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LATEST NEWS

The crazier the world gets, the stronger our tether to the truth of the Word of God needs to be.

Here at the Ambassadors Forum we are working hard to make solid teaching accessible so that you are equipped to defend your faith and engage with a world that seems to have lost its way.

The plans for our annual Apologetics conference on October 23rd and 24th are shaping up. Our theme this year is “Tethering to Truth: Thinking Biblically in Times of Chaos”. We have an exciting lineup of world class apologists bringing relevant biblical content, led by Josh McDowell! You will not want to miss this event. Help us get the word out by inviting your friends and family! We are designing this year's conference to have many more break-out sessions and loads of opportunities to engage directly with the speakers. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

We also have an exciting lineup of Friday Forum topics throughout the summer. These are a great way to join the conversations on Apologetics that are happening in our communities every day.
  • July 17 – Information and the Origin of Life, by Caleb Rogers
  • Aug 21 – Critical Theory and Race Tensions, by Neil Shenvi
  • Sep 18 – The Only Plausible Worldview, by Steve Van Horn
Worldview

Worldview Corner

What is a "worldview"?

A “worldview” is simply how you view the world, i.e. 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”, how you view “God”, and how you view “mankind” will determine how you answer these big questions and ultimately how you live your life. If you are consistent in your “worldview” the story of the universe will mesh well with your personal experience. But sadly, most people have never thought through this topic and are therefore unsure how to even start answering these questions. Or worse, when faced with blatant inconsistencies in their “worldview”, they 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.

Youth Corner

My name is Timothy Lamotte. I’m a Junior Ambassador with the Ambassadors Forum and active in helping our Youth Pastor with the Middle School group at our church.
Youth
A question I am hearing a lot during these times, is “where is God?” During this situation with the coronavirus, people are getting sick, losing their jobs, and businesses are having to shut down.

First, God never promised everything would be great and easy; in Matthew 16:24, Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” That doesn’t sound like an easy task to me. This reminds me of Job. At the end of the book God doesn’t explain why all those things happened to Job; what He asks for is trust. Trust that God will use what is happening for good later on, even if we cannot see it.

Second, I think many times we are looking for God in the wrong places. It says in Matthew 28:35, “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger, and you invited me in.” In the passage the righteous people then ask the Lord, "When did we do this for you? Jesus' response is in verse 40, “Truly I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least of these, my brothers, you did it unto me”.

Often God shows His love is in the opportunities that He gives us. If you want to see God’s light in the darkness, maybe you should be that light.
questionmark1

Hard Question Corner

Question: Why do Christians worship a God that oppresses women by condoning polygamy?

This is a common question. This is what the Bible says:
Mark 10:6-8 - From the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.

So it's clear that God's design for marriage from the beginning was one man and one woman. Period. Unfortunately, not everyone followed that rule, including some godly men who were very blessed by God (Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, etc). But don't mistake that blessing for sanctioning of every part of their lifestyle. God has NEVER condoned (approved of) polygamy. In the New Testament, God repeats this rule for leaders (Elders) in the church:

1Tim. 3:2 - Now an Elder is to be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, and able to teach.

And Paul uses the marriage relationship as the best illustration of Christ and the church:

Eph. 5:31-32 - “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.

This illustration makes no sense in a world where polygamy is ok.

Legal Corner

What do coronavirus restrictions, Black Lives Matter demonstrations and recent Title VII decisions from the Supreme Court have in common?
Legal
Each situation turns on a consistent rule of law defining “authority” and “justice.” More profoundly, each turns on whether officials apply law consistently, as God reveals “authority” and “justice” in
Scripture.

Coronavirus restrictions imposed by executive order without legislative input apply unclear standards
inconsistently. No “mass gatherings.” Masks are mandatory, recommended or unnecessary. Counties
“open” or “close”, even as “essential” businesses remain “open.” The Oregon Supreme Court has upheld
restrictions on churches reopening based on a general grant of authority to the governor while ignoring
other specific restrictions on her authority to act without the Legislature. Can there be justice and lawful
authority without a consistent rule of law?

The tragic death of George Floyd triggered “mass gatherings” in which thousands have gathered night
after night to demand “justice” with little or no government interference. Officials justify these
gatherings as protected by the First Amendment without protecting the First Amendment rights of
Christians to “mass gather” in church. Can there be justice and lawful authority without a consistent rule
of law?

