Thursday, March 19, 2020

How did Christians respond to Plagues throughout History?



For the video version of this article click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqJevPWIxGU

The recent COVID-19 outbreak has brought our attention to the unavoidable reality of plague that has frequently been a part of human history. Starting in Wuhan China COVID-19 spread rapidly throughout every major continent in the world leading to panic buying, government mandated quarantines, social distancing, and higher awareness of hygiene practices. With the Center for Disease Control in the United States issuing guidelines asking for gatherings of no more than 10 people to be cancelled, churches across the nation have wondered what God is calling them to do in response. 




As with many events in the modern world it’s important to let history be our ultimate teacher in this regard. We need to take a close look at how the Christian church has responded to plague and outbreak throughout history and learn from what they did, both good and bad. The amazing reality that we begin to realize when looking at the Christian response to Pandemic throughout history is that in most instances it caused the Christian message to spread even as rapidly as the epidemic itself.

With the fear and pandemonium that is spreading across the world through our various communication portals it has become critical for the church to think strategically during this crucial moment in modern history. How can we leverage ourselves to spread the message of faith, hope, and love during this dark and depressing time? When people are faced with the reality of death we find an openness to the things of God like never before, and it’s our chance to share the Gospel with people and be the light of the world that we have been called to be!

One of the earliest Christian responses to pandemic in history was in the 2nd Century AD during the “Antonine Plague.”

This smallpox type of plague spread rapidly throughout the Roman army and ultimately throughout the entire empire. At its peak it killed 2,000 people per day and over a 23 year period killed as much at 10 percent of the Roman population. During this horrible outbreak Christians took risky measures to care for the sick and as a result shifted the societal perspective from thinking that plague was the work of an angry Roman deity to understanding it to be the result of living in a broken world that is in rebellion against its Creator.

In the 3rd Century AD Christian responded to another, more widespread plague called “the Plague of Cyprian.”

This plague was related to the modern Ebola disease that recently spread throughout some northern African countries. The plague lasted nearly 20 years and, at its height, reportedly killed as many as 5,000 people per day in Rome. A Church Bishop of the time named Dionysius stated that Christians, “Heedless of danger … took charge of the sick, attending to their every need.” As a result, the message of Christianity spread like wildfire throughout the Roman Empire once again leading up to the final legalization of the Christian faith not long after by the Emperor Constatine.

If we zoom forward over 1200 years later to the infamous Bubonic plague in the 1500’s we find the church maintaining a consistent philosophy of caring for the sick and responding to pandemic with courageous fortitude.

The famous Martin Luther, responsible for the Protestant Reformation, wrote a tract during this plague entitled “Whether Christians Should Flee the Plague.” In this tract Luther exhorts leaders in every sector of society as well as Pastors to not abandon their posts during the plague but rather to leverage their influence to care for the sick and share the gospel with a dying world.

In addition to this Luther in other writings admonishes Christians to not conduct themselves as “bad neighbors” by using bad hygiene and failing to adhere to quarantine orders. Here we find the tension between obeying the Great Commission and also using God’s Wisdom to not participate in the spread of disease to our neighbors. It is within this tension that we must live, not hiding away behind a wall of toilet paper and hand sanitizer, but also not disobeying governing authorities who seek to keep diseases from rapidly transmitting. We must think strategically with the heart of Christ regarding how we can care for the sick and hopeless during this moment of crisis around the globe.

The Christian response to COVID-19 is going to require a certain measure of risk, outside of the box thinking, and respect for governing authorities. I concur with Martin Luther as he admonished the church and other critical first responders to not abandon her post during the plague of the 1500s. I also concur that we must take drastic measures to act as good neighbors and not participate in the spread of disease through good hygiene and social awareness. Somewhere in between these two realities we will find God “doing a new thing and making streams in the wilderness (Isaiah 43:19).” We must be led by the Holy Spirit and willing to take a risk to care for those who are in need, we must not draw back in fear but find ways to share God’s message of faith, hope, and love through every available avenue during this time of panic and despair.

So what are some things that we can do to Respond to epidemic in a way that honors God? Here a few of my own suggestions:

1.) If you are a Christian first responder This is an opportunity to see your work as an extension of the Kingdom of God like never before. Recognize that everywhere you go you are an ambassador of the Kingdom in His Presence goes with you to protect you and influence others with the love of Jesus. See yourself not only as a medical professional but as a chaplain for the Kingdom of God.

2.) If you are a pastor or church leader be willing to take strategic risks to minister to those who are in need. Also leverage our modern technology to communicate with those who may be in a bad spot and need an uplifting word or someone to pray with.

3.)Take time to call friends and love ones and people that you haven't reached out to in a while and check on them. This personal touch will give people the understanding that you really do care about them and it may open a door for you to share the love of Christ with them.


4.)If somebody you know has been diagnosed with COVID-19 take steps to communicate this with the local church and organize prayer for this individual. Let us not underestimate the power of targeted prayer as God is still a miracle working God.

These are only a few suggestions that you can think about as we attempt to be ambassadors of God's Kingdom during this dark time period at the end of the day we need to be opening our ears to the voice of the Holy Spirit to show us how we can shine the light of Christ during this crucial moment. He will undertake strategic risks, keep yourself clean with good hygiene,and obey any reasonable recommendations from the government. Don't forget that this too shall pass and God's Kingdom will remain standing no matter how big of a challenge our world will face in the coming years.

