Posts Tagged ‘Deeper Waters’

On the Death of Robin Williams

August 13, 2014

What are my thoughts on the death of Robin Williams? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

When I heard the news of Robin Williams’s death, it was in an email and I thought “That can’t be right. Surely it must be another actor with that name. Robin Williams committing suicide?” I went to IMDB and saw the age given matched perfectly. It was quite a shock to hear and it was indeed tragic.

Let’s go ahead and say it right at the start. Suicide is always tragic. 

None of us really like death, but in some cases, we can accept it to an extent. If our loved one is old and it’s “their time” we’re sorry to see them go, but we understand. If a soldier or a police officer or firefighter dies in the line of duty, we are sad to see that happen and we don’t really think it was their time, but we understand it. 

Suicide though?

That leaves us with question after question.

I put something about this on my Facebook yesterday and someone told me about someone whose Dad had committed suicide when they were five years old and how they kept asking “Did my Dad not want to see me grow up?”

This person was in their 60’s and still asking.

Suicide will leave a mark on every family when it takes place. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas will be different. Wedding anniversaries and birthdays won’t be the same. Whenever the date of the suicide comes around, the people involved will remember it. Every time they think they will ask themselves “Was there anything I could have done differently? Could I have stopped this?”

And they will never find a satisfying answer to those questions.

For our family, Robin Williams was a treasure. When my wife and I were dating, we lived in different states about 250 miles apart so I’d often bring over movies when I came to see her. At that time, she struggled with depression and one movie I bought was Patch Adams, which is about a doctor who used humor to treat his patients. 

If you’ve never seen the movie, Robin Williams’s character, Patch Adams, has set up his clinic and a girl, Carin, he has an interest in is one of his doctors that helps treat the patients. One time, she is alone and a man with mental illness of a severe nature comes to see her.

The next thing we hear is that he has murdered her.

Patch blames himself and in the following scene, we see him having a dialogue with God wondering if he can even go on.

As you see in the video, what stops him is a butterfly on his medical bag that flies on to his shirt and then he has on his finger. Why? Because Carin had said earlier how she wishes she could be a caterpillar so she could transform and fly away. Patch has his spirits renewed by this and continues his work.

Since marriage, we’ve watched a number of other films of his such as Jumanji and Mrs. Doubtfire and we did watch the only season of the Crazy Ones together. Allie also was happy to share with me about how his daughter was named Zelda, after the Legend of Zelda, a series Allie knows I thoroughly enjoy.

Since hearing the story of Williams’s death, I have also been given some hope in hearing that he had attended Redeemer Church where Tim Keller serves as pastor and that he has attended at least one other church in San Francisco on a regular basis and had been asking questions. Did he find the right answers? We can hope.

I do want to say a few other thoughts that come to me about this.

First, if you are a Christian who is making comments about someone being in Hell right now and doing so gleefully, shame on you. I have unfriended one person on Facebook who did this. It is not our call to make if someone is in Hell or not. Yet even if we were absolutely certain that they were, we should not be rejoicing in that fact.

Years ago when Saddam Hussein was still alive, someone messaged me on a forum I was in when the news came that Saddam’s sons had been found and killed and said “Isn’t this good news?” Now I was absolutely certain they were Muslims and outside the fold and I replied that it was good that the evil they would do on Earth had been stopped and they would never harm someone again, but it’s tragic that someone enters eternity without the grace of God. 

Yes. Even our enemies.

I do believe in Hell, and if you agree with me, you should defend it similar to the way that you would defend the reality of the holocaust (Since there are holocaust deniers). Both should be seen as realities and both should be seen as things that you would prefer could be otherwise. 

Christian. You may think someone didn’t do the best with their life, but the reality is, well, neither do you. We all screw up and make mistakes. On this point, I don’t care if you’re a Calvinist or an Arminian. We all know the only way we get to Heaven is by the grace of God. We do not deserve to be in the loving presence of God and walking with Jesus at all. We all need grace.

If you think Robin Williams didn’t make it, then just remember that if it wasn’t for the grace of God, neither would you. I, meanwhile, hold out hope. This is also so since I found that one of the books he read often to his children and one of his favorites was the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and I hope he came to know who Aslan is in this world. 

The next point is that suicide is a tragedy. This has been said, but some people have been sharing the meme of saying “Genie. You’re free.”

What does that mean really?

Do you really want to affirm the view of the suicide and the person contemplating suicide that this world is just awful and that we should all be seeking to escape it? Let us consider what G.K. Chesterton said about those who are suicides in contrast to those who are martyrs.

“A martyr is a man who cares so much for something outside of him, that he forgets his own personal life. A suicide is a man who cares so little for anything outside of him, that he wants to see the last of everything. One wants something to begin: the other wants everything to end.”

If you are a Christian, you should know that this is your Father’s world. This world is not all that it was meant to be. That’s true, but it is not Hell. There are plenty of good things here and one just needs to take the time to see them. Many times when I have been depressed, it has been the simple things that have brought me out, such as seeing my cat play with a toy. It can also be the love of other people, such as the touch of my wife. 

You see, it’s okay to not always be in a happy mood. You’re not meant to always be happy. It’s okay to have a down day. You can’t force yourself to feel happy. If you could make yourself feel something, we’d all make ourselves feel joy. You’re not always responsible for your feelings, but you are responsible for what you do with them.

You might think Robin Williams is free today, but you know who isn’t?

If you’re reading this blog with sadness thinking about it, you’re one of the people who isn’t.

Neither are the immediate friends and family. The rest of the world is at a loss right now because of this tragedy. Suicide takes the pain that one person goes through and thrusts it instead on everyone else. It is a wound that will never be healed this side of eternity. It will be a constant reminder on the lives of everyone involved from then on.

I say this as someone familiar with it. Some of you know that when I was introduced to my now wife, it was when she was recovering from a suicide attempt.

How different things would be if she had succeeded.

And keep in mind for her, at one point, she thought it was all over. In fact, what she was doing was because of a bad relationship with a boy. 

Would she have even dreamed that within about a year’s time, she’d be walking down the aisle to marry a totally different man who saw her at her worst and still loved her? 

In fact, I wrote earlier this year about how she even won a beauty pageant earlier this year put on by Joni and Friends called the Miss Shining Star pageant for girls with disabilities. 

MissShiningStar2014

I still remember it well. All the girls I had seen won had won the talent competition also. Allie had lost it in her division. There it was at the end and I was thinking “She’s not going to win it.” It just looked like she would lose this title.

And then they announced her name as Miss Shining Star.

She’ll also tell you I cried more than she did that day. It was just such a delight to see how far she had gone and how she had been so hesitant to enter this pageant and yet, she won it. Next year, she will pass her crown on to someone else so they can enjoy that privilege, but now, she is an inspiration that there is always hope.

And all of those might not have been.

In fact, each one of us is a “might not have been.”

None of us was required to exist. The world could have gone on just fine without our being here. None of us are essential to the story. Each of us has been given life and each of us is to decide what to do with it. I pray you’ll treat it as a gift.

Please remember this. Suicide is never the answer. Your pain might end at that point, but the pain you leave for others will never end.

Third point is one that seems odd coming from me, but it is true. My wife and I are Aspies and introverts. We don’t thrive on relationships like other people do, but we also know that relationships are important. I am incredibly thankful for the friendships that I have earned over the years. There is nothing like it. I am thankful for a family that raised me up in a Christian home and showed me love always, and I am thankful for the family that has become mine as well in my in-laws. They are honored to have me as a son-in-law and I am grateful.

I am also thankful for our church family. Just last Sunday, we celebrated Allie’s 24th birthday and some friends took us out to eat. Allie talked about how her family couldn’t do that since they were far away and my family can’t really afford it. This couple that took us out is in their 70’s and lead a group called Marriage Moments at our church. They know something about marriage. They’ve been married for 50+ years. Since our church is “The Point” they said to just think of them as their Point Parents.

That is something that I am sure will never leave me.

That evening, Allie and I watched Into The Storm with a gift card we’d been given by my parents. Allie really liked Twister and likes this one even more now. Still, as I saw it I was left in a somber state. I can assure you the movie is an awesome one that will have you on the edge of the seat, but I also think about the times that people were near-death and focusing on the relationships that they had formed over the years and wanting to tell people how much they loved them.

Allie would be the first to tell you how quiet and somber I was that evening.

Why? I’m a go-getter type of guy who wants to make the most of what I have and was thinking “Are we making the most of our time here now?”

