• The Most Persistent Sin in This Pastor’s Life

    As a pastor, I find myself being envious of other pastors with bigger churches, more money, more staff, more “success”, a church building etc. I find that this envy usually surfaces when I talk to my brothers in ministry.

    Just last week I went to the awesome Oxygen conference. One of the things I love about conferences is catching up with brothers and sisters who I haven’t seen in ages and seeing how they are going. But when it comes to them listing off the successes that God has given them I say what I am supposed to say “That’s great man!” or “How encouraging!” But a lot of time, while I am saying that, my heart is really saying “Well if only I had (fill in the blank) I would be seeing that growth” or “They cheated” or “They are lying!”

    What is happening in my heart is bitter envy, pure and simple.

    A brother shared this passage from James 3 with me yesterday:

    But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

    Did you see what James is saying? He is saying that this envy is tied to selfish ambition. This envy shows that I am more concerned with me being a success than the great things God is doing! When I am envious of someone else I have forgotten that God has given them whatever I want of theirs and I have forgotten that my identity is not found in my success or anything else but what Jesus has done for me.

    The cure to my spiritual disease of selfish ambition and bitter envy is to remind myself of my treasure. My treasure is not my job, my church, my family or my stuff. My treasure is Jesus and what he has done for me. Only when I my heart rejoices in the fact that I am more blessed in Christ than I can ever imagine will bitter envy and selfish ambition be a thing of my past. Only when when I am joyful in the fact that I am child of God and he loves me with an infinite love will I ever be able to say to a brother who is recounting what God is doing in his ministry “That’s great!” and have my heart agree with my mouth.

    I need grace!

    You may also like:

    I’ve Given up Hope as a Pastor

    Why I Stopped Watching Porn

    9 Leadership Lessons from Church Planting

     

    Please follow and like us:
  • I’ve Given up Hope as a Pastor

    Hope is a beautiful thing but it can be a deadly thing too. Hope placed in the right person or thing can lead to beauty and relationship and trust. Hope placed in the wrong person or thing can be damaging if not deadly.

    There are three areas of my ministry that I have given up hope as a pastor and I hope if you are a pastor or in Christian ministry you will give up hope in these areas too!

    The three areas I have given up hope are:

    1. My Preaching

    2. The conversion of people

    3. The Finances of the Church

    1. My Preaching

    I used to have dreams that one of my sermons or a sermon series would be so amazing that it would bring revival. Now this may happen but it is unlikely. I have given up hope that one sermon or series will bring revival or make the church. Why? Because the Bible is clear that it is the preaching of the word in season and out of season that builds God’s church not one killer sermon or series.

    2.The Conversion of People

    When I started in ministry I thought that all I had to do was preach in a way that was interesting and relevant and then people would fall on their knees and become Christians. How wrong I was. I have lost hope that God works like this with any regularity. No it seems to me that God works through people who take the time to share the gospel with people over weeks and months and years. These people pray and God seems to change lives when we don’t expect it. Certainly God can bring someone to faith in an instant but once again I am reminded of Paul in the Pastoral epistles where he equates ministry with hard work like a soldier or a farmer (2 Timothy 2:1-5). These are jobs that someone works tirelessly for results in the future. This is the work of a pastor who preaches faithfully.

    3. The Finances of the Church

    I used to have a dream that a billionaire would walk into Resolved and start tithing. But I have lost hope in this. Church finances are built on many people giving in response to the gospel and the vision of the church. Losing hope of Bill Gates becoming a member of Resolved has freed me to focus on making sure the people of Resolved are worshiping God with all their lives including their money.

    As a pastor I want to lose all hope in me and my abilities. I want to have hope in God and his word that through the faithful preaching of the Bible and pointing people to Jesus that we will see a flood of people become Christians. And as we faithfully train those people up we will see many churches planted throughout Sydney, Australia and the World!

    You may also like:

    9 Leadership Lessons from Church Planting

    The Amazing God of Grace

    The Cross Both Humbles Us and Fills Us With Thanksgiving

     

    Please follow and like us:
  • Why do Some Christians do Terrible Things?

    When I am asked about people who claim to be Christians but live in such a way as to bring shame to the name of Jesus I always take the people who ask this great question to Matthew 7:21-24.

