Tag Archives: Apologetics

Apologizing with Style: Defining Your Meaning

6 Mar

Definition of terms, especially in religious dialogue, has become increasingly more important as our society shifts away from the belief that words have absolute meanings.  Not everyone agrees upon the dictionary definitions, so we can’t presume that we are discussing the same topic, even when we are using the same words… especially in a “faith” context.  (It is interesting that this waffling about meanings seems less prominent in discussion about non-philosophical/theological issues – no one ever questions what I mean when I ask them to bring me my “blue” sneakers!)

Because of this, I often begin faith dialogues with a series of questions which will help me better understand the way the other party defines key terms which will be used in our conversation.  Keep in mind that even basic terms like “God” or “religion” may require some definition.  Ask an atheist, a Muslim, a Jew, an Hindu, a Mormon, and a Wiccan to define the term and you will get a wide variety of responses, all of which will differ tremendously from the Biblical Christian definition.  If you are unaware of these differences, you’ll likely end up talking past each other rather than to each other!

Not all of the definitions need to be settled upon up front.  If the conversation seems to hit a sticking point that revolves around a particular word, you can bet that the problem is a difference between your understanding of its meaning and your friend’s.  Stop the dialogue, define the word (in some cases, it may even be worthwhile to write down the definition being used in order to confirm your understanding of your friend’s point of view), then move on with a clear comprehension of what each party means when they say “we are saved by grace” or “God has no son”.

For example, it would be tempting to say that we believe the statement that “we are saved by grace”, but disbelieve the statement that “God has no son”, yet because of differing definitions of the words, this may not always be the case.

When an LDS person says that “we are saved by grace”, they are not generally referring to our “salvation” in the sense of the assurance that we will spend eternity with our Heavenly Father, but rather that all men will be resurrected.  For the LDS, “salvation through grace” falls far short of securing eternal life!

Likewise, if in speaking to a Muslim, you were informed that the New Testament commits blasphemy by declaring that Jesus is the “Son of God” and that “God has no son”, it would be worth the effort to verify exactly how your Muslim friend is defining the word “son”.  You might be surprised to discover that he views the term as biological rather than sociological and objects to the idea that God, who has no body, would obtain one in order to have physical intercourse with a human woman for the purpose of creating offspring.  In this case, we would agree that no, God doesn’t have a son in that sense!  (Please note that not all Muslims define “son” in this fashion – which further emphasizes the need for us to ask about definitions rather than presuming that we already understand!)

It’s also important to take the time to clearly define what you mean when utilizing previously undefined words.  You’ve probably heard that old joke about speaking “Christianese” – that secret language only understood by those long initiated in the Church tradition.  Well, it isn’t a joke.  When you’ve been hanging out around believers for a while, you start to pick up terms like “salvation”, “redemption”, “propitiation”, “justification”, and the like.  To someone who isn’t a part of the Church or who is already familiar with another faith in which these terms are utilized, but with different meanings, our use of these words can be confusing.

You can add a definition into the dialogue with a great deal of ease, simply by expounding upon what you mean by a given word immediately after using it.  For example, “My salvation, the right to spend eternity in the presence of my Heavenly Father, is the result of my faith in Christ’s works, not my own.”  By following this format, you both clarify your meaning to your listener and conveniently avoid that awkward moment in which you must ask, “Do you understand what I mean by that?” – a question sure to shut down any dialogue in which the person with whom you are sharing does not view themselves as an idiot and firmly believes that you have no right to view them that way either!

That said, once I’m certain that I understand where the other party is coming from, I make it a point to use their definitions rather than my own throughout the discussion.  The primary reason for this is that it alleviates any potential that the traditional Biblical concepts which I seek to convey will be misunderstood due to an “error in translation”, but it also lightens the atmosphere by relieving the pressure for the other party to accept or adopt my own definitions before a productive dialogue is possible.  Perhaps even more importantly, by taking the time to enquire about and understand where those of other faiths are coming from, i.e., how they define their terms and how those definitions influence their world view, I convey the message that this dialogue isn’t about winning a debate or being right, but about understanding one another and sharing those things which are so dear to our own hearts that we can’t help wanting to tell others.

