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We are excited to announce the date and speaker for our annual Fall Apologetics Conference in Portland!
  • First the date: Friday night October 23rd and all day Saturday Oct 24th, 2020. Save the date on your calendars! We will be announcing the venue/location next month.
  • Second, the speaker... JOSH McDOWELL!!! Josh is one of the pioneers of the Christian Apologetics movement. His book “Evidence that Demands a Verdict”, first published in 1972, was one of the flagship resources on the subject. Josh later published “More than a Carpenter” in 1977, a staple of Christian evangelism that has sold more than 10 million copies. He has shared the gospel with over 25 million people worldwide and is one of the top leaders in Cru (formerly known as "Campus Crusade for Christ"). This will be Josh’s first speaking engagement at an Apologetics Conference in Portland, and we are incredibly blessed to have him. You will not want to miss this special event. Sign up early. Bring your friends. Spread the word.
Also, don’t forget to attend our monthly Friday Forums until the conference! This month’s topic will be “Deconstruction: Dealing with Doubt”, given by David Hazen.

Hard Questions

Who made God?
The short answer? No one. No one is needed to make God because God is not a created entity. It is important to distinguish between things that are created and things that are not created.
This confusion often comes up in the discussion of origins. People will try to equate the beginning of the universe with the beginning of God. Christians ask unbelievers, “where did the universe come from?”. The logic is fairly straightforward:
  1. The physical universe obviously can’t be eternal: scientific laws like entropy (gradual decline into disorder) and an expanding universe are clear evidences of this, and the philosophy of an eternal historical past isn’t logically viable (i.e. you can’t have an infinite number of years of history of the universe before our present).
  2. But the universe obviously can’t have come from nothing either: this has been intuitive to thinking people for millennia: ex nihilo nihil fit (Latin for “out of nothing, nothing comes”).
In other words, both science and philosophy conclude that the universe must have been created in the finite past. And a created universe must have a creator. That is why the Bible states that one of the strongest evidences for God’s existence (as Creator) is that the universe exists (i.e. there IS a creation).

Psalm 19:1, 3-4 – The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. They don’t speak a word… yet their message has gone throughout the earth, it travels around the world.

Romans 1:20 – For his [God’s] invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.

People often mistakenly reason that since the UNIVERSE must have been made by someone, that GOD must have been made by someone too. But this is a logical error. God is quite different from the physical universe; He is supernatural. In contrast to other religions, the Bible teaches a God that is OUTSIDE our physical universe (i.e. timeless and immaterial) and therefore has no need of being “created”.

Youth Corner

Hello, my name is Cole Deppe. I am a Junior Ambassador on the Ambassadors Forum and I spoke at the Youth break-out session at the 2019 Spotlight Conference last November. Right now I attend Portland Community College as an early college student.
A new year has brought new challenges and learning opportunities for me and my journey using apologetics in my daily life. A lot of the time I hold back from having conversations about spiritual topics or bringing up religion with my non-Christian friends at school because I think it will be weird, but I’ve found that by living out my faith, that alone will cause people to ask ME questions.

Once, the students got a hold of the answer key to a quiz before we were about to take it, and as they were passing it around I simply told them that I wasn’t going to look at it because I wanted to take the test honestly and “ethically”. My friends thought I was just joking around (maybe because of the way I worded it, being a little caught off guard), but once they realized I was being serious, it caused them to stop and think. Actions like these have helped my friends to build a respect for me that allow conversations to be easier later and I’ve had the opportunity to talk to them about their beliefs in religion and spiritual things!

So if you’re having a hard time talking with people about faith and apologetics, make sure you’re living out your faith and this might cause people to notice you’re doing things different and they’ll be the one to come to YOU to talk!

Legal Corner

Can a student bring a Bible to public school, read it or share it during school hours?

According to 1998 U.S. Department of Education Guidelines and U.S. Supreme Court cases, a student may bring a Bible to school and read it during their free time, as well as discuss it with other students in informal conversation. A student is also allowed to share perspectives from the Bible during relevant class discussions and to write about the Bible and religious subjects as part of class work. Also, under the Equal Access Act (1982) and Good News Club v. Milford Central Schools (2001), secondary school students also have the right to form and participate in Bible clubs in school to the same extent the school allows other clubs; the primary limitation is that the club must be student-led (although a faculty advisor is usually required), and it can only meet during activity periods or other times allocated for student clubs to meet. That said, students today are frequently told by school officials they may not engage in these kinds of activities because they violate school policies prohibiting discrimination or harassment, or because they may make some students feel “uncomfortable.” Such statements are legally unsupportable and often can be reversed by competent legal advice.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education issued new guidelines that confirm the rights of students to pray and engage in other religious observances. For further information, see this page. So know your rights, be confident in your beliefs, and live out your faith!
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.

Current Events

"In practice, your religion no longer matters, if you are Buddhist, or Taoist, or Muslim or Christian. The only religion allowed is faith in the Chinese Communist Party."
- These are the words a Chinese Catholic priest recently uttered to the AsiaNews.
In recent years, China has increased its persecution of Christians in response to the spread of the Christian church there, which has been growing at an annual rate of 7%, faster than any other religion or faith.

However, persecution in China pales to that in the Middle East. In the 1920’s, 30% of Syrians were Christian. Today, the number has been reduced to 10%. The Christians in Syria have literally been subjected to death and torture. Still Christianity grows in pockets such as Kobani, where the radicals have been pushed out.

There are many stories down through the ages that report the growth of Christianity in the face of extreme persecution, not the least of which is that of the Christian church in the 1st through 4th centuries.

In America, we have not yet been subjected to the level of persecution experienced in other parts of the world, but we are seeing opposition on the rise as our faith is challenged and our freedoms are continually eroding.

Matthew 24:35 says that God’s Word "will not pass away". We can take heart that God’s Spirit and movement cannot be quenched. Yet, many Christians in America have not dedicated the time needed to fully understand God’s word and the promises He has made.

So get in the game! Read the Bible and share its message of hope and deliverance!

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