If you do not have a personal relationship with God there's never been a better time to have His Presence in your life than now. He gave His only son Jesus Christ to die for our sins so that we can be forgiven and have eternal life. All you have to do is call upon Jesus in prayer and ask Him to save you and he will be faithful to do so. Whenever we call upon Jesus in faith the relationship with God that we have always needed begins in an instant. I encourage you to do this if you have never done it before and please let me know in the comments how we can be praying for you.

Written by: Kyle Bailey, D.Min.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Did Ben Shapiro debunk the resurrection of Jesus???


In Ben Shapiro's recent interview with Christian apologist and philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig we find him presenting 3 major objections to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this article we will be analyzing these objections in detail. For the video version of this interview clip and analysis you can simply click THIS LINK.

Objection #1: Many resurrections have happened in the Bible, why is Jesus’ resurrection unique?

The resurrection of Jesus is unique to other Biblical resurrections in a few different ways. Dr. Craig correctly pointed out that the religio-historical context of Jesus being tried and condemned as a blasphemer and then subsequently raised from the dead, sends a message that God approved of Jesus’ claims about Himself. Also, other resurrections in the Bible were performed by a human conduit, in the case of Jesus we find God Himself raising Jesus from the dead, confirming His unique status as the Son of God. Lastly, other resurrections from the dead only had a temporary effect on the recipient in that they eventually died again. In the case of Jesus the we find that He was raised from the dead into a glorified, immortal body as a demonstration of the kind of bodies that the righteous will receive at the end of the age.

Objection #2: Many scholars date the gospel accounts to somewhere around 70 a.d. How do we know that they are accurate and have not invented the resurrection story?

As Dr. Craig pointed out, despite the fact that many scholars like to point to a theory that the gospels were written some 40 years after the death of Jesus, these same scholars affirm that the women discovered the empty tomb, that a variety of people and groups witnessed appearance of Jesus post-resurrection, and that the disciples came to suddenly and sincerely believe that Jesus rose from the dead despite facing death and persecution. In addition to this, professional forensic specialists such as former cold-case detective Warner Wallace demonstrates clearly that the gospels were written early based on several factors.

A major factor is that the New Testament fails to mention one of the most monumental historical events of the first century: The Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD. Being that Jesus prophesied the destruction of the temple it stands to reason that if the gospels or any other books of the New Testament were written after 70 AD then we should expect to find mention of the temples destruction as it would be powerful confirmation of Jesus’ prophecy. Therefore we can establish that New Testament was written before 70 AD.

Additionally according to the intro to the book of Acts we know it was written after the gospel of Luke and we can date the book of Acts to before 61-64 AD in that it does not mention the death of either Peter or Paul who were key characters in it’s narrative, and they died around this time. There is additional evidence in the letters of 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians in which Paul quotes Luke’s gospel which we can use to date Luke’s gospel to between 50-53 AD.

Knowing the early date of Luke’s gospel helps us to date Matthew and Mark to even earlier being that Luke often repeated or quoted entire passages from them totaling to 350 verses from Mark and 250 verses from Matthew that appear in Luke’s gospel. Estimates are that Mark was written around 45 AD with Matthew shortly afterward. This means that we have the first written gospel only 12 years after the event which is extraordinary in terms of historical documents. Even if one goes with a later dating of the Gospels it still stands that chief components of the resurrection narrative are considered unaltered by the vast majority of scholars in that realm.

Objection #3: Ben Shapiro points to a fringe sect of Judaism that believes their rabbi who is called the Lubavitcher Rebbe resurrected from the dead.

Contrary to the beliefs of this fringe sect the Lubavitcher Rebbe has been lying dead in his grave since June 12, 1994 in New York. Although a small number of random followers of the rebbe have claimed to see him alive, these sightings are comparable to those who have claimed to see Elvis still alive. The difference between these so-called resurrection sightings and the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection from the dead are a world apart. For starters the tomb of Jesus is empty. This would be a bare minimum for followers of the rebbe to demonstrate and it would be very simple to prove. Yet all evidence confirms that the rebbe is still in the same grave he was buried in back in 1994. Secondly, Jesus post-resurrection appearances are reported by upwards of 500 witnesses in New Testament times, many facing death.

Thirdly, the brothers of Jesus who did not believe prior to the resurrection also came to believe through eye-witness experiences. The only reasonable explanation of Jesus’ unbelieving brothers changing their mind is that they did in fact witness the resurrected Jesus. Fourthly, Paul who was a violent persecutor of Christians came to believe in the resurrection of Jesus through an eye-witness experience, as with the brothers of Jesus this would make no sense unless he truly witnessed the resurrected Jesus. And finally, there was no material benefit to becoming a Christian during the first century as you would face death, property seizure and persecution on a daily basis. Followers of the rebbe who claim he is alive have nothing to lose and everything to gain by making these assertions.

Although I respect Ben Shapiro it’s clear that his objections to the resurrection of Jesus do not stand up to the well known data surrounding the Resurrection. I believe that when the evidence for the resurrection is evaluated thoroughly we can understand it as a historical event that has validity equaling any other major event that historians accept. If we reject the historical validity of the resurrection then we must also reject almost all major histories along with it. We can apply the same standards that we use to determine the assasination of Julius Caesar to also determine that Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead.

Written by: Kyle Bailey, D.Min.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Who Created God?



When someone poses the question “who created God” I often find that the one posing it thinks they have asked the ultimate “gotcha” question. This is strange because it’s a question that immediately assumes a proposition about God that no montheistic religion claims to believe. This is consistent with the common logical fallacy that we call the straw man argument. This is where a person sets up a proposition that doesn’t reflect the view of their opponents precisely because the false proposition is easier to defeat in an argument.

