What an incredible time we had at our Tethered to Truth apologetics conference on Oct 23-24! Several months ago we were concerned that the virus lockdown measures would dampen our ability to equip and train Christians who are eager for the truth, but God delivered! It was our biggest conference yet, with over 550 in attendance, and over 200 youth! Because we had transitioned to a virtual format, over 2/3 of the states in the US were represented (34), as well as several other countries across the world! We have received so many encouraging notes of thanks and changed lives.

For those of you who registered for the event, we will be sending out a link to all 27 talks – including the panel Q&A – targeting this week, so you can watch all of the excellent content.

We are excited to continue our outreach and activities throughout the year. There are several ways for you to be involved:
  1. Website: Look at some hard questions we’ve already answered, ask us YOUR hard question, browse other helpful resources - click here.
  2. Radio program: You can listen live every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. on True Talk 800AM KPDQ or on iHeartRadio, or you can catch the broadcast afterwards from the radio show archive on our website.
  3. Book an Apologist: Contact us here if you’d like one of our local apologists to speak at your church, school chapel, Bible study, event, etc.
  4. Monthly Forums: We are compiling a great list of excellent speakers on relevant topics for our Monthly Forums on the third Friday of every month. Check our website for updates.

    * Nov. 20 – “Open Q&A” by Roy Swart and Adrian Toader

    * Dec. 18 – “Is Anyone Asking You?” by Steve Van Horn

Youth Corner

Hi! My name is Marianne, and I’m a sophomore at Biola University.

I’ve spent a lot of time learning and studying apologetics, both for my own sake and so that I can engage with others.
Students Outdoors
Recently I was in a friend’s living room when it came up that two of them did not really believe the Bible. When I inquired why, they began to bring up challenges against it and the problems they had with the Christian worldview. Before studying apologetics I would have felt shut down, or experienced anxiety because I would not have known how to respond, but this time I felt equipped to engage. I was able to remain very calm, asking them clarifying questions and presenting my own view. I was not perfect: I stumbled over my words, I messed up an analogy, and I didn't know the answers to everything they threw at me — but the apologetics training I have received gave me the confidence I needed to defend what I believed and have an edifying conversation to plant seeds of truth for them to consider. I even had the privilege of later seeing God water and cultivate those seeds!

It was cool how natural it was applying apologetics in this everyday conversation in the living room of my friend’s house! It was so rewarding to see all of my apologetics learning come together and to feel like I was able to not only defend what I believed, but to help others think about the truth.

I want to encourage you to keep seeking the truth, and to also seek out opportunities to use it! In the end, it is God who will change people’s hearts, not you, so the best you can do is gently and genuinely present the truth and leave the rest up to God.

Hard Question Corner

Why do Christians consider mere words written by men to be the “words of God”?

That’s a good question, and one that we hear a lot. The short answer is: They don’t. So why do so many people think they do? It’s helpful to review a bit about the nature of the Bible and how it was “canonized” (that word means “recognized as the Word of God”) in order to understand why that misperception is so prevalent.
First of all, it’s important to remember that the foundation of everything that is written which is considered to be the “Word of God” (or “the Bible”) is the Ten Commandments. Those words were heard by 2 million people at once and written with the very finger of God Himself on stone tablets. Those “ear-witnesses” (the people who heard God speak the Ten Commandments) also saw a simultaneous cataclysmic event (a huge mountain shaking, lightning, fire, etc.) Because of this event, Moses was received as a prophet of God, and the five books that he wrote (called the Torah, or the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) became the first five books of the Bible. This is how the Bible itself describes it:

Deuteronomy 4:12-14 – Then the LORD spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of the words… and he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments, and he wrote them on two tablets of stone. And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and rules, that you might do them in the land that you are going over to possess.

So, those original words were never considered to be “mere words written by men.” But more importantly, none of the books in the Bible have ever been considered to be “mere words of men.” They were believed to be “breathed out by God,” the product of men “being led by the Holy Spirit of God.”

2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is God-breathed…

2 Peter 1:21 – No prophecy [Scripture] was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Many people think that the various books got selected to be “in the Bible” by some human council or a church vote. This reveals a common and incorrect assumption. The Bible wasn’t later compiled as an anthology of ancient writings to have divine authority. All of those books were considered to be the “Word of God” the moment they were written. You might ask, well then, how does that work?

The law of gravity can serve as a helpful – albeit imperfect – example. If I asked you what human scientific convocation established gravity to be in effect across the universe, you’d say, “None.” Gravity wasn't created by the authority of men; it was established as its own absolute truth by God from the moment He created it, and only later RECOGNIZED by people as they studied it and applied its influence for productivity. It’s a similar thing with the Bible. The books we now call “The Bible” were the words of God the moment they were written, and only later universally RECOGNIZED by the people of God who received them as the words of God. This process was repeatedly confirmed by the people of God for centuries.

One final point is useful to consider. Christians view the Word of God as THE ultimate authority: higher than governments, higher than church leaders, higher than the church itself. It may seem counter-intuitive at first, but if people had the authority to decide what was the Word of God (which is the ultimate authority), then that means they would have even greater authority than God’s Word itself. Something to think about.