Apologizing with Style: When Things Get Awkward

27 Feb

Over the last few weeks, we’ve spent quite a bit of time examining the rules which govern informal religious dialogue.  We’ve taken a look at the importance of keeping a conversation on task in “An Introduction to the Rules of Debate” and considered a few “Duh Rules” that can be useful in keeping a debate on friendly terms.  This week, we’re going to conclude our list with a brief discussion of the rules which govern those “awkward” situations that will inevitably occur if you ever try to share the Gospel with… well, just about anyone.  Don’t panic – if the conversation is on-task and friendly, these situations aren’t nearly as fear inducing as they might be otherwise!

Rule 5 – If You Don’t Know, Just Admit It

Next to Rule 1, this might be the most important.  There are a lot of people with legitimate questions about Christianity.  While we’d all like to be “Super Christian” and have the answers to every objection a skeptic can pose… we don’t.  When someone fields a question that you can’t answer, the best thing you can do is to admit it.  Then, volunteer to find an answer.  When someone is legitimately interested in your faith, they’ll be willing to let you check your sources and give them a response.

On the flip side, if you ask a question and the person you’re debating doesn’t immediately have an answer, be gracious enough to let them do some research as well.  When you are respectful of others, the chances are, they will be respectful of you.

It’s also important to maintain a level of understanding for doctrines which simply can’t be defended in a “logical” fashion.  The “trinity” is a fine example.  Go ahead.  Ask me how there can only be one God, but three distinct persons!  The truth is, I simply don’t know. At the risk of sounding trite, “The Bible says it, so I believe it.”  Interestingly enough, more than a few of my friends have been willing to accept this as a legitimate reply, if only because most recognized that there were many similar cases in their own religions.  I didn’t make a point of pushing them around for embracing something they weren’t capable of explaining and they returned the favor.  Being honest about my own ignorance ended up furthering the relationship more than faking my way through an answer ever would have!

Rule 6 – Don’t Be Afraid to Admit When You Are Wrong

On the same note, never be afraid to admit that you were wrong!  It can be easy to misunderstand the beliefs and teachings of other faiths.  Since you’re not a Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, or an “Enter religious preference here”, it’s not shameful to lack a complete understanding of someone else’s beliefs.  If you make a statement and find yourself getting corrected, take it in stride and thank your friend for caring enough to correct you.

By the same token, God did not call us to be Bible experts either.  At some point or another, someone is going to point out that your knowledge of your “sacred book” is deficient.  Your ability to both admit that you were wrong and to alter your views to match the Bible’s teachings can go a long way towards adding legitimacy to the dialogue.  Through this, people see that the point of the debate really is the discovery of truth, not your proving yourself right and them wrong!  Try to be consistent in what you present.  Check your facts and double check them.  But don’t panic if you’re wrong, because God can use that too!

Rule 7 – Just Present the Truth

Last, but not least, it’s important to recognize that sometimes we lose a debate.  Keep in mind that the only job God has given us is to present the truth as clearly as we are able.  Sure, sometimes we say something really stupid (or even just plain ignorant), but God knows our hearts and He will make sure that what He wants to accomplish gets accomplished.

And yes, sometimes we think of the things that we should have said long after the discussion is over.  While you may use those ideas in future discussions, you needn’t kick yourself for not using them in the last one.  If God had needed you to say that, you’d have thought of it at the time.

So there you have it, seven rules to help you keep your religious dialogues on track, friendly, and honest.  Follow them and, even when you “lose”, you’ll wind up a winner.

One final word: once you’ve found the high ground, hold it.  Others may not treat you with courtesy or respect and they may even be downright rude, but that’s no excuse for you to return “in kind”.  We are ambassadors for Christ and we represent Him in all situations, even the unpleasant ones!

Apologizing with Style: The “Duh” Rules

20 Feb

Last week, in “An Introduction to the Rules of Debate”, we discussed the importance of keeping a religious discussion focused and “on task”.  This week, we’re going to look at a few more rules that will help us keep that discussion friendly.  I call these rules the “Duh” rules because most of us would like others to treat us with the same courtesy they outline… but we sometimes struggle to return the favor.  As you read through the list, take a moment to ask yourself which of the rules you follow and where you could do with some improvement.

Rule 2 – Don’t Present Arguments You Wouldn’t Accept, Yourself

While this may seem obvious, often, in the heat of discussion, it simply isn’t.  That’s why I’m taking a moment to state it here.  Before making an argument against someone’s beliefs, make sure that if the same argument were reversed, you’d be willing to accept it as valid.

