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The battle for the minds of our children begins when they are old enough to talk. The world understands this, which is why they begin laying the foundations of worldviews that compete against Christianity, worldviews like secular humanism, critical theory, and atheistic socialism, when children begin school. If left unchallenged, these seeds of falsehood can grow into deep-rooted systems of doubt and rebellion against God and His ways. This is one of the reasons that 60% of young adults who went to church as teens drop out of the faith after high school. Their main reason for leaving? They weren’t getting good answers from their church to their difficult questions.

Are you equipped to give the biblical perspective on the questions asked to you by your children and grandchildren? Are you confident with answers from the Bible even for yourself? The Ambassadors Forum is here to help.

Elizabeth Urbanowicz spoke last Friday (Sep-18) on the topic of “Equipping Our Children to Discern and Follow Truth.” Elizabeth explained the importance of teaching elementary school kids to think logically and critically and to plant the seeds of a biblical worldview in their minds to grow and develop during their childhood. She discussed how to explain the concept of truth to your children in a way that was practical, and how to equip them to recognize truth and falsehoods in the information that is presented to them throughout their education. If you missed the Forum, her entire presentation (including Q&A) can be found here: link.

Make sure you sign up to attend our annual apologetics conference on October 23rd and 24th! You will have the opportunity to hear excellent teaching from experts like Elizabeth Urbanowicz, Dr. Neil Shenvi, Hillary Morgan Ferrer, Josh McDowell, and others! We have a dynamite lineup of some of the best speakers in the country to deliver solid apologetics training on relevant and practical topics. 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 schedule and detailed topics and speakers, and to register for the event: https://theambassadorsforum.com/.

Lastly, we are on the radio! We have a weekly program on Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. on True Talk 800 AM and will cover various hot topics in apologetics and answer your hard questions. Tune in and check us out! You can find past episodes on our website at: https://theambassadorsforum.com/radio/

Youth Corner

The format of this month’s Youth Corner will be an interview…

What is your name? Ellie

What grade are you in? 3rd grade
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What is your favorite Bible story? Esther, because she showed a bunch of courage and did something hard for God and her people and made a big difference. I want to be like Esther someday.

How do you learn about God the most? My dad reads us Bible stories. It’s called “Bible Time.” Then when I hear these same stories in Sunday School, I already know them and have thought about them for a long time. Hearing it in a different Bible (version) gives me a fuller picture with more details and helps me put all the pieces together. When I still have hard questions about the Bible, I always ask my dad.

Who made everything? God. How do you know? Well, first, the Bible says it. But also, it’s obvious that something can’t just come out of nowhere.

What makes something right or wrong? Things that are right are things that God wants you to do. Things that are wrong are sin. The Bible mentions a lot of sins, like the Ten Commandments.

Have you ever wondered if the Bible wasn’t true? Yes. It all seemed so impossible. But then the more I learned about God, the more I thought He could do pretty much anything.

What has been your biggest question about the Bible? The Trinity. It doesn’t make sense that there are three persons but only one God. As I’ve gotten to know about God more, it’s gotten a little bit better, but it is still hard to understand.
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Hard Question Corner

Why do apologists use big words like “ontological” and “teleological”? What do those even mean??

These two words are types of arguments for the existence of God. You bring up an important point that we need to remember.
Apologetics can often involve the discussion of complex subjects, and when this work is undertaken by the “intellectual community” (i.e., those with advanced degrees or those who make a living writing books and giving lectures on these subjects) confusing terms can sometimes be introduced. This isn’t necessarily bad, it can be useful in summarizing volumes of discourse into an abbreviated form, but it can be dangerous. It can give the impression that if you don’t understand these words, you’re not smart enough to participate in the discussion. This is just not true.
  • “Ontological” simply means “study of being” or “study of existence.” The “ontological argument for the existence of God” is complicated, but in its simplest form says that if we define “God” as the highest form of being that we can imagine, then He must exist. One of the problems with this argument is that it relies on human reason as the ultimate authority without justifying that position. Therefore it is not the most compelling approach.
  • “Teleological” means “study of the end of something” or “study of something’s purpose.” The “teleological argument for the existence of God” is also complicated, but in its simplest form says that since the universe seems to have been designed for a specific purpose (i.e., supporting human life), then it must have been designed by God. One of the problems with this argument is that it equates the high statistical probability of something as irrefutable proof. It is also not the most compelling approach.
Unfortunately, one of the problems with these types of arguments is that they don’t really accomplish what they intend to. At best they are a clever philosophical or evidential justification for some kind of “higher power” to exist. But this higher power is not specified as the God of the Bible. Therefore the essential task of proving that the God of the Bible exists, which is the only way to introduce the crucial concepts of sin and salvation, still remains. While these arguments can be an interesting thought experiment for those deeply embedded in the topic, they can be alienating because of their terminology, and are not necessarily the most effective method for reaching people in today’s culture. As Christian apologists, we can do better.

