Claims We as Christians are Called to Defend and Refute

I began a new journey in my walk this summer, 2009, one I have felt a long time calling to pursue but just never could figure out how and when.  That is probably because the how and when should have been left up to God, not me trying to figure it out but non-the-less, after many years, I have decided to start my academic pursuit of work in ministry, whatever that comes to mean in the future, in seminary.

For some reason, I decided to start off my 2009 class year at Liberty with Apologetics, probably because I knew so little about the subject.  As an introduction we were given seventeen claims we as Christians are called to defend and fifteen we are called to refute, all of which I have listed below.

It was interesting that I should start my seminary work with this class.  These point below are probably an overview of what is in the years ahead of me.  I see many things I know I believe are true, but many I can not begin to explain in logical terms.  Makes me look forward to the times ahead of me.

All of us as Christians are called to share and defend our faith.  We don’t have to be experts in all these areas below, but we should know, the rest of the world expects us to be, or at least expects us to be able to explain to them, in common terms, the points below.

Seventeen claims we are called upon to defend as Christians in our Time:

The following are in no particular order, but all are important and all are challenged by the modern secularist mindset.

  1. God exists
  2. The Lordship of Jesus Christ—He was fully God and fully man.
  3. Christ died for our sins
  4. Christ rose from the dead
  5. God is all knowing and all powerful
  6. God is all goodness, in spite of the fact of evil in the world
  7. The Bible is the inerrant Word of God
  8. Events recorded in the Bible really happened and tell us something significant about God, about life, and about morals
  9. God will judge the world on the basis of the moral behavior of mankind
  10. Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, to peace with God
  11. Faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for one to be right with God
  12. The churches have the freedom and right to preach and teach God’s truth in God’s way.
  13. The teachings of God’s word exemplify a moral “high ground”
  14. A life lived so as to please God is better than a secular lifestyle
  15. The historic truths of the Christian faith are objectively true, in the same sense that scientific truths or other secular truths are true.
  16. We are responsible to God for our moral behavior.
  17. Mankind is a special creation of God, not the product of evolution or of impersonal forces in the universe

Fifteen worldly claims we are called upon to refute as Christians:

Some of these may appear to overlap, but each is a separate issue, and each has adherents in the world.  You will discover that there are people even in our churches who believe at least some of these, according to research done by George Barna.

  1. All Religions lead to the same god
  2. It doesn’t matter what your religion is as long as you are sincere—God understands
  3. Jesus is merely a great teacher or prophet
  4. God is too loving to ever send anyone to Hell
  5. A god who would send any of his “Children” to Hell is not a god worthy of our worship
  6. Morality is relative.  You have to decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong.
  7. We are the end product of evolution, the crowning achievement of the forces of nature.
  8. Man is the measure of all things.  What is good is what benefits the human race.
  9. The individual is all that matters—what’s good is what is good for you!
  10. Religion and Science are different realms—religious truths are different from scientific truths.
  11. “I know what’s best for me! I don’t need anyone else running my life!”
  12. Don’t worry about doctrine!  Religion is about what you feel!  If I have peace in my heart, then that’s all I need.
  13. The Bible is a human book, a product of the religious experiences of one people.
  14. The Bible is an old book—it was fine for back then but it has nothing to say to our time, to people today.
  15. Muslims worship one god too!  So it must all be the same God.

This post was originally created on May 11 2009 and updated in June 2010.

Google Ranks Jesus and Church by City

Do you like stats like I do? Who doesn’t, right. We keep stats on our blogs, individual posts, just about everything that is run on the Internet is backed by some kind of stat. Because of the way the Internet works, stats and trends have become huge on the Internet.  Once something that was important for businesses alone can now be utilized by individuals and churches too.

From Google Trends to Jesus and the Church

Google’s innovations over the past several years has been incredible, but they make everything publicly available, and for the most part free. One of the tools I really like from Google is Google Analytics. This is basically a supped up version of your basic stat counter, but if for your own site.

If your looking for something more Internet wide, you need Google Trends. So as I am looking around today, I wonder, where does Jesus rank among churches. I did this in two different formats, one utilizing Twitter’s api of words, and once with Google trends, and they both showed just about the same thing.

Are Christians Different Than Anyone Else?

I was listening to a story from our pastor yesterday, who just got back from Uganda (see Adjusting Back), about someone he was trying to share the gospel message with on the trip. Their response to Josh was “I know people who say they are Christians, and they are no different from anyone else”.