The three major montheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all claim to believe in a God who is uncreated. These beliefs are derived from what their sacred texts say about God’s nature. The Bible in Psalm 90 says God is “from everlasting to everlasting.” Understanding this fundamental montheistic belief reveals that the question “who created God” is flawed at it’s premise. In essence the person posing this question is thinking of the “wrong God.”

The God of the Bible is not limited by time, space, or matter. If He is limited by any of these factors then He would cease to meet the qualifications of an Eternal God and we would then be discussing a completely different God than the God of the Bible. Time, space, and matter must have come into existence at the exact same time. For example, if you have matter but no space, where would you put the matter? Also, if you have matter and space but no time, when would you have them? The Bible teaches that in the beginning (time), God created the heavens (space) and the earth (matter).

The question of who created God, or where did God come from is often getting ahead of a more important question: what kind of God do you believe in? If we are already misunderstanding what is meant by the term "God" as defined by the Biblical text then we are doomed to ask uninformed questions such as “where did God come from?” Coming to realize that Christians believe in an Eternal Creator of time, space, and matter as clearly taught in the Bible helps the inquirer to discover, as John Lennox pointed out, that created gods have been rejected as false idols for millenia. No Christians, Jews, or Muslims believe in created gods.

Another aspect of this common question that needs to be understood is the logical fallacy called “Infinite regression.” Simply put infinite regression is when an explanation is given that leads to an endless series of explanations without end. Here is an example using the fictitious characters “Burt and Ernie” having a conversation:

Bert asks, “how do eyes project an image to your brain?”

Ernie says “think of it as a little guy in your brain watching the movie projected by your eyes.”

Bert says “ok, but what is happening in the little guy in your head’s brain?”

Ernie answers “well, think of it as a little guy in his brain watching a movie…”

As you can see, Ernie's explanation leads to an endless series of “little guys” in a brain watching the movie projected by the preceding little guy’s eyes. This is not a valid explanation but rather an infinite regress fallacy. In the same way, if someone “created God” then it leads again to the same question, “who created that God?” And so on, and so on. Therefore the question “who created God” leads to an endless series of the same question and commits the infinite regression fallacy unless one postulates an Uncreated God. Therefore not only is an Uncreated God the correct version of God that Christians believe in, an Uncreated God is also logically necessary to avoid the potential infinite regression fallacy that is produced by the question in the first place.


So the answer to the question "who created God" is simply another question. What is your definition of God? Unless we are talking about the same kind of God then there's no way to answer the question properly. The widespread monotheistic belief that God is an uncreated being helps us to understand the flawed premise of this question and therefore reveals that it is not the barrier to Faith that many believe it appears to be.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Can Atheism explain the meaning of life?


I think the reason that Atheism fails on the question of life’s meaning is because the underpinnings of Atheism are typically materialism and naturalism. That is, the world is strictly material with no spiritual of supernatural potential or dimension, and that it’s existence must be explained as having come about by purely natural means. Every Atheist knows that these two underlying beliefs about the world guide us to the philosophical conclusion that life has no objective meaning.

As a result Atheists must result to the tagline “life has the meaning that you assign to it.” This philosophy has helped to suppress the nagging truth that Atheism provides no real basis for motivation towards positive action for the planet. This is because when analysed fully one must admit that even if you assign meaning to your life temporarily it doesn’t equate to any ultimate meaning within the Atheistic worldview.

If the world is purely material and there is no God or eternity then ultimately everything in it will cease to exist and nothing has any ultimate meaning. Even our best efforts at “making the world a better place” will lose their significance after our Sun expands or explodes and eliminates life on our planet. Therefore, in order to retain feasibility within the Atheistic worldview the tagline “life has the meaning that you assign to it” is regurgitated and chanted hypnotically so that the logical outcome of such a worldview will be avoided at all cost.

Nihilism, which is the belief that life is ultimately meaningless is the logical conclusion of the Atheistic worldview. However, because this would severely damage the potential for this movement to grow, prominent atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris have repeatedly stated that they reject nihilism, even though Atheism has it within its core fabric. This rejection of Nihilism by those whose worldview is the perpetuator of it, is a strange occurrence that can only be explained by a desperate attempt to preserve the legitimacy of their worldview as a whole.

Life’s meaningful nature, like objective morality, is self-evident to all rational people. The urge to make a difference and leave a lasting impact is woven into the fabric of our DNA. The most logically consistent position for being motivated to make a real difference in the world is to affirm that life does have ultimate meaning. This doesn’t mean that Atheists cannot live a life that feels or appears to be meaningful, it simply points out that to do so would be inconsistent with the fundamental meaningless of life that is a core component of their beliefs.

If you’re like me, you want to be able to live as consistently as possible, especially on an issue as severe as the meaning of life itself. Belief in eternity, ultimate meaning, and true legacy is the most rational position to take for a person motivated to make a difference in the world. One is free to live contradictory in this regard by having an Atheistic worldview and yet seeking to live purposefully. But this person cannot claim to have to most rational underlying position on this topic. Logical inconsistencies are never rational.

The reality of life’s ultimate meaning deals a death blow to the Atheistic worldview. However, popular atheistic voices have tried to keep the dead philosophy animated with their pithy taglines and inconsistent advocacy. Don’t buy into the false notion that Atheism retains a logical basis for life’s meaningfulness. If you are a Nihilist Atheist then by all means I commend you for being consistent in your worldview, but it remains nonsensical for Atheists to claim that you can still believe in ultimate meaning while rejecting God and eternity at the same time.

