Sunday, March 16, 2008

How to know God exists! by Ray Comfort

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Special Post--from How to Know God Exists

THIS DAY WAS DIFFERENT
“I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever.” —Sir Isaac Newton

As we have seen in the previous chapter, atheists approach the Bible with a “darkened understanding” (see Ephesians 4:18) and try to make sense of it. But just as the Bible says, they cannot understand it (see 1 Corinthians 2:14). The only way the Scriptures can make sense to us is for us to read them with a humble heart that is searching for truth. God promises to resist those who are proud.

Obviously, the best way for anyone to understand God’s Word is to switch on the light—to repent and trust Him who said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).

It is legitimate, though, to ask: How can we know the Bible is divinely inspired? The Bible declares that it is the Word of God, His communication to humanity, so He certainly would give us evidence that it truly is His Word. The fulfilled prophecies, the amazing consistency, and the many scientific statements of the Bible provide evidence that it is supernatural in origin. We will look at some examples, and then we’ll consider what it is that gives even more credibility to the reality of God and the inspiration of the Scriptures.

Knowledge of the Future
Unlike other books, the Bible offers a multitude of specific predictions—some thousands of years in advance—that either have been literally fulfilled or point to a definite future time when they will come true. No other religion has specific, repeated, and unfailing fulfillment of predictions many years in advance of events over which the predictor had no control. The sacred writings of Buddhism, Islam, Confucius, etc., are all missing the element of proven prophecy. These kinds of predictions are unique to the Bible.

Only one who is omniscient can accurately predict details of events thousands of years in the future. Limited human beings know the future only if it is told to them by an omniscient Being. God provided this evidence for us so we would know that the Scriptures have a divine Author: “For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done.” (Isaiah 46:9,10)

In addition, the Bible declares that prophets must be 100 percent accurate—no exceptions. If anyone claimed to be speaking for God and the prophesied event didn’t come to pass, he was proven to be a liar. The writings of Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are littered with false prophecies, so we know can whether they are written by men or by God.

The Bible’s sixty-six books, written between 1400 B.C. and A.D. 90, contain approximately 3,856 verses concerned with prophecy. For example, the Scriptures predicted the rise and fall of great empires like Greece and Rome (Daniel 2:39,40), and foretold the destruction of cities like Tyre and Sidon (Isaiah 23). Tyre’s demise is recorded by ancient historians, who tell how Alexander the Great lay siege to the city for seven months. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had failed in a 13-year attempt to capture the seacoast city and completely destroy its inhabitants. During the siege of 573 B.C., much of the population of Tyre moved to its new island home half a mile from the land city. Here it remained surrounded by walls as high as 150 feet until judgment fell in 332 B.C. with the arrival of Alexander the Great. In the seven-month siege, he fulfilled the remainder of the prophecies (Zechariah 9:4; Ezekiel 26:12) concerning the city at sea by completely destroying Tyre, killing 8,000 of its inhabitants and selling 30,000 of its population into slavery. To reach the island, he scraped up the dust and rubble of the old land city of Tyre, just like the Bible predicted, and cast them into the sea, building a 200-foot-wide causeway out to the island.

Alexander’s death and the murder of his two sons were also foretold in the Scripture. Another startling prophecy was Jesus’ detailed prediction of Jerusalem’s destruction, and the further dispersion of Jews throughout the world, which is recorded in Luke 21. In A.D. 70, not only was Jerusalem destroyed by Titus, the future emperor of Rome, but another prediction of Jesus’ in Matthew 24:1,2 came to pass—the complete destruction of the temple of God.

Even more important are the many prophecies of a coming Messiah. God said He would send someone to redeem mankind from sin, and He wanted there to be no mistake about who that Person would be. For example, in the Book of Daniel, the Bible prophesied the coming of the one and only Jewish Messiah prior to the temple’s demise. The Old Testament prophets declared He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) to a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12,13), die by crucifixion (Psalm 22), and be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9). There was only one person who fits all of the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament: Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Mary. In all, there are over three hundred prophecies that tell of the ancestry, birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus of Nazareth. All have been literally fulfilled to the smallest detail.

