8/20/2015

Why You Should Become a Christian: Christianity Explains the Presence of Evil

A bridge in Minneapolis collapses. Nuclear weapons experimentation makes Kazakhstan home to people with awful disfigurements. A train wreck in Brazil kills eight and injures over 100. Civil war tears apart the hopes and dreams of children in Africa. ISIS continues its reign of terror in the Middle-east.  Seemingly countless murders tear apart families.

Evil, defined for this article as sin or injustice against another human being, is all around us.

I am not about to try to give a comprehensive explanation for how evil came to be. I do not claim to be the kind of person who can do that.  God created men with the ability to sin and the ability not to sin, but I cannot reason beyond that.

I do not know how evil came to be; I just know that evils exists. Evil is present. Evil is real.
What must exist in order for evil and suffering to be truly wrong? Does not the existence of evil itself require a standard of good?

Should we just accept evil as a part of the way the universe works? Should we accept a view of evil based on social convention, or the DNA encoded in our cells?

These things vary from one person to the next, but we do not find a definition of evil that changes greatly from person to person, place to place, or time to time. We always seem to have a notion of the way things ought to be.

I want a view of the world around me that accounts for the reality of evil and suffering. I want it to be called evil, not just the absence of happiness that is a social construct of mere men.

We know that this standard of good and evil must be real. Life makes no intuitive sense without it.
The denial of evil is impossible in view of the pain and suffering we see around us. I want cruelty to be profoundly wrong. For this, I need an absolute standard for what is right.

Christianity allows for this standard. It allows evil to be “evil.” Non-Christian views of the world do not allow for this standard because they provide no standard or right and wrong.

The theologian Greg Bahnsen writes:
… it is crucial to the unbeliever's case against Christianity to be in a position to assert that there is evil in the world -- to point to something and have the right to evaluate it as an instance of evil … the problem of evil turns out to be, therefore, a problem for the unbeliever himself. In order to use the argument from evil against the Christian worldview, he must first be able to show that his judgments about the existence of evil are meaningful -- which is precisely what his unbelieving worldview is unable to do.
Knowing that evil “is,” that it exists, is enough to convince us that there is a God. We cannot define evil without defining good. Evil is a falling short of the good.

Knowing that evil “is” leads us relentlessly to a God who is the definition of good. Without Him, we would not know evil when we saw it.

Of course, Christianity does not stop there. It also offers hope for deliverance from evil. In the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ we find ultimate deliverance from “the last enemy,” death. (1 Corinthians 15:25-28).


In Christ, we find deliverance from the power of evil and the forces that bring it about (Colossians 2:8-15). Many have found Christ to be their life and hope in the face of the real, tangible evil we find all around us.  We turn in our next post to one outcome of the teachings of the Bible.

8/13/2015

Why You Should Become a Christian: Christianity Changes the World for the Better

I was very ill as a young child. I had a lung disease that left me breathless after walking a few feet, much more out of breath when trying to run, climb, or jump. I was thirteen before I began to grow out of it, but I had been through a lot before then.

My illness always hit me hard when it came time for PE, physical education, class. That was when we divided up into teams to play sports.

I was never the first one chosen for the team. I was usually chosen last. Everyone knew I would have little to contribute. My best contribution would be just to stay out of the way.

Little League Baseball was and is more than a sport in Obion County, Tennessee, where I grew up. It is more like a religion. Parents had a lot to say about the make-up of the teams, and they organized try-outs.

I tried hard, but I was never picked to be part of the best team. I always wanted to be part of the winning team.

Christianity offered me the chance to be a part of the winning team, to be part of the group that will make a real difference in the world. Christ’s church proves to be a great influence today.

Here are some of the ongoing accomplishments of Christians making a difference in the world:

Operation Christmas Child impacts over 10,000,000 of the world’s impoverished children each year with gift-filled shoeboxes. 

World Vision, a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization, assists more than 70 million children, with families and communities, to overcome poverty and injustice.

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief serves over 600,000 meals and purifies over 250,000 gallons of water per year for those devastated by disasters.

Mercy Ships has performed more than 1.7 million medical services valued at over $670 million and influencing more than 1.9 million people as direct beneficiaries.

Medi-Share has allowed Christians to give more than $275,000,000 to meet each other’s healthcare needs independent of healthcare insurance.

Prison Fellowship partners with hundreds of local churches and agencies across the country to bring Christ’s love to prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families.

World Changers uses teams of Southern Baptist youth to rebuild the homes and the lives of thousands of families impacted by poverty and tragedy. 

These facts do not mention the countless daily ministries of local churches all over the world that meet the needs of Christians and Non-Christians alike. What more could you ask of an organization?
Christ said of His church, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” I am finally part of the winning team.

The church truly advances the gospel in word and deed now, not to mention the many things it has accomplished in the past.  That fact is an important argument for the existence of the God of the Bible in itself.  (For more on the accomplishments of the past, see the books What if the Bible Had Never Been Written and What if Jesus Had Never Been Born, both by D. James Kennedy.)

Our next post will take us back to the world of philosophy to tackle what many call the greatest argument against the God of the Bible: the existence of evil.

8/06/2015

Why You Should Become a Christian: Jesus is the Best Teacher and Example

There is no other religious leader like Jesus Christ.

Many of us do not have a respect for authority in and of itself. In general, we do not care what a person’s position is, because we will respect them only if they are worthy of respect. Just because his title is “boss” or “professor” doesn’t mean that we will blindly follow his directives or uncritically do what he says.  We do not follow people who jump of cliffs.

We do not care how many titles a person has, we will only listen to their teaching if we are convinced they are intelligent and trustworthy. That’s why Christ’s credentials as a teacher are so very important to us.

What makes a good teacher? Some qualities of a good teacher include the fact that his teachings are true, and he can prove it. He follows his own teaching. He cares for those whom he teaches. And his teachings make a difference in the world. (Please note that I do not think a person must be male to be a good teacher. I use the masculine pronoun out of convention.)

We have an accurate set of historical documents that describe the events of Christ’s life. Christ appeared on the earth claiming to be God, teaching people how to live their lives, and giving us facts about God.

We can believe His teachings about Himself and about God because of His miracles. The fact that He performed miracles proves that God placed a stamp of approval on His message.

Miracles are contrary to the normal operation of the universe. They cannot be explained by known natural laws. Only a God who is powerful enough to bring about the universe from nothing could possibly perform them. God would not perform miracles on behalf of a false teacher.
Jesus Christ, as both God and man, is the only completely true teacher. He can no more lie than God Himself could.

Christ followed his own teaching. No one, even His enemies, could accuse him of sin. He lived a perfect life, the only man ever to earn the rewards of heaven through His own efforts.

Now we get to the last issue for discussion in this chapter: did Christ care for those He taught? No teacher has ever done for His followers what Christ has done for us.

He took our sins upon Himself and suffered God’s wrath for those sins when he didn’t deserve it. He rose from the dead to show His triumph over our greatest enemy: death itself. He makes it possible for those who have faith in Him to take credit for His perfect Life and have their sins paid for by His death.

Christ’s life, teachings, and love make Him the only teacher worth following without reservation. I thank God for what He accomplished for me in Christ each day.


Did Christ’s teaching make a difference in the world? That question is so significant that it deserves a post all by itself, and we will turn there next.
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