Freedom and the Gospel

I had the privilege of attending the VES Apologetics Conference this weekend at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. One of the most sought-after speakers in the world Ravi Zacharias was there, and he spoke about the direction of Christian apologetics in the 21st century.

Ravi used an amazing example from this personal experience to illustrate the value of freedom. When he visited Guantanamo Bay in Cuba he noticed the irony of ironies. The prison housing terrorists who waged war against American freedom were themselves without freedom as they were surrounded by a triple barbed wire fence. However, on the Cuban side there was another wall topped by barbed wire which was meant to prevent Cubans from coming to freedom.

A place like Guantanamo represents such opposite things for the terrorists imprisoned there and the Cubans who would want to defect to the US to achieve freedom.

The gospel of Jesus Christ bears similarities to the above illustration in terms of the irony it presents. It is the best possible news for the man regenerated by the Holy Spirit, but it is the worst possible news for the natural man who remains under the wrath of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

How is it possible that two such opposite views of the gospel can exist? The one who experiences its salvation sees is as the power of God, while “the wise, the scribe, and the debater of this age” view it as foolishness. To the Children of God, Christ is salvation, while to unbelievers He is a stumbling block.

The answer lies in the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit in convicting and convincing the hearts of men with respect to sin, righteousness and judgement. Only He can open our minds to see the meaning of the cross, this glorious event labeled as foolishness by the world.

Guantanamo will stand as an ironic beacon of freedom and captivity.

The gospel of Jesus Christ stands as the power of God for believers and folly for those who perishing spiritually.

image: RIZM

What to Do When You Are Faced With the Opposite of the Gospel

It was an early Saturday afternoon when we decided to take the kids for a walk and some lunch on beautiful Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach.

As we were walking we heard a strange chant and percussion-type music behind us.  It was  a procession of Krishna worshippers coming through.  In Hinduism and other eastern religions, Krishna is an avatar, or a physical representation of the supreme god Vishnu.

One of the members of this faith came over to me to invite my family to their family friendly temple.  Having studied the Bible and Christian apologetics more intensely in recent years I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to engage in theological discussion and see where these folks come from.

From the very beginning I told her that I worship the One and only Triune God as revealed in the Bible.

This led to a startling revelation.  The woman informed that she too is a Christian (Catholic) and that she worships Krishna and Christ… and that Krishna and Christ really come from the same “root word.” This of course is the opposite of truth.

She went on to explain how their supreme god is incarnated in different avatars, our Savior Jesus Christ being an example, and how they invite everyone to worship their personal avatar collectively with them.  Everything was about positivity and love, blah, blah, blah… Again the opposite of biblical truth.

Whenever a syncretic discussion of this sort ensues, I highly recommend to Christians to focus on one part of the Gospel: the depravity of man.  

I am referring to the fallen state of man, the evil that men do, the suffering and depravity that exists in the human race.  Expose their way of tackling this most central issue and how man can be redeemed.

She said she believes in the purity of the human soul (whatever that means) and that our mind is merely under influence.

Really?  If that is so, if the human soul is that pure, how is it that a Boston Marathon bomber or a Newtown shooter premeditated and carried out such evil acts out of his “pure” heart?  Why can’t one’s purity overcome such “influences?”

Of course she had no coherent answer, because the real answer lies in human hate and disobedience toward the Real God, our Creator. These people are blinded and they are not able to see their fallen nature.  If they stopped for two minutes to analyze the anger, the jealousy, the adultery, the greed that we all harbor in our hearts, they would realize that we are not pure at all.  They would realize we are in dire need of a perfect Savior.

There is no faith or religion on this planet that is able to resolve this depravity of man, other than the faith that claims that the perfect God Himself redeemed us via His Own sacrifice.

The most ironic thing is that the various avatars and incarnations of the gods of their religions suffer from the same shortcomings as humans: sexual desire and sin, jealousy, hate, war, etc. The very beings they worship are not perfect beings.

Be aware that they quickly turn the discussion to extremely abstract terms.  Instead of wrestling with real issues like why murder and adultery exist, they will go off on abstract tangents of dualism influence, mind over matter, meditation for purity, and such.

Instead of wasting precious time in discussing things in complex philosophical terms, be simple, and be direct.

Man was created in the image of God, but man fell due to disobedience and deserves eternal death.  In His Sovereignty and by grace, God made possible the redemption of man only by believing and obeying Christ, the perfect God-Man who redeemed us by His sacrifice.  Believers in Christ are saved from damnation and are made perfect again in the image of God upon their glorification.

That is the simple and direct gospel that non-Christian worshipers must hear.

How much more simple is this “foolishness” (1 Corinthians 1) compared to thousands and millions of gods and their stories and abstract explanations?

image credit

Atheism as the Wisdom of the World

The late William Provine, a biologist at Cornell University, made the following statement about evolutionary theory:

“Let me summarize my theory on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear.

There are no gods, there are no purposes, there are no goal directed purposes of any kind.

There’s no life after death.

When I die, I’m absolutely certain that I’ll be dead.

That’s the end of me.