A fact often overlooked by critics is that, even if most biblical predictions could be explained naturally, the existence of just one real case of fulfilled prophecy is sufficient to establish the Bible’s supernatural origin. Over 25 percent of the entire Bible contains specific predictive prophecies that have been literally fulfilled. This is true of no other book in the world. And it is a sure sign of its divine origin.

Knowledge of Creation
Following are a few examples of incredible scientific facts that were written in the Bible, hundreds, even thousands of years before man discovered them.

At a time when it was commonly believed that the earth sat on a large animal or a giant (1500 B.C.), the Bible spoke of the earth’s free float in space: “He hangs the earth on nothing” (Job 26:7). Science didn’t discover that the earth hangs on nothing until 1650.

The Scriptures tell us that the earth is round: “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth” (Isaiah 40:22). The word translated “circle” here is the Hebrew word chuwg, which is also translated “circuit” or “compass” (depending on the con¬text). That is, it indicates something spherical or rounded—not flat or square. The Book of Isaiah was written between 740 and 680 B.C. This is at least 300 years before Aristotle suggested, in his book On the Heavens, that the earth might be a sphere. It was another 2,000 years later (at a time when science believed that the earth was flat) that the Scriptures inspired Christopher Columbus to sail around the world.

Matthew Maury (1806–1873) is considered the father of oceanography. He noticed the expression “paths of the seas” in Psalm 8:8 (written 2,800 years ago) and stated, “If God said there are paths in the sea, I am going to find them.” Maury then took God at His word and went looking for these paths, and we are indebted to him for his discovery of the warm and cold continental currents. His book on oceanography remains a basic text on the subject and is still used in universities. Only in recent years has science discovered that everything we see is composed of things that we cannot see invisible atoms. In Hebrews 11:3, written 2,000 years ago, Scripture tells us that the “things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

Three different places in the Bible (Isaiah 51:6; Psalm 102:25,26; Hebrews 1:11) indicate that the earth is wearing out. This is what the Second Law of Thermodynamics (the Law of Increasing Entropy) states: that in all physical processes, every ordered system over time tends to become more disordered. Everything is running down and wearing out as energy is becoming less and less available for use. That means the universe will eventually “wear out” to the extent that (theoretically speaking) there will be a “heat death” and therefore no more energy available for use. This wasn’t discovered by science until recently, but the Bible states it in concise terms.

The Scriptures inform us, “All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; to the place from which the rivers come, there they return again” (Ecclesiastes 1:7). This statement alone may not seem profound. But when considered with other biblical passages, it becomes all the more remarkable. For example, the Mississippi River dumps approximately 518 billion gallons of water every 24 hours into the Gulf of Mexico. Where does all that water go? And that’s just one of thousands of rivers. The answer lies in the hydrologic cycle, so well brought out in the Bible.

Ecclesiastes 11:3 states that “if the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth.” Look at the Bible’s words in Amos 9:6: “He...calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the face of the earth.” The idea of a complete water cycle was not fully understood by science until the seventeenth century. However, more than two thousand years prior to the discoveries of Pierre Perrault, Edme Mariotte, Edmund Halley, and others, the Scriptures clearly spoke of a water cycle.

The Scriptures also describe a “cycle” of air currents two thousand years before scientists discovered them: “The wind goes toward the south, and turns around to the north; the wind whirls about continually, and comes again on its circuit” (Ecclesiastes 1:6). We now know that air around the earth turns in huge circles, clockwise in one hemisphere and counterclockwise in the other.

