Spiritual Warfare Prep

Spiritual Warfare Prep
We Are In The Lord's Army

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Apologetics Is Not Evangelism

I love to do both evangelism and apologetics, and many times, they go hand in hand.

But are they the same thing and do they have the same end? The answer is 'no'.

The Bible tells us to preach the Gospel to every creature and make disciples of all nations. The Bible also tells us that we are to defend the faith, and give an answer to every person who asks a reason of the hope that is in us.

Don't get me wrong. We can use apologetics in evangelism, and some times we need to do so. But here is the problem; we tend to think of them as the same thing. Let me explain in more detail.

I am in a lot of different circles on the Internet. I am in several apologetic groups and at the same time, am also involved in evangelism groups. I have friends who are also in these same groups. It is like one big fellowship on the Internet. But there is a  problem.

The problem appears to be that we use apologetic skills when we should be preaching the Gospel. For example, there are people who want to defend the faith (or at least their theology) when they should be presenting the Gospel message.

I am not sure I agree with this apologetic tactic, but there is a large apologetic group that explains Catholicism as a false religion. In fact, those who head up this group will go to Catholic churches and give out tracts which explain what Catholicism is wrong. If they believe that Catholicism is wrong (and I am not making a case here for whether or not Catholicism is right or wrong at this time), then wouldn't it be better to actually do evangelism with these Catholics instead of giving them literature telling them why they are wrong?

There are certain instances where I believe that apologetics can lead to evangelism. For example, if a Jehovah's Witness comes to your door, explaining why you should become a Jehovah's Witness, this is a perfect time to explain what the Bible says about salvation, God, Jesus, etc. One can use the Bible to help the Jehovah's Witness to see where he or she is in error. This is the time to defend the faith. The true faith which was delivered once to the saints, is being challenged in this case. The conversations we have with Jehovah's Witnesses could lead to sharing the Gospel, if the Jehovah's Witness is open to hearing the Gospel message.

Put yourself in the other person's place. If you were coming out of a non-mainstream Christian church, would you want someone handing you literature telling you that you are wrong? Does this show humility to the lost person? Yes, at some point if the Gospel is shared and received, the person will know that the doctrine he or she believes in (or thinks they believe in) is wrong. Many people just go to church for the sake of going to church. They are not really aware of the depths of whatever the church holds to in their doctrine. They typically go to some kind of church to earn a brownie point with God. And then imagine if someone who really does know the Lord, gives them a tract telling them that they are wrong? Do you think they will have the humility and grace to receive the message of the tract? Wouldn't it be better to share the Gospel with them instead of pointing out where they are wrong, doctrinally?

With anything we do for the kingdom of God, we must demonstrate as well as declare, the Gospel. People will look at our lives and how we live them out determines how people interpret who God is and what He is like. The Bible says that 'God is love', and if that is true (which we know it is) are we showing God's love by serving others and ministering to them, or do we think we are showing people God's love by telling them that they are wrong in what they believe in?

Some of the early church fathers had to stand up for the truth. They had to defend the faith, and we are glad that they did. They stood up for what was true, in spite of the cost they would have to pay for defending the truth. They did apologetics and God used them to make sure that the church continued in truth. What they did was not necessarily evangelism though, so we can't mix the two and blend them into one. There were vicious attacks against the truth, from various people who took their stand for what was false. Someone was needed to fight for the truth. The truth did prevail. It was a good thing that they stood up for what was true, when the truth was being challenged.

Throughout church history, there were those who did evangelism as well. One good example was St. Patrick, who converted many in Ireland, to the Christian faith. Others were Saint Nicholas of Myra (although he also was an apologist) and in later years, George Whitefield. They had love for people in their hearts.

The bottom line is, when sharing the Gospel, we don't tell them that they are 'wrong'. At some point, if they understand the Gospel message, they will know that they are wrong. It is not up to us to do the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. God will help make the connections for them as He works in their hearts.

We have to see those who we are doing apologetics with as lost souls. We can't have an 'I'm right, You're wrong' mentality. That is not showing kindness to anyone. We must show the grace of God and pray for the recipients to be able to receive God's grace. It's God's loving-kindness that draws people to repentance, not His displeasure. And remember, we are sharing Someone with them. We are not sharing our 'theologically correct belief system'. There is a difference.

So, how do we know the difference? When do we use apologetics and when do we do evangelism? If the message of the Gospel is being attacked, we use apologetics. If people attend a church where something other than the Gospel is being preached, then we use evangelism. However, if this church is aggressively attacking the truth, use apologetics. Apologetics are used to defend the faith. People who are sitting in a dead church are not attacking the Gospel. They need evangelism. If someone is knocking on your door to try to convert you to their religion, then use apologetics. Hope this makes sense!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Was God Fair To Destroy Groups Of People Who Were In Idolatry? Did They Know Better Than To Worship Idols?

