PO Box 3425
November/December Issue 2008 - Volume 27 Number 6
A Shining Moment In Sports
no one has missed us…I hope that isn’t the case! This is the first issue of BC to be published
since the Sept/Oct 2008 issue. There
have been several factors that have delayed publication.
was in India from October 28 to November 24, 2008 teaching at several
training works and also visiting congregations and individuals.
In fact, our last stop was in Mumbai last year. We were on the plaza
around the Gateway of India one week before the attacks took place. The
Gateway stands in front of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai.
We left Mumbai to return home two days before the attacks occurred.
I am certainly thankful that we left prior to this incident. We are
sorry for those who were struck down and also for their families and
friends; however, we were thankful that none of our acquaintances in Mumbai
were directly affected by it.
I returned home in late November, Thanksgiving had arrived. What a wonderful
holiday when we focus on giving thanks to God for his bountiful blessings.
Right on the heels of that holiday both my wife, LaDonna, and our youngest
daughter, Rachel, had surgeries in the month of December. All went well for both of them, for which we are thankful.
factor in this delay has been some technical problems with our indicia. The
indicia is the box on the outside cover that contains mailing permit
information. A few years ago, we printed up a stockpile of BC
covers, and for some reason the permit number was left off of them. For a
while the post office was allowing our mailing agent to simply add the
permit number. But we received a letter stating that we could no longer do
that. Since my printing agent has changed since these covers were printed a
few years ago, I had to go to them and ask them to redo things for the
cover. Due to all of these factors, and also my need to catch up on things,
this last issue for 2008 has been long delayed.
I hope that we have things fixed now and that I can be more prompt in
have recently discovered a web site called awakengeneration.com. It is
sponsored by the American Family Association (afa.net). It contains some
informative and challenging articles, blogs, etc. While I do not necessarily endorse everything that appears on
either of these web sites, I am happy to find people that are challenging
secular pundits and who also challenge Christians to make a stronger and
more intelligent argument for their faith. I am including a couple of
articles written by Ron Carlson that appear on the awakengeneration web
Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God?
During a question and answer session at a recent speaking engagement, a university student asked me, “Why do you believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God?” Now this is a very interesting question; and probably one of the most important questions any Christian could ask themselves. What is so special, so unique about the Bible that Christians believe it is literally the inspired word of God?
In answering this student’s question, I encouraged him to consider the following facts about the Bible:
First, the Bible is not just one single book. This is a more common misconception than many people realize, especially with people who do not come from a Judeo-Christian background. Rather than being a single book, the Bible is actually a collection of 66 books, which is called the canon of scriptures. These 66 books contain a variety of genres: history, poetry, prophecy, wisdom literature, letters, and apocalyptic just to name a few.
Second, these 66 books were written by 40 different authors. These authors came from a variety of backgrounds: shepherds, fishermen, doctors, kings, prophets, and others. And most of these authors never knew one another personally.
Third, these 66 books were written over a period of 1500 years. Yet again, this is another reminder that many of these authors never knew or collaborated with one another in writing these books.
Fourth, the 66 books of the Bible were written in 3 different languages. In the Bible we have books that were written in the ancient languages of Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic; a reflection of the historical and cultural circumstances in which each of these books were written.
And finally, these 66 books were written on 3 different continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe. Once again, this is a testament to the varied historical and cultural circumstances of God’s people.
Think about the above realities: 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1500 years, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents. What’s more, this collection of books shares a common storyline- the creation, fall, and redemption of God’s people; a common theme- God’s universal love for all of humanity; and a common message- salvation is available to all who repent of their sins and commit to following God with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength. In addition to sharing these commonalities, these 66 books contain no historical errors or contradictions. God’s word truly is an amazing collection of writings!