Science Corner

No true Christian can ever correctly be accused of being “anti-science.” It’s impossible. Let me explain.

Science is irrefutably “Christian.” God created the building blocks of 1) Uniformity, 2) Creative Thought, and 3) Logic that are the basic ingredients of science.
Those concepts are only part of a biblical worldview, and were captured and described in the Bible thousands of years before Francis Bacon ever coined them as the “Scientific Method.”

Let’s begin by considering the first of these three concepts: Christianity provides the only intellectual and philosophical JUSTFICATION for Uniformity. In simple terms, “Uniformity” can be defined as the “confidence that tomorrow will look like today.” In other words, gravity won’t suddenly stop working or reverse its direction, the speed of light won’t randomly fluctuate, the behavior of elements in the periodic table won’t change, etc.

Christians can have certainty in this because the Creator of the universe, God, never changes. He has revealed in Scripture that the stability of His creation is rooted in the permanence of His character. But in an atheistic worldview there is no intellectual or philosophical JUSTIFICATION for these things, only blind and unsupported faith, the kind of faith that the Bible condemns and rejects.

Next time someone tells you that “science and the Bible are in conflict,” ask them to explain themselves, and be ready to engage in a productive conversation. If they are open-minded, perhaps you may be able to help them see the inherent contradiction in their logic. It’s not that atheists can’t be scientists; it’s just that they are inconsistent in their own worldview when they do so.

In future newsletters we will consider the other two principles required for science: Creative Thought and Logic.

Legal Corner

What do Supreme Court nominations tell us about the role of the judiciary in our republican form of government?

First, some context: Despite the popular misconception the United States is a democracy, the Constitution actually envisions a republican form of government, where citizens elect officials to make decisions for them (Article IV, § 4). Congress was intended to be accountable to the people and was given only “enumerated” powers (Article I, § 8) in hopes of preserving limited government. What is popularly perceived as legislative “gridlock” was a feature, not a flaw.

Article III, § 1 says federal judges serve “during good behavior” (or “for life”). They must be confirmed by the Senate (Article II, § 2(2)) and can be impeached in the same manner a president can (Article I, § 3(6)). The idea was judges should be free from political influence, unlike English judges who served at the pleasure of the Crown. Following the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the Federalist Papers described the judiciary as the weakest branch of government, while the Anti-Federalists sounded the alarm that a judiciary able to invalidate laws passed by Congress would eventually threaten our republican form of government.

In the twentieth century, impatience with congressional inaction and a desire to “discover” additional rights not stated in the Constitution led some to circumvent Congress and pursue change through the courts and other means. Senator Mike Lee has written about an “incredible shirking Congress” that has abdicated its duties to the courts. A succession of cases dating back to the 1950s on hot-button issues has predictably cast the judiciary as a political branch in the public eye. Supreme Court nominees since 1987 have been subjected to senatorial political theater, with demands to know in advance how a potential justice would rule on certain issues. Never mind it is unethical for judges to predetermine rulings, but more importantly: who wants judges deciding cases based on promises to senators rather than the court record in cases before them? Do sports leagues choose referees to officiate games who promise victory in advance to certain teams?

The ensuing political rancor is a reflection of our fallen human nature. (See James 4:1-4.) In political life, as in the spiritual realm, when we depart from the revealed law, the protections for our good are stripped away. As Ben Franklin famously said in 1787, we have a republic “if we can keep 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.

Linguistic Theft Corner

At our annual conference this year, Hillary Morgan Ferrer, founder of Mama Bear Apologetics, introduced the concept of “Linguistic Theft.”

She explained that certain words/phrases out of the Bible (Ex: “social justice,” “love your neighbor,” “equality,” etc.) are being hijacked and deliberately changed in order to promote an anti-God agenda. She defined three steps in Linguistic Theft that opponents of God are employing:
  1. Identify a core value that people universally agree or disagree with. (e.g., Nazis are bad.)
  2. Frame the arguments for your agenda in terms of the words that everyone agrees with. (e.g., Religious zealots are like Nazis.)
  3. Claim that anyone who resists your agenda is FOR the words that people universally agree are BAD, and AGAINST the words that people universally agree are GOOD. (e.g., If you believe the Bible, then you are a religious zealot, and therefore like a Nazi, and therefore bad.)
This manner of “linguistic theft” is very different than the ordinary evolution of language as words get used in different contexts. A few examples of normal semantic drift might be “awful” and “terrible.” They used to mean “fill with awe” and “to cause terror” (great respect & reverence). In fact, the latter is used several times to describe God in the Bible.

Psalm 47:1-2 - O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.

Over time these words (“awful” and “terrible”) have taken on a more negative meaning and today are viewed more akin to “evil” than “good.” But the original association in this psalm was that our acknowledgment that God is “terrible” should result in us clapping our hands and shouting for joy! Obviously words can change over time, and whenever we are interpreting the Bible, context is absolutely crucial.

Stay tuned for future newsletters where more examples of this type of intentional deception defined as “Linguistic Theft” are explained, so that you can recognize and refute them!

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