Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Franklin Graham: On the Sources of Our Problems

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

Franklin Graham puts much of the blame for America's wretched spiritual condition on "sinful entertainment" that "deposits rubbish in the mind, giving Satan a foothold in our lives."15 Referring to Hollywood as "Follywood," he laments the fact that "we are willing to spend our hard-earned money on... films that instill in us the opposite of what the Bible commands."16

And with regard to television, Franklin asks, "Why do we welcome into our homes the flaunting of sin that glorifies the flesh and curses the Name of Jesus, while on Sundays we glorify Him at church?"17 Franklin has stated that when he was a boy, the most risque thing he remembers seeing on TV was Miss Kitty on Gunsmoke.18 But in contrast, "Now even watching the advertisements on television or viewing the trailers for movies is enough to make you blush."19

Franklin Graham

Franklin reserves his most stinging rebuke for what he considers to be the fundamental source of our national spiritual morass — namely, silent pulpits. In May of 2014 he delivered a powerful condemnation of Evangelical pastors and challenged them to rise up and start speaking out in behalf of righteousness.20

The occasion was a banquet in Washington, D.C. sponsored by the Family Research Council at which Franklin was given the "Watchman on the Wall Award." He began his remarks by reading Revelation 21:8 where there is a list of eight groups of people who will be consigned to Hell. He pointed out that the very first group mentioned was the "cowardly," and he then launched into a no-holds-barred condemnation of preachers for their cowardice in failing to speak out about the sins of America.21 He chastised them for evading moral issues for fear of offending someone:22

Christians cannot ignore parts of God's Word because they are unpopular or cause division. Our commission is to proclaim Christ and all He stands for. This is what the church's presence in the world is all about. We cannot sincerely proclaim the truth of God's love while ignoring what He hates, and God hates sin.

He proceeded to point out that just as our nation has drifted from the strict interpretation of the Constitution, so also has the church seriously drifted from taking God at His Word.23 He added, "It is cowardice to excuse sin by claiming [as do many preachers] we have no right to judge what God has already judged." He referred his audience to the words of Isaiah 51:7,13 which reads: "Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, you people in whose heart is My law: Do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults... You have feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor."

He concluded his remarks with this challenge:24

Let's overcome cowardice with courage. Let's be fearless ambassadors of Christ and stand strong for the glory of God our Savior, pulling others from the fire of eternal judgement (Jude 23).


In the third part of my analysis of Franklin Graham as a modern-day Daniel, we'll see where he stands on various social and moral issues.


Reference Notes

15) Ibid.

16) Ibid., page 16.

17) Ibid.

18) Ibid.

19) Ibid.

20) Franklin Graham, "Cowards or Overcomers: Standing Strong," Decision magazine, July/August 2014, pages 4-6.

21) Ibid., page 4.

22) Ibid.

23) Ibid., page 6.

24) Ibid.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Franklin Graham: A Modern Day Daniel in the Lion's Den

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

In 1991 an outstanding academic biography of Billy Graham was published. It was titled, A Prophet With Honor.1 The author, Dr. William Martin, was at that time a professor at Rice University where he specialized in the sociology of religion.

I knew Dr. Martin personally since we had been students together at Harvard University in the early 1960s. As soon as the book was published, I called him and asked, "Why in the world did you title the book, A Prophet With Honor? You know as well as I do that Billy Graham was anything but a prophet!"

Dr. Martin laughed and responded, "Yes, Dave, I realize that, but in like manner, you know as well as I do that publishers demand absolute control over a book's cover and its title." He went on to explain that he had engaged in a wrestling match with the publisher over the title, but had lost.