Written by: Kyle Bailey, D. Min.

Are Aliens Demonic?


In Genesis chapter 6 we find a mysterious passage concerning what many have interpreted to be an account of aliens visiting human beings in ancient times… The passage reads “4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.”

The word “Nephilim” is the plural for the Hebrew word “Nephal” which means fallen. Translated literally Nephilim would mean “fallen ones.” These creatures are described as having produced offspring known as “mighty men” which is the Hebrew word “Gibborim.” This word is often used to describe proficient warriors and in some instances giants. It’s not clear that the Nephlim were literally giants, however the term “fallen ones” has led ancient astronaut theorists who have been made popular by the History Channel to believe that the Nephilim are aliens.

In Job 1:6 the term “sons of God” is used to refer to angelic beings. This is the same term used in Genesis 6 in connection with the Nephilim. The combination of the word Nephilim meaning “fallen ones” and the term “sons of God” meaning angelic beings has led Biblical scholars to consider that the Nephilim were possibly a group of fallen angels who somehow impregnated women to produce giants or possibly warriors of some kind prior to the flood of Noah.

Could it be that our modern concept of an alien is simply a mis-interpretation of what is in reality, fallen angels… Many ancient interpreters say YES… In fact Flavius Josephus in his Antiquities of the Jews (1:3:1) held the position that the Nephilim were fallen angels who cohabitated with women. Later authors such as Philo of Alexandria also held this position, as did many rabbinical authorities. Some modern scholars have proposed alternative explanations for the Nephilim but should we opt for their view in exchange for what ancient Bible interpreters held? I think not…

What about modern reports of alien encounters or abductions? In this regard we find a variety of realities to consider. One is that a large number of the reports are either fake publicity stunts or related to mental illnesses such a schizophrenia. But could a percentage of these abduction reports be true, and if so are they referring to literal Aliens? Carl Sagan in his book “The Demon Haunted World” said that the alien abduction experience is similar to tales of demon abduction common throughout history.

Are we to now revise the historic view on these events because of our modern fascination with the prospect of life on other planets? I must admit, it seems quite arrogant for one to reject and reinterpret alien abductions through a modern lense of naturalism when for thousands of years we have considered these occurrences to be demonic in nature. Isn't it true that this notion of alien abductions rather than demon abductions stems from the modern naturalistic tendency to remove any spiritual or supernatural components from unexplainable phenomena? To invoke that physical creatures from another planet are responsible for these events rather than spiritual entities is simply a convenient alternative for modern anti-theists…
The website “alienresistance.org” documents 100 testimonies of people who when being “abducted by aliens” rebuked the creatures in Jesus name and terminated the experience altogether. These stories support the notion that what many are calling alien abductions are more likely to be demonic encounters, otherwise the name of Jesus would have no effect upon these creatures. The Bible clearly teaches that demons must yield to the authority of Jesus Christ.

From the Nephilim of many thousands of years ago to the supposed alien encounters of modern times, human beings have been experiencing bizarre encounters with dark creatures from another realm for centuries. The Devil loves for people to try to explain away the reality of the spirit world with modern concepts such as aliens from other planets. This deception keeps people from coming to realize that the Bible is true and we are in a struggle with demonic forces for the salvation of human-kind through Jesus Christ. As we draw near to the return of Christ more and more people will buy into the deception that there is no spiritual world and that aliens are superior beings from another planet. Let us reject this lie and remain steadfast in the truth of God’s Word as we await the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Written by: Kyle Bailey, D.Min.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Richard Dawkin's Moral Relativism, can it work?


Frank Turek, the well known co-author of the book “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist” says, “If there is no objective morality then love is no better than murder.” At first glance this statement appears to be quite extravagant to say the least. Any rational person knows that there is a stark contrast between love and murder, so isn’t it absurd to say that there is a world where these two things could be equal?

Surprisingly enough the world of moral relativism lays the groundwork for this kind of absurdity to exist in real-time. The fact that we all know innately that love and murder are opposite concepts on the moral spectrum is reason to believe that moral relativism is a bankrupt idealogy. In the world of relative morality we find that the definition of right and wrong is decided by popular opinion and human desire. This means, one society could consider murder as a grevious crime while at the same time a different society could consider murder as a utilitarian good, and neither could say the other is acting immorally.

The need for a transcendent and objective moral code is made obvious by the morally bankrupt nature of relativism. Unless absolute morality exists, morality itself is an illusion. Most people would see it as a self-evident truth that morality is much more than an illusion but rather something grasped innately by all rational people. To argue that morality is an illusion, is to argue against the fabric of human conscience itself. Moral relativism IS the argument that morality as an objective truth is nothing more than an illusion. Is this the kind of world we are meant to live in?

Even worse, if molecule to man evolution is true, our conception of morality is nothing more than a chemically constructed belief. Richard Dawkins said:

“The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”

I must say that I appreciate the frankness of Dawkins in this statement as many atheists try very hard to avoid the logical conclusion of moral relativism. Dawkins faces this absurdity right in the face and admits it. One must ask, “Is this the kind of world we want to live in?” A world in which love and murder could be considered equally moral? A world in which there is no higher morality available to humankind so that we may live in a way that is truly honorable? Thankfully the world of relative morals is the imaginary one.

The world of relative morals is the the world brought into existence by secularists who are bent on ridding society of God. Is it the only alternative to the reality that murder is objectively wrong and love is objectively good as confirmed by a Transcendent Creator who has the proper qualifications to define good and evil absolutely. Many Atheists are terrified at the reality that the only way to truly justify morals is if they come from and All-Knowing, All-Loving, Omnipresent, All-Powerful, Eternal Being. Namely the God of the Bible.