Those relationships are important and of course, none of them will be perfect. You will not be a perfect spouse. You will not have a perfect spouse. You will not be a perfect parent. You will not have perfect children. You will not have perfect friends or be a perfect friend or have perfect siblings or be a perfect sibling. 

And that’s okay.

Things won’t be perfect, but they can be great. 

For we Christians, we should know this first and foremost. Our own God is eternally relational Himself in the Trinity.

Too often, we take these relationships for granted. We act like that person will always be here, and then a car accident takes place and they’re gone, or they get the news that they have cancer and their time is limited. We can often ask ourselves what we will do with the future, which is fine, but we need to ask ourselves what we’re going to do with this moment.

Of course, I am not saying be reckless with other people. As an introvert, I will not relate to everyone and there will be times that people like myself need to be away from the crowd and recharging, but even then, introverts need people too. Let us remember what C.S. Lewis said in The Weight of Glory.

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which,if you say it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilites, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – These are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”

These are the people. These are the ones you will take with you into eternity. I am an avid lover of books and reading and the quest of knowledge. I hope my wife would agree however that I am a greater lover of her and I would hope ultimately also that I am a greater lover of God. The knowledge of God is subservient to God Himself after all.

Today, the world just doesn’t seem as funny because of a tragic event that has happened and made us all stop and think about what our lives really mean and what they’re all about. What we all would give right now to have had a butterfly come and land on Robin Williams at this time.

And if you are in this boat right now of considering taking your own life, please please please do not do it. Reach out and talk to someone. You can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. (1-800-273-8255) Please also find a good local church and talk to a good minister or counselor there. Just reach out and get some help. The Christian message is that every human life is valuable and precious by nature of what it is. 

My own wife wrote about what she was dealing with in her journal last night and shared it on Facebook. (So yes, I am not sharing something private here and she knows I’m sharing this and is fine with it.)

As I was journaling tonight, I journaled a bit about the death of Robin Williams and it got me thinking about my own suicide attempt five years ago.  Stories of suicide is very heart-breaking, and for me, they resonate very deeply because I was almost one of them.  Here’s what I wrote, you may like it, you may not like it, but it’s the truth and is what’s on my heart:

Why…why did God rescue me from my suicide attempt…but he allows others to die?  Why did he rescue me from my death but not other people?  It almost makes me angry to have survived.  I’m no more special than anyone else, I still haven’t figured out what I’m really good at, yet God decided to rescue me?  Why?  I was still a follower of Christ, if I had died, I would’ve gone to heaven and been with the Lord.  But there are some who don’t follow him who kill themselves, and their despair is even worse in the afterlife instead of having peace.  Why God…why did you rescue me from death…but you don’t rescue others from the grips of suicide?  Their lives are just as precious as mine!  Robin Williams was doing good in the world – he made people smile when they thought they couldn’t.  But I don’t do any good in the world.  I don’t make any contribution to the world.  So why did you rescue me?  My soul aches…people are hurting so much…and there is so much death around me…people killing each other…people killing themselves…this is not what you created us for!  All this death and violence…this isn’t what you wanted for us!  What are we to do in world that is killing itself and breaking down?  Will we all eventually kill each other to the brink of extinction?  No, that won’t happen.  You promised you’ll come back for us.  You promised you’d come back and reign over us on earth, just as you do in heaven.  We still have hope!  You won’t abandon us, you always keep your promises.  I know you’ll come for us, and you’ll be our King.  The world will finally know you are there!  The world will finally bow down to you as LORD.  You will rescue your servants.  You will come for your children.  You won’t leave us like this.  We are waiting for you…come soon my LORD!

As you can see, she still has problems and attitudes she’s working with, but I like at the end what she’s doing. She’s seeking to find hope in God and frankly, where else will you find it? If Christ is not risen, then death will indeed have the last laugh. It will have it on the suicide or the murder victim or the martyr or anyone else. No one will escape it.

If Christ is risen, those of us in Him have the last laugh on death.

And speaking of laughs, let’s look back on the life of Robin Williams and remember he left us with several. We will miss him, but let’s not lose sight of them.

Please be in prayer for those who have been left behind from this tragedy.

R.I.P. Robin Williams.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

 

Edited to add: A kind reader suggested a guide to help those struggling with depression and other conditions that can be found here.

Debunking 9 Truly Evil Things Right-Wing Christians Do Part 1

July 18, 2014

Are right-wing Christians the problem? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Today we have a guest post on Deeper Waters. I was quite surprised to find last night that my wife took to doing a few hours of online research and such to deal with an article she found online. Now I don’t agree with everything she has here. There are parts I don’t agree with and there are parts I do agree with, but I’m pleased of how she did for a first major endeavor into the field. I wanted to share it. So without further ado, here’s Allie:

I just finished reading this article and being that I have a lot of Atheist friends, I thought I’d try to address some of the issues this article addresses and clear up the misconceptions. I’ll be doing more than one note on this because there are so many misconceptions I’m doing each note on each section to get into enough details to explain it all. For a link to the article, here is the article: http://www.alternet.org/belief/9-truly-evil-things-right-wing-christians-do?page=0%2C0

1. Opposing protections and rights for children is evil.

There’s a link you can click on from this section on what they considered were wrong in the Bible for opposing protections and rights for children. (http://awaypoint.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/why-bible-believers-have-such-a-hard-time-getting-child-protection-right/) Let’s go through those first:

Abraham, the verse they quote is Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you. (Genesis 22:1-12 nasv) This is very deceptive of the author of the article to just use this verse without using it in its full context. Isaac was the child God promised to give to Abraham. Then the LORD said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” (Genesis 15:2-5 NLT) If Isaac was the promised son to Abraham, and through Isaac, Abraham would have as many descendants as there are stars, why in the world would God ask Abraham to kill Isaac? This was a test. This was a test to see how much faith Abraham had in God and how obedient he would be to God. Abraham knew God had promised him Isaac and many descendants through Isaac, so as much as this may have confused him that God would make such a request of him, he must’ve had so much trust in God that he believed, “God is going to keep his promise to me. Either he will stop me, or he’s going to bring my kid back from the dead.” So Abraham and Isaac go up the Mountain for the sacrifice and Isaac asks his father, “Where’s the ram?” Abraham tells him, “Son, you’re the sacrifice.” Isaac must be terrified at this point. His name means “he laughs,” he probably wasn’t doing much laughing at that point. So Isaac is tied up to the altar they’ve made and he’s laying there, probably scared out of his wits. Abraham pulls out his knife and is probably thinking, “God, I’m trusting you here, don’t fail me now.” Then we come to this part: At that moment the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied, “Here I am!” “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:11-12 NLT) Basically, Abraham was willing to give God everything, even his own son. This does not mean God wants us to sacrifice children. In fact, there are many passages in the Bible where people are sacrificing children and this angers God. They have committed both adultery and murder—adultery by worshiping idols and murder by burning as sacrifices the children they bore to me. (Ezekiel 23:37 NLT) Is an example. Another example: “The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,” says the LORD. “They have set up their abominable idols right in the TEMPLE that bears my name, defiling it. They have built pagan shrines at Tpheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deedl it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing!” (Jeremiah 7:30-31 NLT)

The story of Lot giving up his daughters to be raped. They quote the verse “Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” (Gen 19:8 nrsv) Again, this has been taken out of context. You need to read the whole story. The angels came to Lot’s house to warn Lot and his family that they were going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (the city Lot and his family lived in). Then a bunch of men came to Lot’s door, They shouted to Lot, “Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!” (Genesis 19:5 NLT) Yea, it literally says that, those guys wanted to rape the angels! Lot goes outside and is probably so scared he’s about to pee his robe or whatever he’s wearing because there’s an over-sexed mob wanting to rape these angels in his house! So Lot’s like, “Please guys, you really don’t want to do that! That could end REALLY bad for you! But I’ll tell you what, if it’ll get you out of here, I’ll give you my daughters – they’re virgins and if they can satisfy your lustful hunger please leave my guests alone.” Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not good he was offering his daughters up like this. It’s true women back then were not usually thought of very highly. But the mob outside his door are getting even more upset, “Dude you need to get out of here and give us those guys that are in your pad! You’re just as much of an outsider as they are so if you don’t get out of the way, we’ll treat you far worse than what we’re going to do to them!” Then they lung at Lot and try to break the door! But the two angels reached out, pulled Lot into the house, and bolted the door. Then they blinded all the men, young and old, who were at the door of the house, so they gave up trying to get inside. (Geneses 19:10-11 NLT) So what does this mean? God didn’t let Lot give up his daughters. God kept his daughters safe. But it doesn’t end there. After the angels warned Lot about the destruction that was about to happen in his city and that he and his family needed to flee, Lot tried to tell his daughter’s fiance’s, but they laughed and thought Lot was joking! So Lot, his wife, and his two daughters leave the city as it’s being destroyed. Lot’s wife dies in the process by turning into a pillar of salt because they were warned to not look back at the city, but she looked back. So it was just Lot and his two daughters. So you really think Lot’s daughters were so innocent? Well get this, Lot and his daughters went to live in a cave up in the mountains. One day the older daughter said to her sister, “There are no men left anywhere in this entire area, so we can’t get married like everyone else. And our father will soon be too old to have children. Come, let’s get him drunk with wine, and then we will have sex with him. That way we will preserve our family line through our father.” So that night they got him drunk with wine, and the older daughter went in and had intercourse with her father. He was unaware of her lying down or getting up again. The next morning the older daughter said to her younger sister, “I had sex with our father last night. Let’s get him drunk with wine again tonight, and you go in and have sex with him. That way we will preserve our family line through our father.” So that night they got him drunk with wine again, and the younger daughter went in and had intercourse with him. As before, he was unaware of her lying down or getting up again. As a result, both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their own father. (Genesis 19:30-36 NLT) So essentially, the two daughters rape their father. Who’s the wicked one now?