A Difference in Styles and Callings

Billy Graham was a very gifted and effective evangelist, but he certainly was no prophet. He sought the favor of politicians, he feared offending anyone, and he had "an obsessive need for approval."2 His son, Franklin, has summed it up this way: "Daddy hates to say no. I can say no."3

In stark contrast, Franklin could care less about currying the favor of politicians, he refuses to tip-toe through the tulips with regard to controversial issues, and he seeks no one's approval except the Lord's. "I've never really been one to try to be politically correct," Franklin has stated. "I just feel truth is truth, and sometimes I probably offend some people."4

Franklin Graham and his father

Well, as we shall see, there is no "probably" about it. Franklin drives his critics crazy with his refusal to compromise on the issues, and as a result, he is the focus of unrelenting attacks. Take, for example the headline of a Huffington Post article dated March 6, 2015: "Franklin Graham is Still the Worst Thing to Happen to God in a While."5 The author of the article proclaimed, "God has a tough time living down Franklin Graham's narrow bigotry."6

Franklin is not a chip off the old block. His focus and style are radically different from his father's. Franklin has commented about their differences several times in public. He has pointed out that he has received criticism from both Christian leaders and staff members that could be summed up with the words, "Your father would never have said that or taken that position in public."7

Franklin normally responds to such observations by pointing out that his father ministered in a Christian nation whereas he is ministering in the midst of a nation that is jettisoning its Christian heritage.8

That observation is legitimate, but it does not explain the major differences in their ministries. Those differences are rooted in their gifting by the Holy Spirit. Billy was gifted as an evangelist, and he used that gift mightily to proclaim the Gospel to more people than any other evangelist who has ever lived. Franklin, on the other hand, has been gifted prophetically, and he is thus more concerned with speaking out against the evils of society and calling people to repentance.

The spiritual gift of prophecy can be manifested in three ways:

  1. Supernatural knowledge of the future.
  2. The ability to understand and teach Bible prophecy.
  3. The ability and compulsion to apply the Scriptures to contemporary national and international issues.

Franklin Graham excels in the third category, and like his father who preached the Gospel boldly and without compromise, Franklin speaks out fearlessly on all the social and moral issues of our time.


An American Prophet

In the process, he has emerged as one of America's most significant prophetic voices, calling this nation to repentance and warning of God's judgment if we fail to repent.

In sermon after sermon, Franklin has made it clear that he believes America is a nation in revolt against the very One who has blessed it so abundantly. As evidence of the rebellion, he has pointed to the sexual revolution of the 1960s which he says, "left behind a shattered moral landscape that has undermined the fabric and foundation of our nation."9 He argues that the so-called "freedoms" promised by the sexual revolution have resulted instead in "increasing slavery and captivity to sin."10

While commenting on the demands of the LGBT advocacy groups, Franklin presented a sweeping summary of the cultural war that is being waged in America today:11

This is a full-scale assault against Christianity and the followers of Christ. When prayer is banned from the public square; when our President fails to defend biblically defined marriage, and he openly and zealously advocates for gay rights; when legislators rush to overrule existing laws to promote gay marriage; when schools and courts consistently suppress religious freedoms; we know we are locked in a war against the Christian faith, not culture. The architect behind this offensive is none other than Satan himself. The Scripture says that the devil, our archenemy is bent on as much destruction as possible.

Bemoaning the tidal wave of immorality that has swept across our nation since the 1960s, Franklin writes, "There is virtually no place where its corrosive influence is not felt... Today, what our society seems to value most is the freedom to do whatever makes us feel good."12 He then observed that anyone who would try to stop Americans from doing destructive things to themselves "is mocked and vilified."13

To summarize the moral decay of our nation, Franklin presents the following observation: "The moral compass that once guided our nation's people has been ridiculed and rejected, making sin the national sport and pastime."14


In the second part of my analysis of Franklin Graham as a modern-day Daniel, we'll see what he addresses as the main source of America's moral decay.


Reference Notes

1) William Martin, A Prophet With Honor (New York: William Morrow & Co., 1991).

2) Michael D'Antonio, "Playing it Safe in the Pulpit" (a review of A Prophet With Honor), http://articles.latimes.com/199-11-10/books/bk-2227_1_billy-graham-s-success.

