A Powerful Apologetic Method: ABDUCTIVE Reasoning!

"What in the world is 'Abductive Reasoing'?" Well, abductive reasoning is employed by crime scene detectives, car mechanics, and your medical doctor.  Abductive reasoning is when you look at all the known facts, and seek to form the best explanation to explain the data.  Abductive reasoning seeks to find the "inference to the best explanation" for the known facts.   

This is a vital way of thinking and investigating that all serious Christians should be engaged in....

 - Pastor J. 

Series - "Common objections to Christianity Pt 6"

What about those who have never heard the Gospel?

That is a good question. The Bible says that God is a just God. We know that whatever He does is right. When it comes to those who have never heard the Gospel, He will do what is right, whatever that is. But as for you, you have heard the Gospel and He will judge you according to how you respond. He is calling you to repentance, to turn from sin and come to Him.
Romans 2:11-16 speaks about those who have never heard the Law of God, and how they will be judged according to the law that is written in their hearts. The Law written in their hearts is the knowledge of right and wrong. Perhaps God's judgment of those without a proper knowledge of Him is included there where it says that they will be judged according to their own consciences that "bear witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them." All I know is that God will do what is right, and the only way to have your sins forgiven is through Jesus.

What makes you think the Bible is the word of God?

Prophecy: The Old Testament was written before Jesus was ever born. The New Testament was written by the men who knew Jesus, who walked with Him, ate with Him, and learned from Him. In the O.T. there are prophecies concerning His birthplace (Micah 5:1-2), that He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), that He would be rejected by His own people (Isaiah 53:3), that He would be betrayed by a close friend (Psalm 41:9), that He would die by having His hands and feet pierced (Psalm 22:16-18), and that He would rise from the dead (Psalm 16:10, 49:15). In the N.T. all these prophecies, and many more, are fulfilled by Jesus. Now, this is the question you must answer: "If the Bible is not inspired from God, then why does it have so many fulfilled prophecies?" How is that possible if the Bible were not from God?
Wisdom: The Bible is full of the greatest truths about man and God, sin, and salvation. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) is beautiful in its wisdom, humility, and love. The Psalms are incredible poetry of great depth and beauty. The N.T. epistles are great descriptions of love, forgiveness, longsuffering, kindness, etc. (Even if you don't want to become a Christian, studying the truth God has revealed in the Bible will greatly help you in your life.) The aim is not to merely get the person to use the Bible as a guide to good living, but to encourage him to read it. This way, he will at least be reading the Word of God, and be that much closer to conversion, because God's Word will accomplish what He wants it to (Isaiah 55:11).

Religion is whatever you feel is right

How do you know what you feel is right? Haven't your feelings ever turned out to be wrong? Are you are saying that what you feel determines truth? If so, then you are putting yourself in the place of God, and looking to yourself for what you "feel" is right.
If religion is whatever you feel is right, then that could lead to chaos. What if some people had a religion where they felt stealing was acceptable? And what about lying and cheating? Would you trust someone who believed in a religion that felt it was all right to steal, lie, and cheat?
Hitler felt killing Jews was right. He was wrong. The Bible says that the heart is deceitful and untrustworthy (Jer. 17:9). If you could come to know truth by what you felt, then the Bible, which is the revelation of God, didn't need to be written. But it has been written, and it has revealed that only God is the Source of truth, not your feelings.
I've never known truth to contradict itself. What if someone felt that something was right, and another person felt it was wrong? Would they both be right? If your statement is true, then how could there be a contradiction like that, if feelings determined truth?

All religions are different paths to the same place

If all religions are different paths to the same place, then why do the paths contradict each other? Does truth contradict itself? Let's review the teachings of just three religions:
Buddhism is pantheistic and says there is no personal God and everyone can reach "godlikeness" on his own. Islam says that Jesus was just a prophet, and not the only way to God. Christianity says that there is a personal God, and that the only way to Him is through Jesus (John 14:6). If these three religions are, as you say, different paths to the same place, then why do they contradict each other? Does truth contradict itself?

If you have any questions, please contact me or Pastor J at intelligentfaith315@gmail.com or jason@claycup.com.
- Nelis

Series - "Common objections to Christianity Pt 5"

I am an atheist. I don't believe in God

An atheist is defined primarily in two senses:  Someone who says he believes there is no God, and someone who simply lacks belief in God.  An atheist cannot rationally say he knows there is no God, because he would have to know all things in order to know if there is or isn't a God.  If he says he believes there is no God, ask him why he believes that way, and begin there.  If he says he lacks belief in God, then ask what he does believe in, and start there. You can  always get around to the question of, "How did we get here?"  Since creation and evolution are the only options, here is something further to work with.
An agnostic says he doesn't know if there is or isn't a God. (Usually after saying this you can challenge them to explain the prophecies of the Old Testament fulfilled in the New. You can state how the Bible is unique that way, and that only God can make prophecies that are 100% accurate. Then ask him to explain how that could be done if there is no God.)
If there is no God as you say, then in the end I lose nothing. But if there is a God, in the end you lose everything.
Why don't you believe in God? Is there any reason for you to intelligently reject His existence? Or, do you simply desire not to believe in Him?
The Bible doesn't attempt to prove that God exists. It simply speaks as though He does. Maybe I can't prove to you there is a God, but I can introduce Him to you through His Son Jesus Christ, and you can judge for yourself if the Words of Christ in the Bible convince you of His existence.