A perfect example of such a weak argument is the frequent appeal to the lack of archeological evidence for the “Book of Mormon”.*  While, initially, the argument may seem solid, a closer investigation proves otherwise.  For years, there was no archeological evidence for the Hittite civilization mentioned in the Old Testament.  Then, in 1906, Hugo Winckler of the German Orient Society uncovered over 10,000 clay tablets confirming their existence.

Now, I’m not saying that anyone will ever find evidence to support Joseph Smith’s teachings, but what I am saying is that this is a dead-end argument that’s likely to end in a shouting match and not a discussion about Christ.  The same goes for arguments based upon emotion.  It just feels/doesn’t feel right is subjective, not objective and leads to the idea that truth is based upon my feelings, not God’s Word.  Sure, emotion comes into it, but this doesn’t form a solid basis for arguments about eternity.  The basic rule of thumb is, “If you wouldn’t accept a similar argument against Christianity, then don’t use it against other religions.”

Rule 3 – Don’t Debate Someone Who Just Wants to Fight

This can be a really difficult rule to observe both because it requires the ability to control one’s own emotions while discerning the motives of another equally erratic human being.  The truth of the matter is that some people ask us questions about our faith, not because they’re interested, but because they want a fight.  Most of these discussions are worthless and only end in frustration and ought, in general, to be avoided.

You can usually tell if someone is merely trying to pick a fight by the way they react to the answers you’re giving.  For example, if they interrupt you mid-sentence or shoot off another six dozen questions before the last word is out of your mouth, they probably care more about demonstrating their own superiority than they do about the truth.  They’re out to show you how wrong you are and, believe it or not, they will win, if only because their voice is the loudest.

While we shouldn’t turn down an opportunity to share Christ, we need to take our cue from Jesus.  When He entered a town, He’d present the Gospel.  He’d dine with those who were interested, but when someone clearly didn’t care, He moved on.  His energies were better devoted to sharing than to arguing.  If you find yourself in this situation, pray for the person and then head on down the road.  Don’t waste your time on worthless debate.

Rule 4 – Don’t Be Someone Who Just Wants To Fight

We all like to be right, but when it comes to evangelism we need to keep our eyes on the goal.  Remember, this is about Jesus and the gift He offers us, not about proving our superiority!

If you ask a question, listen to the answer… the full answer.  Respect for a person and their beliefs, even if they differ from our own, is essential to forming the type of relationship that may eventually lead to a commitment to Christ.  Jesus often disagreed with the people He met, but He never cut them off, made fun of their beliefs, or sought to make them feel stupid.  He heard them out and so should you.

Romans 12:14,16-18 reminds us, “…bless and do not curse… do not be haughty in mind… Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”

Next week, we’ll take a look at a few rules regarding “awkward” situations, but for now, take the time to share a few of your own experiences with the “Duh” rules in the comment box below!

*This type of argument can be used effectively, but in order to do so, you’ll need the opportunity to build a case just like a lawyer does in court, presenting it as part of a “preponderance” of evidence.  Finding someone’s fingerprints at the scene of the crime isn’t enough to convict them of murder, but add in the threatening message on the answering machine and the victim’s blood all over the defendant’s laundry and you have a case.  The same applies to arguing against a given religious view.

Apologizing with Style: An Introduction to the Rules of Debate

13 Feb

Perhaps one of the most important things that I ever learned from my mother was how to have an honest, open, friendly debate.  For years, I watched as she welcomed those of other faiths into our home and engaged them in dialogue, presenting her faith (often while enquiring about theirs) with a gentleness and finesse which left everyone feeling at ease.  Everything I know about apologetics and the rules of debate began with her.

Before I start sharing what she taught me, however, we need to take a moment for some etymology.  (“Etymology” is the study of word origins and should not be confused with “entomology” which is the study of all things creepy crawly.)  Our English word “apology” comes from the Greek “apologia” and no, it doesn’t mean saying you’re sorry.  Instead, to the Greek mind, an apology was a “defense for” something whether it be one’s actions, philosophy, cooking style, or faith.  The best orators, those who held the attention of the masses in the public square were excellent “apologists”, reasoning for their own point of view in such a manner as to convince others to embrace it as well.  It should come as no surprise then that “evangelism” and “apologetics” go hand in hand, helping us to present the Christian faith in a reasonable and ordered fashion for the purpose of bringing others “into the fold”.