After I had shared the above facts with this student, I offered him the following challenge: I said to him, “If you do not believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, if you do not believe that the Bible is of a supernatural origin, than I challenge you to a test.” I said to the student, “I challenge you to go to any library in the world, you can choose any library you like, and find 66 books which match the characteristics of the 66 books in the Bible. You must choose 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1500 years, in 3 different languages, written on 3 different continents. However, they must share a common storyline, a common theme, and a common message, with no historical errors or contradictions.” I went on to say, “If you can produce such a collection of books, I will admit that the Bible is not the inspired word of God.” The student’s reply was almost instantaneous, he emphatically stated, “But that’s impossible!”
“But that’s impossible!” It truly is impossible, for any collection of human writings. However, the Bible passes this test. The Bible contains 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1500 years, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents, with no historical errors or contradictions. The entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, bears the mark of Divine inspiration.
The next time you encounter someone who asks you why you believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, try sharing this challenge with them. Better yet, don’t wait until you’re asked, just go ahead and share this challenge with a friend today. You don’t even have to mention the Bible up front, just ask them if they think it would be realistic to assemble such a collection of books. After they say, “But that’s impossible!” you’ve got a ready-made opportunity for sharing the truth of God’s word with somebody!
Defending Salvation Through Christ Alone
Don’t all religions lead to God? Isn’t one faith
as good as another? Isn’t it arrogant to say that only one religion leads
to salvation? These are some common questions that people in our pluralistic
world are wrestling with today. In a world full of religious options, many
people of goodwill, including Evangelical Christians, have trouble with the
idea that there would only be one way to enter into a saving relationship
with God. However, this is exactly what God’s word tells us; salvation is
only found in a relationship with Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12; John 14:6).
The problem that many Christians often face when communicating this
biblical truth, is that many non-Christians will simply reply, “but I
don’t believe the Bible”. So, how can we as Christians convey this
critical biblical truth to people who don’t necessarily accept the
scriptures as God’s word? This is where a simple little philosophical
argument can be extremely helpful; it’s called the “Law of
In the philosophical discipline of Logic, there are numerous rules that
govern the process of forming a coherent and rational argument. One of these
rules is the Law of Non-Contradiction. The Law of Non-Contradiction formally
stated is that “A cannot be non-A”. In plain language, this simply means
that something that is true cannot be anything but that thing which is true.
For example, if it is true that Jason Carlson alone wrote this article,
nobody but Jason Carlson could have written this article. Either Jason
Carlson alone wrote it or he did not. To say that Jason Carlson and Jane Doe
both individually wrote this article would be a violation of the Law of
When it comes to the questions of religious pluralism and promoting the
Christian claim of exclusivity (salvation is found in Jesus Christ alone),
the Law of Non-Contradiction can serve as a valuable resource in a
Christian’s apologetic tool-box. Here’s how it works:
All religions in the world make absolute truth claims regarding the way
proclaim that salvation comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
claim that salvation (liberation) is achieved when a person transcends this
world of illusion by building up enough positive karma (good works) to
escape the cycle of reincarnation.
state that the possibility of salvation* results from submitting one’s
life to Allah and faithfully carrying-out the Five Pillars of Islam.
say that salvation (Nirvana) is the result of detaching one’s self from
the desires of the physical, material world.
Each of the world’s religions claims to promote the true path to
salvation, but each of these religions provides a distinct and contrary path
from all of the others. Thus, one of these paths to salvation is true, or
none of them are true, but they cannot all be true at the same time; this
would be a violation of the Law of Non-Contradiction.
For the Christian who uses this apologetic argument in response to the
questions of religious pluralism and to promote the Christian claim of
exclusivity, it is important to understand that this argument does not prove
that Jesus is the one true path to salvation. What this argument
demonstrates is that from a philosophical standpoint, it is irrational to
claim that all religions are equally valid paths to salvation. The idea of
religious pluralism (“all roads lead to God”) is philosophically invalid
according to the Law of Non-Contradiction.
In order to show that Jesus Christ is the one true way to salvation,
Christians must be ready (1 Peter 3:15) with other apologetic tools:
arguments for the historicity of Jesus Christ, the reliability of the
gospels, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, etc. There are terrific
reasons for believing each of those truths; however, we will have to save
those for another posting.