3) Tim Graham, "Newsweek Slams 'Theological Bully' Franklin Graham, Tilting His Politics 'Hard to the Right,'" http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tim-graham/2011/05/17/newsweek-slamstheological-bully-franklin-graham-tilting-his-politics-ha#sthash.ixG2YCNl.dpuf.

4) John Westen, "Billy Graham's Son Franklin: Gay lifestyle is 'a sin' and 'I want to warn people,'" www.lifesitenews.com/news/billy-grahams-son-franklin-homosexuality-is-a-sin- andi-want-to-warn-people, page 2.

5) Derek Penwell, "Franklin Graham is Still the Worst Thing to Happen to God in a While," The Huffington Post, 03/05/2015, www.huffingtonpost.com/derek-penwell/franklin-graham-obama_ b_6809080.html.

6) Ibid., page 2.

7) Michael W. Chapman, "Rev. Graham: Secularists Are 'Anti-Christ' and 'They've Taken Control of Washington," CNSNews, January 30, 2015, http://cnsnews.com/blog/michael-w-chapman/rev-graham-secularists-are-anti-christ-and-they-ve-taken-control-washington.

8) Ibid.

9) Franklin Graham, "Franklin Graham Points to Jezebel Scriptures to Describe America," CharismaNews, 02/12/2015, http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48265-franklin-grahampoints-to-jezebel-scriptures-to-describe-america.

10) Ibid.

11) GLAAD, "Franklin Graham," www.glaad.org/cap/franklin-graham.

12) Franklin Graham, "Franklin Graham Points to Jezebel Scriptures..." page 2.

13) Ibid.

14) Franklin Graham, "Hollywood: Entertaining Ourselves to Death," AFAJournal, September 2014, page 17.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Persecution

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

No one likes to suffer persecution. Yet, the Bible makes it clear that those who commit themselves to Jesus will be persecuted. The Apostle Paul declared this truth very bluntly in one of his letters to Timothy: "Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus Himself also warned that His followers would be despised by the world: "You will be hated by all because of My name..." (Mark 13:13).

In fulfillment of these prophecies, Christians have been persecuted throughout history. Even when the Catholic Church dominated Europe, true Bible-believing Christians were tortured by the apostate Church and were burned at the stake.

Today, Christians are being persecuted throughout the world as never before. They are being harassed, tortured and even slaughtered pell-mell by Muslims, Hindus, Communists and Humanists. It is currently estimated that more than 100,000 Christians are being martyred yearly for their faith.

Christians in the United States have lived charmed lives for 350 years, from the establishment of the Jamestown colony in 1607 to the beginning of the decade of the 1960s. During those years, our nation's Christian heritage was recognized and respected.

But Christianity went on the defensive with the cultural revolution of the 1960s. And since Barack Obama's election in 2008, true Bible-believing Christians have become a persecuted sub-culture within American society.

Hatred toward Christianity in America today is blatant, crude and loud. Just type the word, Christian, into an Internet search engine and see the nature of the critical articles that appear. They are horrific in nature. Christianity is vilified as "what is wrong with America," and Christians are denounced as "intolerant bigots."

I was jolted by the anti-Christian vehemence that exists in our nation today when I started doing research on Franklin Graham. For every positive article I found about Franklin, there were a dozen that were hyper-critical, meanspirited and hate-filled. A classic example is an article that appeared in the Huffington Post that was titled, "Franklin Graham is Still the Worst Thing to Happen to God in a While." Newsweek wrote him off as a "theological bully."

Franklin Graham

The extreme hatred expressed toward Franklin, particularly among homosexuals, makes me fear for his life. He will certainly need heavy security next year when he launches his campaign to hold a prayer rally in every state of our nation.

Increasingly, in our nation, it is going to be difficult to live a Christian life without experiencing some form of extreme persecution. Jobs will be lost. Businesses will be destroyed. In fact, the current anti-Christian wave of opinion is so strong, I would not be surprised to see "hate speech" criminalized so that those speaking out against sins like sexual perversion can be put in prison.

