This Sunday we will be discussion what makes a human being a person. This video from atheist ethicist Peter Singer displays what he views about personhood.
RC Talk - The Official Blogs of Ratio Christi Chapters
There are not many books out there that offer in depth research on what the cultural trends are and then compare it to the other studies that are out there in order to get greater perspective, but this one does.
Most of us have had the experience of standing in a line holding a small ticket with a number on it, waiting. Many of the places, that give these type of tickets to customers, often have some type of sign that has the statement "now serving" with a number corresponding to the tickets being held. Each person holding said tickets anxiously waits for their number to be called. Looking at the sign, then their ticket, their ticket, then the sign. Finally, often after what seems like forever, our number is called. You have to admit, we all react the same way...it is our turn, that's right, no one else but us, as we strut proudly up to the counter with our now useless ticket. And then, reality sets in. We are just like everyone else that has been holding a ticket at some point. But this isn't the bad part. No, the person with the power, that is now waiting on us is simply another person doing the same thing many others are doing. Did you get that part? We have waited, patiently, only to find we are being treated no differently than the person before us. In fact, the person we have been waiting to see is just like every other person, at every other place, doing the same exact thing. The only thing that could possibly be worse would be to find out the person serving us could not answer any of our questions! They all looked the same. They are all doing the same thing. How could they not be able to help me? So what does this have to do with apologetics, or the church?
Every day there are thousands, if not millions, of organizations and people now serving...They are giving away, helping out, feeding, you name it, they are serving in some capacity. Good people, "bad people", church people, those required to serve, others doing it to impress someone. All now serving the same things, the same ways, in the same places. All of which is both amazing, and great to do. The church people are, in fact, instructed to serve. But wait, if everyone else is doing the same things, then what is the difference in the other servers and us? Remember the scenario from above? Exactly! WE are to serve, but what happens when a very appreciative person asks us why? Do we simply say we are trying to show the love of Jesus? (They killed Him, remember). Do we tell them we are simply being nice, that it is a church thing, or maybe go as far as to invite them to church?
You see, as Christ followers we are supposed to serve, to love our neighbor as ourselves. But is that all? If so, do you see the problem? Christians have a bad name the way it is. It is like standing in the line and no one being able to help you. We can't be like everyone else. Even if we are all doing the same thing, we must set ourselves apart from the world. In fact our Book tells us to set ourselves apart, to be a "peculiar" people. (KJV) But how? We are serving, locally and throughout the world. So what sets us apart? Now more than ever we must be prepared to serve. Our military, our favorite ball team, other religions, organizations, and people are prepared to serve. Why not us? Well, ladies and gentlemen, let's go to the Book!
The first and greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart, soul and mind. The Book of Acts provides many examples of Paul being prepared to serve. How? Paul went to the temple daily and "reasoned" or gave answers for why he was serving. And of course, Jesus spent His entire ministry using signs wonders and miracles serving. He was prepared, to say the least, as were each of His disciples. How did they prepare? By studying the scriptures daily! Throughout the Bible we are given examples of serving, and how they prepared to serve. How they set themselves apart. And get this, we too are told to be prepared! It's what the Book states, "be prepared to give an answer for the hope we have". 1 Peter 3:15.
Yes, it is a lot easier to be like everyone else. Yes, we all may be doing the same things. But, we must be prepared. In fact, how can we serve if we are not prepared? Is that not something like putting the cart before the horse. Now serving...disciples, followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, prepared to battle, For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
Being an apologist is one of the most rewarding callings God could ever place on one's life. However, if your feelings get hurt easily, it bothers you to lose friends, or have people accuse you of wanting to argue or cause division, then my suggestion would be to verify your calling into apologetics. And, if none of those things bother you, well, then I would still urge you to verify the journey in which you are about to embark upon. Why such a strong warning? Well, to begin with, apologetics deal in truth, as should the professing follower of Christ. Yet, as I will give examples in this blog, it would appear the majority do not like truth. I know this may not come as a shock to many, but to me, being new in apologetics, and saved for a mere nine years, it continues to amaze me daily. Let me explain further, as always, but let me also warn you...be careful of what you don't say, but simply share.
