Seeker Series: Why? The Bible…

quote anselmHow many Bibles do you own? None or perhaps you may have multiple electronic copies on your mobile device?  How do you know that Bible is correct?  Christians believe the Bible is a manuscript containing sixty-six books that are the divinely inspired word of God. Has it been changed in the past 2000 years?  We should all desire have beliefs that are true. 16th century Philosopher Blaise Pascal wisely said, “People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.”  If an investigation to find proof is required then one must explore what sets apart the Christian Bible from other historical texts.

  • Was the Bible translated correctly?

A common argument heard is, “the Church biased the Bible translations to make it say what they wanted it to say.” Normally, this rebuttal is from a basic awareness that there are different translations of the Bible. The New International Version (NIV) and the English Standard Version (ESV) are translations commonly used in the present day. This is a good question. In the first century the Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. The reason different Bible translations exist is simple. Different versions translate the original texts in either a “thought for thought” or a “word for word” method.

In a thought for thought transcription such as the NIV Bible, the precise dynamic equivalency of the text is interpreted for use. See the example of 1 Corinthians 6:20 and 7:36.

20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”(6:20 NIV)

“36 If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married.” (7:36 NIV)

In a word for word translation the precise meaning of the original words is emphasized in the translation.

“20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (6:20 ESV)

“36 If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin.” (7:36 ESV)

Both versions retain the accuracy of original texts while emphasizing different areas of present-day English language usage. Both Christian and secular Greek scholars specializing in the study of historical texts, agree that our English Bible is an accurate translation. What does this mean for us?  Each Bible translation is accurate to the original historical documents (more on that later), but provides an easier to read document updated to contemporary language styles.

  • Is the Biblical manuscript corrupted?

Biblical scholar’s estimate the Gospel of Mark was written around 65-80 A.D.  This places the Book of Mark as one of the earliest gospel writings to life, death, and resurrection (33 A.D) of Jesus Christ. This book of the Bible is a useful place to start answering this question. When comparing the Gospel of Mark to other historical manuscripts, the Gospel of Mark fairs very well in how quickly the events were captured in early writings and how many manuscripts are available for comparison.  There are 140 years between the original events and the earliest manuscripts regarding the Gospel of Mark and his account of the life of Jesus. By comparison, writings from Plato have a 1,200 year gap between the originals and the earliest copies.  Other books of the New Testament only have a 25 year gap!  If we consider Plato’s writings historical, accurate and true with a 1,200 year pause, it follows that a reasonable person seeking truth can be assured the Bible has not been corrupted in a brief timeframe of 140 years.  You may ask, “But how many copies of the manuscripts do we have?” Great question!  Remember Plato was written 1,200 years after the event, and there are only 6 copies in existence. However, there are thousands of copies of the Gospel of Mark to compare, evaluate and judge the accuracy of the Bibles we have today!

“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.(John 1:1 ESV)

  • If the Bible is a true historical document, what does this mean for me?

It means any honest spiritual researcher wrestling with life’s difficult questions needs to take into account that the Bible is a dependable source of historical events that took place 2000 years ago.

A truthful seeker of the Christian faith needs to evaluate ancient documents from identical criteria.  It’s dishonest to declare, “I trust the writings of Plato and not the writings of the Gospel of Mark based on number of manuscript copies and early dating of those manuscripts. Assess both documents on equivalent evaluation standards and move forward from that point.

“6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.” (Mark 16:6 ESV)

If the story of Jesus Christ is true, everything changes.  If it not true, than it holds no weight in how we live now or what happens after this life is finished. An individual can continue to believe in contradictions and alternate spiritualties that have no foundation in reality.  I invite you to genuinely search for answers. (Jeremiah 29:13) Read the Bible, investigate thoroughly and ask questions. As many questions as you can come up with. (Mark 9:24)

Christianity is a historical verifiable religion that for 21 centuries has withstood continuous pounding from governments, naysayers and other faiths. (Matthew 23:34-37) And it will continue to endure further until our risen Savior returns. (Revelation 22:20)