    21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

    Did you see what Jesus is saying? He is saying there are going to be some people who call Jesus Lord and have done what they consider to be great things for him but that he didn’t know them and that they are evil! Jesus is quite pointedly saying that not everyone who calls themselves a Christian actually is. You may be able to believe in your head something to be true and yet never let it impact your heart and the way you live. For example we all know that exercising is important. Everyone believes that but how many of us actually live that out? For most of us the benefits of exercise are merely an intellectual idea that has no place in our lives. Christianity can be like that too. It may be for some people a set of intellectual ideas that are divorced from the way they live. People may know of Jesus intellectually but never actually know Jesus even if they go to church every Sunday and therefore these people may do things that are in and of themselves evil and yet still call themselves Christians.

    The other thing I say to people who inquire about the discrepancy between some Christians and their lives is that the Bible calls sin very deceitful. That is, the Bible says that we are broken and part of our brokenness is that we can see bad things as good and good things as bad.  So I may be convinced to do something terrible by a leader whether they be political or a church leader and I may do it all the while thinking that is what God would have me do. Now does this justify my sinful actions? Of course not, but it goes to illustrate that we can all be lead astray at some point and commit sins that we should’ve known were sins. In other words we can be deceived into doing the wrong thing.

    So Christianity has got reasons for why people who call themselves Christians but do acts of evil. But do he new atheists give any reasons for the atrocities committed by atheists? The answer is no. The new atheists don’t really admit to the shady things atheists have done. But Richard Dawkins in his book River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life speaks to the pain that we experience as a result of evil:

    In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, or any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference… DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.[1]

    DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.

    So if we push this to it’s logical conclusion Hitler, Pol Pot, the Priest that is a paedophile, the televangelist that extorts money from people, etc. are all just dancing to their DNA!

    I have spoken with many people who have been hurt by other people in tragic and profound ways. Imagine if I said “What happened to you wasn’t evil. The person was just dancing to their DNA!”

    So in the end the only way Dawkins could justify the evil that is done by atheists is by saying it really isn’t evil! But doesn’t this take the ground out from under the question too? Because if there is no evil and no good how can you then call the atrocities that people who call themselves Christians do evil? You can only do that if you are borrowing terminology from religion because Dawkins’ brand of atheism won’t allow you to call something evil if it is followed through to it’s logical conclusions. Only Christianity faces up to the terrible things that it’s adherents have done and doesn’t seek to side step the accusation.

    You may also like:

    Will the World be a Better Place if We Get Rid of Religion?

    What a Muslim Taxi Driver Taught me About the Secular View of God

    A Loving God Wouldn’t Send People to Hell

    [1]  Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life , (New York: Basic Books.1995),133

    Please follow and like us:
  • Will the World be a Better Place if We Get Rid of Religion?

    The terrible things that religion and Christianity in particular have done is ably summarized by Richard Dawkins when he says:

    “Imagine with John Lennon, a world with no religion. Imagine, no suicide bombers, no 9/11, no 7/7, no Crusades, no witch-hunts, no Gunpowder Plot, no Indian partition, no Israeli/Palestinian wars, no Serb/Croat/Muslim massacres, no persecution of Jews as ‘Christ killers’, no Northern Ireland ‘troubles’, no honour killings’, no shiny-suited bouffant-haired televangelists fleecing gullible people of their money (‘God wants you to give till it hurts’). Imagine no Taliban to blow up ancient statues, no public beheadings of blasphemers, no flogging of female skin for the crime of showing one inch of it.” [1]

    He is saying is that if we just got rid of religion all the evils that he listed and many more would be gone and when you think about it he has a got a point. Religious people and people that call themselves Christians have done and continue to do some terrible things and so if we just get rid of religion wouldn’t all our problems be gone?

    But one of the things that popular atheist writers like Dawkins don’t admit is that the 20th century is the most bloody century in the history of the world and the men that led their countries to partake in this bloodshed were mostly atheists.  Here is what noted agnostics philosopher David Berlinski says:

    In the early days of the German advance into Eastern Europe, before the possibility of Soviet retribution even entered their untroubled imagination, Nazi extermination squads would sweep into villages, and after forcing the villagers to dig their own graves, murder their victims with machine guns.  On one such occasion somewhere in Eastern Europe, an SS officer watched languidly, his machine gun cradled, as an elderly and bearded Hasidic Jew laboriously dug what he knew to be his grave.

    Standing up straight, he addressed his executioner.  “God is watching what you are doing,” he said.

    And then he was shot dead.

