Papers and Articles
Below is a copy of a method of apologetics (giving a defense for your faith) that I have come to hone and highly recommend – even as a better form of evangelism. The current approach was to a Roman Catholic and I left that in there to show a more specific side of it, but it could be applied to anything – keeping 2 Cor. 11:4 in mind. Check it out:
On a practical note, I do not think that you have to become completely versed in the Catholic Doctrine or apologetics to talk with them. When you get to talk to one (or two), the main point is to ask questions and evaluate THEIR answers, THEIR words – do not debate them/him. So,you can start the conversation down the right path by asking questions. You could say, help me understand . . . and pay close attention to his answers. Pick key words and phrases out of those answers and probe deeper. The point is that you are trying to understand exactly what he believes and ask questions that direct an evaluation of those beliefs. So, if you believed that the moon was made of cheese, I might first ask you to define “moon” and “cheese” just so I am sure what you are talking about. Once I got terms right, I might ask you what you mean by “made of.” Do you mean completely, or just the outside? [as ludicrous as this sounds, my point is that you continue to ask questions so you know exactly what you are talking about from THEIR point of view. Before you can show someone the way to truth, you have to know from where they are coming.] . . .
SEE BOTTOM FOR A SLIDESHOW OF THIS METHOD
The next step is to find out where they learned this from. ”Wow, I had not heard that before, where did you learn that?” You can use ambiguous language so that you are truly listening, but not necessarily agreeing. Then you can also find out in this step how versed they really are in their research on this topic. In this stage you might find out that they actually know very little about it. So, we have learned what they believe, where it came from and now, it is good to find out why they have come to believe that. You can even say here, “Now, how long have you been a member of the Catholic Church?” This is crucial.It is very common, not guaranteed, that something happened. Likely, people abandon what they held true and quickly follow a movement because of a single experience and an emotional response. If this is not the case, so be it – but it usually is unless you are in Utah and talking to a Mormon, or in the case with Catholicism they might too have grown up in it.
Once you have listened well, not debated and learned where they are, you can begin evaluating their words more. [For me, that means that I have to write stuff down while they are saying it so I do not forget] It is here that you could say, “Now, earlier you said A equals B. But, what about when C is involved, does A still equal B?” This process is an exercise in how much water a conclusion/belief will hold. If you believe that you have to be baptized to be saved and I can show you that the thief on the cross was promised paradise and then died before ”leaving the wood” AND that Cornelius’ house began to speak in tongues [a sign of the presence of the Spirit in believers in that time], you might have to conclude with me that there are cases where people were saved and had not yet been baptizes, therefore baptism may not be (is not) required for salvation. See what I mean? The process is to Start the conversation with questions and interest, Listen to their words and answers, Evaluate to yourself what they say, Question their words to a directed end. I call it the SLEQ (bad acronym for “slick”) method. You are merely helping them evaluate out loud their beliefs. No conflict, no arguments, more listening then speaking. In this process you are looking for what I call a “hiccup.” This is where they, because of your questions, say something like, ”Well, . . I never thought of it that way” or “I don’t know” or ”Hmmm, yeah, I don’t know.” This is when you have finally got them to stop their regurgitation of learned info and now they are really thinking about it. It is usually at this point that they are very willing to listen to you. I would stay very non-combative still by saying something like, “I only ask because some would say, ‘[a doctrine based on the truth of Scripture]‘ and I wonder how that works with what you have said.” Now they are still the main one’s talking,but at this point you have led them to compare their views with the Scriptures.
1. It is helpful to know about others beliefs, but way more important to know the Scriptures to use as the Rule to evaluate all other views by.
2. To talk with someone and be heard – YOU MUST LISTEN. Why would anyone listen to you about eternal things if you have not even taken the time to get to know them to understand what the mean by what they say. This isn’t Amway.
3. Start a dialog with him in the spirit of “help me understand more what you believe, where you learned it and why you came to this point and conclusion?”
4. Listen well, and then gently ask directed, evaluative questions.
5. If you get to that “hiccup”, be willing to let the conversation go for a couple of days or so. You have just gently unnerved a large portion of their worldview and they might need to digest that. Guaranteed, they will listen to you from now on. They might want to talk more then, and if so – by all means! However, you might need to say something like, “I am so glad you were willing to share with me today and have this dialog. I really want to think more about what you said. Could we pick this up over tea at “such-&-such” on “such-&-such” day and talk some more? They will likely say yes and now you have an established date with the intention of talking to them about this and only this subject AND they are coming to listen.
Click on slideshow below and once downloaded and open, click the slideshow/play function and it will auto-run.
In the Scriptures, two very important interchangeable terms are used between the Old and New Testaments that have a place in the authoritative Word on life after death. The Hebrew word, Sheol, and the Greek word, Hades, are words of the basic same designation from the Old Testament period and books to that of the New Testament respectively. Each of them essentially mean the “grave, pit or death” in their general usage. This is more so in the Hebrew usage of Sheol than that of the New Testament and Hades. Along with this general view, a nuanced view is present in the Old Testament usage and even more pronounced in the New Testament to carry the idea of judgment and possibly punishment.
Read the rest here:
 All biblical references and quotations will be taken from the New American Standard Update of the Holy Bible, revised in 1995.
Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, Map on Lining Papers. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1988), 953.
I have heard it said time and again that Jesus was a man just like us, often times because of passages like Luke 2:52. However, when I read passages like John 1:1-18, Colossians 1:15-20, Hebrews 1:1-3 I do not get that sense. See what you think on one of them:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
6 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him.
8 He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me 1has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ ”
16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
John and Paul and the author of Hebrews do not seem to have that sense – namely that Jesus is just like us, in any way. He was presented temptation, just like us – but He was not/did not respond/ did not end up to be “just like us.”
Maybe, in light of ALL of Scripture, we might see this for what it is: a product of Western Modernity upon the text when we hear of a Jesus, just like us; a Jesus who grew in progressive knowledge of His own deity/lordship/sonship.
Read here for more on this, especially in the section entitled, Narrative Flow:
The following devotional was put together by my wife and I for her to deliver at the women’s retreat for our Sunday School class this weekend. I also shared it with those who did not go on the retreat, so husbands could hear it too. See attached at the bottom for the actual Word Doc.
12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, 12:2 keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. 12:3 Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up
Endurance means living by grace through Faith
- The meaning of endurance is to stay the course (What)
- The means for endurance is grace (How)
- The mission of endurance is God – our author, support and prize (Why)
Flow of thought:
- James tells us that trials bring endurance and endurance maturity
- The author of Hebrews calls trials and discipline a race to endure
- The most important thing about running the race is staying on course
- We cannot endure ourselves
- We need God’s strength to endure
- We receive His strength by grace
- Without faith – trusting God - we cannot see His grace and do not rest in His grace
- Christ ran before us, so He is the example of the running and the end – for the Father rewarded Christ with Himself
- We endure for God, with God, by God’s strength and to God as our prize
Intro: James says that trials bring about endurance and endurance maturity or completeness. Here, the writer of Hebrews calls it a race – a race we must endure. This is a wish that we all have. When money is tight, we want to endure. When there are marital problems, we want to endure. When our children are sick and no one has the answer, we want to endure. We want to do this, but what does it really mean to endure? How do we do it? WHY do we endure?