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LATEST NEWS

2020 continues to be a year that defies imagination: Public schools are closed (for another year) along the West Coast for in-person learning. California, home to the world’s 5th largest economy, is experiencing rolling blackouts due to widespread forest fires that are raging out of control, partly due to the lack of firefighters because of the virus pandemic. Many of the nation’s largest cities have majorly defunded their police departments (totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars). There is even a coin shortage in the United States due to the lack of normal economic activity!

Rarely has there been such a great need for clear, reasonable thinking and good biblical instruction as there is today. Our society is crying out for clarity. It is desperate for answers. But it has fervently denied the one source of true peace. The Bible says that “the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6). The Ambassadors Forum is as committed as ever to equipping believers to identify and refute false arguments and to explain God AS HE IS. We are not afraid of the tough questions. We don’t condemn doubt. We’d love to have you join us as we seek to plant seeds of the hope of Christ with a heart of compassion.

We were privileged to have Dr. Neil Shenvi speak on “A Deeper Dive into Critical Theory, the New Pseudo Religion” at our last forum on Friday Aug-21st. It was a blockbuster examination of one of the most controversial and confusing topics in our culture right now. We had over 200 people register, and were excited to have people participate from across the country!

Our next monthly Forum, on Friday Sep-18th, will feature Elizabeth Urbanowicz speaking on the topic of “Equipping Our Children to Discern and Follow Truth.” Elizabeth is a nationally known speaker who has developed an excellent biblical worldview curriculum for elementary-school children. She is also a member of the Mama Bear Apologetics speaking team: https://mamabearapologetics.com. You won’t want to miss this talk! You can register for this event at our website: https://theambassadorsforum.com.

In October (23rd & 24th) we are bringing together some of the best speakers in the country (including Josh McDowell as the keynote!) to deliver a solid lineup of apologetics training on relevant and practical topics in our annual conference. This year will be a virtual format, so people from all over the West Coast (and even across the country) will be able to participate. See our website for the line-up of speakers and detailed topics and to register for the event: https://theambassadorsforum.com.

Lastly, we have some other exciting news to share! We will soon start our own Ambassadors Forum weekly radio show! The show will air on Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. on True Talk 800 AM KPDQ and will cover various hot topics in apologetics and answer your hard questions. It will begin broadcasting in a few weeks (Sep-12).

Youth Corner

Hi! My name is Ruthie. I recently joined the Ambassadors Forum as a Junior Ambassador after attending the Summit Ministries Virtual Conference this summer. I was reminded that despite spending most of my time at home, I can still be actively learning!!
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Summit Virtual was an intense week of lectures and Q&A's from many of the top apologists on just about every subject you can think of. I now have so many new topics I want to research and read books about! To be honest, I have been pretty bummed about the whole quarantine and thought that there was no way a virtual conference could be very engaging. But I was wrong! There were so many creative things that Summit did to keep our attention and make the teaching easy to understand. There were obviously some things I missed out on because it was virtual (like hiking in the Colorado Rockies!), but it was still absolutely worth every minute I put into it. I am SO excited to return again next year for the in-person experience!

I’ve found that even though my life and schedule are a lot different now than they were last year, it can be a good time to study and prepare for defending my faith. I need to know where I stand on all these current events so that I am prepared to talk about them from a biblical and logical viewpoint. There are always conversations happening online, and I want to be able to share things that I am learning and thinking about with my friends. Everyone has questions! And there is so much going on in the world right now!
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Hard Question Corner

Why is critical theory/intersectionality/social justice gospel infiltrating Christian universities, seminaries, and churches?

First, a few quick definitions for those who have never heard these terms:
  • Critical Theory – Movement based on the teachings of atheists Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud that seeks to interpret the world through the single axis of power and to help overcome the social structures through which people are designated as dominated and oppressed.
  • Social Justice Gospel – Movement that started out with the goal of economic equality through the redistribution of wealth. It has since expanded to include other spheres of social life like the environment, race, gender, and other causes and manifestations of inequality.
  • Intersectionality – A system of discrimination and oppression formed by a hierarchy of mutually interlocking categories of race, gender, class, health, sexuality, etc.
These are not just a collection of auxiliary philosophies, but together they comprise a replacement worldview, absolutely incompatible with Christianity. Here are just a few examples of the inherent contradictions:
  1. They assume that power is a zero sum game. In other words, there is a fixed amount of power in the world (i.e., one person's gain necessarily results in another person's loss). This is simply untrue. Like so many other good things, such as wealth, beauty, happiness, love, etc., power is something that can be created by someone without taking from another.
  2. They presuppose axioms (“lived experience is more valid than objective evidence,” “the primary human duty is to liberate oppressed groups,” etc.) without basing them on observations about reality. There is no way to test or disprove those foundational claims. So it is not just un-scientific, but inherently anti-scientific. And ultimately anti-truth. One simple expression of this is that morality changes based on who the person is (i.e., blacks can’t be racist, women can’t be sexist, etc.)
So why are these clearly unbiblical concepts infiltrating CHRISTIAN institutions? Because the most persuasive lies are those built upon a kernel of truth. At the core of each of these concepts is a God-given sense of justice: that the poor & vulnerable should be protected and the guilty should be held accountable. This is a good precept because it is a BIBLICAL precept; the entire conversation stands or falls on this point alone.

