Apologetics

04/28/24

Apologetics: The Bible, Trustworthy or Not
Psalm 19:1-4
Digging deeper into the April 28 sermon . . .
I believe in God. It’s faith, but it is not blind faith. God has proven Himself to me in the darkest crevices of life. He has whispered to me words of love, with the voice of total strangers. He has held my hand during the terrors that come in the night, leading me out of the nightmare of “what ifs”, with a walk down memory lane…”remember what I have done in my Word; remember what I have done for you throughout your life, I am not done little daughter”. I believe in God because He has shown Himself to me.
I believe in God because He has revealed Himself in the balance of this world. I think of the seasons, the crisp Autumn breezes giving in to Winter’s freeze, and just when I think that I cannot take anymore cold, Spring pops in with its invigorating freshness, bringing new life and hope. Summer never forgets to tag along after spring, bringing along its hot lazy days, followed by our old friend Autumn.
When I look around at the world, I wonder how anyone could deny that someone or something carefully crafted it. We live in a beautiful world, and while the effects of sin are seen, there is still evidence of the artistic expression of the Creator. And as we look at that “art” we can also witness the intelligent design within its beauty! There is a balance that is “art” in itself. Take for example the extraction of wolves and cougars from Yellowstone National Park. Because the predators were removed, the elk population boomed, which increased grazing amongst the plant life, which decreased the vegetation, primarily along the streams, which in turn pushed the beaver population out, as well as the birds. As a result of this, the water channels straightened out, the channels deepened. Removing the wolves disrupted the entire ecosystem. You may not be a fan of wolves, but you have to admit that they were part of a delicate balancing act that The Creator put in place.
Also consider this; A mother carries a baby for 9 months, providing a safe perfect habitat. She provides nourishment, and it all can be exhausting and draining for the mom, but there are also benefits to carrying a child. For one the risk of certain types of cancer decrease because of pregnancy, but there is also an exchange of cells between the mother and baby, so as a mother you will always carry a part of your child with you, and here is the cool thing, scientists have discovered that when a woman gets sick, they have found clusters of cells that migrate to the area of illness or injury, and those cells try to heal the disease or the injury. It turns out these cell clusters are the cells of the children they have carried. So, after months of her body prioritizing the baby in her womb, the fruit of her womb then seeks to heal her illness. When God said to Eve, you shall be saved through childbirth, the word for saved literally means health. When a baby breathes on a mother there is a signal sent to the mother’s brain that causes her breast milk to adjust to the needs of the infant, but breastfeeding also helps the mother’s body to heal faster after birthing that baby. There is a breathtaking beauty in that balance that God created.
Anchul talked about the balance of the earth, and the distance of the earth from the sun being perfect to sustain life on earth…if you haven’t listened to last week’s sermon you should! But there is also another bit of evidence for a designer of this garden we call the earth. Within the vegetation of earth there are all sorts of plants that support and promote the health of the body. It’s almost as if a Creator supplied His children with a natural pharmacy! Mullein leaves support the lungs, elderberries can offer support to the immune system, etc. But also, in nature there are plants that are poisonous, Bella Dona, Lily of the Valley, Poison Ivy, etc. When these plants grow in nature the plant antidote can also be found growing within ten feet of the poisonous plant. That is the perfect picture of balance, and it’s symbolic if you ask me.
There was once a garden planted by the Creator of this world, the garden, and the world it was created in, enjoyed perfect harmony, or balance. Sin entered the world through one man’s actions, and the effects of that sin disrupted that perfect balance, and that man was banned from the garden. Much like God planting the antidote for poison within ten feet of the poisonous plant, God planted the antidote for sin in Mary’s womb, Jesus grew up surrounded by the poison of sin, but He was not tainted by sin. He is the antidote for sin, He is the cure for death. We don’t have to forage the forest looking for Him, He has made Himself known! And He is there available to anyone who calls upon His name! And He will restore balance to the garden of your life! – Ginny Axelrod

04/21/24

Apologetics: The Bible, Trustworthy or Not
2 Peter 1:19-21

When I first became a Christian, I thought the Bible was just a little bit boring. I also found it very confusing! The Old Testament was filled with unfamiliar names, and a lot of times they were so similar it made it hard to keep track of the “plot”. I would be reading, and think that I knew what was going on, only to find a scene change without a warning, the plot that I was absorbed in abandoned, and a new sub plot emerging, with no rhyme or reason to my untrained mind. Or I would come across what seemed to be a repeating of previous stories, but with slight differences. And the genealogies! All the “begot s”, all those names, so strange, and at times so similar, Why???

The Bible is an ancient book. And yes, it is a book that is like no other! It is a story within a story, and everything has meaning. The names of people and places all have meaning, and God speaks to us through the meaning of those names. The ancient audience would have understood the point God was making with each name or word choice, we the modern audience often miss the point. But as we study this book, and as we follow the cross-reference system, we come to appreciate the genius of this work of literature, and view it as not just literature, but a supernatural work.

The Bible is a book that contains 66 books, it was written over the span of 1,500 years, by over 40 different writers from various walks of life, with varying points of view: prophets, kings, statesmen, military leaders, peasants, tax collectors, philosophers, fishermen, poets, musicians, scholars, and shepherds, a physician, and a priest. It was written on three continents: Asia, Africa, and Europe. It was written in three different languages: Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. That’s a lot of variables, and yet the 66 books, and the 40 plus authors present one cohesive message; they all point to God’s faithfulness in the redemption of mankind, through the promised Messiah.

For hundreds of years archeologists have used the Bible to locate ancient civilizations! They used the Old Testament and the New Testament as a reference to set up their sites, and they found civilizations that “didn’t exist”, or kings that were a thing of “fantasy or bedtime stories.” Yep, the Bible said, “it’s here”, and they took their little shovels and dug and bingo, skeptics were proved wrong. Which means that the Bible is historically accurate.