On June 15, 2020 the U.S. Supreme Court held that “sex” in Title VII employment protections includes
“sexual orientation” and “gender identity”, even though all agree Title VII’s plain terms and legislative
history limited “sex” to biological sex. The court reasoned that because “sexual orientation” and “gender
identity” necessarily arise from “sex”, Congress must have intended to cover those categories in 1964
(even if it didn’t say so). Justice Alito’s dissent blasted the court for “rewriting” the law, which only
Congress may do. Can there be justice and lawful authority without a consistent rule of law?

Takeaways: (1) authority to make decisions is limited and defined; (2) “justice” or “fairness” can only be
defined by the same standard applied to everyone in a consistent way; and (3) God’s law has helpful
guidance about all of this. If we don’t insist that authority is exercised as limited and defined, we open
the door to tyrants and mob rule. If we don’t apply law consistently, “justice” will continue to elude us.
From Scripture we learn “kings” are subject to God’s authority and remain in power only as He allows.
We learn everyone is created in God’s image and has equal worth. We learn that God’s Law of justice
and mercy is a standard that never changes, and He abhors partiality. Finally, we learn about the
blessings of lawful authority and justice in Deuteronomy 29-30 and the consequences of unlawfulness
and injustice in Deuteronomy 28.
Disclaimer: The above column should not be regarded or relied upon as legal advice. The reader should consult legal counsel for specific guidance in particular circumstances.
Science

Science Corner

The most common mistake many Apologists fall into is trying to make too many arguments, or give too many proofs.
As we discussed in the last newsletter, science has a lot to teach us in this area. Science never tries to prove a hypothesis (guess) by demonstrating every possible way it COULD work, it just tries to disprove the hypothesis by finding one way it DOESN’T work. This is a much more efficient (and in the end effective) means of inquiry about our reality.

Here is a simple example: A Biblical and Atheistic worldview are diametrically opposed: on the nature of man, the meaning of life, standards of morality, the problem of evil, the possibility of salvation, etc. A well-meaning Christian might start a friendly conversation with an Atheist with something like, “So where did everything come from?”. If the Atheist is consistent with his worldview, he will have to admit that he has no credible answer for how everything came from nothing. The well-meaning Christian is kind, so he might say something like “That’s ok, let’s not dwell on divisive things… so tell me what other things Atheists believe".

Scientifically speaking, the Christian has failed, miserably. They have uncovered a fundamental flaw in the atheistic worldview, and would do better (for both of them) to stay on that topic until there is clarity or resolution.

Many people often miss the beauty and simplicity in science of asking questions and requiring plausible answers before proceeding in the investigation for truth. Our biggest challenge in Apologetics is not to make more arguments, but less of them!

Personal Application Corner

Christians should be known for clear thinking... but you’ll still be called names.
wordscanhurt
I recently engaged in an online debate about a controversial subject. Because I’m an outspoken Christian, I know that every one of my words will be scrutinized, so I choose them carefully. On this particular topic I built my case rationally and stayed away from assuming any ill motives of my opponents. I kept a friendly tone and occasionally used humor in my approach. I avoided logical fallacies and gathered data to support my conclusions. I tried hard to follow what I felt was the best way to convince an ideological opponent of my view.

Then the response came. “You are a bigot.”

I’ve been at this long enough to know it was coming, but it was still jarring to hear it. Even more, it came from someone I knew and would even consider a friend. There was no rebuttal of my argument and no equally friendly remarks extended. Just a good old fashioned name calling.

As Christians, we should be known for our clear thinking and grace during a conversation. In Colossians 4:6, Paul instructs us to “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” To do that we need to be students of the craft. We need to be knowledgeable of the topic, well versed in logic, and practiced in debate. But most of all we need to be calm under fire and no matter how aggressive and demeaning the opposition’s tactics become, we should never respond in the same way. That may occasionally require pointing out the bad behavior on the other side, but our goal should always be to point to the truth, not to defend our own pride.

The world is full of muddled thinking. Worse yet, the goal seems to have degraded into creating “gotcha” sound bytes rather than engaging in sincere and meaningful conversations aimed at mutual understanding and common ground. Memes have replaced logic and name calling has replaced arguments. Does that mean I was wasting my time having the discussion online? Absolutely not. There are usually more people observing your debate than just the person you’re talking to. It’s those on the sidelines that are most likely to be influenced. In my case, I didn’t realize it, but there was a young relative of my hostile opponent that was following the conversation closely. He later got in touch with me privately and told me that he appreciated the tone I had and that my arguments made sense. This opened up a long and fruitful discussion with him I would have never had if I hadn’t been willing to take some abuse online.

Keep up the good fight.

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