Have you ever felt nervous to talk about Jesus? Afraid that people might find out you're a Christian? Worried that you might be mocked, or asked to defend your faith? You aren't alone.
We have all been there, in school, at work, with friends, and even with family. It's easy to feel like you could never have all the answers you need when somebody challenges your faith. Maybe sometimes you even wonder if there ARE answers.
We want you to know that the answers do exist! And we are here, not to just hand them to you, but to show you how to find them for yourself. God has given us everything we need to have confidence, even in the face of new and difficult ideas we've never heard of before. We hope you'll join us as we learn to become better ambassadors for Christ, boldly proclaiming the truth of who God is and what he has done.
Just A Few Of The Questions We Hear All The Time.
— How can we know that the Bible is TRUE?
This is a great question. It strikes at the foundation of our faith as Christians. If the Bible is not TRUE, then we Christians have no faith. It’s such a big question that only a very brief response summary can be given here.
Many well-meaning Apologists have spent a lot of time and effort addressing what could be considered “auxiliary” elements of this question while missing the main point. Some examples might be that the Bible was written very shortly after the actual events, or that it was translated and copied accurately, or that it contains some accurate scientific information, or that archaeological evidence today confirms it’s history. But this only proves that it COULD be true, much like a textbook or encyclopedia in today’s culture, not that it is THE TRUTH.
Christians believe that the Bible was inspired by God. In other words, we believe that the Bible really does represent the very Words of God, the absolute truth. There are three compelling pieces of evidence that the Bible is TRUE: historical, philosophical, and personal.
For those who may not have studied the Bible in depth, the ten commandments are the foundation of the Torah, which is the foundation of the Old Testament, which is the foundation of the New Testament. Therefore, the ten commandments are the cornerstone of the entire Bible. The amazing thing about the ten commandments is that they were given directly by God Himself to over 2 million eyewitnesses (er, “ear-witnesses”, since they heard God speak the very words). The significance that all of these witnesses have conveyed the same story of that amazing and unexplainable event down through the generations to their descendants, that the Jewish religion of today hinges on that one account being true, cannot be overstated. Compare this to other religious “major revelation claims” like the Quran in Islam or the Book of Mormon in Latter Day saints, revelations that had zero other eye/ear-witnesses besides the person who claimed to hear from God.
Second, overall the Bible gives the best explanation of the reality around us. Everyone inherently knows a few basic things: that this amazing world could not have come from nothing, that there is something wrong with the world today, and that it SHOULD be fixed. Those are the big ideas in life, and ones that philosophy and religions are trying to explain. The Bible alone provides an internally consistent and accurate worldview to explain those observations.
Third, Jesus Christ, the most attested person in all of history and a major figure in every major world religion (even besides Christianity), clearly taught that the Bible was true. His profound wisdom, the miracles he performed, and the prophecies he fulfilled are universally recognized, and His resurrection is the most documented event in the ancient world. His audacious claim to be God rested on the fact that the Bible was true and that it spoke of him.
Taken in sum, these three “proofs” give an overwhelming evidence that the Bible is the very Word of God, TRUTH itself that we can believe in.
— What is a “worldview”?
A “worldview” is simply how you view the world, ie how you answer the big questions in life. At some point every curious person looks at the world around them and faces three fundamental questions:
1. Where did everything come from?
2. Why does the world seem “broken”?
3. How does it get “fixed”?
How you view “reality”, and how you view “God”, and how you view “mankind” will determine how you answer these big questions and how you live your life. If you are consistent in your “worldview” you will build a cohesive narrative that tells a story of the universe that meshes with your personal experience. But sadly, most people have never thought through this topic and are therefore unprepared to handle the questions that come their way. Or worse, when faced with blatant inconsistencies in their “worldview” they are forced to abandon the questions, or even worse, progressively defend more and more contradictions.
As Christians we are called to be intellectually honest and logically rigorous in our reasoning about ourselves and the people and world around us. Here is a brief summary of one way to categorize various types of worldviews today through the lens of how they view God:
1a. Biblical Christianity: God is exactly as He is described in the Bible. The Bible is the ultimate authority on who God is. (this is ideally what all “good” churches are trying to teach)
1b. Incomplete Christianity: God is as He is described in the Bible, but perhaps not all attributes or achievements/predictions/facts are fully embraced. (this is what a “Jewish” worldview would be considered, it is VERY close to a “Biblical Christianity” worldview)
1c. Compromised Christianity: God is similar to what is described in the Bible, but modified to conform to certain cultural or societal pressures. (this describes many of the “progressive/liberal” churches in the US today)
1d. Corrupted Christianity: God is loosely based on descriptions in the Bible, but other outside texts trump the Bible with additional (and contradictory) characteristics. (this describes Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Islam, etc)
2a. Secular Humanist: There is no God. Man is supreme. (this generally describes Atheism)
2b. Socialism: The state has replaced God. (this can be very similar to Secular Humanism, with the additional political system of the government as divine)
3. False Gods: The gods are creations of men. They did not create the universe, they do not have ultimate sovereign authority over everything. (this describes Hinduism, animism, Buddhism, Greek/Roman gods, etc)
4. New Age Spirituality: Everything is God. Morality and truth are whatever you want them to be (relativism). (this describes Relativism)
At the end of the day the subject of worldview should not be some esoteric academic pursuit, but something that is tangible and useful to everyone. In fact, even elementary school children can be equipped to understand their own worldview – God created everything, our rebellion against Him destroys all that is good, God offers salvation if we repent and return to Him – and to quickly recognize the deficiencies of inconsistent worldviews.