Part of my job consists of spending time on social networks, Facebook, twitter, etc., I know tough life huh, interacting with others. There is a learning curve when one begins to interact on these websites and I am either a slow learner, or I just need to stop doing this particular part of my job. You see, in the beginning of social networking, one wants to debate, correct, and comment on each and every post that remotely resembles going against the truth, God, apologetics, and the Bible. All having a common thread, the new apologist and a computer can be a dangerous thing. Something like the new follower thinking they can save the world. One learns, whether quickly or not, that social networking is its own little world that you are but a small part. My first lesson came quickly when I jumped into a debate, concerning nothing of importance, and left feeling as though I knew nothing. This was a good thing. Do not jump in a conversation, or comment, on every little thing that is wrong with someone else's belief or post. Yes, wrong as there is only one truth and we all cannot be right. And no, I do not have all the answers, and am wrong quite often. Some things are just blatantly obvious, take my word on this one.
So, lesson learned and back to attempting to share truth in the big world with my limited knowledge. Little did I know there were many more lessons to come. For quite some time I would spend what seemed like hours coming up with my own thoughts, that I felt relevant to helping others understand, and posting them instead of actually conversing or commenting on others posts. Ah, this seemed like I had struck gold. Each day I would check to see how many "likes" or "retweets" I had gotten on my soon to be famous knowledge I had discovered and had begun to share. Yeah well, lesson number two came hard and, well faster than I expected. It seems many more people were actually reading what I was writing than I realized. Now keep in mind I live in a small town and many Facebook friends live around the corner and actually talk to each other in person. Do you see where this is going? It seems for every "like" I received there was someone either "unfriending" me, or going to my pastor and complaining, or get this, going to my mother, and asking if she had seen what I put on Facebook. Typically this wouldn't bother me, but I thought I was doing the will of God and sharing truth with mainly other believers, but some of the lost also. Well, those "believers" seem to have a real keen sense on what they believe, true or not, and don't like when someone attempts to rock their comfy God boat. Ugh! Oh well, another lesson learned.
I still use social networking daily. In fact I spend as much time now as I ever did. The difference, well, I post other peoples thoughts and comments instead of my own. Yes, I spend sometimes hours each morning searching for quotes or articles from scholars, yes scholars, and other reputable individuals to keep from having my brothers and sisters in Christ upset with me over something as silly as Facebook. My logic was, is, if I am not the one writing, or posting my own thoughts, then if someone were to get upset, they could be upset with the author or whoever actually made the statement. Ha Ha! I am not saying anything, for the most part, simply sharing other well respected individuals and I STILL have people upset, going to my pastor, and of course unfriending, or even worse stop supporting, my ministry. It seems as long as no one, and I mean no one, writes, posts, tweets, or whatever, anything that doesn't upset the comfy God boat, life is good. I'm not sure why this surprises me. I mean after all people did follow Jim Jones to a jungle and kill themselves. But anyway, let me give you the latest example. We as Christians are supposed to expose false teachers, wrong teaching, etc., according to the Bible I read. It says nothing about if they are popular or not, simply expose them and their teaching. Now this is where one begins to wonder if many actually open or read that particular, but be sure they are reading complete and false nonsense of the popular, good feeling preachers and teachers of the world. Never mind if these people write, speak, preach, or teach truth. As long as it makes people feel good, and has some God and Jesus thrown in, then they have to be right, don't they? Here is a quick overview of the most recent upsetting thing I have done online. Well, possibly until I post this blog anyway. I shared, yes shared an article concerning one of todays popular "teachers". Now if you are familiar with Facebook, and a small town, regardless of the amount of "friends" you have "likes" and "shares" vary and are typically minimal. Well, this particular share was then shared 65 more times that I am aware of, with hundreds of comments, mainly positive believe it or not, and I thought to myself, hmm, that's a good thing maybe, just maybe, someone will see this and actually understand why this "teacher" is not reliable. Especially when he/she is endorsing a known false teacher.