The Bible declares, “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished” (Genesis 2:1). The original Hebrew uses the past definite tense for the verb “finished,” indicating an action completed in the past, never again to occur. The creation was “finished”—once and for all. That is exactly what the First Law of Thermodynamics says. This law (often referred to as the Law of the Con¬ser¬vation of Energy and/or Mass) states that neither matter nor energy can be either created or destroyed. It was because of this Law that Sir Fred Hoyle’s “Steady-State” (or “Continuous Creation”) Theory was discarded. Hoyle stated that at points in the universe called “irtrons,” matter (or energy) was constantly being created. But, the First Law states just the opposite. Indeed, there is no “creation” ongoing today. It is “finished” exactly as the Bible states.

In Genesis 6, God gave Noah the dimensions of the 1.5 million cubic foot ark he was to build. In 1609 at Hoorn in Holland, a ship was built after that same pattern (30:5:3), revolutionizing ship-building. By 1900 every large ship on the high seas was inclined toward the proportions of the ark (verified by “Lloyd’s Register of Shipping” in the World Almanac).

Since God is the Author of creation as well as the Bible, it’s only natural that the two should correspond. While the Bible is not intended to be a scientific book, the scientific statements it makes are accurate.

In his book Proofs of God’s Existence, Richard Wurmbrand explains:
In antiquity and in what is called the Dark Ages, men did not know what they now know about humanity and the cosmos. They did not know the lock but they possessed the key, which is God. Now many have excellent descriptions of the lock but they have lost the key. The proper solution is union between religion and science. We should be owners of the lock and the key. The fact is that as science advances, it discovers what was said thousands of years ago in the Bible.106

There Is Another Way
I know that many who read through the above evidences of the Bible being divinely inspired will disregard them. They maintain that we are reading into Scripture something that was never intended by the writers. So, in an effort to counter this reaction, I am going to present my case from another angle.

What I am going to say flies in the face of many respected Bible teachers. It almost sounds like heresy, but I will say it anyway because it’s important. The Christian’s salvation isn’t dependent on his belief in or understanding of the Scriptures. Why does that fly in the face of many? Because they believe that our salvation depends on the Word of God. They believe that everything we have in Christ stands or falls on the promises of the Bible. The Scriptures are the foundation for our faith. While I absolutely believe that the Bible is the Word of God, and that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, I don’t believe our salvation stands or falls on our believing the Bible.

To illustrate this, let’s look at two men who are in a Russian dungeon. One is a Christian who has been horribly tortured for his faith. As he lies dying in his cell, he shares his faith with his unbelieving cellmate. The other prisoner is a bitter man who so despised Christians that he hadn’t spoken to him since they were forced to share the tiny cell. But this day was different. He listens intently to the dying man’s words, because he is on his deathbed. Through parched lips the Christian once again whispers the Ten Commandments, showing sin to be very serious in the sight of God. The man becomes deeply concerned as his conscience begins to bear witness to what he is hearing.107 The moral Law shows him that he has a serious problem with God’s wrath.108 There is no talk of a God-shaped hole in his heart, a wonderful plan for his life, or the promise of any benefits of faith in Jesus during this life. How could the Christian talk of a “wonderful plan” that so many speak of, while he lies dying because he had been beaten for his faith?

The prisoner listens as he is told that he is a desperately wicked criminal who needs forgiveness from the God he has greatly angered. Then he hears the pure gospel of the love of God in Christ, and of the necessity of repentance and faith. He hears of the One who can wash him clean. It answers his problem of coming wrath of which he is now convinced. The Christian then pleads with him to repent, breaths his last, and passes into eternity.

The prisoner is left alone in the cold cell. He is shaken by what he has just heard. He falls to his knees on the hard floor and trembles before God. He can hardly lift his head because of the weight of his sins. In humble contrition, he openly confesses his many transgressions against God’s Law. He pleads for mercy, repents, and places his entire trust in Jesus Christ for his eternal salvation. He has no Bible. He has no fellowship. He has no one to “follow up” with him. He is entirely alone.