    What Hitler did not believe and what Stalin did not believe and what Mao did not believe and what the SS did not believe and what the Gestapo did not believe and what the NKVD did not believe and what the commissars, functionaries, swaggering executioners, Nazi doctors, Communist Party theoreticians, intellectuals, Brown Shirts, Black Shirts, gauleiters, and a thousand party hacks did not believe was that God was watching what they were doing.

    And as far as we can tell, very few of those carrying out the horrors of the twentieth century worried overmuch that God was watching what they were doing either.

    That is, after all, the meaning of a secular society.[2]

    If we are being honest with ourselves both Christianity and atheism has got blood on its hands. So what are we to say then?

    All we can say is this proves neither that Christianity nor atheism is worse for the world but that there is human evil that is waiting for an ideological spark to ignite it. Human evil could be ignited by a form of fundamentalist Islam or it could be ignited by a wacky cult that calls themselves Christian or it could be ignited by extreme atheism.  This is what the Oxford professor Alistair McGrath says:

    The reality of the situation is that human beings are capable of both violence and moral excellence—and that both these may be provoked by worldviews, whether religious or otherwise. It is not a comfortable insight, but one that alerts us to the shortcomings and dangers of identifying any one people group as the source of violence and the ills of humanity. It may facilitate scapegoating; it hardly advances the cause of civilization.[3]

    Will the world be a better place if we get rid of religion? We really need to look at whether religion has actually done any good in the world before we answer this vital question.

    But that my friends is another blog…..

    [1] – Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (Boston: Mariner Books, 2006), 23-4.

    [2] David Berlinski, The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions, (New York: Crown Forum, 2008), 26-27. You may be thinking that there is no way the New Atheists would ever condone killing people because of of their beliefs I will leave you with this quote from Sam Harris “Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live.” Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, pp.52-53.

    [3] Alistair Mcgrath, The Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine (2007), 49

    You may also like:

    What a Muslim Taxi Driver Taught me About the Secular View of God

    The Checkered Histories of Christiantiy and Atheism

    What Everybody Ought to Know About Atheism

    Please follow and like us:
  • What a Muslim Taxi Driver Taught me About the Secular View of God

    A few weeks ago I took a taxi to the airport. My driver was a devout Muslim man and when I shared that I was a Pastor we got into a very candid and yet gracious discussion about what we believe. He asked me what I speak about at church and I told him about the Jesus vs Atheism series I have been preaching through. He was very intrigued and so I told him about the different topics that I was speaking on. But when I told him I was going to speak on the topic “How Could a Loving God send People to Hell?” He laughed. I asked him why did he laugh and here is the conversation that ensued:

    “If you were to speak at my Mosque we would be very interested in hearing how you prove the death and resurrection of Jesus and how you think the Gospels are history but we wouldn’t be interested in your question of hell. ”

    “Why would you not find that question interesting?” I asked

    “Because we have no problem with Allah sending anyone to hell. If you were to speak at my Mosque you would have to convince us that God would love everyone because that is something I don’t believe.”

    One of the things that we don’t realize is that our views about who we think God is and what he is like are very culturally conditioned. My conversation with my Muslim taxi driver showed me how culturally conditioned our western secular mindset is.

    For example, I dare say that you think (if you believe God exists) God loves everyone. But can I ask you where do you get the idea that God loves everyone from? I suggest the reason you say God loves everyone is because you grew up in Australia or another western country which has had Christian teaching fused into its culture and Christianity says that God loves everyone (i.e. John 3:16) and you have adopted this from our culture. This is all well and good but do you realize that your view of a loving God is just as culturally conditioned as my Muslim taxi drivers view that God is first and foremost a God of judgement?

    There is no topic that shows our culturally conditioned views more than hell. “A loving God would never send people to hell” is an extremely culturally conditioned statement. If you hadn’t been brought up in a western society you probably wouldn’t object to hell on these grounds and you might not object to the idea of hell at all.

    My question is this, why should our western culture be the one in which you judge whether Christianity legitimate?

    Do you think your culturally conditioned beliefs are more valid than than the Muslim taxi drivers I met? If so why?

    Have you ever considered how our western secular culture has contributed to your beliefs? Instead of coming at Christianity with the idea that western secularism is right why not ask why you believe the things you believe and what are the assumptions in the secular worldview?

    Doubt your doubts be skeptical of your own skepticism because, in the end, how do you know you’re right?

    You may also like:

    A Loving God Wouldn’t Send People to Hell

    Do Professional Philosophers Think Suffering Disproves God’s Existence?