The good news in the midst of the paganization of our culture is that the resulting Christian persecution is a definite sign that we are living in the season of the Lord's return. Satan knows Bible prophecy (Revelation 12:12), and he knows from the signs of the times that his time is short — and thus he is intensifying his attacks on Christians worldwide.

As we face increasing persecution in the days ahead, let us keep in mind the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 5:11-12 — "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great..."

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Rhodes Responds to Newsweek: A Committee Determined the Bible Inerrant

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Was the Bible's claim to inerrancy determined by a committee?

On our television program Christ in Prophecy, we asked this question of Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and director of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures, located in Frisco, Texas. His ministry specializes in defending Christianity against Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, the cults, world religions, and about any group that teaches false doctrine. He is a seminary professor and an excellent writer who has written more than 70 books! His latest one is titled, The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy.

Dr. Rhodes addressed some of the outlandish statements Newsweek magazine had made in a recent article that distort the Bible and treat Christianity with contempt.



The Inerrrancy Determined by a Committee Argument

"Nowhere in the Gospels, or Acts, or Epistles, or Apocalypses does the New Testament say it is the inerrant Word of God. It couldn't. The people who authored each section had no idea they were composing the Christian Bible and they were long dead before what they wrote was voted by members of political and theological committees to be the New Testament."

First of all, let's recognize that it wasn't committees who determined the Word of God. They recognized that the Bible was the Word of God. Even in New Testament times, the New Testament books were already being recognized as the Word of God. In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter acknowledges that everything Paul wrote was the Word of God, using the same word for Scripture as is used of the Old Testament Scriptures, and in the Jewish context at that.

In 1 Timothy 5:18, we find a reference to Luke's Gospel, as well as the book of Deuteronomy, and they are both collectively called Scripture.

Even during his own lifetime, people recognized Paul was writing Scripture. That's why Paul had his works read in a number of churches because they were Scripture.

The Doctrine of Inerrancy grows out of the Doctrine of Inspiration. What does that mean, the word "inerrancy"? It means "without error." There are no mistakes. There is no error in the original documents penned by the original writers of Scripture.

We need to be careful about this claim, because some evangelicals have tried to redefine inerrancy. They have tried to redefine it to mean that the Bible is inerrant in the sense that there are no intentional deceits. Now, wait a minute, based on that definition everything that you've ever written is inerrant and everything I have written in inerrant. That's not what the Bible means. If it's the Word of God, it has to be inerrant. How could God make an error?

That really gets back to the Doctrine of Inspiration, because the word "inspired" doesn't mean inspiring to read like Shakespeare. It means that the Scriptures are breathed out by God. God is the source of the Scriptures.

The great verse to go to is 2 Peter 1:21 which says that the biblical writers were brought along by the Holy Spirit, or driven along. It is a very strong word in the original Greek. The only other place where that word occurs is in Acts 27 where Paul is on that big ship and he is there with a bunch of other men and this big storm comes up. The wind is just really picking up and the sailors are trying to control where the ship is going, but they couldn't do it because the wind was driving them along. That is the same word used of the Holy Spirit who was driving the Biblical authors to write what they wrote. So, yes, humans were involved, but the Holy Spirit drove them along.

Here is what I'm building up to — God does not err. The Scriptures come from God. Therefore, the Scriptures do not err.

All throughout the Scriptures, we do see indications for inerrancy, that Scripture cannot be broke. For example, what did Jesus continually tell the Pharisees and the Sadducees about their traditions? He said you guys are constantly going back to your tradition and ignoring the Word of God, but it is the Word of God that is authoritative.

Where did Jesus win His confrontation with the Devil (Matthew 4:1-11)? How did He defeat the Devil? It was Scripture.

On and on we could go, but what we see in the New Testament is that the Scriptures speak with the voice of God and with the authority of God. The Scriptures have the authority of God because they came from God. So, these guys who talk about contradictions and so forth, they haven't really studied the issue.