— Who made God?
The short answer? No one. No one is needed to make God because God is not a created entity. It is important to distinguish between things that are created and things that are not created.
This confusion often comes up in the discussion of origins. People will try to equate the beginning of the universe with the beginning of God. Christians ask unbelievers, “where did the universe come from?”. The logic is fairly straightforward:
- The physical universe obviously can’t be eternal: scientific laws like entropy (gradual decline into disorder) and an expanding universe are clear evidences of this, and the philosophy of an eternal historical past isn’t logically viable (i.e. you can’t have an infinite number of years of history of the universe before our present).
- But the universe obviously can’t have come from nothing either: this has been intuitive to thinking people for millennia: ex nihilo nihil fit (Latin for “out of nothing, nothing comes”).
In other words, both science and philosophy conclude that the universe must have been created in the finite past. And a created universe must have a creator. That is why the Bible states that one of the strongest evidences for God’s existence (as Creator) is that the universe exists (i.e. there IS a creation).
Psalm 19:1, 3-4 – The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. They don’t speak a word… yet their message has gone throughout the earth, it travels around the world.
Romans 1:20 – For his [God’s] invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.
People often mistakenly reason that since the UNIVERSE must have been made by someone, that GOD must have been made by someone too. But this is a logical error. God is quite different from the physical universe; He is supernatural. In contrast to other religions, the Bible teaches a God that is OUSTIDE our physical universe (i.e. timeless and immaterial) and therefore has no need of being “created”.
–How do we know that Jesus is God, and not a creation, like the Jehovah Witnesses say?
It really is one of the best questions we can ask, since the deity of Christ is one of the central doctrines of our Christian faith.
The Bible holds the clear answer. The book of John holds many convincing proofs (especially since it has Jesus’ own words), but that truth is found literally throughout the Bible!
John 1:1, 14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 10:30-33 (Jesus speaking) “I and the Father are one. ” The Jews then picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”
Colossians 2:9 For in him [in Christ] the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily
So there really is no question that the Bible says Jesus is God, and that Jesus himself claimed it. Now let’s move to the issue of whether or not Jesus was created (which is a bit of a misnomer, since God by definition isn’t created). The JW’s ignore the clear teaching of Scripture:
John 1:3 All things were made by him [the Word – Jesus], and without him was not anything made that was made.
Colossians 1:16-17 For by him [Jesus] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created by him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
If Scripture is so clear, how do they come to this incorrect conclusion? As ironic as it may seem, they use the preceding verse of Colossians:
Colossians 1:15 He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
They claim that the word “firstborn” means he was born, which means he was created. But is that how the Bible always uses that term? Many words have a large “semantic range” (a fancy phrase for “they can have different meanings”) that depend on the CONTEXT. “Firstborn” can literally mean “the first one born in a family”, but it is also often used as a title of supremacy. Here is a clear illustration of the concept:
Genesis 41:51-52 Joseph called the name of the firstborn [son] Manasseh… The name of the second [son] he called Ephraim.
Jeremiah 31:9 …I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.
Even though Manasseh was born before his brother Ephraim, it was Ephraim whom Jeremiah recorded as God calling the “firstborn” because of the position he held in God’s kingdom (you can read Genesis 48 for more context on this). In light of this, I think a good interpretation of Colossians 1:15 is “Jesus is the physical manifestation of Creator God Himself. He is supreme over the entire universe.”
As you can see, if you come to the Bible with incorrect presuppositions, or only consider a few verses, or take phrases out of context, you will end in confusion. But taken as a whole, especially with submission to the Holy Spirit as our guide, the whole counsel of God is plain truth, truth that sets us free!
–I heard about a Christian girl who committed suicide. Did she go to heaven or hell?
Great question. This is what the Bible says:
John 10:27-29 – My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
Suicide is wrong because it is taking a life made in the image of God (your own). But people don’t lose their salvation because they sin, whether it is taking a life or telling a lie. So whether or not she went to heaven or not is the same criteria for all of us: had she truly believed in Jesus as Lord and confessed Him as her Savior? Suicide is a very delicate and painful subject for those who have lost loved ones in this way.
— Is Kanye actually Christian and should we listen to his music?
Kanye West (or any celebrity for that matter) is subject to the same criteria for being a Christian as any other person. What does the Bible say?
Romans 10:9 – If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
If Kanye has repented of his sins and submitted to Christ as Lord of his life then he, like anyone else, has become a Christian. The Bible says a true Christian will bear fruit (Matthew 7:16-20), so time will tell whether or not Kanye’s conversion is authentic. And before we criticize and judge whether or not we think his fruit is sufficient (Matthew 7:1-5), remember that we are all in a process that the Bible calls “sanctification” (being made more holy) that will make us look more and more like Jesus.
Ephesians 4:22-24 – Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
Should we listen to Kanye’s music? Much of his music before his conversion is not edifying (even if it has some Christian themes), and some of it is even explicitly inaapropriate. However, his latest album (after his announced conversion), “Jesus is King”, has many lyrics that are very biblical and God-honoring. What music we listen to is a personal choice.
It’s also helpful to remember that God does not call us to follow after human celebrities because of their fame. But he can use anyone where they are to bring him glory if they are willing to submit to him.
1Corinthians 1:26-29 – Brothers, consider your calling: Not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world—what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no one can boast in His presence.