If the source of morality is not omnipresent or eternal then He would not be capable of true omniscience as there may be a time in the past or a place that He doesn’t know about. If the source of morality is not Omniscient, then there may be a better version of morality that He hasn’t learned of. If the source of morality is not All-Loving, then morality is destined to produce standards which fall short of real love. And finally, if the source of morality is not All-Powerful then perfect morality would be useless and unable to be implemented in such a way that the greatest good would ultimately result.

Moral relativism can only be considered objectively good if moral relativism is false. This renders it a logically incoherent worldview worthy of rejection from all reasonable people. Unless objective morality is embraced by humankind once again, we are destined to cannibalize ourselves with opinionated morals that have no foundation in a transcendent truth.

Written by: Kyle Bailey, D.Min.

View the video version of this article here:

Friday, November 22, 2019

The Resurrection of Jesus PROVEN in 5 Minutes



Gary Habermas an American Historian and New Testament Scholar puts forward 6 independent pieces of evidence that the vast majority of scholars, even skeptical scholars agree as being established facts regarding the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. These include:

1) that Jesus died by crucifixion; 

2) that very soon afterwards, his followers suddenly and sincerely came to believe Jesus resurrected from the dead; 

3) that their lives were transformed as a result, even to the point of being willing to die specifically for their faith in the resurrection message; 

4) that these things were taught very soon after the crucifixion; 

5) that James, Jesus’ unbelieving brother, became a Christian due to his own experience that he thought was the resurrected Christ.

6) that the Christian persecutor Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) also became a believer after a similar experience.

These 6 facts directly support the claim that Jesus did rise from the dead. But are their any feasible alternatives in explaining the rise of the world’s most influential religion? Christianity gives a straightforward explanation, that the bodily resurrection of Jesus gave the apostles and early Christians the motivation needed to carry forward their message even unto death. Unhinged and unrelenting skeptics have proposed a variety of alternative and untenable reasons that the early Christians would come to believe in the Resurrection. These proposals include the mass hallucination hypothesis, the elaborate conspiracy hypothesis, and what I call the “Jesus didn’t really die” hypothesis. Which even the early Roman historians rejected. The Romans were exquisite executioners and would’ve laughed at the idea that they would let someone survive their most gruelling punishment, the method of crucifixion.

But what shall we say to the other proposals? Regarding the mass hallucination hypothesis there are multiple problems. One is the diversity of resurrection appearances. To persuade someone that a mass hallucination occured it would be more tenable if the hallucination happened with one group, in one location, at one time. Jesus not only is recorded as having appeared to different individuals but also different groups in different geographical locations under different circumstances.

There is also the familial element to this matter. It is well known that the brothers of Jesus, two of which wrote letters in the New Testament, did not think that Jesus was anything special prior to His Resurrection. However, after the Resurrection they became highly involved leaders in the Christian movement facing great persecution ending with James the brother of Jesus being killed in Jerusalem. It’s one thing to propose that those who already believed in Jesus hallucinated, however strange that may be, but it’s an entirely different thing to propose that unbelievers such as the brothers of Jesus would come to a sudden and sincere belief in the resurrection of Christ through hallucinatory means.

As it pertains to the elaborate conspiracy hypothesis we also find many irreconcilable problems in addition to the fact that there was no material benefit to being an early Christian because you would be persecuted violently and in many instances have your property seized. Forensic experts such as Warner Wallace explain that real conspiracies rarely actually succeed. Wallace shows that you need 5 minimum requirements for a successful conspiracy which are:

1. A small number of conspirators

Preferably no more than 2. In the case of the New Testament we have a reported 513 witnesses.

2. A short conspiracy timespan

Keep in mind the apostles preached the resurrection without defecting for upwards of 40 years.

3. Excellent communication

In the New Testament the apostles spread to many different locations with only unreliable communication methods such as sending letter via horseback.

4. Strong familial relationships

The 513 New Testament resurrection witnesses including the apostles were from a variety of familial backgrounds.

5. Little to no pressure to confess

Early Christians were severely persecuted until 312 a.d. When Emperor Constantine converted to the Christian faith.

The claims of Christianity have none of these minimum requirements in terms of being able to make the elaborate conspiracy hypothesis tenable. Being that the main proposals from skeptics are found to be left wanting in every way we can arrive at the realization that even though these alternative explanations could be presented as “possible” they cannot be presented as “reasonable.” The infeasible nature of the alternative explanations to the resurrection count as additional proof for the credibility of the resurrection. Combine this with the 6 established facts that even skeptical scholars agree with and you have proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead. Chuck Colson, the special counsel to President Nixon during the Watergate scandal says:

“I know the resurrection is a fact and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren't true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn't keep a lie for three weeks. You're telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.”

The rise of naturalism in modern times has produced a widespread disbelief in the supernatural. This is because naturalism as a worldview rejects any possibility of the supernatural as a core tenant of their belief system. This means that the naturalist cannot objectively evaluate evidence concerning the Resurrection of Jesus because they have already concluded that resurrections are impossible from the start. This prohibits the naturalist from “following the evidence wherever it leads.”

In the late 19th century and early 20th century a movement to try to compare Christianity to pagan myths that described dying a rising gods arose like Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, and others. Scholars of that time wanted to explain away the resurrection of Jesus by trying to say that it was influenced by these ancient pagan myths. Soon after the movement fell apart within New Testament scholarship.