    What Christians and Atheists Can Agree On

     

    Please follow and like us:
  • 9 Leadership Lessons from Church Planting

    On Monday I had the opportunity to chat with a group of students from Moore College who are interested in church planting. I spoke on the leadership lessons I have learned in the past 5 years of church planting and pastoring. So here they are:

    1. Care More About What God Thinks of You Than What People Think of You

    There is a massive amount of pressure to have people come to your church when you are a pastor/planter and so there is huge pressure for you to please people. If this pressure is coupled with insecurity, a deep fear of man or some other issue this can be crippling for a pastor and will hold back a church.

    What is the solution?  The gospel

    The gospel helps you see who God is and helps you fear him and when you fear God and see him for who he is your fear of man will diminish. Additionally, the gospel says that you have been adopted as the child of God and therefore he cannot love you any more or less based on your successes or failures. These doctrines allow you to do the right thing and not worry about whether you are pleasing or frustrating people.

    2. Work out your junk

    Because of sin, you and I are screwed up people and the junk in our lives will hold us back. You may be socially or emotionally retarded and be almost on the spectrum, you may be a people pleaser or you may have issues with porn. Whatever your issues are they will hold you back and Satan will find ways to use them against you and your church! So do whatever you have to do to work them out. Go to counselling, get an accountability partner, pray, hell even hug a tree if it will help you work out your junk. But just work it out.

    3. Develop a joyful relationship with Jesus

    I am more and more convinced that a pastors chief responsibility is not preaching, leading,  pastoral care, setting vision or anything else that you read about in books and on blogs about leadership. No the chief responsibility of a pastor is making sure his love for Jesus and his passion for his glory is glowing like a hot coal. If the pastor is on fire for Jesus then a lot of the issues that he has will fade into the background. If the pastor is on fire for Jesus then people are more likely to catch fire. If the pastor is on fire for Jesus then his preaching, leading,  pastoral care, setting vision will be more potent because of it

    How do you get on fire? You read the Bible and pray and not in a legalistic way which seeks to tick a box. No you read and pray in such a way that you are seeking to be filled with joy, you are seeking to grow your relationship with Jesus, you are seeking to be red hot as you encounter God in his word and you pray to him.

    You do that day after day week after week you will be on fire and your passion and your godliness will go through the roof and people want to be around pastors who are on fire!

    4. Learn to have a fierce conversations

    We live in a world where to say what you are really thinking will either offend someone or get you branded with some kind of name. But as a pastor and a leader you need to be able to have a fierce conversational. A fierce conversation is not a conversation where you are angry it is a conversation where you communicate exactly what you think and feel in a helpful way.

    There are two conversation that pastors and leaders should be having regularly.

    1. Encouragement
    2. Accountability

    You need to learn how to have these conversations with passion, grace and truth.

    5. Don’t outsource vision, values and mission

    A few years ago the elders at Resolved decided that we needed a new vision for Resolved. So I got a team together to work out what the new vision was. This was a huge mistake. I firmly believe that a leader needs to have this vision grip his heart and this is not going to happen if he outsources the vision to a team. The leader needs to have a vision that grips his heart that he communicates with passion and let the chips fall where they may. The same goes with values. Don’t outsource vision, values and vision!

    6. Make your hellos slow and goodbyes quick

    I have a friend who got a job in a church and all he had was two meeting with his new boss and he didn’t check references either. Hiring someone only after two hours with them reminds of that scene in Pulp Fiction where Vincent (played by John Travolta) is a the car with Jules (played by Samuel L Jackson) driving  and he is pointing loaded gun at Marvin in the back seat (who ends up with his brains all over the car) because in both situations if you go over a bumpy road there will be blood.

    You need to make sure you know who are going to be your leaders. If you are going to employ someone make sure you know who they are. If you are going to get someone to volunteer make sure you have called up their previous church and asked the minister all about them.  This takes hours and hours but it is worth it.

    Also, if you have a person in leadership who doesn’t want to get on board with your vision or doesn’t trust you you need to work hard at this for a short period of time. But if it is clear that the person in question doesn’t want to trust you or get on board and the whole situation is as painful as watching a weekends worth of Sandra Bullock films then it would better for the both of you that the person in question left. This is hard but from experience it is better for all parties.