Well, low and behold, first thing this morning I get a private message from another brother in Christ, defending the teacher. It wasn't harsh, but the tone was something to the point of causing division and arguing, along with this teacher had been used personally and in fact was very spiritual. Oh well, if they only understood my heart. It breaks every Sunday morning when no one responds to the invitation to accept Christ. It breaks daily to read and see other "followers" reading, watching, posting and worst of all believing false teaching. But most of all it breaks that they don't seem to care...
One of my goals in doing apologetics is finding solid and helpful books on any number of topics. An old truism is, "Leaders are readers." So how do we find good books and avoid bad ones?
I'm in a winter term class on discipleship, taught by a guy who has been making disciples of college students for longer than I've been alive. Lots of great insights. Probably the #1 take away is something that is surprisingly very simple, yet very hard for many to do consistently.
As we get ready to step into our first full semester of meetings and ministry at Germanna Community College, I am reminded of how the Lord has shown His continued faithfulness in getting our chapter started and allowing us to meet on campus for a good half of the Fall semester. This has been a long time coming and we are hearing great feedback from our faculty advisor and the students talking up RC Germanna.
Some of our meetings with students outside of the club/chapter, and who are not yet members of RC Germanna, are seeing our fliers and asking questions about our flyers and finding out the subjects we are discussing: What is Ratio Christi and what is apologetics, What is Truth and Where does it come from?, Is truth absolute or relative, What is the definition of faith?, How did we get just 66 books of the Bible? Just discussing these subjects has created the openness for our students to ask deeper questions about things they are hearing from their professors' lectures. We are looking to address one of those in our next upcoming meeting.
Our Meetings this Semester
Our first meeting was on a night where the school was celebrating Halloween with an all campus bash and movie night. Nevertheless we had about 12 students show for the first meeting. From there we were averaging about 17 students a night with our high attendance being twenty one students. Our Faculty Advisor, Antwan Perry remarked about how impressive Ratio Christi is in seeing the need for students to meet together to discuss matters on truth.
Another thing I learned is that students love to meet together and "kick things around." What do I mean by this? Just ask a student their thoughts on a point made during a presentation and watch what happens. This is a great thing to where they can understand truth and how it relates to all of life and faith.
Allowing the Students to Ask Questions During the Meetings in a Q and A
A thought about the question and answer sessions we had during these half a dozen meetings. We had one student share that he was talking to another student who was an atheist. The atheistic student told our student member that they could not believe in the resurrection of Jesus due to the latest scientific experiements of doing cryogenic experiments with animals and then bringing them back to life.
After a short discussion and hearing out the question, I go together with some of our students that week, and we "shared some thoughts" about the question as a means of encouraging them to research and assist their friend. They got right on it, and were ready for our question and answer time two weeks later. During that night, we went back to the student's question, letting him know that some of his fellow students helped in researching the issue.
As soon as we were done sharing the findings and the fallacies in the question from the atheist, the student asking the question, opened up with his thoughts and a discussion ensued. Then all of sudden other students were participating and asking other questions. What ws leaned? Our RC Germanna students are hungry for the truth and engaging the truth of the Christian faith.
I am looking forward to this Thursday when we start back up for the Spring semester. We are expecting to lose one or two moving on to four year schools. But we are also expecting more growth with incoming students for the Spring semester.
God is good and in charge of RC Germanna.
Once upon a time in the not so distance past...wait, maybe it isn't a distance past at all. In fact, once upon a time, in the present, the church looked as though it was still in the distant past. Yeah, I know, the buildings may be bigger, the clothes worn by the congregation, and the pastor, have changed, and the music in many, if not most, is definitely not grandmas beloved church music. Before you think I am going to bash the church, I am not. I am simply going to attempt to point out how society and the world continue to move forward and well, the church has, or appears to have, stayed in the distant past. I also know, before you bash me, the gospel does not change, and that isn't the point either. Okay, so let me try to explain...