The Love triangle between Jacob, Leah, and Rachel: the verses they use are: After Jacob had stayed with Laban for about a month, Laban said to him, “You shouldn’t work for me without pay just because we are relatives. Tell me how much your wages should be.” Now Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel. There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, “I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.” “Agreed!” Laban replied. “I’d rather give her to you than anyone else. Stay and work with me.” So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong, that it seemed to him but a few days. Finally, the time came for him to marry her. “I have fulfilled my agreement,” Jacob said to Laban. “Now give me my wife so I can sleep with her.” So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood and prepared a wedding feast. But that night it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her. (Laban had Leah a servant, Zilpah, to be her maid.) But when Jacob woke up in the morning – it was Leah! “What have you done to me?” Jacob raged at Laban. “I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?” “It’s not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,” Laban replied. “But wait until the bridal week is over, then we’ll give you Rachel too – provided you promise to work another seven years for me.” So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too. (Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid.) So Jacob slept with Rachel too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years. (Genesis 29:14-30 NLT) At least they haven’t forgotten any verses around it this time, but it’s partly taken out of context still. The article states this is just a deal between men, “You can have one if you do such and such for me.” Jacob and Rachel loved each other. Jacob was willing to work for her. It’s not that Leah was unattractive, but he didn’t see that same “sparkle” in her eye as he saw Rachel have. Leah didn’t make his heart race so fast that it felt like it was going to jump out of his throat! Rachel though, Rachel was the most beautiful person he had ever seen before. He loved her so much, that when he worked for her father for seven years, it only felt like a few days to him! So after seven years are up, Jacob says to Laban, “I’ve done what I promised, now I’m here to marry Rachel.” Laban’s like, “Sure, you kept your promise, I’ll keep my promise. Besides, I wouldn’t want her to be with anyone except for you!” So Jacob goes to bed after the wedding that night and sleeps with his bride. It’s dark, so he can’t see. He wakes up the next morning, and it’s not the love of his life he sees, but it’s his lovers sister! Now, think about if you were in his shoes. You worked seven years so you could marry the love of your life, and when you wake-up the next morning you find out the person you actually married and had sex with is not the person you love, but their sister/brother! You’d be pretty ticked off wouldn’t you? Well he was too! He goes up to his now father-in-law and is like, “Pops, why have you cheated me? You gave me the wrong daughter!” Laban is like, “Oh, sorry, I forgot to tell ya, here we marry off our older daughters first before the younger ones. But I’ll tell you what kid, if you still want her, work for me for another seven years and I’ll give her to you too!” Jacob says, “Fine, I’ll work another seven years, but you have to give me Rachel first.” So he gets Rachel a week after the bridal week and works for another seven years. But he doesn’t get rid of Leah. Even though he doesn’t love Leah and only loves Rachel, he still took care of Leah.

The foolish vow: verse quoted is a long one – At that time the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephithah, and he went throughout the land of Gilead and Manasseh, including Mizpah in Gilead, and from there he led an army against the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. He said, “If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the LORD whatever comes out of my house to meet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” So Jephthah led his army against the Ammonites, and the LORD gave him victory, He crushed the Ammonites, devastating about twenty towns from Aroer to an area near Minnith and as far away as Abel-keramim. In this way Israel defeated the Ammonites. When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter came out to meet him, playing on a tamborine and dancing for joy. She was his one and only child; he had no other sons or daughters. When he saw her, he tore his clothes in anguish. “Oh, my daughter!” he cried out. “You have completely destroyed me! You’ve brought disaster on me! For I have made a vow to the LORD, and I cannot take it back.” And she said, “Father, if you have made a vow to the LORD, you must do to me what you have vowed, for the LORD has given you a great victory over your enemies, the Ammonites. But first let me do this one thing: Let me go up and roam in the hills and weep with my friends for two months, because I will die a virgin.” “You may go,” Jephthah said. And he sent her away for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never have children. When she returned home, her father kept the vow he had made, and she died a virgin. So it has become a custom in Israel for young Israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah’s daughter. (Judges 11:29-40 NLT) I’ll admit, I struggled a little bit with this one. I mean, if God isn’t for child sacrifices, why wouldn’t he have stopped this from happening? I looked at the notes for this passage in my Bible for a little help and here’s what it says “Jephthah’s recovery and leadership were guided by the Holy Spirit, but he still made a foolish mistake. His vow, which was an attempt to “cut a deal” with God to ensure military victory, is a classic example of what it means to “stifle the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Jephthah lived to regret the vow he made in the heat of the crisis. Often we do the same thing. We beg for God to fulfill some shortsighted goal, and in obtaining it, we miss God’s best. (This note comes from The Life Recovery Bible NLT) 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. (NLT) I looked at this and thought, “What does stifle even mean?” So I looked it up:
1) make (someone) unable to breathe properly; suffocate.
2) restrain (a reaction) or stop oneself acting on (an emotion).

The prize to the victor, verse quoted – Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the one who attacks and captures Kiriathsepher. Othniel, the son of Caleb’s younger brother, Kenaz, was the one who conquered it, so Acsah became Othniel’s wife. (Judges 1:12-13 NLT) To understand this verse, you have to understand the culture. I had to ask my husband about this one because he does more study about this than me, and he said it was an honor thing. It was also security for the daughter. I mean think about it, if the guy can bring victory for an army, you think he can protect a woman? Our culture today thinks very negatively on the idea of arranged marriages. But back then, arranged marriages weren’t as bad as we imagine them to be. They were common, but their way was in a way better than our way. Today, our culture has so much divorce. There are so many different statistics on the percentages of divorce, I never know which one is right, but to me, all the percentages are too high. We fall in love and get married, then a lot of times, we later fall out of love and get divorced. But back then, they didn’t get married necessarily because they were in love (though that’s not to say there were times where they were in love), but after they married, they loved each other. I would say this is a better system than the one we have now if you think of it that way! There were very few divorces because divorce was frowned upon, while today divorce is a casual thing. The whole thing with giving a daughter as a wife as a prize has gone on for a very long time, not just during Biblical times. I mean think about today, when a guy wants to marry a girl, he often times wants to impress her parents right? Why? Because they are the ones who are giving their daughter away in marriage. It’s of course different today than it was back then, but essentially, some things haven’t changed so much either.