They knew better. They were not that far away from the knowledge of God.

I am amazed as I read through the Bible, at how many immediately turned from God to idols.

I hear comments from people, especially skeptics, who think that God unfairly judges people. Their reasoning seems to say that people should be warned before they get destroyed. After all, it's only fair and right that people are told about the punishment that will come to them when they do wrong.

Let's look at some examples from the Bible. We have Adam and Eve, who had a close relationship with God. They were the first created human beings, and we know that Adam walked with God in the Garden. We can conclude that God told Adam not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, for Eve knew that was wrong and was hesitant at first to eat the fruit while being tempted. We also can tell that God had shown them about animal sacrifices, as they knew they were to do that after they had sinned.

We really don't know all that God spoke to Adam about during his lifetime, but we know it was enough to give him spiritual insight into his life. We also know that whatever he learned from God was passed down in the home. Abel understood about sin and the animal sacrifices, and his sacrifice was pleasing to God. Cain, on the other hand, came from the same home, but did not offer animal sacrifices. He also had a wicked heart and did not fear God. Out of anger and jealousy, he killed his brother Cain. He knew what God had said, but chose to go his own way instead.

Then there was Noah. He was 10 generations from Adam, and he still had much information stored from what he learned from his father and grandfather. He did what was right and was God fearing. After the Flood, Noah, his wife, and the three sons, and their wives got out of the Ark. Almost immediately we see one of the sons going astray. Ham's son, Canaan, did not follow the ways of the Lord. What went wrong? Whatever it was, we still see this pattern today, even in our own country!

Canaan was the father of the Canaanites, the really evil people. They turned to idolatry and turned away from the true and living God. Not too long after that, the whole land was filled with people who were in idolatry and who were worshiping false gods. Where did the fear of the Lord go?

Then you have all the kings of Israel. You had one good king, then he had a son to replace him after his death, and the son was an evil king. Then somewhere down the road, there sprouted up a good king who feared God. Then his son would be king and he would be an evil king. God had to let this nation go in exile, and be subject to other nations until they repented.

The point is, it is not like the people who are evil were never told about right and wrong, or even about God and His standards. It is more like, they knew better, but they chose to not go the way of the parent or ancestors. The message that God was giving to them was not distant from them. They had the information, and they chose to disregard it and do their own thing instead.

There was a time when people in our land knew better. There used to be a standard of right and wrong, good and evil, etc. Those who broke the law were penalized. Today though, people can break the law and not be penalized. But people who preach the Gospel at a shopping center are in danger of being arrested and even put in jail! People can deal drugs and not get caught. Certain people can get away with embezzlement, while others are threatened because they told someone what the Bible says about homosexuality.

We live in a perverse society where good is called, 'evil' and evil is called 'good'. People are stiffly fined for hurting a special kind of turtle, yet we kill thousands of children every day under the reasoning of 'convenience'. Something is wrong with this picture.

And we know better. It was not that long ago when everyone practically knew John 3:16. Everyone was familiar with the 10 Commandments, and if anyone wanted to commit adultery, or even live in a relationship with someone outside of marriage, they would do it secretly, because they knew it was wrong, and they didn't want to be caught.

Today people live together outside of a marriage relationship as if it is nothing. Not many even know the Commandments today. If a woman gets pregnant and doesn't want the baby, she just goes down to an abortion clinic where her baby will be sliced up inside her body. She doesn't even care. The only thing that is important to her is to get rid of the inconvenience.

So, the next time you hear a skeptic say that God is not fair to wipe people out, remember that the people who were wiped out did know what God said. They just disregarded it and did what they wanted to do. The fear of God was lost, and the people suffered.

"For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened......

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error..... Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." Romans 1:21, 26, 27, and 32 ESV

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Situational Ethics In Real Life

   I have been thinking about the two candidates we have available to choose from in this current presidential election. Both of them are labeled as evil. We know one is evil, and we can see why. The other one is labeled evil for a variety of reasons, but most of them are not very credible. So, we have a choice of voting for one who is evil in a perverted way (right is wrong, truth is lies, etc.) and we have the other one who needs to put a guard over his mouth.

  People say that they cannot vote for either one so they will either write in a candidate or not vote in this election. Either way, that guarantees the 'Greater of the two evils' to win.