I want to tell you something. The Bible may have apparent contradictions, especially in the four Gospels. They may have apparent contradictions, but not genuine contradictions. It is truer to say that the Gospels have differences. But, listen to me on this, if all four Gospels were identical, what would the critics say? They'd then claim that one guy wrote them all or were copying from each other. It's the same as if you've got five witnesses saying exactly the same thing in the courtroom. They are going to claim "Collusion! Collusion! Collusion! Collusion!" And so, I'm glad that we've got four Gospels that have different details.

Still, the Gospels don't contradict. I used to have a friend who was a policeman, and he would write up reports at the corner where there was an accident. Everybody had a different report and there were different things that were being shared. By taking all those reports together, he could develop a composite report. In the same way, we look at the different details provided in the four Gospels and then we understand that we can build a composite account of what took place in the life of Jesus.

It is real important to understand that a partial account does not mean a faulty account. It's real important to understand that faulty human interpretations are not to be equated with God's infallible revelation. Human interpretations can conflict, but God's revelation does not conflict.

For example, the greatest evidence that the Bible really is the Word of God is fulfilled biblical prophecy. Prophecy had such a powerful impact on me when I was a youngster, I was teenager, and at the time I was involved in show business of all things, working in Hollywood. I was backstage working with Shirley Boone one day, this is Pat Boone's wife, and they were talking about prophecy. I never heard of this stuff before. I never heard about the Second Coming or the Rapture or the Tribulation. Long story short, biblical prophecy proved to me that the Bible really is the Word of God, because only God knows the beginning from the end.

After all, what other book in the world contains fulfilled prophecy? Hundreds of prophecies have been fulfilled.

When I looked at the Old Testament prophecies about the First Coming, that is what got my attention. When I saw all those prophecies had been fulfilled literally to the crossing of the "T" and the dotting of the "I" in the New Testament, I knew nobody could do that. Prophecies about individuals, cities, towns, nations, empires — all came true! And so, what I did was knowing these prophetic fulfillments were from God, I decided I was going to turn my life over to the Lord. I dumped Hollywood and went to seminary.

God did a radical work in my life. If God can change me, God can change anybody.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Rhodes Responds to Newsweek: The Bible Doesn't Condemn Homosexuality

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

Is the condemnation of homosexuality in 1 Timothy a modern invention?

On our television program Christ in Prophecy, we asked this question of Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and director of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures, located in Frisco, Texas. His ministry specializes in defending Christianity against Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, the cults, world religions, and about any group that teaches false doctrine. He is a seminary professor and an excellent writer who has written more than 70 books! His latest one is titled, The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy.

Dr. Rhodes addressed some of the outlandish statements Newsweek magazine had made in a recent article that distort the Bible and treat Christianity with contempt.



The Homosexuality Isn't Condemned in the Bible Argument

"The condemnation of homosexuality in 1 Timothy is a modern invention, since the word 'homosexual' did not exist until 1,800 years after 1 Timothy was written."

It is true that in the history of the English language the word "homosexual" has been a fairly recent development. It's a compound word meaning "same-sex." That recent developments have caused such a word is in and of itself a sign of the times right there. But, the thing of it is, is that this argument has been presented as a smokescreen argument to do away with the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality. I'm sorry, but that just won't work.

In 1 Timothy, the Greek word that is used there, if you look in the most accurate Greek lexicons like Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich as the standards, is that the word means "men who engage in sexual relations with other men." That's what the word means. Now, whether or not you want to say the whole phrase, or use the word homosexual, the meaning of 1 Timothy 1:10 is the same, and that is that God is condemning homosexuality.

I might mention to you what Paul says there in 1 Timothy 1:10 is in perfect keeping with what he says elsewhere. For example, in Romans 1 the author talks about unnatural affections between men and men and unnatural affections between women and women. Paul makes the same point in 1 Corinthians 6 where he says that homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Now, to be fair, a number of different kinds of sinners are mentioned in that context, so we are not ganging up on homosexuals. Still, homosexuality is one of a number of sins that could keep you out of the Kingdom of God.