The next day he wakens while still lying on the floor. As he opens his tired eyes, something is different. Something is radically different. There is a new song in his heart. It’s not a “song” that he could sing, but it’s some sort of a joy that he can hardly express. He also has a sense of peace that is beyond his comprehension. He has never felt these emotions before, and what is mystifying is that he has no reason to feel this joy. He is tired, alone, and hungry, in a cold dungeon. He also notices that he is no longer ashamed to lift his head to the heavens. In fact, he wants to speak to God in prayer.

But more than that, he has an overwhelming desire to please Him more than anything else in his life. He even notices that his nagging conscience was silenced and any sense of guilt about any of his past sins is gone. He is amazed at what he has experienced. Again, nothing like this has ever happened before—-not for a fleeting moment in his bitter, godless years. Never. God was the last thing on his mind.

He then looks at the lifeless body of the cellmate he once despised, and longs to speak with him. He wants to ask for his forgiveness. He wants to talk about the God who made Himself known to him, the God who forgave him for his sins...the God who loved him enough to send His Son to die for him.

This was more than some sort of subjective experience. He was a brand new person with a new heart and new desires. Tears filled his eyes as he thought of the cross of Jesus Christ. Oh, that wonderful cross! Jesus of Nazareth had suffered and died for him! Then He defeated death. The man’s heart almost burst with joy.

After five more years of solitary confinement, our prisoner has grown in his faith. He has preached the gospel to hardened guards. He has told them of the standard of perfection with which God would judge them, opening up the Ten Commandments. He has faithfully shared the reality of Judgment Day and the terrors of an eternal Hell. He preaches that Christ was crucified for the sin of the world, and stresses the necessity of repentance and faith. The guards taunt him regularly, and now and then beat him. He, in return, prays earnestly for their salvation. He also prays for the salvation of his family, and for the world. He continually worships God and lives a life of holiness, free from sin, trusting minute by minute in the finished work of Calvary’s cross.

Notice that he is a Christian. He is born again. He knows that he has passed from death to life. He is a believer who is strong in his faith and he has not yet even seen a Bible or spoken to another Christian. His faith rests on the fact that God made him a new creature, wrote His Law on his heart and caused him to walk in His statutes.109 He is a new person, a “new man which was created according to God, in true right¬eousness and holiness.”110 Old things passed away and all things became new.111 This is because He was born of God.112 The New Testament didn’t convert him. It is the gospel that is the power of God to salvation.113 Neither did the New Testament spiritually feed him. He now has the Spirit of God living within him to guide him into all truth.114 His faith wasn’t in the Scriptures, or a church, or a pastor, or another Christian. It wasn’t in his good works or in his religion. It was the fact that he was a new creature that convinced him of the reality of God. The New Testament addresses this thought: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation”115 (emphasis added).

The Explanation BookOne day, a sympathetic guard slips the prisoner a battered and well-used New Testament that once belonged to his deceased cellmate. The prisoner doesn’t even know what “The New Testament” is. He wasn’t aware that there was such a thing. But from what the guard said, all he knows is that it is a book about the Savior he knows and loves.

He carefully opens its sacred pages for the first time in his life, and for the next few days he drinks in its truths about Jesus of Nazareth. Does his faith stand or fall on the New Testament truths? No. His faith was strong before he even opened the Scriptures. However, his faith is now strengthened by the fact that this 2,000-year-old book confirmed his experience. It brought him comfort.116 It explained why he suddenly longed for Christian fellowship.117 It mentioned his peace that passed all understanding,118 and it spoke about why he loved Jesus Christ (whom he had never seen), and why he had an unspeakable joy that bubbled within him.119 It ad¬dressed the fact that he was born again,120 was a new creature in Christ,121 and why he continually thought of Jesus of Nazareth122 and the cross.123

This was the experience of the converted at the birth of Christianity. Early Christians didn’t have a Bible. It wasn’t yet compiled. Most couldn’t read. Besides, there was no such thing as the printing press. They were saved by believing the spoken message that they heard.