  Let's take some other situations that have come up that bring up questions and even cause divisions because of the way some Christians view the situations. I think of Living Waters, my favorite evangelism ministry out there. They have great tracts and wonderful, Biblical teaching on evangelism. I've learn quite a bit from them. Probably more than anywhere else, have I learned how to do the work of evangelism.

   But Living Waters does something that some Christians think is ethically wrong. They have a television show called, 'The Way Of The Master" which depicts scenes of their doing evangelism and reaching the lost. The show is broadcast on a station called TBN. TBN is known for having Bible teachers who do not teach the Bible accurately. So, people have turned away from Living Waters because they are associated, in a sense, with TBN. What do you think? Should Living Waters be chastised for using TBN to broadcast their program, or, could there be a better good coming out from this way of doing things?

   Another issue people seem divided on, and handle in different ways is the area of college. Some would say that Christians have no business going to college. We all know that colleges and universities have professors who gladly teach evolution. If you are a Christian who wants a degree in biology, let's say, you will either have to agree with evolution, or, at least answer the tests in the right way (meaning give the right answers that you know are really not right). In a sense, it is like lying your way through college to get the degree that you need to have. But is that really the case? Could this be part of a bigger picture?

  How do you handle these types of situations? Could something appear to be an evil act, but in reality be something used to promote a greater good in the end? Can those who are in the body of Christ work together in unity in areas of disagreements when it comes to handling situations such as the ones in this article? I have seen situations where people unfriend people on Facebook because of such disagreements. I have also sadly seen where Christians resort to name calling other Christians because they do not agree on these issues. We are called to work together in unity and love, and work out our disagreements amicably.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Our Enemy; The Government Or Islam?

For a couple of months now, I have been totally puzzled. I have friends who actually believe that those who were killed at the Pulse nightclub a couple of months ago**, actually acted out the whole scene. All the cops involved as well as the emts, employees of Pulse, and those who supposedly got shot that night were all playing out an act. It didn't really happen, according to my friends and some places on the Internet.

So, after hearing a few people who actually did lose family members or friends, I wondered. Why would people believe this lie? One website said that it was to put fear of Islam into people. They also believed that it was the government that did it. Still, it makes very little sense.

I know that some people believe that 911 was a whole different scenario than what we saw. Some people would say that it was a government scheme and that Bush was behind it the whole time (ever hear those people who hate Bush? This could be one reason why).

After studying some websites on this Pulse theory, I conclude that there are people out there who believe that the government is totally spying on us, and that things that happen (like the situation at Pulse) are really caused by the government, not those who are Terrorists. Then, after all is said and done, the blame and focus goes to Terrorism and off the real culprit, the government.

Let's talk about the 'Shadow Government'. The Shadow Government is just what the name implies. There are people who are in the government who are puppets for Satan, doing his bidding without really being aware of what is going on. We know that and everyone can see that. For example, there are people who are part of the FDA and also involved in a large corporation called 'Monsanto'. Monsanto, as you may have heard, produces genetically modified seeds, which are designed to be protected from the weed killer also produced by the companies which support genetically modified organisms. The seeds are called, 'Round-up Ready' and they have been genetically modified to resist being killed by a weed killer called 'Roundup'. Monsanto has patented their seeds and no one can use their seeds or plants unless they buy the patent. So, what has happened is that some of the seeds gave off pollen, and infected plants grown by farmers who aren't using Monsanto's patented seeds, and their seeds were found by authorities, and the farmers are penalized. The farmers were innocent and did not intend to use those plants, but because the pollen spread or somehow their plants were infected with the genetically modified organisms from plants in nearby farms, they got in trouble legally and were penalized.

One of the chief heads of the FDA is Michael Taylor. Incidentally, Michael Taylor has also been an attorney who works for Monsanto. Those who support genetically modified plants stand up firm against those who have done research who found through their research that genetically modified plants and everything that goes with them is not all that Monsanto would like you to believe. But because the FDA and even Monsanto have governmental support, guess who wins?

What does this have to do with Shadow Government? If I understand correctly, I see the government as a big organization. It is filled with some good people and some bad people. Those who believe in conspiracy theories believe that the whole government is bad. There are top secrets in the government and the government is spying on you. Everyone in the government is working together to fulfill their plan of taking over the world by their creative plans using their technology. I do not see it that way. Although there are bad people in government, and those who are in groups backed by the government, the government itself is not scheming to control every single person around in this country.

