gather the church and reissue the wake-up call to the hearts of Christians everywhere. It is my prayer that it would refocus us on Jesus as our Hope for the future and re-ignite such an intense longing for His return, that we live the rest of our lives with no regrets.”
Mark your calendar
The “Wake Up Call for the Church” simulcast will be broadcast 6:00 – 9:00 pm EST and PST, Sunday, September 11, 2011.
Host the simulcast in your church
Some details about hosting are still being worked out, but you can receive more information as soon as it’s available — just contact AnGeL Ministries at email@example.com or call 919-787-6606.
In an article posted on Christianity Today Charles Colson explores how reason and faith are dramatically effecting Atheism. Colson points out that many of today's leading British intellectuals are turning to Christianity, or at least opening their hearts to the gospel.
But it does illustrate something I have been teaching for years: Faith and reason are not enemies. We are given reason as a gift. And while we can't reason our way to God (only the power of God can transform fallen men—I've seen that in prisons for over 32 years),I have long believed that Christianity is the most rational explanation of reality. And that fact, winsomely explained, can powerfully influence thinking people to consider Christ's claims.
These concepts parallel Colson's most recent book The Faith, in which Colson explains the foundations of faith and bridges the gap between belief, understanding and life. This inspiring and enlightening book engages you with powerful accounts of personal transformation that passionate, intelligent believers have made for centuries, and still make every day. Help you believe more strongly, love more deeply and serve more passionately.
You can read the entire article on Christianity Today, here.
About the Author:
Charles Colson is an internationally known commentator, columnist, author, and is the founder of Prison Fellowship. His radio broadcast, BreakPoint, airs daily to five million listeners. Former Counsel to President Richard Nixon, Colson converted to Christianity before spending time in prison on a Watergate-related charge. In the last thirty-three years, Colson has visited more than 600 prisons in forty countries and, with the help of nearly 50,000 volunteers, has built Prison Fellowship into the world’s largest prison outreach.
In a recent radio interview with Iron Sharpens Iron, Latayne C. Scott, former Mormon and author of The Mormon Mirage, discussed her book and the decision by the LDS church to elect Joseph Sitati, a black African, to the First Quorum of Seventy. This election is controversial in light Mormonism’s history of doctrinal racism as clearly taught in The Book of Mormon.
Three decades after leaving the Mormon faith, Latayne C. Scott looks back to her original journey out of Mormonism and the reasons why she left in the third edition of her book The Mormon Mirage: A Former Member looks at the Mormon Church Today.
What does the Book of Mormon teach? How does it compare to the Bible? Why does this book appeal to many people? Former Mormon Ross Anderson addresses these and other questions in Understanding the Book of Mormon, guiding readers in an exploration and assessment of the Book of Mormon and offering a Christian response to its teaching. In the video below, Ross explains how his book can help you reach out more effectively to your Mormon neighbors.
Read Marc Galli’s interview with Rob Bell on www.christianitytoday.com.
From the interview: “Rob Bell's latest book, Jesus Wants to Save Christians (Zondervan, with Don Golden), is his most substantive yet. It's nothing less than a holistic, biblical theology of salvation—written, paradoxically, in Bell's typical sentence-fragment style. CT senior managing editor Mark Galli sat down with Bell, founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to probe him on some of the more striking statements in his book.”
Read the Interview.
To sample all 23 NOOMA videos with Rob Bell, click here.
To learn about Rob Bell's current speaking tour and past tours, click here.
Eric Michael Bryant, the author of Peppermint-Filled Piñatas, oversees the leadership team at Mosaic in Los Angeles, a church known for its diversity and creativity. In addition, he teaches at the Southern California campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and is working on his doctorate of ministry at Bethel Seminary.
Dan Kimball is the founding pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, CA and has authored several books including They Like Jesus But Not The Church, The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations and Emerging Worship: Creating Worship Gatherings for New Generations.