It was sad to hear because it was the truth from his eyes. But that was in Africa, surely it is different here in developed worlds, with the Internet. So I dug around a little. This chart is from a site called Flaptor, and the full data for the chart below is here. (All of these charts click through to the original data points.)

I had to shrink this first chart down so you may have to click on the enlarged size to see the detail. Basically, this is from Twitter conversations. The blue graph is for the term church, red is Jesus, and yellow is faith. Of course, those blue points, those are Sunday’s.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the church body, but I don’t think our actions should be any different on Sunday than any other day of the week, but obviously it is on the conversational minds of Twitter on one day, Sunday. So, according to this graph, are Christians different than anyone else?

jesus and the church

Jesus and the Church According to Google Trends

The Interesting thing about Google is how broad reaching their data is and what is covers. These next two charts were just two I pulled out from the Google Trends data. This first chart shows basically the same search terms the one above showed, but for all of the Internet.

church faith jesus

Here the blue line represents church, yellow is Jesus, and red is Faith. You can see the full data here. The peaks are mostly on Sunday here, but if you expand the date range for a year, or all time the data get very interesting. So what are the top ten cities that rank highest on the search term for church? Nashville gets top billing, Atlanta, and Dallas area has two cities that rank all by themselves.

cities jesus church

What is interesting about the city chart to me is how high the church term ranks and how low the other three rank. I would have thought the name of Jesus being what it is would rank much higher when compared to the word church. I guess my question would be, inside those walls of the church, where does Jesus rank? I hope it is higher than the yellow mark on the cities chart above?

The Big One, the Church and Your Money

I thought I would just throw in another chart just for fun. This chart adds the search term money into the mix. Now this isn’t all the different variations of what we call money, it is just the single term of money.

money church jesus faith

No on this chart, Money is green (I didn’t plan it that way, Google just did it), blue is church, yellow is Jesus, and red is Faith. You can see the entire data chart here. Well this chart isn’t really one of a big shocker, but it still shows where we think as a whole people.

What Do We Conclude From All This?

So, what is the point and what do we conclude from all this chart and stat posting. I don’t know, I am not a statistician and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. What do you think it shows? I have been to churches where Jesus has rarely been mentioned at all, and I have been in some Jesus loving churches as well. I think without Jesus the church part is pretty much irrelevant?

To me, if Jesus is not present in the Church, it is just a place for people to go on Sunday mornings to feel better about themselves Once it gets checks off the list they are good until next Sunday. Jesus can exist in true form without the actual church building itself, but the church (as intended in scripture) can not exist without Jesus being present.

So, leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Music Can Be the Soul of Worship, but Can Led Zeppelin?

Led ZeppelinI can’t imagine worship without music. There are some Believers that do not feel music has a place in the church, or if it does, it is of one form or another.

I view music as a gift from God, but I don’t just listen to one genre of music, I have a large collection of music from all over the spectrum. Music can evoke feelings and thoughts that come about because of the chords and lyrics we hear. That doesn’t mean they are always good [good being Godly] thoughts, but music has always had a way to move the soul.

Even David felt music was important. Throughout 1 Chronicles 15 David speaks about the importance of music, and shows that music is always one of those great gifts from God.

25 So David and the elders of Israel and the commanders of units of a thousand went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the house of Obed-Edom, with rejoicing. 26 Because God had helped the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD, seven bulls and seven rams were sacrificed. 27 Now David was clothed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and as were the singers, and Kenaniah, who was in charge of the singing of the choirs. David also wore a linen ephod. 28 So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouts, with the sounding of rams’ horns and trumpets, and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps.

There is probably as many different kinds of music as there are kinds of Christians, and some of the greatest musicians in history weren’t Christians even though their talent was given to them by their maker. Stairway to Heaven is often times considered one of the greatest songs of all time, even by people of faith. Interesting is was sung by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. Not exactly elders of the church, but I love the introduction to the song.

There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven
And when she gets there she knows if the stores are closed
With a word she can get what she came for

In my opinion, a song can have great spiritual meaning and transcend time, yet come from a secular entity. The Lord works throughout the entire world and all its people, not just the ones who are Believers and music is certainly a gift from God that can reach people of all walks of life.

If you have ever listened to a live band play you know how different it can be to listening to an mp3 on your iPod, and listening to people play in a worship service can bring out the life of our Lord much as it did with David when he was celebrating the arrival of the ark in Chronicles. The Lord can, and will, move through the sounds of praise to Him.

And we as Believers know, all that glitters is not gold.