There’s no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and there’s no free will for human beings either.” (1)

It is mind-numbing to see the level of truth suppression in these statements made by what society considers a brilliant man.  I sat through an eight year college and medical education and took some of the same courses as this biologist, yet I hold to a different standard, an absolute standard for the purpose of life, ethics, and morality.

I cannot even begin to categorize the philosophical belief expressed in this quote.  Blind fatalism may apply, but that would imply fate as a driving factor.  Even atheists may want to depart from Provine’s position of no “meaning in life.”

So depressing to apply such philosophy to one’s life… No goal directed purpose to anything…

But more importantly, such godless worldview is contradictory in its premises.

If there is no foundation for ethics and therefore no absolute morality, then moral relativism is the moral law of the land.  Everyone sets up their own system of right and wrong with respect to morality.  That implies free will in action, the volition and ability to do what everyone feels good and right for themselves.

That would appear to make sense in a land without ethics.  But… Provine says that there is no free will for human beings, contradicting his previous statements…

Provine is correct in one sense.  There is no absolute free will because human beings do not posses the ability (without divine redemption) to lead a sinless life even if we want to.  We are chained to this fallen creation until the finalization of our redemption (Rom 8:20-21).

Delight in Truth readers, with respect to Dr Provine, we are dealing with a case of 1 Corinthians 1 wisdom of the world gone bad.  Paul tells us that the wisdom of the world cannot be applied in knowing God ( 1 Cor 1:21).  He will not reveal Himself via the wisdom of the world, but by the Word of God through the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit.

That is the folly of the cross! The world considers it foolishness… the whole idea of absolute morality, total depravity, and the need for our sins to be imputed onto Christ crucified in order that we may attain righteousness.

When the sinner realizes this, they will never be the same again.

(1) quote from Rodi – Agnus Dei

Why are Young People Leaving Religion?


According to the latest data from Pew Forum on Religion, one in five US adults have no religion affiliation, while that figure rises one in three young adults who consider themselves part of the “nones.”  Nones are now a group that encompass atheists, agnostics, skeptics and open theists.

One in three!!! These are staggering statistics!

At the same time, NPR published an interview with six young people who have abandoned their religion, and I will paste some highlights here:

Miriam Nissly, 29, was raised Jewish and considers herself Jewish with an “agnostic bent.” She loves going to synagogue.

“I find the practice of sitting and being quiet and being alone with your thoughts to be helpful, but I don’t think I need to answer that question [about God] in order to participate in the traditions I was brought up with.”

Yusuf Ahmad, 33, raised Muslim, is now an atheist. His doubts set in as a child with sacred stories he just didn’t believe

“Like the story of Abraham — his God tells him to sacrifice his son. Then he takes his son to sacrifice him, and he turns into a goat. Today if some guy told you that ‘I need to sacrifice my son because God told me to do it,’ he’d be locked up in a crazy institution.”

Kyle Simpson, 27, raised Christian. He has a tattoo on the inside of his wrist that says “Salvation from the cross” in Latin.

“It’s a little troublesome now when people ask me. I tell them and they go, ‘Oh, you’re a Christian,’ and I try to skirt the issue now. They go, ‘What does that mean?’ and it’s like, “It’s Latin for ‘I made a mistake when I was 18.’

“I don’t [believe in God] but I really want to.

“I think having a God would create a meaning for our lives, like we’re working toward a purpose — and it’s all worthwhile because at the end of the day we will maybe move on to another life where everything is beautiful. I love that idea.”

Melissa Adelman, 30, raised Catholic

“I remember a theology test in eighth grade where there was a question about homosexuality, and the right answer was that if you are homosexual, then that is not a sin because that’s how God made you, but acting upon it would be a sin. That’s what I put down as the answer, but I vividly remember thinking to myself that was not the right answer.”

Rigoberto Perez, 30, raised as Seventh-day Adventist

“While I was younger, my father drank a lot. There was abuse in the home. My brother committed suicide in 2001. So at some point you start to say, ‘Why does all this stuff happen to people?’ And if I pray and nothing good happens, is that supposed to be I’m being tried? I find that almost kind of cruel in some ways. It’s like burning ants with a magnifying glass. Eventually that gets just too hard to believe anymore.”

Lizz Reeves, 23, raised by a Jewish mother and a Christian father. She lost a brother to cancer.

“I wanted so badly to believe in God and in heaven, and that’s where he was going. I wanted to have some sort of purpose and meaning associated with his passing. And ultimately the more time I spent thinking about it, I realized the purpose and meaning of his life had nothing to do with heaven, but it had to do with how I could make choices in my life that give his life meaning. And that had a lot more weight with me than any kind of faith in anything else.”


What do all these young people have in common?  Their answers prove how ineffective formal religion is at addressing their need for a Savior.  They have all been exposed to empty religious practice which can never save.  Even the four who had contact with Christianity do not mention the center of Christianity: Jesus Christ.

Everything in their universe is focused on themselves.  They are the authors of their future and no one will stand in their way.

They have tried to find answers in religion and they could not.  Now they will attempt to find answers in the philosophy, meditation, and human wisdom.  They will fail with these as well…

Until they find “the folly” of the cross, and the Savior who was crucified on it.

1 Corinthians 1:21-25 “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”