How do I know that Christianity is true? Is it dependent on the inspiration of the Bible? No. My faith doesn’t rise or fall on that fact. Remember, I can be a Christian and not even know that the Bible exists. The Scriptures simply confirm my experience and provide spiritual nourishment to help me to grow in my faith.124 Christianity isn’t true because the Bible confirms it. It is true with or without the Scriptures.

I believe in Jesus Christ because I know Him experientially. The moral Law put me at the edge of a plane door, looking in horror at a 10,000-foot drop. The gospel perfectly addressed that problem. I am persuaded of the absolute truth of Christianity because it answered my need for a Savior and made me a new person in Jesus Christ.

Dwight Eisenhower rightly surmised,It takes no brains to be an atheist. Any stupid person can deny the existence of a supernatural power because man’s physical senses cannot detect it. But there cannot be ignored the influence of conscience, the respect we feel for the moral Law, the mystery of first life...or the marvelous order in which the universe moves about us on this earth. All these evidence the handiwork of the beneficent Deity...That Deity is the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ, His Son.

Test It for YourselfFor anyone who is open to the truth, there is indeed 100 percent scientific (knowledge-producing) proof of God:

Creation produces intellectual knowledge of God.For since the creation of the world His invisible at¬tri¬butes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and God¬head, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

Conscience produces subconscious knowledge of God. ...who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them. (Romans 2:15)

Conversion produces experiential knowledge of God. Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:21)

Creation reveals that there is an omnipotent, divine Creator to whom we owe our existence. It leaves us without excuse for chopping down a tree and carving an idol, and then falling before that idol and believing it is the Creator...or believing that “Mother Nature” is all there is.

It is the human conscience that points to the moral character and the requirements of God. We know that if there is a universal moral Law, then there is a Lawgiver—a God to whom we are accountable. It is the Law of God that awakens the conscience so that we can hear its voice of alarm, and turn in repentance and faith to the only Savior, Jesus Christ.

God has revealed Himself to us in the physical world and in our conscience. There’s one way to prove to yourself that God exists. Flick the switch.

Notes
106. Richard Wurmbrand, Proofs of God’s Existence (Bartlesville, OK: Living Sacrifice Books, 2007), p. 72.
107. See Romans 2:15.
108. See Romans 4:15.
109. Ezekiel 11:19,20.
110. Ephesians 4:24.
111. 2 Corinthians 5:17.
112. John 1:12,13.
113. Romans 1:16.
114. John 16:13.
115. Galatians 6:15.
116. Romans 15:4.
117. 1 John 3:14.
118. Philippians 4:7.
119. 1 Peter 1:8.
120. John 3:3–7; 1 Peter 1:23.
121. 2 Corinthians 5:17.
122. John 16:14.
123. Galatians 6:14.
124. 1 Peter 2:2.

18 comments:

WayneDawg said...

Obviously to you and me, the exsistence of God is overwhelming and very conclusive.

Not only do the Scriptures prove this out but so does a personal experience that we both have had.

Long before I knew a single verse of the Bible (with the exception of John 3:16), God drew me to Himself. I was personally singled out and changed from who I was to who I am.

I did not change myself. I went from not knowing God to knowing God was real.

I stepped out of the realm of thinking there was an intelligent being out there to knowing the Creator Himself. Like Ray Comfort likes to say: I went from believing the stove was hot to actually knowing it was hot.

I can't explain that. The day I was born-again the Holy Spirit changed me ......HE CHANGED ME.

If I could shout that reality into the professing athiest who demands absolute proof for God's exsistence and will accept nothing less....I would scream it at the top of my lungs....HE CHANGED ME.

I was once lost....now I am found.

HE CHANGED ME.

If that was the only evidence I had then I would tell only that from now till KIngdom come. But, that is not the only evidence as the post has so eloquently done.

Good post.