In order to make a great defense, however, you’re going need to know the rules of informal debate.  For the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at these rules and how they apply in different evangelistic situations.  This week, however, we’re going to present you with just one… and it may be the most important of them all:

Rule 1 – Always Bring it Back to Jesus and the Gospel

The core of Christianity is Christ.  It is Christ Who created and it is Christ Who redeems.  Not surprisingly, this is one doctrine upon which most religions differ.  For this reason, my parents always used to emphasize the importance of keeping our focus on Jesus.  You may wander off into a peripheral issue or take a quick trip down a rabbit trail, but the conversation must always come back to its Core.

It doesn’t matter whether you agree upon mode of baptism or the importance of enforcing laws against theft – according to traditional, Biblical Christianity, those things don’t save you.  You and the Bible can be in perfect agreement upon every issue, but if you don’t stand in the same place regarding what is required to spend eternity in the presence of God, it simply doesn’t matter.  If you want to present your faith clearly, you must present Christ as its center.  Go ahead, answer the questions others have about your faith, but don’t lose sight of what really matters.  If you’re going to be an effective apologist, you’ll need to take your cue from the Apostle Paul, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2)

Next week, we’ll take a look at a few more “rules of debate”.  In the meantime, take a moment to share your own experiences with conversations that did (or didn’t) follow “Rule 1” in the comment box below!

 

Got Questions

19 Aug

Got questions?  Most of us do.  And while the answers to some questions aren’t all that important (like whether the fuzzy thing in the fridge is a kiwi or a moldy plum), others can make the difference between life and death, Heaven and Hell.  That’s why GotQuestions.org exists!  A non-denominational volunteer ministry, GotQuestions.org seeks to answer the questions of both Christian believers and spiritual seekers in a way that accurately and fully represents the Biblical view.

Starting with “Crucial Questions”, the site carefully lays out Christian doctrine as it has been passed down through the centuries answering questions like “Does God Exist?”, “Is There Life After Death?”, and “Is Jesus the Only Way to Heaven?”.  Through a series of concise, easy-to-read answers, GotQuestions.org explains the core beliefs which bind us together as followers of Christ.

But just as there are similarities, there are also differences.  While Christians all subscribe to the same views of God, man, sin, and salvation, we don’t always see eye-to-eye on everything else.  Embracing the belief, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity”, the site labors to answer questions like, “Should a Christian Woman Wear a Bikini?”, “Should a Christian Play Video Games?”, and “Is it Wrong to Want to Be Famous?”.  You’ll find answers to questions on topics ranging from relationships to the End Times, so take some time to sit down and explore!

Want to take the site with you when you head to school, work, or the gym?  Why not download the GotQuestions app for iOS or Android?  You’ll have all of the features of the website right at your fingertips – providing the right answers at the right time!  Don’t like reading?  Why not check out the GotQuestions podcast. You’ll hear the same great Biblical advice seen on the website in an easy-to-use collection of 2-5 minute episodes!

However you choose to get your answers (and regardless of your status as a Christian or a seeker), you’re sure to find GotQuestions.org to be an excellent resource!  So check it out today!

Cross Examined

12 Aug

Facts and statistics play an important role in sharing our faith but they don’t do much good if they can’t be quickly and accurately applied to real-life situations.  Learning to do that can take some practice and that’s why, this week, we’re featuring Cross Examined, the apologetics ministry of Dr. Frank Turek.

Co-author of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist and a former Naval aviator, Dr. Turek brings both his ability to think rationally and act quickly to table each week through his radio program and podcast.  Addressing the pressing issues faced by today’s believers, he teaches listeners to respond both thoughtfully and respectfully to the problems predominant within our society.  A good balance of logic and Scripture, each program is sure to leave you better prepared to defend what you believe.

Looking for a bit more?  Why not check out Frank’s blog where he addresses common objections to Christianity in detail?  View articles on church beliefs, morality and politics, or intelligent design and evolution.  Each thought-provoking essay is sure to leave you feeling both more competent and more confident in your ability to make a strong case for your Christian beliefs!

Whether you’re an experienced apologist or new to the faith, you’re sure to find something that will help you as you share your faith with others!  So check out Cross Examined today.  You’ll be glad you did!

Reasonable Faith

21 Jan

Is faith in God reasonable?  If God’s exists, what type of being is he?  What moral responsibilities do human beings have?  Is there an afterlife?  Such questions shouldn’t go unanswered.  That’s why Dr. William Lane Craig started Reasonable Faith.  A former atheist and a trained philosopher, Dr. Craig understands the importance of responding to skeptic’s questions with clarity and depth… and is dedicated to training Christians to provide both.