This mainly because the parallels were shown to be spurious because in reality these “dying and rising gods” were merely symbols of the seasonal cycles that ancient people experienced from summer to fall and so forth. In fact, these gods were not dying and rising at all when examined closely. Also, there has been no ability to show causal connection between these pagan myths and the early disciples who were Jewish. The Jewish disciples were part of a culture that rejected pagan myths, especially in the realm of the disciples in particular who are portrayed as devout, law observant Jews in the New Testament.

Written by: Kyle Bailey, D.Min.

Calvinism vs Arminianism



Calvinism and Arminianism have come to represent two major themes over the years as it relates to the salvation of mankind with Calvinism placing an emphasis on God’s sovereignty and Arminianism placing an emphasis on human free will. Thus we have the popular disagreements that surface all across Christendom regarding free will vs the Sovereignty of God.

It became a major issue during the 15 and 1600’s after Martin Luther started the Great Reformation which birthed the Protestant church. John Calvin was a prominent protestant theologian of that era who wrote his thesis entitled “The Intitutes of the Christian religion.” Within Calvin's theology we find many teachings that later developed into what we know today as Calvinism.

Jacobus Arminius was a critic of John Calvin’s theology and after some time his disciples developed 5 counter points to John Calvin’s teachings on salvation and human free will. This was all brought to a formal organization of theology in 1610 in a document called the Remonstrance. About 9 years later at the Synod of Dort followers of John Calvin rejected the 5 points of Arminianism and developed their own five points which are widely used today in an acrostic spelled “TULIP.”

The T in tulip stands for total depravity. This means that humans are sinful in every component of their nature including mind, will, and emotions. So much so that they are unable to even respond positively to the gospel without the regeneration of their hearts by the Holy Spirit beforehand. Arminianism would argue that the flip side of this means that God leaves most human beings in a condition in which they are unable to be saved and this goes against His loving nature. They argue that human beings are depraved but everyone has a dose of Grace that gives them the ability to receive the Gospel freely if they choose.

The U in tulip stands for unconditional election. This means that those who are chosen by God are not chosen on the basis of their free decision to receive the Gospel but rather with no conditions at all in mind. That is God chooses them on the basis of his own private reasons and not any action that they chose to do. Arminianism would argue that this makes God's choosing arbitrary, rather than His Word teaching that he chooses to save all who humble themselves and receive the Gospel.

The L in tulip stands for limited atonement. This is often an element of Calvinism that is even rejected by some Calvinists. It essentially teaches that because God already chose beforehand whom He would save then it follows that the atonement of Christ was only specifically for those who would be redeemed and not for the whole world. Arminianism responds to this by arguing that the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus died for the whole world.

The I in tulip stands for irresistible Grace. This is deeply connected with total depravity in that it teaches that because of our depravity God must irresistibly draw the people He has chosen, otherwise the calvinist argues, no one who is totally depraved would ever choose to receive the Gospel. The arminian responds to this by arguing but it goes against God's loving nature to essentially Force somebody to be saved and although human beings are depraved God still by his grace gives them an opportunity to choose salvation.

The P in tulip stands for perseverance of the Saints. This teaches that since God chose those who would be saved irresistibly then it makes no sense that they would not persevere in their righteousness until the very end. As a result no one who is truly saved can lose their salvation. Arminianism responds do this by arguing that God is so loving that if someone wants to walk away from their salvation He would let them.

It's important to understand that many theologians who do not identify with Calvinism or arminianism believe in what is called eternal security. This teaches that True Believers cannot lose their salvation however it's not related to the election of God but rather evidence found within the scriptures. Jesus said in John 10 verses 28 through 30- "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” This goes to show that Christians can believe that you can't lose your salvation without actually being a calvinist as a whole.

It's important to understand that Free Will and God's sovereignty may appear to be contradictory however if we understand the Transcendent nature of God it's reasonable to assume that these two things can be reconciled even if they are difficult to comprehend with our human mind. It is possible within the Transcendence of God for humans to be 100% free to choose to receive the Gospel and for God to be 100% Sovereign at the same time.

Written by: Kyle Bailey, D.Min.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

What is Mormonism?


Mormonism all began in 1820 in Manchester, New York when a 14 year old boy named Joseph Smith became confused about all of the church denominations. He was wondering which one was the “true way to God.” He went into the woods to ask God which church he should join and allegedly God the Father and Jesus appeared to him stating that none of the modern denominations are true and that he was chosen to reestablish Jesus’ true church. 3 years later he was visited by the angel Moroni who told him where to find the “sacred golden plates” under a rock on a hill. Around the same time the angel supposedly gave him “seer stones” which helped him translate the golden tablets into the Book of Mormon which is the core sacred book for Mormons. The translation process was bizarre in that Smith hid behind a curtain while looking into a hat that contained the stones and as writing was illuminated on the stones he dictated it to his scribe on the other side of the curtain.

Joseph was a talented influencer and his followers were persecuted for polygamist activities and strange theological views. It’s reported that Joseph Smith married up to 40 women, some were already married. One of his wives was named “Helen Mar Kimball” and she was only 14 when they married. Its reported that Smith manipulated her into marriage by threatening that and angel with a flaming sword would bring destruction if she didn’t marry him. An angry mob eventually killed Joseph Smith in 1844.

Mormon theology is derived from the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, a book called the Pearl of Great Price, and the King James Bible. Mormons believe God the Father was once a man on a former planet who ascended to Godhood. They believe God the Father and Heavenly Mother produced Jesus as their first born spirit-son. According to Mormonism the Holy Spirit does not have a body but is a spirit. Some unique religious rules in Mormon theology are: no coffee, no rated R movies, no shopping on Sundays, attending church for 3 hours each Sunday, read the mormon holy books, believe in Joseph Smith as a prophet, complete the various “ordinances,” and also participate in “temple work.”