  1. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (1 Co 7:36). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  2. Geisler, N., & Turek, F. (2004). I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.
  3. The New International Version. (2011). (1 Co 7:36). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Seeker Series, Why? Is Jesus the only way to God?

quote anselm6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7)

Bold words for a rural carpenter whose extremely countercultural opinions for first century prevailing thinking. What was Jesus talking about?  Who was he to make such a claim that all people should look to him to be reconciled to the one true God? He was God himself. His position as the second person of the Trinity allowed him to make demands that others must consider. He had credibility to speak like this; he performed miracles the world had never seen. He turned water into wine, healed an invalid and walked on water. Still with this information available to people, why would they not place their trust in him?

  • Sin is the fundamental problem.

Society is damaged. It is damaged due to broken people that make up that society. Every one of us has a heart of stone. (Ezekiel 11:19) It is this hard heart that makes us indifferent to the truth.  When we cannot hear truth, any truth we hear sounds like animosity towards the person as a whole.

Sin closes the mind to truth. Christians are often accused to be narrow minded by claiming Jesus is the only way to God.  I cannot dispute that some Christians are very narrow minded. But, there is a larger issue in play here. Christians imperfectly attempt to follow where the evidence leads. Christianity is a testable religion based on evidence and reality. We look at the world through a lens of the Bible. We are not opposed to science and pragmatic theories. We desire to follow the information to where it leads us. If that information leads us to the biblical creation account or the evolutionary theory, so be it. Both accounts will not remove a creator God from the picture. God needs to be considered when contemplating about how we fit into His creation and plan. Compare this to an atheistic worldview. They claim that there is no God and this non-god did not create anything, but the world a nothing more than a random causation of atoms. These atoms collected at just the right amount and the right time to create all we see in the material world. The material world is all that exists by their interpretation. To transform this worldview is very difficult. They refuse to study any other evidence outside of the material world. Christians consider information from both sides. Christians are the open-minded group; perhaps the atheistic can be deemed the narrow-minded crowd.

“12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Whether you believe in God or not it takes is five minutes with the evening news to understand that society is in trouble. There is a sin problem not just in our culture, but in the world as a whole. A materialist will say, “All we need is more education and society will behave in a kinder fashion towards their fellow man.”  The Christian will say, “Yes, education is a part of the solution. However the dark selfish heart of man cannot be remedied only by education, but by a conversion of the heart through Jesus Christ.” (Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26) A Christian holds both sides in a tension, of this world and the world that is to come. (John 8:23, 18:36, 18:32)  We know how the human heart is, depraved. This is apparent for basically two reasons. First, it is the reality of which we live.  We see through war, starvation, and sexual exploitation that we do not treat each other very well. In the second place, the Biblical account states that we are people separated from God by sin.  No matter how good we try to be we cannot remove the hardness of our hearts on our own. (Romans 7:17-20) The Bible is confirming the facts we already knew, that our hearts are corrupt and evil because of sin. However, the Bible outlines the solution for our brokenness and does not leave us on our own. (Romans 3:23-25)

Other religions claim this world is a non-reality (Buddhism), appeal to views that this life is a payment for mistakes in another life (Hinduism), or demand a system of works to appease a God that is unknowable. (Islam) Each of these beliefs is a manifestation from inside the human heart. None of these addresses the problem as it lies before us. We cannot be reconciled to the creator God of the universe without Christ Jesus.  Dr. Paul Copan Ph.D. philosophy, Marquette University remarks: “The founders of the world’s great religions made no claims as extravagant as Jesus of Nazareth did: to forgive sins, to be the judge of all, to always be present with his followers throughout the ages, to hear their prayers. Because of Jesus’ claims the earliest believers were even referred to as being members of The Way.”

 “27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Matthew 11:27)

  • If Jesus is the only way, what does this mean for me?

Followers of Jesus Christ are many things. Some of them are very good, some of them not so good. Nevertheless, narrow-minded we should not be. We imperfectly look at both sides, all the evidence and direct our hearts to where it leads. To do otherwise would be closing humanity off to the greatest narrative the world has ever seen. The one true God that created the universe sent the redemptive salvation of Jesus Christ for us all!

 

 

Powell, D. (2006). Holman Quick-Source Guide to Christian Apologetics (p. 324). Nashville, TN: Holman Reference.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Acts 4:12 , Mt 11:27, John 14:6–7). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Seeker Series: Why? Believe in God…

quote anselm

Should someone believe in God? The Christian Bible asserts,“11 Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, foryou created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”(Revelation 4:11) Christians believe that God is a personal creator, loving, merciful and knowable. The Bible tells us about God, who he is, what has done and will do. Can we know God exists without the Bible? Yes, there is very good evidence for the rational belief in the existence of God. We are able to know God exists without using the Bible!

· Does the universe exist?

Of course it does, we are all here functioning, enjoying our families and friends in this world. We see the created world all around us. Where did it come from? The modern education system teaches the Big Bang theory and then evolutionary theory over billions of years created all that we see. That is avoiding the answer. Take a step back further, to what started the chain of events. In everything in our lives, we know it had a cause. It had to come from somewhere. The computer you’re looking at, the chair you’re sitting on originated from somewhere. It didn’t just spontaneously pop into existence from nothing. Imagine for a minute how funny the world would be if items just popped in and out of reality that we live in. If a pink pony unexpectedly appeared next to you on the couch, you would be looking for an explanation of where that pink pony came from! Consequently, both the pink pony and the universe all around us must have a cause.

The line of reasoning it would look like this:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

2. The universe began to exist

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

We know that all things that begin to exist have a cause. That is reasonable. The universe began to exist. This is attested to by the Big Bang theory of the creation of the universe, again reasonable to believe this point. Therefore, the universe has a cause. The question remains as to what is that cause.

For the universe and everything in it, including time itself to be created, that creator is required to be outside of time. The universe must have been created supernaturally by an “uncaused creator being” that can create on its own free will. This “uncaused creator being” must beoutside of the time that was created when the universe began. By definition the “uncaused creator being” can be a God that is transcendent, infinite and eternal creator. Anything that is created into an existence cannot be god, thus God is the uncaused, cause of the universe!

· Why does this universe support life?

Sir Isaac Newton once said, “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.” Scientists know our universe is a very special place. If any of the physical properties of the universe were just slightly different, the universe and life would not exist! Here are a few examples:

1. After the Big Bang, if the universe expanded at a rate of one millionth slower than it did, expansion of the universe would have stopped.

2. “If the thickness of the earth’s crust were greater, too much oxygen would be transferred to the crust to support life. If thinner, volcanic activity would make life on earth impossible.”

3. Jupiter’s planetary gravitational pull acts as a cosmic buffer protecting the earth from bombardment from asteroids and comets moving around our solar system.

There are many other environmental constants (over 100) that need to be “just right” in order for the universe to sustain life. If any are just slightly different, no life on earth exists. Stating the argument formally, it looks like this:

1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either; physical necessity, chance or design.

2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.

3. Therefore, it is due to design.

Could the finely tuned values to create the universe be what they are due to an unknown physical necessity? No, the constants and quantities are not necessary. They must have the values they do in order to support life. How does random chance fair? Not well, if left to chance any number of random variables of the universe could have occurred if the cosmos spontaneously originated out of nothing! Could it be design? Yes, that is a reasonable conclusion. God is a designer. An eternal creator of the universe specifically setup to sustain life for His creation. Does this support that belief in God is plausible? Yes, a universe that was created by a transcendent, infinite and eternal creator can have the “just right” attributes for a universe that sustains life.

· If universe began to exist and it is a special place. What does this mean for me?

“19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature
have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the
things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-20)

Utilizing these two lines of reasoning above
we have good reasons to believe God exists without using the Bible!

There are more reasons I would encourage you to investigate. I invite you to genuinely search for answers. (Jeremiah 29:13) Read the Bible, investigate thoroughly and ask questions. Asking questions like these defines what it means to be human. They deserve consideration. If there is an omnipresent, omnipotent eternal creator God who created the universe, than why is it so incompatible that he sent Jesus Christ to redeem us? We will cover that later…

“16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and
invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things
were created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)

1. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Re 1:8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

2. Geisler, N., & Turek, F. (2004). I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist (p. 95, 105-106). Wheaton, Ill.:
Crossway Books.

Acts 15- What must we do to be saved?

“16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16)

lightstock-50827-grace-bible-verse

What is the final destiny of life and how are we “saved” to receive that destiny? These could be the greatest questions that everyone needs to answer. The end of this life will find each and every one of us. There is no avoiding it. Individuals attempt to create an answer to what happens after this life ends. Culture also speaks strongly as to how or what our focus should be on during our life. Just live in the now, do “right” by people and everything will work out fine. Focusing on “living our best life now” provides a vain attempt to avoid the providing any answer. But, avoidance is not an answer. Living for the “now” does not contain the power to provide salvation from your sin and bestow admittance to enteral life in glory with God. Each religion or worldview (a worldview is a person’s fundamental orientation of looking at the world around them) must be held to the same critical standard. The all need to answer the same question; “What must I do to be saved and have access to the afterlife?”

What Paul and Barnabas answered in Acts 15 addressed an early argument within the first century church. “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved. 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.” (Acts 15:1-2) Christianity believes in the gospel of Jesus Christ. God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5) Other religions and worldviews must address this difficulty. No one receives a free pass not to provide a solution. Let’s consider three other common belief systems.

An individual who adheres to Mormonism will consider this the path to salvation:

• There are three kingdoms of glory: the celestial kingdom, the terrestrial kingdom, and the telestial kingdom. The glory we inherit will depend on the depth of our conversion, expressed by our obedience to the Lord’s commandments. It will depend on the manner in which we have “received the testimony of Jesus” (D&C 76:51; see also D&C 76:74, 79, 101)

In this Mormon doctrines and covenants (D&C) passage we see Mormons believe there are “levels” to heaven and that inheritance into “heaven” will depend on obedience or works completed in this life.

Devotion to Islam also claims a route to eternal life.

• In Islam salvation is achieved through good works and including “honorable deeds” such as, keeping five “pillars,” of Islam: witness for Muhammad, ritual prayers five times daily, alms giving, fasting during Ramadan, and a pilgrimage to Mecca. The Koran states in Sura 21:47, “On the day of judgment Allah will have a set of scales to weigh one’s good deeds against his bad deeds.”

Completing enough “good deeds” to win favor with an impersonal and unknowable god is an impossible task and obedience to this leads groups and individuals down dangerous paths. In both religions, works are necessary to gain favor with god and entrance into heaven or paradise.

Finally, let’s look at Pantheism a worldview that is commonly seen in Western Washington.

• Pantheism is the belief that God and the universe are one. The “God is everything, and everything is God” approach of Pantheism creates problems as it removes the personal identity and relational attributes of God.

Without a personal identity, there cannot be a relationship. It follows there would be no human destiny of the soul after this life with god if a relationship does not exist. Some forms of Pantheism assert the divine is an illusion, therefore making a god unknowable. Pantheism doesn’t answer the question of, “What must I do to be saved and have access to the afterlife?” It appears to avoid the question entirely.

All three worldviews are in direct contradiction to the personal and knowable God of the Bible.

“4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7)

“26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.” “9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him…” (Hebrews 7:26 and 5:9)

So, what must we do to be saved?

“30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:30-31)

The apostle Paul and Barnabas are refuting a basic question that remains for us today. Who is included in God’s saving grace? Apostle Paul argues that the saving grace that Jesus provided is for all, both Jew and Gentile, provided by Jesus on the cross, and is God’s alone to impart. “8 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 9 and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.” (Acts 15:8) Paul references back to Peter in Acts 10, because the “gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles” (Acts 10:44) ensuring that God’s saving grace was provided by the Holy Spirit for all, both circumcised and uncircumcised.

How should we connect with others of a different belief system so they may have access to eternal life? Always with love, grace and the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 22:39) For all that come to the cross, hear and believe the true words of God are invited into His infinite grace. This is very good news! Someone who believes they need to “earn” their way into heaven should find a tremendous amount of relief and comfort knowing that God loves them and has provided the way for salvation! No amount of “works” or “deeds” will appease a god or defend a god that is detached from his creation.

To the believers, pray continually asking for the Holy Spirit to use you. Be the hands and feet of Jesus, doing the hard work that needs to be completed for the Lord. Witness boldly to others showing them God’s everlasting grace as it has been shown to you.

To the unbelievers, may we pray for you? We pray you find that your work placating God is unnecessary. We want you to know Jesus came to atone for your sins, transgressions, and failures. We, as Christians do not stand above you, but beside you, as sinners deserving of God’s wrath. We are all sinners. Jesus alone is the perfect sacrifice for you and for us all. Rest from your unwarranted works, my friend, they are not needed…

“29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

Basing a work email on a Bible verse. Can it be done?

Today I took a shot.  I thought it might work, but I really wasn’t sure.

I attempted to press the message of Romans 1: 19 into a work email.

“19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.”

I knew I had to be careful.  The message in that verse is wonderfully strong and potent.   I would rather scrap the email text than mess with the word of God.

All Christians that hold claim to a Biblical worldview should make every attempt to view their surroundings from a Biblical perspective.  Rarely does this happen often enough.

Time will tell of outcome, but the feedback so far has been positive.   “Great message”, “Excellent Message”, “Just a super message “, “Great job”…..

I wonder how many “closet” Christians picked up on the “message”?

If you have a minute, provide feedback using the poll below or the comment section.

I’ll use it for the next opportunity my faith and my employment collide.

Blessings…

 

(email start)

Who cares if someone needs assistance? Why should we help anybody?

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Declaration of Independence- 1776

Our country has been founded upon this statement, but look closely at the first seven words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident”.
Self-evident means; you, in your conscience, known something to be. You do not need a proof, it is just known.

It is contained inside each of us, everyone has a sense of right and wrong.
• Is it wrong to kick puppies? Yes, I know it is wrong to hurt something that is defenseless and poses no danger or threat to me.
• It is right to assist the elderly lady in the grocery store with her bags when she is struggling? Yes, it is right to lend a hand someone who in need.
• It is right to provide assistance and cooperation to a teammate who is in need of support? Yes, it is right to assist a teammate or co-worker who needs support so the company as a whole may benefit.

Granted, people can, and do, suppress the knowledge of right and wrong. Just watch the evening news. They provide ample examples of very poor decision making each and every night.
What suppression of a self-evident truth does not do is relieve us of the obligation of doing what is right.

What does this have to do with (blank) program???

I will tie this up with a few points from an article I found this morning. (I’ve attached the link to the full article below.)

1. “Salespeople must come to sales calls with a comprehensive understanding of the customer…”
2. “Today a significant number of sales are lost not to the competition but to “no decision.”
3. “Customers expect salespeople to do more than uncover their problems. They expect salespeople to bring an informed, fresh perspective to framing the problem.”
4. “Excel at team selling. Salespeople alone will not be able to provide the needed knowledge and insights to meet the customer’s emerging expectations.”

Guess what fellow (blanks)….. You are now part of that team!

(Blanks) should provide Sales:
1. a comprehensive understanding of the customer.
2. assistance when the customer stagnates on making a decision
3. informed with current, up to date information about the site
4. the needed technical knowledge when required.

But why should we help sales?
• Because we know it to be “Right” and “Self-Evident”, that in order for our business to succeed, we must assist the sales team with information and leads.

Keep driving opportunities and use the (blank) program. They are the process in place to gather this information and get the Sales Teams the information they need!

Go have some fun! It’s all a gift, be sure to be thankful for it!

1. 5 challenges to achieving sales excellence – it’s more important than ever yet harder to achieve- http://salestrainingconnection.com/2014/04/28/5-challenges-to-achieving-sales-excellence-its-more-important-than-ever-yet-harder-to-achieve/

A Parent’s Guide to Discussing Halloween

free-halloween-happy-halloween-clipart-free-large-images-clipartwiz“The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Theologian. 1906-1945)

It was a cool, dark Halloween evening in that small town in northern California. The group of friends accompanied by one parent was lagging far behind. At nine years old, I was in the lead, a few houses ahead of the others.  There a house was set off from the street, beyond the vacant lot and nearly covered by bushes and shrubs. I knew there was a prize to be had at the end of that long driveway. However, the prize would take risk. It was a dark, shadowy place with no streetlight to show the way. As a pirate, I was prepared.  A red bandana tied firmly on my head, a small dim flashlight in one hand, and a plastic pirate knife in the other, I set my sights on the glowing porch light of my targeted destination.

The journey started well, my band of brothers was still well behind me. Suddenly a shadow moved to my right.  I froze.  Out of the murky mist came a large imposing figure of a teenager.  Not fully recognizing the threat, I stood toe to toe with him, each of us sizing up the other.  He wore a zombie mask.  A quick mental inventory of my open options produced little. The group was behind me and a choice needed to be made.  It was him or me and I was not keen on relinquishing the candy bounty for which I had worked so hard.  My right hand slowly raised the plastic knife.  It was over as quickly as it started.  In a flash, the teenager grabbed the bag and was gone.  Completely stunned, I could not give chase, I did the only thing I could do.  My plastic knife dropped to the ground, and I started to cry.  My bounty of candy was gone, all gone.

Once home my Mother dried my tears and my friends shared their candy. The bitter memory of the Zombie Candy Thief slowly began to fade.  Everything was going to be fine, but at nine years old, something was lost.  On a small scale, I began to understand that there is evil in this world.  Who steals a child’s candy? From Mother’s point of view, the situation was much darker as she lamented about what the world was coming to and questioned her decision regarding her child’s participation in any further Halloween festivities.

While this true story ended well, it does raise important questions about how Christians should view the Halloween experience. Should we allow our children to participate in Halloween? Is Halloween appropriate?

This parent’s guide will not attempt to answer that question with a simple yes or no.  Rather, it will raise discussion points and topics for consideration.  Can Halloween be a part of a Christian life and walk? What can parents express to our children about the main theme of Halloween?

Parents, our first and foremost responsibility is to protect and guard our children’s hearts and minds. (Philippians 4:7)  The Bible states  that we are to take God’s words and “teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house…”(Deuteronomy 6:7) The traditions surrounding Halloween can be a teaching moment guiding what is providing influences into your child’s life. Additionally, non-Christian parents are observing our actions. They are watching to see how we react to this world, and how significantly our faith guides our own thoughts and actions. (Matthew 5:13)   As fall progresses, we challenge you take the opportunity to teach and instruct your children as to what is good, what you believe and how you view the world. (John 15:19) Acts 19 Apologetics provides this guide as a means to encourage you to seize this chance to speak truth and wisdom into your children.

Will you join us in completing this worthwhile task?

Deuteronomy 5-7: 5 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

Blessings,

Acts 19 Apologetics

An outline for discussing Halloween and God’s providence over creation with your family.

Step 1:  Set the Theme:

  • A contemporary celebration of Halloween can be non-demonic or a remembrance of evil spirits.  It should be a time to gather as a family, reach out to your neighbors, consume delicious candy, and have an entertaining evening.
  • As Christians, we believe that God’s providence over all creation directs everything to fulfill his purposes!

Step 2:  Read these Bible passages aloud:

*Consider having others in your family read the passages.*

  • Called according to God’s purpose: Romans 8:28
  • Do all to the glory of God: 1 Corinthians 10:23-24
  • God continually directs everything: Matthew 5:45
  • All actions are under God’s care: Acts 25:28
  • The Lord directs our steps: Proverbs 16:9
  • The Lord’s prayer: Matthew 6:9-13

Step 3: Address the points of discussion.

  1. First main point: Participating in Halloween is not necessarily a bad thing.
  • There are many reasons to gather as a family, a neighborhood, or a community of faith.  The modern Halloween celebration is a good reason to come together and rejoice with the people God has placed in our lives. (1 Corinthians 7:5) The important point to remember is to “do all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24)
  • Jesus commands us in the book of Matthew 5:14 that we are to be the “light of the world”. Going to where people gather and spreading the gospel can accomplish this command. Whether the gathering is a Halloween celebration, or an office party at a pub we must be strong in our faith, and by doing this, we can prayerfully and responsibly take part. Romans (4:20 and Colossians 4:2)
  1. Second main point: Participating in Halloween should not degrade the Christian life or a spiritual walk with Christ if observed in moderation.
  2. Third main point: Although, Halloween can be frightening, God has provided this time to gather with our neighbors, share our lives with them and have fun.
  • Jesus Christ’s authoritative word abolishes the work of Satan and evil spirits. (Luke 4:31-37) This fact is our hope, joy and the cornerstone of the Christian faith! Therefore, we do not focus on the dark shadowy side of the holiday, but fashion our Halloween festivities to celebrate in a positive and uplifting manner.
  • Good and evil are real in this world, but all events are under God’s care.  (Acts 25:28) and God continually directs everything in this world. (Matthew 5:45)
  • God’s calls us to His purposes in this world.  God displays who he is, and what his intentions are in the proper time. (1 Timothy 6:15). When confronted with any situation, we are to rely on the Lord and continue to walk with him.  The celebration of Halloween is not different. Provide glory to the Lord in how we gather for a modern Halloween activity. Does this fulfill a part of God’s mission and purpose for us? Yes, if our focus is spreading the gospel of Jesus.  (1 Corinthians 10:23-24 and Matthew 28:19-20)
  • The Lord directs our steps in all that we do and where ever we may go. (Proverbs 16:9) When Jesus prayed for his disciples, he prayed to the Father that his disciples would be protected in this world after his ascension to heaven. (John 17:11) He prayed this to God the Father in verse fifteen, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” As followers of Christ we are to be “in this world”, but not “of this world.”  Whether we are faced with problems at school, or with friends, or tough choices we need to make, our Lord is walking with us, guiding our steps.  When the frightfulness of some Halloween celebrations comes in to question, we are sure that we should prayerfully consider the options and go on living out God’s purpose and plan for us.  Any Halloween festivities are an opportunity to provide fellowship and grace to believers and non-believers alike.
  1. Summary of Points:
  • The apostle Paul tells us, “all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.” (1 Corinthians 10:23 NASB)  A Halloween celebration should be worthwhile and beneficial to you and your family’s Christian life.
  • Jesus spent time going to where the people congregated to spread the good news.  Considering that, as followers of Christ our responsibility is to do the same.  Redeem the Halloween experience by spending time with people in your neighborhood. Provide them the opportunity to see the light and grace of our savior.
  • A modern Halloween celebration does not need to be frightening, dark and ghoulish for our children.  Small adjustments to any event can provide a positive and uplifting experience for the young and the “young at heart”.  Focus on the grace and providence of our Lord for he is in control, and that He sent His Son as an indication of his love for us. (John 3.16)

Whiteboarding our Faith- An interactive, discussion…

Canyon Creek introduces Whiteboarding our Faith- Every 4th Wednesday night at the Everett Campus.

Whiteboard Christianity is a freethinking, interactive, discussion forum that is open to all.

Have friends that do not believe in God, bring them! Have friends that believe another religion or another denomination, bring them too!

Each session will contain great conversation where we will wrestle with the essential questions of life and grow stronger in our faith.

Only one rule: All people are respected and in the end, we may not all agree, but we will still be great friends!

Get engaged and come join a session!  September 25th,October 23rd, and November 20th , 7:00pm at the Everett campus café.
whiteboard the faith