On the site, you can explore a wide range of popular articles on topics ranging from the Existence and Nature of God to Science and Theology.   Discover how Christianity relates to other faiths or start learning the fine art of Apologetics – defending the faith with accuracy and precision.  Want something deeper?  Why not hone your philosophical skills with a few of Dr. Craig’s peer reviewed scholarly articles.

Got some time to spare?  Watch as Dr. Craig debates philosophers, scientists, and theologians from around the world. Then, download the Reasonable Faith Podcast or take your training a step further with the Defenders Class.

Got something to say?  Share your thoughts and get answers to your questions on one of the site’s many forums or find a Reasonable faith chapter near you.  You’re sure to have some great conversations with other Christians passionate about giving an answer for their faith!

There’s a lot to see and hear, so plan to spend some time exploring the site.  You’re sure to come away both more confident and more competent!

Please Convince Me

17 Dec

J. Warner Wallace, a cold case homicide detective, spent 35 years as an “angry atheist”.  Vehemently opposed to Christianity, he decided to apply his crime scene experience to investigating the case for the faith – and concluded that a person should believe not “in spite of the evidence, but because of it.”

The Please Convince Me was designed to document his own journey to faith and to help others along the way.  Check out the blog to read about the continuing journey of the skeptics at Please Convince Me or download the weekly podcast to listen to J. Warner Wallace discuss common objections to Christianity from a detective’s point of view.  Not sure about what you hear?  Why not join the Please Convince Me Facebook group where believers, skeptics, and seekers have the opportunity to tackle tough questions about life and faith in a friendly environment.

Got some time to kill?  Why not check out some of the awesome YouTube videos highlighting both Wallace’s case for Christianity and one of his real-life police stories!  Or, visit the Academy where you’ll find a FREE and fully developed curriculum to help both individuals and groups learn to present their faith in a solid way that will stand up in even the toughest court.

And don’t forget to check out Wallace’s new book “Cold Case Christianity” due to release January 1st!

There’s plenty to see, so take the time to sit down and explore the site.  You may be surprised where the evidence leads!

How Do Christians Determine What They Accept As Scripture: Cultural Understanding

16 Nov

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve taken a look at the role that “The Test of Value” has played in establishing the Christian canon.  We’ve looked at both science and history and spent some time examining what they can and can’t tell us about the world which surrounds us.  We’ve considered their importance in forming an accurate picture of world events and taken a look at ways in which they help us establish the truth or falsity of an account.

Today, we’ll shift our focus slightly as we begin to delve into yet another test for Holy Writ: that of non-contradiction.  We’ll examine some apparent logical and doctrinal inconsistencies within the pages of the Bible and consider the part that non-contradiction plays in determining what stays and what goes.  But before we get started, let’s take a moment to examine the role of cultural understanding and the ways in which our comprehension of other societies (like those discussed in “Archaeology and Historical Accuracy”) can influence our perception of the Biblical account.

To begin with, it is important to recognize that both Christians and other earnest seekers of the Truth have often found what appear to be “contradictions” within the pages of Scripture – places where two or more accounts are not in agreement with one another.  Such contradictions (if they really are contradictions) would be sufficient cause to discard the passage of the Bible in which they are found and (in some cases) the Bible as a whole.  For this reason, it is important that we not take such textual disagreements lightly.  At the same time, it also pays not to be too hasty in our judgment.  (Wouldn’t it be a shame to throw out something perfectly useful just because we didn’t understand how it worked?)  Things are not always what they seem and a sincere investigator must take the time to learn the facts before he comes to a conclusion.  Many times, the facts which are most relevant are the cultural ones.

Take, for example, the accounts of the reigns of the Israelite and Judean kings from the books of Kings and Chronicles.  An astute observer will notice that the length of their reigns is not always the same from one book to another.  Even other Old Testament accounts seem to leave the actual length of rule in doubt and, for years, scholars were stumped by this discrepancy.  Clearly, both accounts couldn’t be correct – so which one was and why?

It took some digging (literally) to discover that the time-keeping issue unearthed by modern scholars wasn’t actually a discrepancy at all.  The apparent conflict originated not in a logical contradiction, but from a cultural oddity: the two kingdoms, while being adjacent to one another, operated on two different calendar systems – both of which accurately portrayed the reigns of the kings according to the standards of the culture.