Mormon Temples are important because you can’t perform most ordinances outside of them. The ordinances include being baptized, and being endowed (which is when you are of age you visit the temple, are giving special holy underwear for protection, are given a new name to be called in heaven, learn a secret handshake and secret passwords to get into heaven, if you’re not a full tithe payer you can’t be endowed), other ordinances include temple marriage, as well as “receiving the priesthood” (a formal ceremony enabling males age 12 to 18 to act in the name of God). African Americans were not allowed to receive the priesthood until 1978, but Joseph Smith allegedly gave the priesthood to at least two African Americans, confusing right? Marriage is very important because in Mormon Heaven you and your eternal spouse can produce spirit children and create your own worlds for the spirit children to become humans on and potentially become gods themselves. Baptisms for the dead are common practice in which you can give a person the choice to be released from spirit prison by being baptized for them. Ordinances for the dead are done to attempt to give them entry to a better place in the afterlife.

According to Mormonism everyone comes from a “premortal life” where they were spirit babies with God on a distant planet next to a star call Kolab. God came up with a plan to send us all to earth where we become mortal and have free-will so that we can be tested. God’s first born spirit son Jesus agreed to be sent as a redeemer to us so that we can possibly ascend to godhood like God the Father through becoming Mormons. Satan proposed a different plan in which no one on earth gets free will and would be forced to follow God’s commandments and be saved. God didn’t like this plan but he let everyone in premortal existence choose whose plan they would follow. Thus ⅓ of the pre mortal spirits chose satan's plan and were cast out of heaven with satan and now tempt those who live on the Earth.

According to Mormonism when we are born we cross over from premortal into a mortal existence where we have a choice to do good or bad. The Mormon afterlife has multiple phases but begins with 2 places that you can go. You can go to spirit paradise or spirit prison- spirit prison is similar to a school where those who didn’t become Mormons are taught the mormon gospel and given an opportunity to choose to exit spirit prison. Members of spirit paradise are Mormons who teach the students in spirit prison. After this there is a resurrection and final judgment and then God sends people to one of 4 different options in the afterlife based upon their deeds and whether or not they are a Mormon. The celestial kingdom is for outstanding Mormons who completed their ordinances- full of bliss. The terrestrial kingdom is for people who did not complete their ordinances and non-members, a very nice place. The telestial kingdom, mainly for bad people- still pretty nice. The last option is outer darkness which is reserved for those who have a full knowledge of the truth and deny it in the face of God- they are completely cut off from God.

The governmental structure of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints consists of a headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. The top leader is a Prophet who has two counselors, under them are the quorum of the twelve, and under them are the quorum of the seventy elders. The prophet can supposedly receive revelation and is the mouthpiece of God. The apostles go around preaching in LDS churches throughout the year. When a prophet dies, the longest serving apostle becomes the prophet and the former prophets two counselors return to the quorum of the 12 apostles, then the prophet chooses through revelation his two counselors from among the 12 apostles. Therefore 1 person from the 70 is chosen to be an apostle and fill the vacancy. The senior most apostle is the leader of the apostles. Under the 70 elders are stake leaders and under the stake leaders are local bishops and under the bishops there the local church leaders.

By now you know that Mormonism is certainly strange compared to traditional Christian beliefs. The biggest point of contention is who the person of Jesus is for Mormons. In Mormonism, Jesus is a spirit child of God the Father and heavenly mother and the spirit brother of satan, in Christianity Jesus is the co-eternal, co-equal Son of God the Father who has always existed as God. 

Written by: Kyle Bailey, D.Min.

Friday, November 1, 2019

What is the Gospel?




Galatians chapter 1 verse 8 says “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse!”

This scripture helps us understand how critical it is for us to know what the Biblical Gospel is. The word Gospel comes from a Greek word meaning “Good News.” In order for us to truly appreciate the good news we have to better understand the story of the Bible as a whole. It’s not often that we hear good news in this broken world that we're living in. The headlines are full of death, turmoil, division, and despair. The story of the Bible begins with helping us understand how the world became this way.

In the beginning of the Biblical narrative we find God presented as the Creator of the Universe, but something very different about the world is emphasized in the Biblical narrative. The world was good! In the early chapters of Genesis we find God repeatedly saying that His created world was full of goodness. That is, there was no evil, sin, sickness or death present within the world.

The Garden of Eden reflected a time in the distant past when Heaven and Earth were connected and God and Humanity were in a beautiful relationship with one another. But as the story continues something sinister takes place. We find the demonic appearance of satan in humanity’s habitat tempting them to rebel against God. Yes, the famous story of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve yielded to the temptation and thus triggered a cascade of disorder and dysfunction that has plagued mankind ever since. We were plunged into a world characterized by corruption in our hearts.

Directly afterwards God in His mercy predicts in Genesis chapter 3 verse 15 that a descendant of Adam and Eve would suffer and defeat the works of satan, this person is known by the Biblical phrase “Messiah.” This is the beginning of the Gospel or “good news.” From here we find a long lineage of descendants who do great things for God but ultimately succumb to temptation and corruption in one way or another. This cyclical pattern emphasizes that a merely natural descendant of Adam and Eve does not have the capacity to defeat the works of satan in and of themselves. Thus the story of the Bible culminates brilliantly in the person of Jesus Christ.