*In Islam there is no certainty of salvation. Allah,
the god of Islam, is capricious by nature and therefore even the most devout
Muslim has no certainty of salvation. The only certainty of salvation in
Islam is to die as a martyr in Jihad or holy war.
Moment In Sports"
batter stepping up to the plate prompted little concern to the opposing
team. Sara Tucholsky is only a
bit over five feet tall, and had only recorded three hits in 34 at-bats all
season long. A senior for
Western Oregon University, she had never hit a home run in her career, and
this was one of the final games of the season.
The other team, Central Washington University, prepared for an easy
out as Sara assumed her stance and waited for the pitch.
everyone's surprise when Sara hit the ball hard enough for it to disappear
over the center field fence. The
two runners already on base quickly scored the game's first runs. It was then that fans spotted Sara writhing in pain just past
first base. In her excitement
she had missed stepping on first base.
As she turned to tag the base, her knee gave out.
She was unable to get to her feet and complete the journey home.
Her first-ever home run would be wiped from the books, and her
teammates were prohibited by the rules (they thought) from helping her.
as a pinch runner was about to enter the game (which would have changed
Sara's home run into a single), one of the players from Central Washington
spoke up. "Excuse me,
would it be OK if we carried
in softball's rules prevents members of the opposing team from helping a
player round the bases, so Holton and teammate Liz Wallace helped Sara stand
on her one good leg and carried her around the base paths. Knowing that they were putting their team at a disadvantage
by helping score the run, they nonetheless carried the injured opponent,
stopping at each base so she could make the tags.
Oregon would go on to win that game by a score of 4-2.
But did Central Washington really lose?
Sure, they dropped that game, but people across the nation now know
something about them. They've made a deeper impression than if they had taken the
easy way out. As Sara Tucholsky
said later, "I'm glad to get this story out because it is an awesome
thing they did for me. ... In a very close game like that, they did an
amazing thing." (For the
full details of this heartwarming story, just enter Sara's name in any
Internet search engine.)
need more stories like this. In
our time sports has become an outlet for frustration and anger, it seems.
Fans generally make life miserable for the visiting team.
We well remember the brawl that took place in November of 2004.
The Indiana Pacers were playing in Detroit when fans began throwing
objects at the Pacers. One of
Indiana's stars charged into the stands to throw some fists with spectators,
however, was an occasion when sports rose to one of its crowning moments.
Players came together to help one who was injured.
They thought about more than just helping Sara off the field; they
is not mentioned in the Bible, but the attitude this story highlights
certainly is. In fact, it's one
recommended by Jesus: "And just as you want men to do to you, you also
do to them likewise" (Luke
story in the Old Testament shows how one did good for another, even at his
own expense. David, who had
been designated as the next king of Israel, developed a strong friendship
with Jonathan, son of the
a thought never entered Jonathan's heart.
1 Samuel 18:1 tells us why: "... the soul of Jonathan was knit
to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul."
Instead of helping his father eliminate the competitor to the throne,
Jonathan aided David in his escape from the king.
He could have had the throne for himself, but Jonathan chose to do
what was right. His love for David made the difference.
probably know that the Greek language (the language in which the New
Testament was written) has different words for our English word
"love". The most
impressive of those is "agape".
Here's one passage where its uniqueness stands out: "You have
heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do
good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and
persecute you" (Matthew 5:43,44).
Behind Jesus' command to "love" our enemies is that word
"agape". As you'll
quickly realize, this type of attitude is rare.
is a love that is committed to the other person's well-being. Instead of
being just a feeling (as we tend to view love), agape means that I will do
good for you even if I don't have good feelings toward
elaborated on this remarkable trait of Jesus' followers: "Therefore 'If
your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in
so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.' Do not be overcome by
evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:20,21). When I have the advantage over my enemy, I'm tempted to
"get even" with him. The
Lord, however, tells me to use the opportunity to do good.
In doing so, I'll be making a statement to the world about the
superiority of love over force.
many stadiums across the world, fans cheer when an opposing player goes down
with a serious injury. But the
actions of Mallory Holton will be remembered for much longer than the final
scores of games that
us fan that spark into a cheering, warming blaze!