God has proven Himself to be the all-knowing creator, in my opinion, through the many prophecies contained in this beautiful book. God has shown that He is not bound by a linear timeline, He knows the future, and broadcasted it through His prophets, and as you read the words in the Old Testament and watch that future unfold, it is amazing. Things happened just as He said they would. Kings and queens died just as He said they would. Men became kings, just as He said they would, kingdoms were brought down, just as He said they would be, and deliverance came in the form of Messiah just as He promised.

There are three-hundred prophecies spoken in the Old Testament regarding the Messiah. Jesus fulfilled every one of them. The time of His birth, the place of His birth, the circumstances of His birth. The prophecies describe His death in great detail, (keep in mind at the time the prophecies were given crucifixion was not even a thing), they mention the soldiers gambling for His garments, the price for His betrayal; thirty pieces of silver, and that not a bone would be broken. There’s more…three-hundred prophesies and all of them fulfilled by Jesus! Now the skeptic has claimed “well they probably wrote all that stuff after Jesus died”, but the first Greek translation of the Torah was written two hundred and fifty years before Jesus was born. Some might say “well Jesus knew the Torah, so He orchestrated it all”, ok that’s fair, maybe He could have brought about HIs own arrest and crucifixion, in order to start His own cult, though that is a bit extreme, but He could not have orchestrated where He was born, or when He was born, or  Herad’s slaughtering of the infants, or His mother being a virgin, or their trip to Egypt….so on and so on.

Jesus is a noted Historical figure. It is documented in history that People believed that He was the Messiah, and that He was crucified, and that His body somehow disappeared, and that His followers believed that He rose from the dead, and that he appeared to them. This all supports what the writers of the Bible claimed. I believe that the Bible is God reaching out to humanity, and revealing who He is…I believe it is His word. I can’t prove to you that it is, but after the reading the information I have shared with you, it should cause you to consider the possibility that it is. No other book can claim the fulfillment of over three hundred prophecies. No other book has been quoted as much, no other book has had the positive effects on society, and no other book can transform the heart of a man and change a sinner into a saint!

There is one promise that hasn’t been fulfilled yet, and that is that Jesus will return, I am waiting for that day. We’ve been waiting a long time, and there are some who scoff at the idea, but if all the prophecies in the Old Testament have been fulfilled, including the three hundred regarding the promised Messiah then I think we can count on this one! The question is will you be ready? Stay in the Word, and cling to the truth! The Bible is a book of “promises made, promises kept”, and we can trust it whatever the future brings, because although the Bible may be completed, God’s is still narrating the story!                         – Ginny Axelrod

04/14/24

Apologetics: I’m Not Sorry
1 Peter 3:15

To believe or not to believe? That is the question.

Richard Dawkins is a British evolutionary biologist. Mr. Dawkins is also the author of “The God Delusion”. He is part of the group of folks referred to as the “New Atheists”. Richard Dawkins, in the past has said that the God of the Bible is a monster. Richard finds religion to be a danger to society. When asked in a debate “Where did everything come from”, he replied, “I don’t know.” The thought that “everything” came out of “nothing” is far more appealing than the possibility that the universe was created by a powerful God.

In a recent interview Richard Dawkins expressed his disappointment in his government for emphasizing Ramadan, over Easter. He said, “I find that I like to live in a culturally Christian country, even though I do not believe a single word of the Christian faith.”. Richard enjoys the benefits that come from living in a culture that God’s influence curated….He just doesn’t like that God. He now recognizes Christianity as a “fundamentally decent religion”, and that the alternatives, are “truly dreadful”, but still labors to destroy, or at least undermine the Christian faith. It is interesting that in his golden years Dawkins is recognizing the benefits that Christianity has brought to society…especially since he once decried it as evil.

Dawkins appreciates hymns, Christmas carols, and the beautiful cathedrals, and sees these all as a benefit to society, but I wonder if he realized that the system of science that he utilizes was developed by a Christian?

The New Atheists want to list all the atrocities done in the name of Christianity, but they never attribute the millions of deaths that were the direct result of atheistic philosophy embedded in the communist and socialist movements.

There have been horrible things done in the name of Christianity…there will always be misguided or evil people, we call them wolves in sheep’s clothing, but that is no reflection on the teachings of Christ, that is simply the results of sin, but let’s talk about the good things that Christianity has birthed into this world.

Yes, the beautiful cathedrals of the world were built to pay homage to God, but many of the great scientists also paid homage to God by studying the world that God had created, they were inspired by God’s word, and had a hunger to understand His design. The Bible’s influence can be seen in our own legal and judiciary system. Some of the greatest artists were inspired by the stories of the Bible, and to this day we find ourselves studying, admiring, appreciating…and being inspired by them. Of course we have a significant amount of music written, that welled up in the heart of man to express their love and awe of his God. There have been hospitals erected, orphanages founded, and colleges started…all in the name of Christianity. The influence of Christianity on a culture is evident, and we have all benefited from it. But that is changing.

Our world is in turmoil. Our country is divided, and to many, Christianity is a dirty word. But I am full of hope, because if Richard Dawkins can say on television that Christianity is a “fundamentally decent religion”, anything is possible, even Richard one day acknowledging God as his creator! I’m hoping…and praying, because although Richard does not believe that he has a soul, his soul, one day will go somewhere, and I don’t want that somewhere to be hell. Society changes when the hearts of men change. God is the only one who can change a man’s heart. Please pray for revival. Wouldn’t it be beautiful to see that happen? Let’s all be praying!  And pray for Richard Dawkins…He needs that God that he doesn’t believe in…we all do!