Legal Corner

What religious liberty cases are before the U.S. Supreme Court in the upcoming 2020 term?

Legal
Following a 2019 term of significant religious liberty cases, the Supreme Court has before it significant pending and potential religion cases to decide in the term starting October 5, 2020.

Tanzin v. Tanvir addresses whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) authorizes recovery of money damages from individual federal employees who violate a citizen’s religious rights. The Court may limit qualified immunity, often insulating public officials from liability. On November 4, the Court will hear Fulton v. City of Philadelphia to determine whether the City of Philadelphia can disqualify a Catholic adoption agency from providing foster care services because the agency refuses to certify same-sex couples as foster parents.

Among petitions the Court is still considering reviewing are two cases involving employers’ duty to accommodate religious beliefs of their employees. Small v. Memphis Light, Gas & Water and Dalberiste v. GLE Associates, Inc. challenge employers declining to accommodate Jehovah’s Witness and Seventh-Day Adventist workers whose work schedules created conflicts with attending religious services. At issue is a challenge to the TWA v. Hardison “undue hardship” standard, whereby employers need not accommodate the religious rights of employees if doing so results in even a minimal burden on the employer.

The Court also must decide whether to review a pair of Washington nondiscrimination cases. Washington State v. Arlene’s Flowers is again petitioning SCOTUS after being remanded to the Washington Supreme Court following the contrary Colorado Masterpiece Cakeshop decision; the Washington Supreme Court rebuffed the High Court and adhered to its earlier opinion. In a similar case, Woods v. Seattle Union Gospel Mission, the issue is whether the gospel mission’s legal aid clinic violated Washington’s nondiscrimination law when it did not hire an LGBT man for a staff attorney position. The Fulton decision may affect disposition of these cases.

With an election looming and the recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg injecting uncertainty and the possibility of adverse decisions being upheld by 4-4 tie votes, now is a good time for God’s people to heed Scriptural admonitions to pray for our nation and its leaders.
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.
Worldview

Current Events

Bad News, Good News!

No Solution yet to Corona Virus!
National Distress Over Racism!
Riots and Anarchy Persist!
National Leadership in Disarray!
Due to these and many other headlines, the year 2020 will go down in the history books as one to remember.

As we huddle at home, deprived of social interaction, observing the unrest around us, it can be challenging to stay immune to all the bad news and to avoid becoming subdued by feelings of anxiety and depression.

From a broader perspective, there’s always been bad news in our world. It all started with Adam and Eve’s removal from the garden. As followers of Christ, we’ve always been the benefactors of GOOD NEWS. Bad news has been with us since the garden, but the Good News has been from eternity past. Bad news will end with the return of Christ. The Good News of the Gospel is for all eternity: past, present and future.

As we look forward to Christ’s return and focus on the establishment of His kingdom on earth, the bad news of today blurs into the background.

But now is not the time to rest, as God has given us the power (and the responsibility) to live and image Him as His people. As believers, we might ask ourselves what our role should be during these times.
  • There are many people hurting spiritually, physically, and financially. Pray for them. At the same time, ask God how you might offer practical and/or spiritual help.
  • There are many people acting badly. God doesn’t call us to refer to them as idiots; rather, He calls us to pray for them that they might hear His voice.
  • We have leaders that are off-track. Are we praying that they will come face to face with God’s truth?
  • Are we praying for our church leadership, that they will be guided by God’s wisdom in these difficult times?
  • Are we sharing God’s good news, and what He’s done for us, with those who will hear it?
Joshua said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15).

Yes, we should rejoice in God’s mercy to us, but let’s also search His will for our role in these difficult times.

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