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There are so many exciting activities happening in the Ambassadors Forum! The ministry is so much more than our large annual conference in the Fall, we have forums and talks throughout the year, and many opportunities to engage in smaller venues.

We had a great Q&A session with the Southwest Hills Baptist Church youth group this week, both high school and middle school students! There were over 100 kids in attendance. Young people have the best questions! We discussed everything from “How is the Theory of Evolution wrong?” to “Do you have to understand the Trinity to be a Christian?” We always follow the same simple method when trying to discover God’s truth on a hard question about a confusing topic:
  1. Clearly define the terms used in the question.
  2. Go to the Bible for insight.
  3. Apply sound logic and reason towards an answer.
The Ambassadors Forum has always had a focus on youth. We know young people have questions and if we don’t engage them where they are then they will look to the world for answers. Our ministry has been guided by the following principles:
  1. This is a safe place to ask questions.
  2. We don’t shy away from the hard questions.
  3. We’re not afraid of doubt.
  4. We’re not threatened by challenges.
  5. We know that Christianity can handle the testing.
We will also be speaking and doing Q&A events at various church Sunday schools, high school chapels, and churches over the next several months. If you would like us to speak at your church or youth group or school please contact us at theambassadorsforum.com.
Question

Question Corner

My Mormon friend said the Bible condones their religious practice of baptizing for the dead (1Cor 15:29). What do you think?



This is an interesting question. The Mormon church believes that going to the temple and baptizing yourself in place of people who have died allows those people a chance at paradise.

This is a great example of why theological doctrines should never be built on one verse. Context is crucial. Context of the surrounding verses, chapters, and even the whole book. The verse mentioned in the question states:

1Corinthains 15:29 - “Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?”

The first thing to notice is that nowhere else in the Bible are believers instructed to Baptize for the dead. Nor is it ever mentioned in historical writings that the early church actually did this, or encouraged it. In fact, it is in direct contradiction to the Biblical notion that we need to respond to God in this life.

In this chapter, Paul is arguing against those who say there is no resurrection, and this is one in a series of arguments against that notion. During the first century, several pagan religions had the practice of baptizing for the dead in many areas around Corinth. There are several traditional interpretations of this verse, and one possibility is that Paul may be referencing these practices when he says “they” are baptized for the dead, not “we.” Paul’s point here could be that even these Pagans inherently know something about the afterlife. It’s all part of his argument for the widespread acknowledgment of the resurrection of the dead, not a prescription for us to follow these practices.

Taking this verse out of context, as the Mormons do, and creating an entire ritual of baptism for the dead is hardly justified. Great question, keep ‘em coming!

Youth Corner

Hi, my name is Marianne. I was involved in the Ambassadors Forum before I went to college. I attended the Summit Apologetics conference in 2018, and I am currently attending Biola University.
Youth
One thing that I have learned in my journey with Apologetics is that even if you have all the right answers, some people still aren't going to listen. You could give "perfect" responses to every single one of a person's questions, and they may still walk away completely unconvinced. That is because we are more than just a logical brain - we are also a complex mess of emotions and experiences, and often times people are searching for more than just the truth. They are searching for healing, for purpose, for connection. And that connection is ultimately fulfilled in the reconciliation of their relationship with God. Therefore, it is important that we treat apologetics as more than just presenting truth to people, but also presenting the healing and comfort that comes alongside that truth. Don't leave the gospel out of apologetics!

Legal Corner

Can a student decline to complete an assignment if it violates their sincerely held religious beliefs?
Probably not.
Legal
While students theoretically have conscience protections under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Act, and should be able to complete an alternative assignment, court precedent generally limits objections in curriculum matters and affords great deference to educators’ discretion. Prevailing law similarly limits the rights of parents to object to such assignments. In short, the law in this area is a mess and crying out for resolution by the U.S. Supreme Court, which recently declined to review a case where a Christian student objected to an assignment requiring study of the Muslim conversion prayer. Until that time comes, non-legal measures are more effective. I generally advise people with objections to reading assignments (especially sexually explicit ones) to attend a school board meeting, sign up to participate in the 2-3 minute citizen comment time and start reading the assignment out loud. Often, the response from the school board is “That’s not appropriate in this setting”, which then affords the student or parent the chance to say, “If it’s not appropriate in a public meeting, why is it appropriate in a classroom?” The question answers itself.
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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