Death sentence for the firstborn, they quoted Exodus 11 (NLT) – Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will strike Pharaoh and the land of Egypt with one more blow. After that, Pharaoh will let you leave this country. In fact, he will be so eager to get rid of you that he will force you all to leave. Tell all the Israelite men and women to ask their Egyptian neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” (Now the LORD had caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the people of Israel. And Moses was considered a very great man in the land of Egypt, respected by Pharaoh’s officials and the Egyptian people alike.) Moses had announced to Pharaoh, “This is what the LORD says: At midnight tonight I will pass through the heart of Egypt. All the firstborn sons will die in every family in Egypt, from the oldest son of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, to the oldest son of his lowliest servant girl who grinds the flour. Even the firstborn of all the livestock will die. Then a loud wail will rise throughout the land of Egypt, a wail like no one has heard before or will ever hear again. But among the Israelites it will be peaceful that not even a dog will bark. Then you will know that the LORD makes a distinction between the Egyptians and the Israelites. All the officials of Egypt will run to me and fall to the ground before me ‘Please leave!’ they will beg ‘Hurry! And take all your followers with you.’ Only then will I go!” Then, burning with anger, Moses left Pharaoh. Now the LORD had told Moses earlier, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, but then I will do even mightier miracles in the land of Egypt.” Moses and Aaron performed these miracles in Pharaoh’s presence, but the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he wouldn’t let the Israelites leave the country. Okay, so God gave Pharaoh many warnings. He caused plagues such as swarms of locusts, the Nile River turning into blood, invasion of frogs, boils, darkness, and even more plagues. He even caused Moses’ staff to turn into a snake and it ate the other snakes Pharaoh’s magicians called out! But Pharaoh still would not listen! So God gave him one final warning. If Pharaoh wouldn’t let God’s people be free from their slavery, the angel of death would kill every firstborn son in Pharaoh’s kingdom. The angel of death knew which houses were the Israelites because they celebrated Passover by using the blood of a lamb and putting it on their doors so the angel of death would pass over them. But the homes that didn’t have the blood of the lamb on the doors, they were the Egyptians who didn’t take God’s warning seriously. For a while, this got Pharaoh’s attention when he found his son dead. He realized the Israelites God was serious business and things are just going to get worse if he doesn’t let them go. So he lets them go. But when he realizes he let them ALL go and has no more slaves, he practically forgets what happened! He’s like, “Soldiers, get the chariots ready, we’re going after them! We’re getting them back!” So the Israelites see the Egyptians coming after them and they’re blocked off by the Red Sea. The Israelites turn on Moses and are like, “Dude! We were better off in Egypt! Now they’re going to kill us! Look what you’ve done to us! We should’ve stayed back there!” Moses isn’t going to have any of it! So he tells the people to stay calm because God is going to rescue them. God tells Moses to pick up his staff and raise his right hand over the sea. God divides the water and the people walk across to the other side. When they get to the other side and the Egyptians are rushing after them, God closes the waters the Egyptian army is wiped away in the ocean.

The faithful servant, verses they quote are Job 1 and Job 42:12-13. This is pretty long, but the reason I’m typing out all of the verses is because some of you may not actually look up the verses, so I thought I might as well provide them for you. So let’s start with Job 1 (NLT) – There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless – a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil. He had seven sons and three daughters. He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area. Job’s sons would take turns preparing feasts in their homes, and they would also invite their three sisters to celebrate with them. When these celebrations ended – sometimes after several days – Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice. One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the LORD, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. “Where have you come from?” the LORD asked Satan. Satan answered the LORD, “I have been patrolling the earth, patrolling everything that’s going on.” Then the LORD asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless – a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.” Satan replied to the LORD, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!” “All right, you may test him,” the LORD said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the LORD’s presence. One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger arrived at Job’s home with this news: “Your oxen were plowing, with the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided us. They stole all the animals and killed all the farmhands. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up your sheep and all the shepherds. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, a third messenger arrived with this news: “Three bands of Chaldean raiders have stolen your camels and killed your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother’s home. Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!” In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God. Next verse is Job 42:12-13 (NLT) – So the LORD blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters. So Job is a really good guy right? He stays away from evil, and he’s even really faithful to God; so God wouldn’t ever let anything bad happen to Job right? That was Satan’s case too. God’s braggin’ on Job, “Have you seen this awesome guy on earth named Job? He’s a pretty cool dude, he stays away from evil and is faithful to me.” Satan’s like, “Yea I’ve seen him, but you know WHY he’s so faithful to you? It’s because you spoil him! You give him more than he needs! Have you seen his house for instance? Anyone with a house like his would be worshiping you without hesitating! He might as well have a jet ski! If you took everything he had away from him though, there’s no way he’d serve you. In fact, I bet he’d even curse you and spit in your face!” God knows if he does this, this is going to be really difficult on Job. But God also believes in Job. God believes Job will remain faithful to him. So God says, “Fine, you can take away what he has, BUT, you can’t hurt him physically.” So Satan does that. He takes away Job’s cattle, servants, and children. Job is so distraught that he tears his clothes and is completely naked. He shaves his head and what does he do? Does he curse God? No. Does he spit in God’s face? No. He WORSHIPS God! How many people would actually do that? We usually worship God only when the times are good or when it’s convenient. But we should worship God even when times are tough, even when it seems unbearable. It certainly seemed unbearable for Job, and throughout the story of Job, things kept getting worse, but he continued to be faithful to God. Because of his faithfulness to God, God blessed him even more than before!

10th Commandment blues, the quote is – You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me. (Exodus 20:5) I’ll keep this short with two verses in response to this. First, Deuteronomy 24:16 (NLT) – Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor children for the sins of their parents. Those deserving to die must be put to death for their own crimes. Next verse is Ezekiel 18:20 – The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behavior, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness. In summary, whoever makes the sin will be punished for their own sin. The kids are not going to be punished for their parents sin, nor are the parents going to be punished for the kids sin. I hope that clears things up.

Another misinterpretation, quoted verse – O daughter Babylon, you devastator! Happy shall they be who pay you back what you have done to us! Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock! (Psalm 137:9) When you listen/read to song lyrics or poems, there’s a lot of emotion in them aren’t there? Well that’s what the book of Psalms consists of. Songs and poems (mainly songs). If you’re battling a country that’s bashing your babies into rocks and other awful stuff, you may be thinking, “I hope the same thing happens to you!” You’re thinking of revenge! Babylon had been oppressing the Israelites severely and doing awful stuff to them. They wanted revenge and were just saying, “What you’re doing to us, it’s coming right back at you!”

The truth about Jesus, quoted verse John 3:16 (NLT) – “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” They forgot to add verses 17-21: “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. But anyone who does not believe in him already has been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgement is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” So here’s the deal, people/humans are evil. They’re filled with darkness. Look around you, there is evil all around the world. Who causes the evil? People. Do you see evil animals? No. Do you see evil plants? No. Now, you may say natural disasters are evil. Natural disasters themselves are not evil, but the devastations they cause are evil. But in general, where do we see evil come from? We see evil come from people! You might say “There are a lot of good people too!” Yes, there are good people, but in what sense are they good? To your standard? To the standard of the law of the government? To your neighbor’s standard? To my standard? You’ve got people in the middle east yelling Jihad (holy war) strapping bombs onto themselves to blow up as many infidels as they can. According to their standards, they’re good people. Adolf Hitler when trying to make a superior race of people and getting rid of the Jewish people according to his standards was a good person. But according to our standards, these are all evil people! So when evaluating who are good people, by whose standards are you evaluating them? According to the Bible, we were originally created “good” (Genesis 1:31 NLT – Then God looked over all he had made, and saw that it was very good!) But then Adam and Eve sinned by listening to Satan’s lies and we inherited their curse. We kept becoming more and more evil. We were separated from God. We originally were created to be with God, but our sin became a barrier between us and God. So we offered sacrifices to God. But we kept on sinning, and the sacrifices just weren’t enough. Animal blood wasn’t enough to pay the price for the evil we didn’t just commit, but the darkness in our hearts as well. God didn’t want us to be separated from him, he longed for us, and while many turned away from him, there were those who longed for him too. A price had to be paid. Here’s the thing about God and his Son, as confusing as this sounds, they are ONE. Even Jesus said they are one. John 10:30 (NLT) – “The Father and I are one.” It wasn’t just God saying, “Okay kid, you’ve gotta go die to save the world!” God himself was going to sacrifice himself, because the Father is God, and the Son is God (not Gods, but singular – the Trinity is three persons in one: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, I know it’s confusing but that’s for another discussion)! So the Son comes to earth as a baby, not like Hercules baby falling from the sky, but from a miracle! God made a virgin woman get pregnant! This virgin woman (Mary) gave birth to God (the Son) and his name was Jesus (or Yeshua which means “Salvation”). Jesus was fully God, but also fully human. He had to eat like a person. He had to sleep like a person. I’m sure if he didn’t bathe he probably smelled bad like a person. It’s funny actually, sometimes I ask my husband the most random questions like, “Do you think Jesus ever went swimming? Do you think Jesus was hairy? Do you think Jesus had long hair or short hair? Do you think Jesus ever had to go to the bathroom?” Answers for those my husband gave me were probably, yes, most likely short because long hair was dishonorable at that time for men, and yes. Anyway, before I get way off track, he was God and human. He taught people about the Kingdom of Heaven, he healed people from illnesses and injuries, he raised people from the dead, he fed people, of all people to consider good by anyone standards, look at his life and I think most of us would say, “He was a pretty good guy.” But he was tough. He was honest, and I mean brutally honest. He said things the way they were. He was gentle, but when the hard truth needed to be said, he said it. He didn’t hold back. He called people hypocrites. There were instances where he grabbed ropes and held them like whips and started pushing over tables because people were cheating other people in the Temple by selling flawed animals for sacrifices for high amounts of money! People tend to imagine Jesus as this guy who was always meek and mild, happy-go-lucky, always laughing kind of guy. No doubt, he had a lot of joy, but he was a man of great sorrow too, and he had anger. But he never sinned. He never did anything wrong. You may say “Well, he was God!” Yea, but he was as human as you and I too. He was as much flesh as you and I are. He was tempted in every way we are, yet he never gave in. As he waited in the garden and prayed, he knew one of his best friends was betraying him to the people who were going to put him to death. When Jesus prayed, he asked his Father to let this cup pass from him if possible. Now, this is just my speculation, I’ll admit, I could be wrong here, but here’s what I personally think here. I think Jesus might’ve been a little afraid of what was going to happen – hear me out before totally counting me wrong! He knew he was going to have to endure excruciating physical pain, and no one likes that, but I don’t even think that was what he was scared of. He was going to die a painful and humiliating way of death, but even that I don’t think was what he was afraid of. He was going to take on the sins of the world and be separated from his Father – that, I think was what he was afraid of. He was in so much distress he sweat blood! This is a rare occurrence, but it does actually happen (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2810702/) But Jesus said “If it’s possible” which means “If it’s possible for a different way to save the people, can we do that way instead?” But then Jesus said, “But let your will be done, not mine.” This is really powerful and I think we need to learn this for our own lives as well. If we let God’s will control our lives more instead of our own will, I think we’d be in less trouble than we get ourselves in. So Jesus is arrested, tried, tortured, and put to death. I saw this picture once on DeviantArt someone did with Jesus carrying his cross and angels are ready to come in and save him, but he holds his hand out to stop them. Can’t you imagine it? The angels must’ve been ready to go down from Heaven and save Jesus if he even so much as gave them a look. They must’ve been anxiously waiting, ready to slaughter all the people who were doing awful things to him. But he never gave the angels any look. He continued going. He gets nailed to the cross and he’s hanging there, naked, and people walk by hurling insults at him. I mean he’s soaked in blood. He’s all sliced up, he’s probably got some bones sticking out. Roman flogging was extremely severe, and it says that he even got that severely, which means it had to have been REALLY bad. Splinters in the cross was probably the least of the worries. It would’ve been really hard to breathe because in order to be able to get breathes of air, they’d have to push up on their feet, which were nailed to the cross. And as soon as they’d fall back down after pushing themselves up, they’d feel it in their feet and probably their hands too, which were also nailed. If you’re crucified on a roman cross, my guess is you’re hoping you die quickly because it’s so horrible. So while people are hurling insults at him, I can imagine Satan in that last moment curling up to his ear whispering, “This isn’t worth it! Look! They don’t feel a bit sorry for what they’ve done to you! These pathetic humans aren’t worth you dieing! If you come down the cross now, surely they’ll believe you’re their Messiah! After all, who’s going to worship a dead God?” People are pretty much repeating the same thing, “If you are the Savior, come down from cross and we’ll believe you!” Even if he did come down, they wouldn’t believe him. They accused him before of being a demon when he was casting out demons! Who’s to say they wouldn’t just accuse him of that again? As soon as he’d get down, they’d just nail him right back on there. Even if they did believe, a price still needed to be paid that only God could pay. As the people cursed Jesus, he never said a bad thing back to them, instead, he said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” Even at that moment, he still loved them! He still wanted to redeem them! Some time passes, and he feels really alone. He’s separated from his Father. He’s never been away from his Father before, and this is devastating to him. He cries out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Don’t you ever feel like God has abandoned you? Well, Jesus felt that way too. Then he said, “It’s finished” and bowed his head and died. What was finished? The power evil had was finished! The barrier between us and God was finished! Three days later Jesus came out of the grave alive! He defeated death itself! Now when we truly believe Jesus is Lord and that he sacrificed his life for you and me to set us free from our bondage, our chains of our addictions, our pain, our anxieties, our problems, our mistakes, our sins, and he came back to life and rescued us, then that barrier between God and us is gone! We can finally be with God!

Next note will be: 2. Denying young people accurate information about their bodies is evil.

Deeper Waters Podcast 7/19/2014: Is God A Moral Monster?

July 17, 2014

What’s coming up on this Saturday’s episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

One of the most common charges today leveled against Christianity is the God of the Old Testament. One of the most memorable lines against Him comes from Richard Dawkins in “The God Delusion.”

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

Is this really the case?

In order to investigate this question, I’ve decided to invite on the show a Biblical scholar who has written a response directly to such a claim and shown how the battles in the OT do not show that God is in fact a moral monster. He should know since he wrote the book “Is God A Moral Monster?” I of course mean none other than Dr. Paul Copan.

PaulCopan

According to his bio:

“Paul Copan (Ph.D. Philosophy, Marquette University) is Professor and Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University, and he has served as president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society. He is author and editor of thirty books including The Rationality of Theism, The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Religion: Classic and Contemporary Issues, The Gospel in the Marketplace of Ideas, An Introduction to Biblical Ethics, Is God a Moral Monster? and “True for You, But Not for Me.” He has contributed essays to over thirty books, both scholarly and popular. Paul and his wife, Jacqueline, have six children, and they reside in West Palm Beach, Florida. His website is http://www.paulcopan.com.”

Paul Copan has been writing several excellent books aimed at a general audience to deal with popular objections, a much-needed niche if there ever was one. This started largely with his book “True For You But Not For Me” and has progressed all the way to his book “When God Goes To Starbucks.” I have never been disappointed by a Copan book and “Is God A Moral Monster?” is no exception.

So we’ll be spending our time talking about the charges that God does in fact inflict genocide in the Old Testament as well as getting into other issues that seem to paint the God of the Old Testament in a highly negative light. We could also be discussing the critiques that Thom Stark has brought towards Copan based on the book and see what he thinks about them.

Also, this will include a lesson on how we are to read the Old Testament. Is it really a straight forward narrative every time or does it use terminology that would have been recognizable to an ancient reader but is not so recognizable to us today?

And of course, is it really justified for God to take life in this way? Surely there could have been something else to be done besides using the Israelites as a force of war. Right?

I really look forward to having Dr. Copan come on to discuss this important topic and I hope you’ll be listening. Remember, we’ll have the link up on ITunes as soon as possible for you.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 7/12/2014: Talking About Plutarch

July 10, 2014

What’s coming up on this Saturday’s episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on the Deeper Waters Podcast.

First off, for all interested, the podcast is now up on ITunes! All interested can find a link to the podcast here. Please be sure to leave a good review of the podcast so that others will be encouraged to listen to it as well. So now, let’s get to what we’re going to be talking about.

We’re going to be bringing back one of our favorite guests to the show, at least considering that so many people wanted to call in and ask him a question last time he was on! In fact, this is a guest that I can call family and mean it. My guest is going to be my father-in-law, Mike Licona, and we’re going to be talking about the works of Plutarch and how they relate to the study of the Gospels.

Some of you might not know who Mike is, so let’s get some introductions in.

Mike

According to his bio:

Mike Licona (Ph.D.) is associate professor of theology at Houston Baptist University and president of Risen Jesus, Inc. He has a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from the University of Pretoria, which he earned with distinction and the highest mark. Mike was interviewed by Lee Strobel in his book The Case for the Real Jesus and appeared in Strobel’s video The Case for Christ. He is the author of numerous books including The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (IVP Academic, 2010), Paul Meets Muhammad (Baker, 2006), co-author with Gary Habermas of the award-winning book The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Kregel, 2004) and co-editor with William Dembski of Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science (Baker, 2010). Mike is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Institute for Biblical Research, and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. He has spoken on more than 60 university campuses and has appeared on dozens of radio and television programs. For more on Mike’s ministry, visit http://www.risenjesus.com.

Mike’s latest studies have been of Plutarch to see how Greco-Roman Biographies were written at the time and how that can help us understand the Gospels better, especially when dealing with the idea of “contradictions.” This of course will spark some inevitable questions.

Are the Gospels really in the genre of Greco-Roman biography? Why should we study something like Greco-Roman Biographies? Why think the Gospel writers would use a form of literature that could be considered pagan to get the message of Jesus across? Can studying something from the culture really help us to understand what is going on in the Gospels themselves?

Then of course, we’ll be looking at some favorite “contradictions” and seeing how it is that studying the Gospels as Greco-Roman Biographies can in fact help us to figure out what the solutions to these contradictions are. Mike is a thorough scholar and one who you will appreciate getting to listen to so I hope that you’ll be looking for this podcast to show up in your ITunes feed as we talk about the study of Plutarch.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 7/5/2014: Bill Fortenberry

July 3, 2014

What’s coming up on the next recording of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

The Fourth of July is a holiday I always enjoy. It’s a privilege to live in America. Even when our country is not going the way I hope it would morally, economically, politically, etc. I am still convinced I live in the best country on Earth. But how is it that my country started? So many times we are told about how the founding fathers were not Christians at all. Is that really the case? I decided to have as a guest then someone who knows the founding fathers quite well. My guest this week will be Bill Fortenberry. Who is that?

Billfortenberry

According to his bio:

Bill is, quite literally, a product of Christian education. He attended a Christian school from kindergarten through high school and received a degree in education from Ambassador Baptist College. As a result, he never had to unlearn the secular humanism that permeates the American public school system. This has given him a unique perspective on many of the topics being debated today and a passion to share that perspective with others.

Bill first began debating atheists and skeptics as a freshman in college, and he developed IncreasingLearning.com as a way to share his discussions with other Christians. This soon developed into an online ministry specializing in the public defense of the Bible and its application to American society.

Over the past several years, Bill’s ministry has focused on political apologetics. He has written extensively on the biblical principles of good government, and his research for personhoodinitiative.com has made him a nationally recognized leader in the fight against abortion.

Bill has published two books on America’s founding fathers, Hidden Facts of the Founding Era in 2012 and The Founders and the Myth of Theistic Rationalism in 2013. Both of these books showcase Bill’s signature style of making his arguments from original source material that is available to anyone with an internet connection. Nearly every footnote includes a link to the original publication on Google Books.

Bill is currently working on a third book tracing the Christian history of the ideals which form the basis of American government. He is also working full time in a small business startup, volunteering as the development director of Personhood Alabama, and running for office in his state’s legislature.

We’ll be discussing the faith of the fathers and in what way they saw Christianity as important to the building of America. We’ll also be discussing the Treaty of Tripoli. Doesn’t that make it clear that America is not a Christian nation at all? For the founders who were definitely not Christians, did that mean that they thought Christianity was just unneeded in American society?

I hope you’ll be listening to this and thinking about it as it would have happened after we celebrated the 4th of July. Those of us who love our country know that it is great for a reason and what can help us remember that greatness is by taking a look at where it is that we have come from.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

A Response to James White On Defining Inerrancy

June 20, 2014

Has James White’s critique of my position in Defining Inerrancy been accurate? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

By now, it should be no secret to readers of Deeper Waters that I am the co-author of the Ebook “Defining Inerrancy“. I thank everyone who has bought a copy and I hope many of you will write positive reviews on Amazon and your own blogs and web sites.

Some of you have also contacted me to tell me that James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries has apparently read our book and spoken about it on his latest podcast. I was not surprised to hear that the review was not a positive one, but at the same time, it is good to have press anyway.

So what is being said?

To start off, one line of White’s which I agree with is that of “If I’ve learned one thing from Norm Geisler it’s that I don’t want to be like him.” The more and more I have seen of this, the more and more I have been embarrassed by my former admiration.

In White’s review, he wanted to save most of what he had to say for the final chapter which happened to be written by me. When told about it I was told “Well he certainly got your viewpoint wrong.” Those who I shared it with who I consider mentors all were saying the same thing.

It’s important to point out that White does say he agrees with Geisler on the interpretation of Matthew 27. It should be pointed out that so does my co-author. Holding thinks that this is a real event that happened. What’s my position? The interpretation of Matthew 27 is actually the focus of the Master’s thesis I am working on so at this point, I am claiming agnosticism. It would be foolish to give a public viewpoint before really digging in and doing the research directly.

The final chapter that White wishes to comment on is the chapter I wrote called “Lordship over Scholarship?” In giving a sense of it he says that I am quoting Geisler and says “Geisler says further ‘As evangelicals we must beware of desiring a table at the seat of contemporary scholarship which is riddled with presuppositions that are antagonistic to Evangelical Christianity.’ “(White agrees 1000%)

White then wants you to hear my response.

“On the contrary, I think we should eagerly be desiring that. How are we supposed to make an impact in the world of scholarship if we don’t want a seat at the table. Imagine what it could mean for Christianity if Christians were seen as trusted authorities in each field. Instead of fearing antagonistic presuppositions, what happened to correcting them with real scholarship?”

White says that paragraph really concerns him and is muddled in an amazing way.

Not a shock that White hones in on presuppositionalism.

Now I am not a presuppositionalist at all, but it does not mean that recognizing presuppositions play no role whatsoever in my thinking. White thinks that to sit at the table of scholarship is to compromise and give in to the presuppositions and to say there is a moral neutral ground. He also says that it is saying we should lay aside our commitment to the absolute Lordship of Christ and to the radical elements of that.

I think those of you who know me well are recognizing that I have no desire to do something like that. White tells us that Geisler recognizes that sitting at the table of scholarship is doing that and then adds “But I don’t know where Nick Peters is coming from.”

At this point, it would have been better off if he didn’t know where I was coming from to try to contact me. I’m not hard to find. My blog is there. My own podcast is there. All of them are ways to contact me. If he has no idea where I’m coming from, all that needed to be done was to ask.

Instead, White will proceed to talk about a position assuming that that is mine even though by his own words, he does not know where I am coming from.

White says he hopes I am saying that we should be seeking to challenge those presuppositions, but that that wasn’t what Geisler was talking about.

It’s a shame White didn’t go with his first inclination of what he hoped I was saying. What he hopes I am saying is in fact what I am really saying in that chapter.

White repeats my saying how are we supposed to have an impact if we don’t sit at the table? White suggests that we do so by showing that the presuppositions that they accept are in fact incoherent and by critiquing their worldview. Now I would not do it in a presuppositional way, but I would in fact challenge them.

White then thinks that my statement about having a Christian be a trusted authority in each field is problematic. Can that be given outside of the worldview?

Sometimes, yeah.

Who is it that heads the Human Genome Project? A Christian like Francis Collins. What I am saying is simply what C.S. Lewis said. Imagine what it would mean if the most learned authority in any particular field was a Christian and that in order to learn about a position, unbelievers HAD to go to Christians because Christians put the best material out there.

“I want to learn law!” “Well read this book by this Christian lawyer.”

“I want to learn botany! “Read this book by a Christian botanist.”

“I want to learn economics!” “Read this book by a Christian economist.”

The Christians should be seeking to dominate academia and be the most learned people that they can be.

White goes on to say that there are many people who are embarrassed by the open confession of the Lordship of Christ over every area of knowledge.

Again, this is the kind of accusation that it would have been good to make absolutely sure of before making a statement about it. This especially since he has no idea where it is that I’m coming from and yet seems to know exactly where I’m coming from.

White has said how Dan Wallace endorses the book. I am sure Wallace would have told him as well that White’s position on me is false. In fact, on the same blog where Wallace reviews our book, he also has a link up to where he was interviewed by me on my show.

What is my position? My position is this. That if Christianity is true, and I am convinced it is, good research will show that it is true. If we are doing our history right, it will line up with Christianity. If we are doing our ethics right, it will line up. If we are doing our philosophy right, it will line up. If we are doing our science right, it will line up. If we are doing our hermeneutics right, it will line up.

Chesterton once said something along the lines that if Christianity is not true, it is of no importance. If Christianity is true, it is of great importance to everything out there. I agree entirely. Since Christianity is true, it means Christ has something to say about every area of our lives.

Thus, I am not just a husband. I am a Christian husband. I am not just someone who studies history. I am a Christian who studies history. Every facet of my life is to be submitted to Christ entirely. When I study, Christ has something to say. When I take Allie out on a date, Christ has something to say. When I watch TV or a movie, Christ has something to say. When I play, Christ has something to say. When I drive, Christ has something to say. (Probably has a lot to say to me then especially)

What will I do when I approach a non-Christian? I have told people they are allowed to have their own interpretation. Everyone does, and sometimes we’re wrong. What they are not allowed to do is have their own data. You do not get to dismiss data because it goes against your worldview. You do not get to give it a place it should not have because it goes with your worldview.

So what do I do when I come to the table? I talk about the data. Joe Friday is my kind of approach. Just the facts. Then we discuss the facts. This is also why I think it’s important to have a philosophical background so you can properly interpret the data. Suppose someone brings up miracles not happening for instance. I point to research done by Craig Keener in this field and say it does not work to just dismiss them because they disagree with your worldview. I’m not allowed to do that. Why should you be?

And while I am not a presuppositionalist, I spend plenty of time questioning the worldviews of people who I encounter as to why I should take the stance. As an Aspie, I really can’t stand it when I spot something that is an inconsistency and when people treat Scripture by a different standard than they do other historical works, I don’t bend on that.

Now if someone does not come to Christ if the evidence is there, then naturally there is some other reason they are not, be it emotional or volitional, and it would be foolish of anyone to claim emotions play no role in their thinking. We are all whole human beings and unless we have some condition such as being a sociopath, we are all affected by our emotions, though some are more affected than others.

What happens if we retreat from the world of academia? That’s what we did when evolution showed up. We made a knee-jerk reaction and we’re still paying for it today. When liberal scholarship showed up at our Seminaries, instead of facing it head on, we retreated and set up our own new Seminaries. Colleges, Universities, and Seminaries once firmly held by the Christian worldview are now bastions of secular thought.

I wonder how many people have been lost because of that?

Christ told us the gates of Hell would not stand against the church. Gates are defensive measures. We should in fact be the ones on the offensive and putting those who are not Christians on the defensive. To do that, we will have to learn the best ways of doing history, science, literature, philosophy, and any other field. We will have to climb to the top more and more and present the data that if anyone denies it, it is clear that they are someone who refuses to see. (Think of the Christ-mythers who put up the most ridiculous standards of history.)

I’ve told my wife several times that we could reclaim America for Christ easily. What would it take? Christians waking up. Christians getting up and actually doing something instead of secluding themselves from the culture entirely and running into their little safety bubbles. I’ve written about this in this post. When Christians retreat, it’s no shock that the world gains a stronger voice.

And of course, we absolutely don’t surrender in our convictions. Of course, not every hill is worth dying on. If the hill you are willing to die on is pre-tribulationism or the age of the Earth or the usage of tongues in the church today, then you are fighting the wrong battle. Your position in fact is to be fought on the hill that says the triune God revealed Himself in Jesus of Nazareth and that when Jesus died, the Father raised Him from the dead. Jesus is now king of this world.

We are to follow the Pauline principle of defeating arguments and bringing them under the Lordship of Christ. It’s not a question of Lordship or scholarship. It’s both. Our Lord is not honored by poor scholarship. He is not honored by poor science. He is not honored by poor philosophy. We are to give him the best of our labors and that includes the best of our academic and intellectual endeavors.

I hope this sets the record straight. For those who wish to think I am compromising on Christian principles after listening to White, who has absolutely no idea where I’m coming from, I hope this sets the record straight. I also hope you’ll realize that while I seek to give the best, I will fail repeatedly at this as will all of us and this is where I depend on those inside and even outside the faith to correct me. As Benjamin Franklin said “Our critics are our friends. They show us our faults.” If an unbeliever can point to a legitimate error in a position I hold, I need to respond to that somehow just as much as if a Christian does it.

After all, if one sits at the table, one had better be prepared to make the case that needs to be made.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 6/21/2014: Braxton Hunter

June 19, 2014

What’s going to be recorded this Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters!

Awhile back, I reviewed a book called Core Facts by Braxton Hunter. The time has come to have him come on the show for his interview. Dr. Hunter’s bio reads as follows:

Dr. Braxton Hunter is the former president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists (COSBE). As professor of apologetics at Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary in Newburgh, Indiana, Dr. Hunter is passionate about the defense of the Christian faith in a skeptical world.

Though a young man of 33 years of age, Dr. Hunter has already preached in some of the nation’s largest churches while sharing the conference stage with such notables as Dr. Stephen Olford, Dr. Peter Lord, Dr. Johnny Hunt, Dr. Junior Hill, Dr. Jerry Vines, Dr. Fred Luter, and Dr. Bobby Welch.

He has served two churches as senior pastor and both congregations saw dramatic growth. The latter church, Cornerstone of Mcminnville, Tennessee, grew from an average worship attendance of 275 to 550 in two years. The church tripled its income under Dr. Hunter’s direction and averaged 80 baptisms per year. He was named Religious Leader of the Year for 2004 in Warren County, Tennessee.

In addition to his pastoral achievements, Dr. Hunter has conducted area television crusades, successful revivals at very large and small churches alike. Having a heart for teens, he speaks in high school assembly programs and holds the attention of the entire student body as few speakers are capable of doing. He challenges the youth to a noble life devoid of drugs, alcohol and sexual immorality. He has been the speaker for youth events with dove award winning performers such as Sanctus Real and Brit Nicole.

He holds a B.A. in expository preaching, an M.A. in Theology and a Ph.D. in Christian Apologetics.

Dr. Hunter is the author of Blinding Lights: The Glaring Evidences of the Christian Faith, Death is a Doorway, Core Facts: The Strategy for Understandable and Teachable Christian Defense, and his forthcoming scholarly work, Evangelistic Apologetics.

He currently resides with his wife, Sarah and their two daughters, Jolie and Jaclyn, in Evansville, Indiana.

braxton

Core Facts is a good entry book for those who are wanting to start their apologetics studies and Dr. Huunter also has the bonus of including a dialogue that he’s done live in a debate where he used these Core Facts in order to demonstrate Christianity. Even as I was thinking over this last night in getting set to write the blog post, I found that I could still easily name the Core Facts despite my not having read the book in a few months. That’s something important.

I urge anyone to be listening if at all possible as there could be a way we are going to go live soon. If not, then feel free to send a tweet to me on Twitter (Apologianick) or message me on Facebook or send an email to me (Apologianick@gmail.com) with any question you might have for Dr. Hunter concerning his book.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 5/31/2014: Joseph Hinman

May 30, 2014

What’s coming up this Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Okay. I generally have a bit of a skeptic in me, and today, that can be a good thing. With so many phonies on stations like TBN, one wants to make sure that they’re getting accurate information. Furthermore, there are groups like the Mormons out there that keep going on about how they had a burning in the bosom. Experience can often be a dangerous tool when used improperly.

So when I got Joseph Hinman’s book to review in the mail called “The Trace Of God”, I was skeptical. Why? Because Hinman’s argument is that religious experience presents a valid justification one can have for believing in God. It’s important to point out Hinman does not see this as a proof of God’s existence. He just sees it as giving the religious believer an epistemic justification for what they believe.

I will confess that I am not sold entirely yet, which could still be more of my skepticism based on the paragraph above. This despite the fact that I would say even my own wife has had a religious experience where earlier this year she was suddenly cured of the depression that she has lived with practically all her life and has a renewed interest in Christian matters.

So who is Joseph Hinman? His bio goes as follows:

Mr. Hinman did his undergraduate work in sociology and debate at the University of Texas at Arlington. He earned a Masters degree in Theological studies where he focused upon history of doctrine at Perkins school of Theology, Southern Methodist University. He was a Ph.D. candidate in the History of Ideas (Intellectual History) and studied at the doctoral level for several years at University of Texas at Dallas. He began work focusing upon Derrida and the postmodern understanding of the self. He then switched and spent five years studying history and philosophy of science, focusing upon Newton, Boyle and the Latitudinarians. In the process of completing his dissertation, he was forced to terminate his studies ABD (all but the dissertation) due to family tragedies. Mr. Hinman published the peer-reviewed academic journal, Negations: an interdisciplinary journal of social criticism. He now works as an independent scholar.

So we’ll be talking about all the facets of religious experience. What exactly is a religious experience? What about different worldviews? Don’t Hindus and others have religious experiences? Can you be an evangelical and affirm religious experiences? Are religious experiences meant to give you content about theology? Aren’t these kinds of things too subjective to use as a reason to believe in God’s existence?

There’s going to be a lot to discuss on a topic that many of us are not familiar with and I am pleased to say that Hinman has definitely done his homework. His book is filled with meticulous research from qualified researchers. Please be watching for it as I hope to have it up as soon as I can. Remember, we can return to live broadcasts whenever we get sufficient financial backing for it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Tim McGrew vs. Peter Boghossian

May 26, 2014

What did I think of the debate on Unbelievable? Let’s talk about it on the Deeper Waters Podcast.

Recently on the Unbelievable podcast hosted by Justin Brierley, there was a debate between Tim McGrew and Peter Boghossian. The subject was Boghossian’s book “A Manual For Creating Atheists” which I have reviewed here. It was my high hopes that Tim McGrew, a real professor of epistemology, would be the one to expose Boghossian before a listening world.

Request granted.

Boghossian could not reply to a single source that Tim McGrew had on the meaning of faith. Boghossian defined it as “belief without evidence” or “pretending to know things you don’t know.” McGrew defined it as “trust in evidence.” All Boghossian was able to use was his “personal experience” of talking to Christians. McGrew said his experience was different. Now of course, when two people get together who have different personal experiences, then they need to look for something outside of their personal experience. McGrew went to the Oxford English Dictionary and how it shows that faith is best to be understood as trust. Boghossian could not counter this nor did he ever even attempt to. For Boghossian, he was just repeating the same refrain again and again about what he encountered.

Now I don’t doubt that there are many Christians who have a false view of faith, but is that really the way to say you’re going to go around creating atheists? Boghossian says atheism is a result of critical thinking. Of course, if atheism is true, critical thinkers should be atheists, but that is the very premise in question. Is atheism true and you don’t say “I’m an atheist, therefore I’m a critical thinker” or “X is a Christian, therefore X isn’t practicing critical thinking” nor could the reverse apply.

McGrew points out at the end that he could not define atheists as people who are ignorant about reality because they deny God exists. Now of course, if God does exist, then atheists are ignorant about reality, but that would be a terrible way to define an atheist before the debate even gets started and every atheist should rightly call McGrew on that if he does that, as McGrew himself agreed.

Boghossian also asked McGrew if he had read the Koran which no doubt gave the shocking reply of “Yes.” He went on to name other holy books that he has read. I am quite confident in my position that McGrew has read far more scholarly works that he disagrees with than Boghossian has.

Boghossian also wanted to know if the Muslims believe without evidence that Muhammad flew on a horse. McGrew rightly answered that they do not. They point to what they think is the beauty and elegance of the Koran and conclude it is a divine work and then trust it. Is that conclusion right? Of course, McGrew and Boghossian and myself don’t think so, but that does not mean that Muslims lack a reason or what they think is evidence for their claims.

This is an important distinction McGrew kept coming back to. What matters most is what one counts as evidence and what is considered reliable. One could even agree with the conclusion and disagree with the evidence presented. Suppose I meet someone who is a Christian and says they are because the Holy Spirit just told them that Jesus rose from the dead. I would really want them to have something more than that, but I cannot deny that they have reached the right conclusion.

Boghossian wanted to know about the difference between faith and hope. McGrew pointed out that faith is when you’re willing to act in a way where you’re venturing something. You can’t absolutely 100% prove something but you’re going by evidence. This is a mistake I think Boghossian doesn’t realize. He had said you needed to examine every religious worldview before you could choose one. No. You just need sufficient evidence to choose one.

For instance, if that is the case, Boghossian no doubt considers himself a macroevolutionist, yet he has said he is not an evolutionary biologist. Before siding on his worldview, is he going to go out and examine every claim of say, young-earth creationism, before he’s willing to sign on the line of evolutionary biologist? He has said he is now studying the Koran. Does that mean he chose a position on God, namely that He does not exist, before studying all the evidence?

If the only way we can reach any decision is by studying all the evidence, no one will ever conclude anything. There are always books that are going to be unread. There will be arguments unheard and in fact, arguments unanswered. What one has to say is “On the whole, which explanation best explains all the evidence.”

To get back to faith and hope again, McGrew used the illustration of sky diving with the statistic that over 99% of people who jump out of a plane while skydiving land safely. The person who jumps is still venturing something. He needs more than just “I hope my instructor packed the parachute properly.” He needs to have good reason to think it was done that way. Then he acts and that act is referred to as faith. Boghossian is right one point. Faith is not an epistemology. He’s wrong on the point that he always treats it that way and unfortunately, his whole book is built on this false premise.

Also noteworthy is Boghossian’s view on how people of faith should be treated. Faith for Boghossian should be classified as a mental disorder and a virus of the mind and the person who is trying to reason someone out of their worldview is doing an intervention. It is hard to see how Boghossian is not just outright dehumanizing his opponents. For all the talk Boghossian has about practicing doxastic openness, it looks like he needs to learn some.

This means Boghossian is a bully and in fact, one of the worst kinds of bullies. He thinks those of us who are Christians are wrong. Okay. I get that. That is not being a bully. I have several friends who think the same way. What’s next is that he thinks that we automatically have a mental illness. This is when we start getting into bigotry. If that was where it stayed, that would be bad enough, but it is not. In his own book he says to treat faith as a public health crisis. He says that there are things we cannot do obviously due to freedoms we have here, like the freedom of speech, but it is scary to think about what Boghossian would do if he had power in a country like a Muslim country or in a place like Russia where those little restrictions didn’t get in the way.

Even worse is that Boghossian is not basing this on evidence. If his interventionist strategy works so well, why did it not work here? The simple reason is Boghossian is just highly uninformed and has unfortunately convinced himself that he is right. He is engaging in what I call atheistic presuppositionalism.

This is the idea that right at the start, he is right and a critical thinker by virtue of being an atheist. If anyone else disagrees, they are obviously not engaging in critical thinking and there must be some reason why they don’t see the light. Perhaps they are “Suppressing the truth in faithfulness” or “Their eyes are blinded by a bias they do not see and they need the scales removed from their eyes.” Either way, Boghossian knows he cannot be wrong because of his personal experience with walking his life of atheism for years and because of the inner testimony of his “voice of reason.”

In fact, it’s the same for some of Boghossian’s biggest fans who just can’t bring themselves to admit that Boghossian got, as one skeptic put it, his chickens slaughtered by McGrew. A sad example of such a fan who cannot seem to accept this reality can be seen here and you can see my comments to him on the blog.

Boghossian has strangely enough said he’s interested in a round two. We would like to see it, but it is certainly clear that Boghossian is going to have to improve his game dramatically before he steps into the ring again with McGrew. Perhaps it would help if Boghossian practiced more doxastic openness and avoided his idea of “Avoid facts.” For now, all he has his personal testimony while McGrew and those like him have data from scholarly sources. Therefore, by Boghossian’s own standards, Boghossian should be sitting at the kid’s table until he can bring forward some facts.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

New Resource: Defining Inerrancy

May 23, 2014

What’s the latest resource available from Deeper Waters? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters!

As readers of this blog know, I’ve been on the forefront of Norman Geisler’s attacks on my father-in-law, Mike Licona. I’ve been constantly at work showing that the criticisms don’t work and that in fact, Geisler’s approach as well as that of his followers will severely cripple the ability of the church to engage the culture. If anything will produce more Bart Ehrmans, it is the approach of Geisler.

Today, my ministry partner, J.P. Holding, and I have unveiled our latest work in this area bringing this out beyond just the blogs and YouTube. Now you can hold much of the information we’ve written as well as some new content in your hands, well, provided those hands have a Kindle or a tool that can read a Kindle.

May I introduce to you Defining Inerrancy!

This book is equipped to help you realize that not only do we hold to inerrancy, but that it can be defended without it having to be the style that Geisler and his company insist on. There is inerrancy that can stand proud recognizing the truths discovered through years of work and scholarship in the Gospels rather than one that will shun the academy and lead to a rigid fundamentalism.

Not only do we have excellent content in here, but we have a great foreword by Craig Blomberg himself. Blomberg in his foreword lays out the importance of the Ebook that we’ve written and why it is that he thinks that this battle matters as well.

The question in all of this has never really been about inerrancy, though some want to make it about inerrancy. It’s been more about how it is that the Bible is to be handled in this time. Geisler’s approach leads to a rigid literalism and disregards the work of the academy on grounds that no serious NT scholar will take seriously. You can be sure that the students who are taking Geisler’s work and embracing it might be able to intellectually somehow convince themselves that Ehrman is wrong, but they will not be able to convince others.

For a Christian to be able to defend the NT today, he’s going to need to be able to interact with modern NT scholarship and show from the viewpoint of scholarship when a case is wrong. Is there such a thing as bad NT scholarship out there? Just as much as there is bad theology and bad philosophy! What’s the antidote to this? It’s not to eliminate all NT scholarship any more than it is to eliminate all philosophy and theology. The antidote is good and sound scholarship. If your case is true, there will be evidence for that case.

I urge everyone to please go out today and pick up a copy of Defining Inerrancy and tell your friends about it as well. I hope that this volume will equip you to be able to go out and defend the truth of Scripture to a new generation and for that new generation.

In Christ,
Nick Peters