Throughout the initial part of the Biblical story we find the identity of the Messiah becoming more and more specified as a total of 315 prophecies about him were written. By the time that Jesus Christ arrives on the scene the Jewish nation was eagerly awaiting the appearance of the Biblical Messiah. The works of satan were ravaging humanity and the people were yearning for the announcement of good news. At the birth of Jesus we find the angel proclaim:

Luke 2:11- “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Jesus’ entire ministry was characterized by good news for those whom He encountered. He healed the sick, cleansed the leper, made blind eyes see, caused the lame to walk, and raised people from the dead. When Jesus would arrive in villages thousands of people would show up to see him and hear him teach. In John chapter 7 verse 46 it says

“Never has anyone spoken like this man!”

Even with the incredible miracles done during Jesus' ministry and the many prophecies fulfilled by him there was still a deeper issue within humanity that needed to be addressed. The issue of slavery to sin. In order for our bonds to be broken someone has to pay the price for our redemption. Jesus paid the price to redeem us from sin with His life’s blood. He died on the cross in our place, for our sin, so that we can be forgiven and filled with the Holy Spirit.

There couldn’t be any better news than this! But that's not the end of the story. After 3 days Jesus resurrected from the dead with an immortal, glorified body. The Bible teaches that through faith in Him we get to experience the same kind of resurrection at the end of the age. The gospel is good news about the free gift of eternal life offered to humanity through Jesus Christ.

We cannot save ourselves from the bondage of sin. God became flesh and He alone paid the full price for our redemption through His blood. The good news is, you can know that you have eternal life. Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” and Romans 10:9 says “If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Written by: Kyle Bailey, D. Min.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Explaining the Holy Trinity


One of the most popular questions about the Christian faith is "what is the trinity?" The concept of God being three and one at the same time is nothing short of mind-boggling. For those who are considering Christianity it often can cause them to walk away confused. Before we talk about what the Trinity IS, we need to dispel some common myths and bad teachings that float around about the trinity.

Some people in a well-meaning attempt to help others understand the trinity in a simple manner will often use the following analogy. I'm a father, I'm a son, and I am a brother all at the same time ... It's the same way with God he's the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all at the same time. However this is not the Biblical teaching of the Trinity... This is actually connected with a heretical teaching called trinitarian modalism. Essentially it teaches that there is one God who operates in three different modes, which is not taught anywhere in the Bible.

So what is the Trinity? Biblically speaking the word Trinity is not used in the Bible however it is a word that has been formulated within theological circles throughout church history in order to describe a clear teaching about God that is found in the Bible. The doctrine of the Trinity states plainly that there is one God in three separate persons, and they are in complete unity with one another in purpose, nature, and essence. Confusing right? Many people respond to this teaching saying, isn't this polytheism not monotheism?

Well let's take a look at the history of the word "one" in the Bible. Biblical monotheism is founded upon Deuteronomy 6:4- ““Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” But was this the first place that this word "one" is used in the Bible?Taking a closer look we find the word “one” used in the Bible is in Genesis 1:5- “And there was evening and there was morning, the first day (yom echad)”. It describes two separate things, in this case evening and morning, coming together as one. The second time this word is used in the Bible is to describe the union of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:24- “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” So, simular to Genesis 1:5 we see the Hebrew word “Echad” used to describe two persons becoming “one.”

So biblically speaking the word used to describe God as "one" in the Bible is a word used in its first occurrences in Scripture to describe two things or persons coming together in Union. So as far as we describe God as "one" this is what we mean when describing the father Son and the Holy Spirit as One God. Although there are three separate persons they are in complete Union, Unity, and perfect harmony with one another, they are, as a whole, the God of the Bible. Some theologians like to describe this mystery as God being “complex” in his Unity.



Take a look at the above chart for a visual reference. The Father is not the Son, but the Father is God, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, but the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is not the Father, but the Holy Spirit is God. A proper teaching of the Biblical Trinity is meant to cause one to walk away scratching their head. However shouldn’t we should expect such phenomenons when studying and learning about a God who created the universe with the word of his mouth and sustains the entire universe by the power of His might? A proper approach to Biblical learning is one that realizes there will be many things that we cannot fully comprehend about our great God who created this incredibly complex universe that we live in.

Some will say "isn't that Trinity stuff simply a New testament Teaching?" Doesn't the Old Testament teach strict monotheism? Well, if we go back to the beginning of Genesis as God Was preparing to create mankind is says in Genesis 1:26- “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.” Some have proposed that this was God speaking to the angels, however mankind is not created in the image of angels nor is there any evidence of angels having creative power like God. So as early as we see in the Biblical narrative we find the God-head which is ultimately revealed as the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit having a conversation with one another about creating mankind. We also, as mentioned earlier, know that the word for “one” can be used in a plural sense. As well as we find what are called theophanies in the Old Testament in which God appears in human form to characters like Abraham and Jacob in Genesis chapter 18 and 32. This is consistent with the reality of the Trinity in which God the Son can appear in human form to characters in the Old Testament while God the Father remained enthroned in heaven, at the same time God the Holy Spirit filled the universe with His presence.

The Doctrine of the Trinity in the Bible is meant to inspire reverence toward God in our hearts. Often times in our desire to achieve complete logical conclusions to every pursuit of learning we miss the point that the Bible is often trying to emphasize... That the God Who created the Universe is a God who in many ways is incomprehensible. Any God that can be reduced to be fully understood by the human mind is a God who is no God at all. The God of the Bible is worthy of all worship and truly fits what one should expect from a transcendent, all-knowing, all-powerful Being who spoke the entire universe into existence.

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