BTY - Sorry for the lack of commenting on your blog. I have been up to my eyeballs in apologetics in other blogs. You know; creation, truth, etc. and other objections that folks seem to love to use against believers.

pastorbrianculver said...

That's okay WD,
I have not visited other sites as much either. I guess it has to do with working 40 hours on my job, preparing bible study for our home church that I lead on Sundays, preparing Bible Study for my other blog openthebible, as well as preparing a sermon to go along with it. The past week I have done two sermons and will prepare two sermons this week too. That way all of the Bible Study lessons will have a corresponding audio sermon to go along with it. Plus trying to spend time with my son and his family (Sarah and my two grandsons!), and finding time to have a personal life of dating, it has kept me busy to say the least! But I give God all the praise and all the glory that I have been able to do it so far! You do what you have to do. I pray that the ones who need to hear the message are responding favorably!

Question of Identity said...

Thanks for this Pastor Brian - this is powerful apologetics! I love the stuff about how the Bible records facts about the earth that wasn't 'discovered' or verified until hundreds and thousand of years after the Bible was written.

I love the prophetic word in the Bible too. A couple of nights ago I was reading Isaiah 53: 1-10 to a group of non Christians and asked them to raise their hands when they thought they knew what the reading was about. Despite their lack of knowledge about Jesus, they all recognised that it must have been about Jesus on the cross. Then I read verse 11: 'After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life.' 'What then is this verse about?' I asked them. They all agreed it is about the resurrection of Jesus.

My next question was 'How long after Jesus rose from the dead, do you think this was written?' When they found out that it was in fact written hundreds of years before Christ, they were amazed.

The Bible is like a jigsaw to me - as we put the picture together we see the face of Jesus. The more of the picture we see, the more our faith grows.

Neil

pastorbrianculver said...

very good job of reaching non-christians. You sound like you maybe found a way to reach them that they had never heard before. Good job Neil!!

Roland said...

I have not visited other sites as much either. I guess it has to do with working 40 hours on my job, preparing bible study for our home church that I lead on Sundays, preparing Bible Study for my other blog openthebible, as well as preparing a sermon to go along with it.
As well as consider certain people to be unworthy?
Just curious ;)

Comment moderation does seem to allow you more control, though.
Less interaction, but more control.

pastorbrianculver said...

Roland,
By God's standards, we are all unworthy! It is only by God's wonderful grace and His loving mercy that we are still able to enter heaven. But we don't do that on our own terms. It must be by the terms that God has set forth. Repentance of sins, obedience to His Word and trust and faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Any other way will not do. All roads to do not lead to heaven. only through Jesus can we get there. So it is through obedience to His Word that I will tell people of the need to repent. I am not judging them, I am trying to help them. I am not condemning them, they are condemned already. I am being a watchtower that signals danger ahead (Ezekiel 33). It is our duty as Christians to warn people (not to judge them, but to warn them) of impending danger (hell).

Let me ask you this...
if a person was standing in the street talking on their cell phone and the police were in the middle of a car chase and you could see the cars coming down the road. Would you yell out to the person to get out of the road? If you saw a blind man walking towards a cliff, would you yell at him to stop immediately? If you saw a little child about to drink something that was poisonous, wouldn't you yell STOP and grab that which is dangerous away from him?