Take also the situation with the CIA and mind control programming. If you can google it, find the interview that Carol Rutz has done. Carol Rutz was brought as a little girl to seemingly far away places where she didn't recognize. Her father took her to these places and she was left there. The people there would take these little children, and older ones too, and put mind control programming in them. They used torture on these children to make them comply. It was an unbelievably horrible situation that went on during the late 50s through the early 70s.

Children who came from homes where they were brought to these 'safe houses' as they would call them, are all now adults, and many of them are older adults with mental problems. If you talk to some of them, they will tell you the same thing about the government that those who believe and hold to conspiracy theories say. They believe that the CIA is totally corrupt and that it is part of the Shadow Government. But if you read Carol Rutz' interview, you will understand that in reality, only two people at the top level of the CIA knew about this. It was not a governmental scheme. It happened after Nazi doctors in Germany came (were invited) to America to relocate (because America feared that the Soviet Union would take these Nazi doctors and that would make them more powerful). It was the one man in charge of the CIA who is to blame, and no one else. It doesn't make the CIA bad because one man oversaw this evil and allowed it to continue.

My point is, there are evil people in the government, as there are evil people in every group. That is why we need to pray for our country. But some evil people being in an organization does not make the whole organization corrupt. Not everyone in the government is working in unison to destroy people or to spy on them.

We really do need to be praying for our country. The problems here are bigger than we are. We need to repent and turn back to God, individually, and as a nation.

I have noticed that some people involved in Satanic cults believe the Conspiracy Theories. On the one hand, you can understand why they would. After all, when they were children and at a vulnerable age, they were thrust into the care of Monster like 'doctors' who used them for experimentation and mind control programming. Because the main guy involved was the top guy in the CIA, in the eyes of a person victimized by one of these Nazi doctors, they didn't know that most of those in the government had no idea what was going on. Thank God for those who were aware of what was happening and who have come to the rescue.

The whole point of this article is simply that the Conspiracy Theorists believe that when a terrorist attack happens, it was well planned out as well as acted out by the government and those cooperating with the government. But this would take thousands of people who would have to agree to never let the secret out. Imagine some of these people going to an event like Pulse, leaving their houses without telling anyone where they were going that night. Unless even the households of the supposedly killed people were also cooperating with the top secret scheme, it would appear suspicious to many. Imagine the workers in a hospital who had to cooperate with the plan. Would everyone who works at those hospitals be on the same page to keep this a secret? Who could you trust? What about those who were not in on the scheme? Wouldn't they be suspicious as well? How would the police department keep everything top secret, and what if they chose to tell one of theirs about the plan, but he or she would not want to cooperate? Do you see how hard this would be to keep a secret? So many would have to be involved, and if one person changed their mind or had a slip of the tongue, then the secret would be out.

I think the whole problem with the Conspiracy Theory is that it is a theological issue. From what I can tell, those who hold to the Conspiracy Theory who believe the government can control people by spying on them or even destroying them and then blaming Islam, really do not believe that God is all powerful. They believe that the Enemy power is equal to God's power. They believe the Enemy is all-knowing. Don't get me wrong. Satan has power, even supernatural powers. He is way more powerful than we are, and will take advantage of us of we let him. But, compared to God, he is nothing. And he is very different than God is. God is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and holy. The devil is not. Plus, when Jesus died on the Cross, the devil and his workers were disarmed. So compared to God, the devil is nothing. Compared to people, the devil is much more powerful. But, God gives His power to His people to overcome the Enemy of our souls.

So, when someone comes out from being in a Satanic cult all their lives, they fear for their lives. They have seen other betrayers killed. They know it can really happen to them if they are caught. They are also assured that they will be found and killed if they betray the cult. The question is, is God big enough to protect them? The answer is obvious. God is able to keep people from being caught and killed by those who held them hostage all their lives.

* There are bad people in government as well as good people.
* There is no unified, harmonic plan to spy on everyone and find whatever information is available on each person from the government.
* The government is not planning out evil activities and then making it look like an act of Islamic terrorism.
* God is all powerful; Satan is not, although he does have supernatural powers, greater than man does.
* Islamic Terrorists are a serious threat to the United States as well as the rest of the world.
* We need to be one step ahead of the Enemy to protect ourselves and our country.
* We need to pray for the church in America, and for our nation. May God have mercy on us and help us turn back to Him.

Remember, the ball is in our courts right now. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

Here is a recommended book. The book gives information on working with those who had been affected by the work of Nazi doctors on children in the 1950s - 1970s. This is an affiliate link. Thanks for your support.

**For information on the Pulse event that happened in Orlando in the middle of June, 2016, please go here: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/pulse-orlando-nightclub-shooting/os-orlando-pulse-nightclub-shooting-timeline-htmlstory.html