The interesting thing there is what Paul says to the Corinthians right there in 1 Corinthians 6. He said some of you used to be homosexuals, but you've been delivered by the power of the Lord Jesus and you've been sanctified. Therefore, both Paul and I am certainly wishing for all homosexuals to be delivered from their lifestyle.

I'm not trying to come across as mean-spirited, or unfair, or narrow minded, or any of those things. We must be clear on what the Bible actually teaches on this, because eternal souls are at stake. We need the truth. What we need today is for Christians to be bold enough to tell the truth in the name of Jesus. This is what Scripture teaches on homosexuality, and so, if I might add, the Scriptures also speak strongly against same-sex marriage.

Look to Matthew 6:19 when people claim that Jesus never talked about homosexuality. It says, "'Haven't you read,' He replied, 'that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female. And it also said for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two will become one flesh.'" It'd be correct to say that Jesus Himself, by defining what marriage is, was saying that homosexuality, adultery and fornication are not the definition of marriage.

Of course, Jesus is pointing back to Genesis 2 where marriage is invented. God is the one who invented it. And, as the Inventor of marriage, God is the One who determined the genders that participate in it. Marriage is for one male and one female.

Marriage between one man and one woman is seen throughout the rest of the Bible. Take 1 Corinthians 7 for example. There Paul is giving instructions to husbands and wives about meeting each other's needs. He says the man must meet the needs of the woman, and the woman must meet the needs of the man. There's a very clear gender distinction between the two.

I could go a lot more on this, for it is very clear from the Bible that homosexuality is a sin. By virtue of that fact, same-sex marriages are a sin as well. And, so is adultery and so is fornication The Bible makes it very clear the only moral sex is that between a husband and a wife.

I think that too often one of the problems that we see in the Church to be fair is that there will be individuals speaking out against homosexuality when they haven't dealt first with their own problems.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Rhodes Responds to Newsweek: 1 Timothy and 2 Peter Are Forgeries

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

Are 1 Timothy and 2 Peter in the Bible forgeries?

On our television program Christ in Prophecy, we asked this question of Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and director of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures, located in Frisco, Texas. His ministry specializes in defending Christianity against Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, the cults, world religions, and about any group that teaches false doctrine. He is a seminary professor and an excellent writer who has written more than 70 books! His latest one is titled, The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy.

Dr. Rhodes addressed some of the outlandish statements Newsweek magazine had made in a recent article that distort the Bible and treat Christianity with contempt.



The Pauline Forgeries Argument

"It is the universal opinion of biblical scholars that both 1 Timothy and 2 Peter are forgeries."

Everyone believes it, he is saying, right? What doctor is the author again? What professors did he ask?

Well, that is just nonsense! These guys offer some arguments that they think are just killer arguments, like claiming that Paul didn't write 1 Timothy, but they aren't.

Do you know what their arguments are? First of all, they'll claim the style of writing is a little different in 1 Timothy, so Paul couldn't have written it. Not only that, they'll point out that Paul likes to talk about big theological themes in his books, and 1 Timothy doesn't have any big theological themes, and so therefore Paul could not have written it. They will also go on to say that they think the book was written in the Second Century, and if 1 Timothy was written in the Second Century, Paul couldn't have written it because he died in the First Century. Then they'll claim that the error that Paul was dealing with in 1 Timothy was Second Century Gnosticism.

These are the kinds of weak arguments that they offer. So, let's just evaluate them real quickly.

First of all, let's look at the style. In Romans, Paul was writing to the Church at Rome theology about justification and sanctification. When he was writing to Timothy, his young friend who started up a church, He's writing like to one of his little pals. Timothy was one of Paul's close, intimate friends. Obviously, the style is going to be a little bit different.

Really, there are no theological themes in 1 Timothy? That's what you're bringing to the table, Newsweek, really? The fact is that what you find in 1 Timothy is a discussion of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Is there any bigger theological theme than the atonement of Christ?

Paul also talks about Christ being the mediator between God and man.