    7. Finance matters

    I have never been good with money and therefore up until recently I have farmed all the money stuff out to an individual who let me know what is happening financially. This the fiscal equivalent of Michael Jackson dangling his baby over the rails because it doesn’t take much for something to go wrong and then things can go very bad very quick.

    Pastors need to know what is happening in their church financially because one of the ways you can know if the gospel is gripping a person heart is by their giving. If they are earning good money but they don’t give much if any money than here is a spiritual issue.

    You also as a planter need to raise as much money as you can. More money means more ministry it is as simple as that.

    8. Lose all hope

    Lose all hope that:

    • You will get massive transfer growth
    • A billionaire will come and become a member and instantly tithe
    • You will preach one sermon or one series and that will bring revival.

    When you lose hope of these three things your only option is to pray, strategise well and work your butt off. You will have to evangelise or die and this is a far better situation for the kingdom than if you got a massive bunch of transfer growth. If your church jumps from 30 in the first week to 100+ in a year, with all the growth being transfer growth, it is very easy to feel like your church is really happening. But really unless your church is seeing people become Christians you are just shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic and I dare say that most of the transfer growth will not be really interested in getting on mission because they didn’t come to your church because they liked the mission they came to your church because it was the latest cool hip church.

    I pray for the church planters I know regularly. I pray that they get no transfer growth and therefore they are forced to work hard at evangelism and that a flood of people become Christians. This is why they planted a church to begin with.

    9. Make sure core business remains core business

    There is a massive amount of pressure to make your church plant look the coolest. You have to have videos and pictures which make people get excited for your church and vision. You have to have the best music. You need to have that hipster, I drink only coffee and listen to crap hipster music look down. Needless to say there is nothing wrong with doing these things (except if you are trying to be hipster that should be an unforgivable sin in my book) but these aren’t core business. As a pastor you can spend so much of your time on making sure your church is hip and cool (which is what I did in the first few years of Resolved) that you don’t spend time in preparation, prayer, pastoral work, developing leaders and doing evangelism. These are the things that are core business. As a pastor you need to focus on core business and farm out all the other stuff as much as you can. Why? Because you won’t be on your death bed and wonder if your graphics and videos that your church were cool enough you will wonder if you could have prayed more, preached more and better and developed people better so that more people would have come to know and love Jesus!

    You may also like:

    Leadership boils down to three things

    Is Church Planting Really the Answer?

    6 Books That Will Grow You As A Leader

    Please follow and like us:
  • A Loving God Wouldn’t Send People to Hell

    “If God is loving he wouldn’t send people to hell.” Is a statement that a lot of people make and it seems true. How could a God of infinite love send people to an place of eternal torment?  But the statement raises other questions:

    How could God not reach out to people and warn them of the fact that there is a hell?

    How could God not intervene to save people from hell?

    How could he not plead with people and do everything so that they could avoid hell?

    But the answer to all these questions is that he has. God came down in the person of Jesus to warn people of hell, to plead with people to avoid hell and ultimately to die so that people could avoid hell. The ball is in our court. Will we reject the God that has loved us so much that he has done everything  so we could be saved from hell? Or will we choose to reject his love and rebel against perfect love?

    CS Lewis puts it perfectly when he says:

    “I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked from the inside. …. In the long run the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell is itself a question: “What are you asking God to do?” To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But He has done so, on Calvary.” – C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, 127

    The only way a loving God could send people to hell is if he has gone through hell to save them and display his love.

    This week at Resolved we are continuing our series Jesus Vs Atheism. This week we are looking at the emotionally difficult question of hell. If you have questions about a loving God and the issue of hell please come and check us out. We are just across from the Newtown train station and are along major bus routes too. You should see a sign out the front of the Neighbourhood Centre with the Resolved logo. We are up the set of stairs and through the first glass doors.

    You may also like

    How will we be able to enjoy heaven if we know loved ones who are in hell?

    Why young reformed guys suck at preaching hell

    9 things that Inform the way Christians Interact with the Gay Community

    Please follow and like us:
  • Do Professional Philosophers Think Suffering Disproves God’s Existence?

    The existence of evil and suffering in the world is, in my opinion, the biggest blockage that stops people becoming Christians. A lot of people think that suffering disproves the existence of God.