Growing up in a small rural town, I was taken to church by my parents most Sunday's. It was, and continues to be, the typical church service. A couple songs, offering, and the pastor choosing a piece of scripture to "preach" on that particular Sunday. The kids were sent downstairs, or wherever, for "Sunday school", where they were taught the stories of Jonah, Noah, Adam and Eve, etc..Sound pretty standard to this point? Is there anything really wrong with this type of a church service? Maybe, maybe not.Chances are it isn't going to change regardless. Yet, the world continues to move forward. It seems the church realizes this, to some extent, as most have websites, or Facebook pages, and twitter accounts. But what it doesn't seem they realize is that everyone else have all of the social networks, and technology also. You may think or ask, so what? Well, the problem of the church and pornography is not the point of this blog, but with pornography being so readily available do we not understand everything else that is out there also? Do we not understand the thoughts and opinions, of possibly most, of society are against religion, in general, and especially Christianity? If you don't believe me, Google atheism, postmodernism, relativism, or anything you would think a "good Christian" would never read. Check out YouTube, actual videos of most any subject concerning most any subject one could conceive. The point? Well, once upon a time...
Most people, and especially small rural America, assumed everyone believed in God, knew they should be in church, and were overall just good people. Yet in today's world when we teach our kids about Noah, we better be able to answer the question concerning the flood. Adam and Eve? Were they really the first people? If so how, when, where, etc.? In fact did you know one of the most discussed subjects is creation, how old the earth is, and science. Yes, supposedly science, according to many, answer all of these questions better than Christianity. Not to mention all of the objections to God due to evil, suffering, or even a need for God. And yes, it is all a mouse click away. Society is drifting farther and farther away from the Truth and our churches are simply preaching the Truth. And that is fine, right up to the point of someone asking "why"!
Yes, once upon a time the church could simply preach the Truth, and most everyone simply accepted what was being said. It wasn't questioned. Society appeared to be predominately Christian and all was well. But that was once upon a time. Today, Christians, our kids, and the church are all faced with not simply the internet, but a society that is possibly more secular than ever before. It isn't just the atheists, a small number in the big picture, but, believe it or not, the church. From not just allowing, but performing gay marriages, to preaching politically correct sermons, and attempting to entertain instead of making disciples.
We live in a world that asks questions. People want to know why. It is no longer enough to simply tell folks what they need to do, but we must be prepared to give reason and evidence to why they need to do it. I am afraid that if we, the church, doesn't catch on and catch up soon, well the story may become, once upon a time, Christianity...
In our December journal we featured “Christmas and Hanukkah – Thinking of our Jewish Friends,” with advice from some Ratio Christi folks about how to approach Jewish people for the Gospel. This month, we’re telling you about a chapter that’s making amazing progress with atheists on campus – thanks to some club members with Jewish backgrounds!
Bobby Hinsdale is the RC Chapter Director at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. He fills us in on what’s happening there.
It couldn’t be more evident that many Christians assume Jesus is the Son of God. But in many cases, Christians aren’t sure about the biblical background of the title “Son of God.” What Christians tend to forget is that when Jewish people thought of the Davidic King as the Son of God, it had very little to do with thinking the King was the Second person of the Trinity. Even though divine sonship appears in the Hebrew Bible with regards to persons or people groups such as angels (Gen 6:2; Job 1:6; Dan 3:25), and Israel (Ex. 4:22-23; Hos 11;1; Mal. 2:10), the category that has special importance to the Son of God issue is the king. When the divine sonship is used in the context of the relationship between Israel and the king (2 Sam. 7:14; Ps. 2:7;89:26-27), the sonship theme emphasizes that the king is elected to a specific task. Furthermore, there is also a special intimacy between God and the king.