In the accession system (used by Israel throughout its entire history), if a king reigned for the last month of a year, he was counted as having ruled for the entire year.  In the non-accession system, however, only full years of a reign were considered.  During the rule of the kings, Judah began with the accession system, switched to the non-accession system, and then switched back – leading to an apparent (but not actual) inconsistency with the Israelite account.  The difficulty then, is not one of contradiction, but of having attempted to understand two separate ancient cultures in light of modern practice.

Such details go a long way to confirm the inerrancy of Scripture.  Had the accounts been written hundreds of years after the events had taken place, a different time keeping system would have been in use.  It is likely that the author would have utilized this more “modern” method – leaving the accounts of the kings’ reigns to be proven inaccurate (and inauthentic) at a later date when the details of accession and non-accession time-keeping were uncovered

Meanwhile, an accurate cultural understanding goes a long way towards smoothing over many of the apparent discrepancies contained within the Christian canon.  The moral of the story?  Before discarding the Bible (or any portion of it), take the time to gain an understanding of the culture in which the text in question actually originated.  Like the scholars who discovered the Israelite and Judean calendars, you may be surprised by what you unearth!

How Do Christians Determine What They Accept as Scripture: The Test of Value

2 Nov

Over the last few weeks, we’ve taken a look at the important role that prophesy plays in determining what Christians accept as Scripture.  We’ve learned about “Testing a Prophet” and have discussed both “The Test of Uniqueness” and “The Test of Detail”.  This week, we’re going to look at another test applied to texts to determine whether they merit a place among our Holy writ: the test of value.

The test of value can be broken down into three primary subheadings: accuracy, authenticity, and applicability. Of all the tests of Scripture, the first of these (accuracy) is one of the most important.  After all, if a writer can’t get basic verifiable facts about science, history, and geography correct – why should we believe his explanation of spiritual things?  It’s a valid question and one with which Christians (and others) throughout the ages have struggled.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at these “factual” questions, beginning today with the issue of science.

It doesn’t take most of us long to recognize that what we learn in science class doesn’t always mesh with the claims of Scripture.  For example, according to Genesis 1:27, God created man in His own image – with intention and purpose.  According to our science text books, however, man is the result of random mutations which have taken place over the course of millennia – an accident.  It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that both can’t be true.  So which one is?  And what role does information like this play in determining whether any book should or shouldn’t be included in Scripture?

To begin with, as Christians, we need to approach anything bearing the label of “science” (whether or not it confirms our original beliefs) with a certain level of skepticism and, perhaps, even agnosticism (a willingness to openly admit that we just don’t know).  Instead of jumping to conclusions about what can or can’t be true (conclusions often based upon our upbringing, system of belief, or the pressure applied by those around us), we need to be willing to do a bit of research and be open to the results.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, “science” is “a knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method.”  The key elements of this scientific method are observation and repeatability, i.e., the person performing an experiment must be able to witness an event taking place and, through recreation of identical circumstances, reproduce that event multiple times.  We see this method in action when we consider the laws of gravity.  Drop an apple while standing on this planet and it will fall to the ground… over and over and over again.  The result?  Scientific fact.

Science is an excellent method for determining truth, but it is important to note that it isn’t the only way to determine what is or isn’t true.  There are many “facts” (those surrounding historical events, for example) which cannot be either proven or disproven through scientific investigation.  Whether life came in existence through evolution is an excellent example.  While we do observe minor adaptive changes (micro-evolution) throughout creation, no scientist has yet been able to actually “create” living, breathing organisms out of chemicals in a laboratory.  Nor has anyone witnessed reptiles actively transforming into birds or apes becoming human (though they can be trained to interact in human-like ways).   The initial creation of life, like other historical events, is beyond the realm of science.

1 Timothy 6:20 warns that we should avoid, “…worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”.”  The old King James Version puts it, “… keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.”  This doesn’t mean that Christians ought to reject scientific findings (quite the opposite!), but it does mean that we need to be careful to ensure that what we accept as science actually is science.

So what happens if genuine science does contradict the claims of a book which declares itself to be Scripture?  Then the answer is simple: the book of Scripture must be discarded.  It has been discredited as the Word of God.  And this is one of the reasons that the Bible stands as it does today.

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