By the way, 1 Timothy is not dealing with Second Century Gnosticism. Its dealing with First Century Jewish legalism. So, Newsweek got it wrong from beginning to end.

As for 2 Peter being a supposed forgery, this is another one of those comical things where they just didn't reading the text very carefully. The reason these skeptics claim that 2 Peter is not given the evidence of being written by Peter is because the style is completely different from 1 Peter. If you look at the book, it's got different words and different style than 2 Peter does. They are just different.

Have they even read 1 Peter? If you read 1 Peter and you come to chapter 5 verse 12, what does Peter say there? Peter says, "This letter has actually been written down for me by my scribe Silvanus." He was a stylist. He was an expert in Greek linguistics who wrote this down for Peter. Peter then would have checked what Silvanus recorded over to make sure it was exactly right before it then went out to the churches.

In 2 Peter, Peter didn't use a stylist. He wrote it by himself, and he is a little more sloppy than the scribe who recorded 1 Peter. But, both of them came from Peter.

My point is that these skeptics' arguments are ridiculous! The sad thing is that most Christians are too illiterate to even know this stuff, and so therefore there will be a lot of Christians who will believe the lies that are set forth in this article.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Rhodes Responds to Newsweek: God is Not a Trinity

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Does the Bible truly teach that God is a trinity?

On our television program Christ in Prophecy, we asked this question of Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and director of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures, located in Frisco, Texas. His ministry specializes in defending Christianity against Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, the cults, world religions, and about any group that teaches false doctrine. He is a seminary professor and an excellent writer who has written more than 70 books! His latest one is titled, The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy.

Dr. Rhodes addressed some of the outlandish statements Newsweek magazine had made in a recent article that distort the Bible and treat Christianity with contempt.



The Elusive Trinity Argument

"The Trinity, the belief that Jesus and God are the same and with the Holy Spirit are a single entity, is a fundamental yet deeply confusing tenet. So where does the clear declaration of God and Jesus as part of a triumvirate appear in the Greek manuscripts? And they declare, 'Nowhere!'"

This kind of sounds like the Jehovah's Witnesses. They have the same kind of argument against the Trinity. So far we've seen the author's gotten his fallacies from Dan Brown novels, and now we are seeing that he is getting stuff from the Jehovah's Witnesses. Everything but from the Bible.

Anybody who has studied the Bible can answer this. I think my kids who just went to Christian schools could answer that very easily. Let me just answer it this way. First of all, the reality that he can't understand the Trinity doesn't mean anything to me. Do you really expect a finite being to be able to understand the infinite God? If we could, He wouldn't be God!

In terms of the actual biblical evidence for the Trinity, let me just quickly give you five planks.

The first plank is that there is one God, and that is something that we see from Genesis to Revelation. It is a thread that goes all the way from Genesis to Revelation — there is one God.

The second plank is the Father is called God all throughout the Bible. Nobody disputes that.

The third plank is that Jesus is called God on many, many occasions. He is called God in John 1:1. He is called "The Great I Am" of Exodus 3:14 and John 8:58. He and the Father have the same divine nature in John 10:30. The fullness of deity dwells in Jesus Christ according to Colossians 2:9. Thomas confessed Jesus was God in John 20:28, "My Lord, and My God." That is exactly right. "I am the First and the Last," Jesus says in Revelation 1:8.

My point being — Jesus is God, just like the Father is. Jesus has the same title as the Father.

The fourth plank is that the Holy Spirit is called God. After all, He is called the Spirit of God all throughout the Bible. The Holy Spirit has all the attributes of God. In Acts chapter 5, lying to the Holy Spirit is equated to lying to God.

So, what have seen so far? There is one God. The Father is God. Jesus is God. The Holy Spirit is God.

The fifth plank is that there are three-in-oneness within the Deity. This is going into the Greek. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus says, "Baptize in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit." In the original Greek, the word "name" is singular indicating one God. But, also in the Greek, there is a definite article in front of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. In English definite articles don't matter that much, but in the original Greek definite articles mean everything. Those definite articles distinguish the three persons in the one name of God.