If we are honest, perhaps we could admit that the church has left a void by ignoring the biblical command to “seek justice for the poor and oppressed” found in Psalm 82:3, and thus has inadvertently contributed to a fertile soil for such theories. And now Christian institutions are unwittingly swallowing the venom of these worldly philosophies because of the kernels of biblical truth they contain.

What then is the solution? A few thoughts:
  1. Engage in this conversation with humility and active listening. All people deserve the dignity of being heard. All of us have blind spots, and we should all welcome a friendly critique of our positions.
  2. Above all, think consistently. Look for inherent logical contradictions, both in your own worldview and in the worldview of others. Always demand the high standard of truth for ALL your beliefs.

Legal Corner

Free Speech, Free Exercise and Apologetics:

You Can’t Have One without the Others.

The First Amendment provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech...”
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Unfortunately, Americans (and their leaders) no longer have a common understanding of what it means, and the fruits of that lack of consensus are all around us.

During the protests of the late 1960s and 1970s, it was unthinkable to restrict free speech. Famous speech cases from protests of that era include Tinker v. Des Moines Sch. Dist. (1969), Cohen v. California (1972) (protecting expletives in messages opposing the Vietnam War), Ward v. Rock Against Racism (1989) and Hedges v. Wauconda (1993) (striking down the “heckler’s veto,” whereby one speaker could drown out the speech of another). Free exercise cases of the time were a more mixed bag, with Everson v. Board of Education (1962) prohibiting forced participation in scripted school prayers, but leaving open the door for voluntary prayers. Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972) upheld the rights of parents to send their kids to religious schools.

Today, critical theory and “cancel culture” inform us free speech is dangerous, if not violent, and religious speech is most dangerous of all. An estimated 85% of public and private colleges have “speech codes” and “free speech areas” restricting speech, even though such limitations have been unconstitutional since the 1980s. Corporate America distances itself from CEOs and others for insufficient “virtue signaling,” lack of “wokeness” or the audacity to offend the Chinese government. Religious expression especially is “oppression” based on “white privilege.” A recent Cato Institute survey found that 62% of adults are fearful of expressing their opinions. None of these limitations is driven by the law; they are the byproduct of popular culture.

Apologetics conversations about biblical truth with people who may not agree obviously run afoul of contemporary norms, even if the law allows. Without a revitalization of commitment to free speech and free exercise, apologetics (and sharing the Gospel) is not possible. One recent effort to restore a commitment to “Civil Discourse and the Strengthening of Liberal Democracy” is the Philadelphia Statement (The Philadelphia Statement). Those who care about Gospel conversations would do well to read it and sign it.
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.
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Current Events

The Problem with Slogans

My neighbor has a sign on his fence with six popular slogans, including “Black Lives Matter,” “Science Is Real,” and “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights.” Let’s think about why these statements may be deceptive and self-contradictory.
Do “Black Lives Matter”? Of course black lives matter in a Christian worldview because we are all made in God’s image, Christ died for all humans, and God values human life. However, “Black Lives Matter” is also the name of an organization that advocates for tearing down both the biblical family structure and heterosexual culture, an organization whose founders frankly (and unashamedly) describe themselves as Marxist. All of these positions will destroy black lives and other lives. So which is it: the slogan that advocates the value of black lives, or the organization by the same name that will destroy black lives?

And how does a secularist justify WHY black lives matter? The slogan “Science Is Real” is a statement supporting the theory of evolution. But if people are simply the product of chance and time, then black lives DO NOT matter, nor do any others. No one matters. We are all just a collection of molecules without purpose or meaning. We die, go to dust, and that’s it. We don’t matter.

The slogan “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights” is advocating for abortion. But abortion has been the single biggest killer of black lives. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research and policy organization, over 300,000 black babies are aborted every year. Pre-born black lives obviously don’t matter to the abortionist. Not only that, but in many countries female babies are aborted more than male babies. So what is touted as "women’s rights” ends up destroying women! And in every single case, abortion takes away the rights of a human. So “women’s rights” destroys human rights. The slogan itself is self-contradictory.

Only those who believe in the Creator can logically and with certainty say that black lives matter and that racism is abhorrent (both of which we certainly affirm). Only those who believe our Creator gave us his revelation can say that absolutes exist and that all lives have meaning. All others can only give an opinion that black lives or other lives matter, an opinion that can change. In Hitler’s Germany it was decided that Jewish lives didn’t matter. When the State or the culture becomes the arbiter of which lives matter, we are standing on a weak and shifting foundation. If that trend becomes reality, we are all in trouble.

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