Jesus is only one of many great men of history

Granted, Jesus was a great man of history. That is a fact. But, He is different from all the other great men of history. How many great men of history rose from the dead, calmed a sea, walked on water, raised others from the dead, healed sickness, and forgave sins? There aren't any others that I know of. Do you know of any? These things make Him more than great. They make Him special and unique.
You are right, Jesus was a great man. But let me ask you. If He were great, would He lie? Of course not. If He were great, would He be insane? No. You see, Jesus said He was God (John 1:1,14; 10:30-33; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 1:8). If He were lying, we shouldn't listen to Him, and we couldn't call Him great. If He were insane, then we shouldn't listen to Him, and again, we couldn't call Him great. If He is great, then He must be telling the truth. And He was great, right?
John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." Verse 14 says, "and the Word became flesh..." The Word is Jesus.  This means that Jesus is God in flesh.  If this is so, then He cannot be merely "a great man of history."  He would be far more than that.

The Bible was written to look like Jesus fulfilled prophecy

Then what you are saying is that the New Testament writers lied about Jesus. He really didn't rise from the dead, and all those miracles about Him are really false, right?
I could see your point, but there is just one problem. How do you account for the writers of the New Testament teaching about truth, love, honesty, giving, etc. all based on lies? Why would they suffer hardships like beatings, starvation, shipwreck, imprisonments, and finally execution for nothing but lies? What you are saying doesn't make sense, and raises more questions than it answers.
The only logical explanation is that the fulfilled prophecies really did happen. Jesus actually rose from the dead. He performed miracles, and He forgave sins. He forgave sins then, and He can still do it now. My sins are forgiven, are yours?
Please note that many cult members will die for their faith as well.  But they die for something they believe in, not for something they have actually seen.  Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses all die for their faith.  But the New Testament believers died for what they saw and believed, not for what they believed only.  That is a big difference.  The N.T. writers died claiming that they had seen the risen Lord.  The cult members die for what they believe, and we know that believing doesn't make it true.

The Bible is full of contradictions
Really. Do you know of any? Could you quote me one or two?
(Just in case someone actually does quote what he thinks is a contradiction, it is up to you to give a competent answer (1 Peter. 3:15). If you can't, don't worry. Simply tell him that you will research it and get back with him, and make sure you do.)
There are areas of Scripture that are difficult to understand. This does not mean the Bible is untrustworthy. A very good book to have is the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties by Gleason Archer, Zondervan Publishing House, (Grand Rapids, Michigan).

If you have any questions, please contact me or Pastor J at intelligentfaith315@gmail.com or jason@claycup.com.

- Nelis

Series - "Common objections to Christianity Pt 4"

During this post we will be looking at more objections to Christianity and questions about it.
Christianity is boring

Then you haven't experienced it. No one who is a Christian will ever say that it is boring.
How do you know? Have you tried it? There are millions of Christians who have a lot of fun being Christian. We just do it with a lot less sin, and therefore, a lot less problems. Maybe it's only your problems that keep you from getting bored.
What do you think we do all day, sit around fireplaces and read Bibles? We ski, swim, play sports, read, have friends and problems like anybody else. Christianity is not boring. It is an adventure.

I am trying to be a Christian

 You become a Christian by simply putting your trust in Jesus and His sacrifice for you on the cross. There is no "trying" involved. If you trust Jesus, if you ask Him to forgive you of your sins and be your Savior, then you are a Christian. It is living like a Christian after you've become one, that is difficult.
If you believe that in order to become a Christian you must be good, then you misunderstand, or don't have a good understanding of salvation. A Christian is a Christian by the gift of God (Rom. 6:23), not the work of man (Eph. 2:8-9). There is nothing you can do to earn salvation or keep salvation. It is simply something God freely gives you. If you want it, confess your sins, repent, turn to God, and trust Jesus as your only Savior. Then, and only then, will you become a Christian.

I will worry about God in the next life

That you may very well do, forever. Eternity is a long time to be wrong, especially about Jesus.
God has warned us in the Bible that it is appointed for men to die once, then judgment (Heb. 9:27). After death, you will be judged. Do you want to face eternity without the sacrifice of Jesus Christ accounted to you? God hates sin and you have sinned. God will punish sinners if they reject Jesus. However, He loves you. That is why He sent His Son to die for sins. If you want eternal life, then you need to worry about it now. Eternity is a long time to be wrong, especially about Jesus.
There is no next life. Reincarnation isn't true. The Bible says after death you face God (Heb. 9:27).

I have things I need to do before I become a Christian

Like what? Why do you need to do these things before you come to God? Are they bad things or good? If they are bad, then you shouldn't do them. If they are good, why can't you become a Christian and then do them?
Nothing you can do could be more important than your relationship with God. To put Him off is unwise. What if you die before you become a Christian? Then you would be eternally without hope.
Your statement implies you believe following God will mean you won't be able to do the things you want to do. If that is true, then that means the things you intend to do would displease God. Are you saying you prefer to do something God wouldn't want you to do? If that is so, you are willfully sinning against God, and putting yourself in a dangerous situation. That is all the more reason you need His forgiveness.

I already believe in God

Are you living your life as if that were true? Does your belief in God affect the way you live, or do you still do entirely as you please?
If you say you believe in God, then how do you know what He wants for you? Are you in contact with Him? Do you just trust whatever you feel is right?
The Bible says the Devil believes in God (James 2:19), and he is lost. If all you do is simply believe that God exists, then you are no better off than he is. It is not intellectual acknowledgment of God's existence that God wants, but your accepting the sacrifice Jesus made on behalf of sinners that pleases God. Simply believing is not enough. You must choose to follow Him.
It is not that you believe; it is who you put your faith in. Who is this God you believe in? Is He the Christian one? Is he Allah? Is he from another planet? Is he whatever you feel is right? Is he loving? Believing in God is fine unless your god is false. The important thing is that you must believe in the true God, not a false one, and the true God is found in the Bible.

If you have any questions or concerns please email us with them. There is nothing wrong with asking questions and seeking the truth.

Have intelligent Faith!!

- Nelis

Series - "Common objections to Christianity Pt 3"

Can God create a rock too heavy for him to lift?
The answer is that God cannot do the logically impossible. There can't exist  a rock that is too heavy for an omnipotent being to lift. Since it's a logical  impossibility, God can't create it, just as he can't prove that A is the same as  not A. This does not limit God's power, for he can do everything that is  logically possible; nothing is too hard for him (Jer  32:17). 

If God knows for sure that an event will occur at a certain time in the future,  can he prevent it from occurring?
When we say that God is omnipotent regarding future events, what we really  mean is that God can cause any particular event to occur at any given time. If  God wants it to rain next Friday in San Juan, he is capable of causing it to  rain. Furthermore, God's omniscience means that he's always known what he will  want to happen on any given day, and can plan events accordingly. If God wants  it to rain next Friday in San Juan, he would have known that he wanted that  event to occur when the universe was created, and he would have set things up  accordingly.
Thus if God knows it will rain next Friday in San Juan, it's  because he wants it to rain then and there and will cause it to happen. If he  wanted different weather in San Juan next Friday, he would have caused that  weather to occur instead. 
God doesn't change his mind (1  Sam 15:29), so he will never be in a situation where one day he wants an  event to occur but the next day he doesn't. Yet even if he did change his mind,  he would have always known that he would change his mind and what his final  wishes would be, and he could act according to his final wishes. 

How can we have free will if God has a plan for our lives and knows  everything we'll do in advance?
Since God is omniscient, God has foreknowledge, meaning he knows what everyone  will do in the future and what any individual would do in any given situation.  This foreknowledge enables God to have a plan for everyone's life. For instance,  if God wants a particular action to occur, he knows who would choose to do that  action, and under what circumstances they would choose it; thus he is able to  plan for it to happen. However, God's knowing what choices we will make is  simply knowledge - it doesn't remove our free will, for we are still the ones  making the choices. 

This may be more understandable if we consider that we have a type of  foreknowledge from our knowledge of history. For example, we know that the  Americans won the Revolutionary War. If we went back in time before the  Revolutionary War took place, our knowing the outcome wouldn't force anyone to  do anything. Our knowing the Boston Tea Party would take place wouldn't mean  that the colonists would be forced to throw the tea overboard, it would only  mean that we'd know what the colonists would choose to do. It's the same with  God: his knowing what we'll freely choose to do doesn't mean we're forced to  make that choice.

Have Intelligent Faith!!

- Nelis

SERIES - "Common objections to Christianity Pt 2"

Here we will be looking at some objections about Jesus. Before you make a judgment about Jesus, research all the evidence available and then and only then pass judgment.
1.      Did Jesus faint on the cross and revive later?
There is no reason to believe Jesus survived his crucifixion. An Examination of the Medical Evidence for the Physical Death of Christ by Brad Harrub and Bert Thompson explains the suffering Jesus endured prior to his crucifixion and what crucifixion would have done to him.

 Even if he had managed to survive until someone came to take him down, the centurions would have verified that he was truly dead before allowing his body to be removed (Mk 15:44-45, Jn 19:31-34).
Further arguments against this theory are the facts that Jesus' body was anointed with 75 pounds' worth of spices (Jn 19:39-40) and laid in a tomb with a heavy stone blocking the door (Mk 16:2-4).

Had Jesus still been alive at this point, his incredibly weakened state would have prevented him from throwing off the weighted fabric surrounding him and moving the huge stone.

2.      Did the disciples steal the body? One alternate theory often proposed is that the disciples stole Jesus' body and claimed he was resurrected. While the tomb was guarded and sealed with a heavy stone (the movement of which would presumably have alerted/awoken the guards had they been sleeping). This theory requires the disciples to have lied about the Resurrection and to have preached Christianity when they knew its very foundation was false. Yet what profit did they gain from this? The wealth was shared among all the members, not given to the apostles alone (Ac 2:44-45). Instead, they were persecuted and all except John were martyred.  Not only this, but they traveled far from their native country in order to spread the Gospel and were separated as a consequence; they could easily have confessed the lie or stopped preaching and slipped into obscurity, thus saving themselves from persecution and avoiding a confrontation with their partners in crime.

The conspiracy theory also doesn't explain how the early church could get away with claiming that over 500 people saw the resurrected Christ (1 Cor 15:3-8) or how Paul, a well-known persecutor of the church, could have been accepted as a convert.
If the apostles knew Jesus hadn't really risen from the dead, they would know Paul couldn't have really seen Jesus on his way to Damascus. There would be no reason for them to accept their enemy into their inner circle; on the contrary, the most likely explanation to them would be that he was attempting to become an undercover spy.

- Nelis

NEW SERIES - "Common objections to Christianity"

I am not a sinner, I am already good enough, I am already religious, how can a good God send people to hell, religion is whatever you feel is right
Some, or most of us has probably had some doubt when it comes to God or more specifically Christianity. We will be starting a new series about the common objections to Christianity and the existence of God.
If you have any questions about this topic, please leave a comment or email us with the question.

Today we will be looking at some of these objections, 1. I am not a sinner, 2. There is no such thing as sin, 3. I am already good enough, 4. I tried Christianity once. Lets look at these questions in more detail.
  1. I am not a sinner: So are you saying you are perfect? If you are, then you're the first perfect  person I've ever met who has never sinned.
    Are you saying you've never broken the Law of God? Have you ever lied,  cheated, or stolen? If you have, then you are a sinner whether you think so or  not.  As a sinner, you are separated from God.  However, God loves you enough not to want you to be separated from Him. He sent Jesus to  pay for your sins on the cross. So, the only way to have your sins forgiven is  to put your trust in Jesus and the sacrifice He made.
  2. There is no such thing as sin
    Sin is doing what is wrong before God. To say  there is no such thing as sin is to say there is no God.  Are you willing to bet  your life that there is no God?
     Saying there is no such thing as sin doesn't mean  there isn't.  Have you ever  lied, or cheated, or stolen?  If so, then biblically, you've sinned.
     How do you know that there is no such thing as sin?  Seriously, how do you "know" there is no such thing as sin?  After all, you'd have to "know" there was no God, too.
  3. I am already good enough
    How good do you have to be to get to Heaven? God is holy, and requires  holiness. Holiness is purity. Even though you may think you are good enough,  even one sin disqualifies you from being in the presence of God. You could never  be good enough. That is why you need Jesus.

    The Bible says that there is none good enough. "There  is none who does good, there is not even one," Goodness  is measured by God's standard - not yours.

    To say that you are good enough means that Christ did not have to die. But  He did die to save sinners. The Bible says if righteousness can come by good  deeds, then Christ didn't need to die, but He  did, so being good isn't enough.
  4. I tried Christianity once
    The Bible says that once you are saved, you are never the same again; you  are a new creature. If  you have gone back to your old ways, then most probably you were never saved. If, however, you were saved, then God won't let you stay in rebellion  for long. He will deal with you in whatever way is necessary to bring you back  into fellowship with Him.

    Did you become a Christian by going to church or by asking Jesus to forgive  you of your sins? The latter makes you a Christian, the former doesn't.

    You don't try Christianity to see if it works, or if your life gets better.  You receive Christ because you trust what he has done for you on the cross so  you can escape the judgment of God upon you for your sin.
I really hope that seaking the truth about God and Christianity will bring you into a relationship with our creator.

Have Intelligent Faith

- Nelis