    Now when you look at what professional philosophers and theologians say about this issue you see that no one really hold this position For example here is Professor of Philosophy Chad Meister on this issue:

    Most people writing at the popular level aren’t aware that professional philosophers of religion, theists and atheists alike have agreed in recent years that this version of the problem of evil has been decisively rebutted and is therefore unsuccessful. That kind of consensus doesn’t come very often in philosophy! There is no logical contradiction between the two claims, for it could be the case that an all-powerful, all-knowing and omnibenevolent God has good reasons for allowing evil to exists and persist perhaps, for example, for the greater good of one or more persons.[1]

    Meister is saying that an all-powerful, all-knowing and all loving God might allow temporary suffering for a greater good.  It is a bit like a mother who takes their child to the doctor for a tetanus shot. The mother loves her child, knows more about her child and is more powerful than her child but allows her child to go through temporary in the form of a tetanus shot for the greater good of that child not becoming sick in  the future. The child could be thinking “Mummy loves me, she knows more than me and she is stronger than me so why is she letting this man put this sharp needle in me?”. God may put us through temporary suffering for greater good in the future. In fact I have met many people who have experienced temporary pain which, in the future, they have been able to see have been for greater good. That in a small sense is why philosophers, secular and religious alike reject the idea that evil and suffering disproves God.

    As Tim Keller says “If you have a God great and transcendent enough to be mad at because he hasn’t stopped evil and suffering in the world, then you have (at the same moment) a God great and  transcendent enough to have good reasons for allowing it to continue that you can’t know. Indeed, you can’t have it both ways.”[2]

     

    [1] Chad Meister – God Evil and Morality in God is Good. God Is great: Why Believing in God is Reasonable and Responsible. (Downers Grove: IVP, 2009), 108

    [2] Tim Keller Rason for God, 25

    Please follow and like us:
  • What Christians and Atheists Can Agree On

    There seems to be huge wall between The New Atheists (Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennet and Harris) and their followers on the one side and Christians on the other. Most of the time neither side listens well to the other. This is because there seems to be little common ground between the two parties. Even though there are huge differences on some issues there are also points of total agreement.

    For example the concept of truth. One of the things that the New Atheists (and their followers) and Christians can agree on is that there is truth that doesn’t change or disappear even if we don’t believe it or don’t understand it. Albert Mohler in his great book Atheism Remix says this about the New Atheists and truth:

    The New Atheists are not relativists, and they do not believe that all truth is merely the product of social construction. To the contrary, the New Atheists dignify the truth question even as they oppose the truth most central to Christianity – the existence of the self revealing God.

    What Mohler is saying is that even though the New Atheists deny the existence of God they uphold the existence of objective truth. The belief that there is objective truth and that this truth is knowable are ideas that both Christians and atheists can wholeheartedly agree on.

    But how do you uncover what is true? This is something that Christians and non Christians can agree on too. You uncover what is true by looking at the evidence, by researching and using your mental faculties. In this I agree and disagree with Sam Harris when he writes

    “When considering the truth of a proposition, one is either engaged in an honest appraisal of the evidence and logical arguments, or one isn’t. Religion is one area of our lives where people imagine that some other standard of intellectual integrity applies.” ― Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation

    I totally agree with him that in considering truth we have to as honestly as we can look at the evidence. But I disagree with him that all people who hold to a religious belief think that there beliefs are not subject to evidence.

    The evidence from the Bible runs counter to Harris’ assertion.  Jesus told his disciples to look at the evidence. If we look at the Gospel of Luke’s account of the resurrection of Jesus you will come across this scene where Jesus talks to his disciples after he rose from the dead:

    He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

    When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.  And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish,  and he took it and ate it in their presence.

    Luke 24:38-43

    Notice what Jesus says, he is saying look at my body or in other words look at the evidence. Now even if you don’t think that Jesus really rose from the dead and this story is a piece of first century nonsense you still have an evidence based claim by Luke who is the writer of this gospel. He is,in effect saying through Jesus “Check out the evidence!” Or in Harris’ words “engage in an honest appraisal of the evidence.”

    The question is, whether you are Christian or not, are you going to honestly look at the evidence for the resurrection this Easter? If you would like to we are looking at the evidence for the resurrection this Sunday at Resolved as we kick off our Jesus Vs Atheism series. We would love for you to come and join in the conversation.

    You may also like:

    Starting Easter Sunday at Resolved: Jesus Vs. Atheism

    Bill Maher Helps A Cocaine-Dealing Atheist Come to Know Jesus

    Why You Should Listen to a Historian and Not a Hack on The Existence of Jesus

     

     

    Please follow and like us: