Great thoughts on the problem of evil.
Dr. K. Scott Oliphint is the professor of Apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary.
The Christian publisher Zondervan has loaded up a 23 minute clip featuring Dr. Oliphint speaking on the topic of the topic of evil titled, “Know Why You Believe: Why Believe in God Despite Evil in the World?”
Here’s the video:
Schaffer states, “Truth carries with it confrontation. Truth demands confrontation; loving confrontation, but confrontation nevertheless. If our reflex action is always accommodation regardless of the centrality of the truth involved, there is something wrong”
“Do not miss this: modern relativism is politicized absolutism. It has no check. It has no authoritative source or text to guide it. It has no ethical code to restrain it.”
Gallup asked fifteen hundred Americans why they attend religious services. The responses might surprise you.
“The best thing of all is God is with us.”- John Wesley, Theologian. 1703-1791
As the days drew closer to Christmas, the anticipation increased. The brightly decorated tree had presents surrounding the base and Christmas music played on the television in the living room. The smell of freshly baked holiday treats lingered in the air. The atmosphere was filled with joy and full of hope. However, it was full of hope that “it” would not happen again. Hope that the drinking would not start. Hope that the shouts of rage and anger would not be directed at the people he declared he “loved”. Hope that the drinking he repeatedly promised to stop would not destroy yet another holiday.
No such luck. The rage began and the kids scattered to different areas of the house. The Christmas joy and cheerful thoughts vanished as quickly as they had come. All hope collapsed. The sound of Christmas bells echoing from the television sounded strangely like the starting bell at a boxing ring. However, now the boxing ring was contained inside a three bedroom, two-bath home in a no-name suburb.
“Please do not let the neighbors hear the yelling and screaming, again.”
As the rounds progressed, the tempo increased and with each passing moment, the siblings’ hearts ached more and more.
“Why is this happening now?”
“What was wrong this time?”
“Is this how a father is supposed to act?”
“How could he do this so close to Christmas?”
“Why won’t God save us?” The battle thundered on.
The heightened conflict was different this time. From its base, the Christmas tree was snatched from the corner of the room. Presents, gift-wrapped with such great care, were kicked out of the way. Ornaments flew around the room as he carried the tree toward the front door.
“No!” The kids screamed with tears streaming down their faces.
“We are not having Christmas!” he proclaimed. Everyone was crying as the tree landed in a crumbled pile in the yard. Once again, the neighbors were very aware of the events unfolding in the home.
Seated on the edge of her bed, her head in her hands, Mother wept. Their tormentor had stormed off and taken his drunken rage with him. The house was quiet now and the kids gathered around their Mom to check for physical damage, and, in an all too common turn of events, preceded to comfort her.
Through her tears she muttered, “All I wanted was for you kids to have a good Christmas. I’m sorry, I’m so very sorry…” *
I pray that the true story above is not reflective of you, your family, or anyone you know. Sometimes it hurts to remember, and as the Christmas season is celebrated, it causes memories to surface. Some memories are wonderful reflections of the past, and other memories; frankly, we would wish to forget forever.
If this story resembles your personal story, words cannot express my distress. No one should harbor those types of memories. However, you now have the opportunity to create joyous memories and influence your children’s holiday recollections. What will your children remember from your holiday celebrations? Will it be joy, happiness and love? This parents’ guide is your opportunity to speak directly into your children and share with them the true meaning of Christmas. You can create positive memories that will last a lifetime. How special it is to communicate to them your love and the love of our Father-God who will never forsake us, and sent His only Son as proof of that love!
The Acts 19 Apologetics Ministry provides this guide as a means to encourage you to seize this chance to speak truth and love into your children.
Will you join me in completing this worthwhile task?
John 3:16: “16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him…”
Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”
Talking to your family about Christmas and the birth of Jesus in three easy steps:
Step 1: Set the Theme:
The celebration of Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our Savior, sent by God the Father who loves us.
Step 2: Read aloud scriptures:
*Consider having others in your family read the passages.*
- Jesus birth- Luke 2:4-7 and Matthew 1:18-25.
- The Shepherds and Angels celebrating his birth- Luke 2:8-20 and Matthew 2:1-12
- Jesus presented at the Temple- Luke 2:1-40
- Prophecies fulfilled from Old Testament in Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6 and foretold in the New Testament -Luke 1:26-45
- Gifts from your Father in heaven—Matthew 7:7-11
- The Lord will never leave you nor forsake you.—Deuteronomy 31:6
Step 3: Address the points of discussion.
First point: God the Son came as a man to save us. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human.
The Father sent God the Son (Jesus) into this world in the lowliest of ways. Born to a poor farm girl, in a small town in the middle of nowhere, and in barn with animals the “the Son of the Most High” was delivered to redeem us from sin.
Jesus’s birth was foretold in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. This was God’s plan from the very beginning.
Also in Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.”
Six months prior to Jesus’ birth, the Lord sent the angel Gabriel to tell Mary she will be with child, and He will be called Jesus and He will be called, “the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:26)
The manger was in reality settled in a cave under a family home in the hills of Bethlehem! (Luke 2:16) Draw the comparison to the nativity scenes commonly seen today. Note of the differences between modern depictions of the birth and the reality of a 1st century birth. Bethlehem was a very small town, without the modern comforts of an “inn”. There was no choice, but to stay in any available space. (Luke 2:12) Hence, the birth of Jesus in a manger.
Second point: God the Father loves you, and sending Christ Jesus demonstrates this love.
God sent His Son, Jesus, to atone for our sinful human nature. (1 John 3:1, and 4:10)
One of the attributes of God is His perfect holiness. Holiness means to separate from, or set apart. God must set Himself apart from our unholy and sinful nature. (Hebrew 12:14 and Ephesians 2:20-21) Jesus came to us as a fulfillment of God’s love to bring us near to Him. Through our faith in Jesus, we are made holy! (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Father-God loves us so much our Lord provides the path of reconciliation for our unholy nature. Our reconciliation is Jesus! (2 Corinthians 5:18 and Deuteronomy 4:37-38)
You have a Father who loves you and will never forsake you. (Psalm 94:14) The Christmas season is a celebration of God’s love for us, through the birth of His son Jesus. (Luke 2:8-20 and Matthew 2:1-12)
Jesus sets the example of how a husband is to treat his wife and children. (Ephesians 5:25-26, 6:4) No matter our past, we are to model ourselves after our savior Jesus.
Third point: Christ Jesus is at the center of the Christmas celebration.
All the traditions surrounding Christmas and the holiday season are wonderful. We should wholeheartedly enjoy all of the food, family, parties, trees and trimmings, as long as Jesus stays the primary focus of it all.
We affirm that Christmas is not all about material things or even just family, but remembering Jesus, His birth and the love our Lord has for us.
Purchasing and giving gifts to each other is fun and can be glorifying to God when we know why we are doing it. The gifts and giving represent love and the gift of Jesus’ birth to us.
The Lord loves you! The Lord will never forsake you, regardless of the situations in your life.
God the Father has sent us the perfect example of love, in His son Jesus.
Remember: Jesus was born, of a virgin birth, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” and he came to be with us and provide the path of reconciliation for all of our sins. (Colossians 1:15)
* For the family members depicted in this guide’s opening story, their ending is one of redemption, joy and happiness. The Lord redeemed and restored this family many years ago and in March 2012, the devoted husband lovingly transitioned his bride of almost 40 years to be with our Lord. Here lies a visible example of our Savior’s grace. With that grace and by that grace alone we are redeemed.
One of practical wisdom during a class in Pastoral Ministries when I was in seminary was a professor’s exhortation to future Pastors not to quit the ministry on Mondays.
I think this general principle is helpful not only for Pastors but the rest of the members of the church as well.
I imagine there are those who are reading this who can be quite discouraged and beaten up with serving the Lord in the church. You might even have the case of Sunday blues after the service/fellowship is over. You might have all kinds of heartaches and legitimate grievances.
May I encourage you to never quit church or the particular local church you are in on Sundays. Sometimes a few days later as you think about things with more calmer emotions, you might realized that’s not the decision you should take.