You have seen me yelling STOP to several people. Why? Because without repentance they will go to hell. They can say they are Christians all they want, but when there are "visible" signs of a corrupted heart, then it is obvious they are not Christians because a good tree cannot bear bad fruit. I am not judging them. I am pleading with them to STOP. They are in danger. The danger is hell-fire. If we knew that we were all going to live until we were 95 years old, then we could just live any way we wanted to and just repent at the last moment. But we don't know when we might die. The people I have written to could die tomorrow and unless they repent of their sins, they will die in their sins and will face judgment. Not a judgment from me but from a Holy God who will send them to hell. The only ones who will be judged are those who have died in their sins. The person who has repented of their sins will not die in their sins because they have already died to self and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. They will have become a new creature in Christ. Born-again. so when you see people using foul language, it is an outward sign of bad fruit. They have not put off their old self, they are still living their old ways. There should be no desire to use foul language because the Bible tells us that every idle word a man speaks he will have to give account thereof in the Day of Judgment. So think about some of the people you have seen comments from. People who claim to be Christians. People who use foul language, believe abortion is okay, believe homosexuality is okay, believe that lying is okay, believe that adultery is okay, believe that sex outside of marriage is okay, and on and on. Those beliefs show an outward sign of not being saved. Because they have created for themselves a god that does not follow Scripture. Holy Scripture clearly, and I mean, clearly tells us that God is against all of those things I mentioned above. We cannot create for ourselves a god to suit our own desires. We must be pleasing to Him, not the other way around.

Roland, I know this is a long reply and I apologize for it. I have not had a chance to correspond with you very much on a personal one on one. I know what has been written about me by you and by some of your other commenters. I can handle it. That does not change my level of concern for you and the others one bit. I only want you all to know that without repentance of sins, you will go to hell, not because I say so, but because the Bible says so. Please contact me if you have any questions. brianculver@yahoo.com

may God bless you today and always
Brian

March 20, 2008 3:36 AM

Roland said...

Well, at least you allowed my comments through.
I guess that's a start.

I am glad that you are concerned about others.
I am concerned with my children getting enough sleep.
Without it, they function poorly.
Even, one could say, more sinfully.
Yet my wife points out so very kindly, that my warning them at the top of my lungs to get to bed isn't always needed.
Sometimes a gentle word does just fine.
Not that a louder tone isn't sometimes needed.
I just don't think its always needed.
Maybe you don't either.
But it seems that you call for it often.

I know what has been written about me by you and by some of your other commenters. I can handle it.
Applies to me as well.
Never took you off of my links.
Why?
Because I still think your stuff is good.
Perfect?
As perfect as mine. ;)
To be honest, Brian, I like the post best about your condition of crying out to God when you knew things weren't right.
It's personal.
It shows your heart.
And your heart is very big.
I believe that just like I believe all of us grinches have been given hearts many sizes bigger than our originals. (See Dr. Suess for more info :) )

I think I will take you up on your offer of sending an e-mail.
I just have some things going on right now that take up some time.

Want to do something for me?
Pray for my brother.
He is in need of it.
I can only offer out my hand to him.
And not even that all the time.
Pray for me as well.
I need all the wisdom and guidance that our Wonderful Counselor can give.

And thanks.
Your ability to not let frustration cloud your judgment is refreshing.
None of us do it all the time.
I appreciate your concern.

My apologies for the long-winded comment.

I am glad that as we each draw closer to God, we draw closer to each other.
Mercifully yours,

pastorbrianculver said...

Roland,
without knowing the details of your brother's needs, I will pray for him. Luckily God knows what he needs and what is best for him. I do not ever want to come across as one who will close a door on a relationship. You are right in that I do say many times (or scream many times) to people. Yes, there are times when a soft word can be used and there are other times when you need to be more forceful. I guess the reason I am more forceful is that I don't have the knowledge of God. I don't know when someone might die. Suppose it was you that I was talking to...

(this is all hypothetical, so please bear with me while I make my point)

you are heavily engaged in open sin. You are engaged in fornication (outside of marriage), you have stolen items from your place of employment, you have displayed outward anger and hatred towards others, you have committed adultery with your neighbor's wife.

Now, I can write a message here and say in a rather calm demeanor, "Roland, don't you think you should stop doing all of these bad things?" Wouldn't a normal response be -- "yes, I know I should stop but I just can't stop." -- doesn't that sound like a response that any normal person would give?

Now, let me contrast that to what I am trying to tell people.

you are heavily engaged in open sin. You are engaged in fornication (outside of marriage), you have stolen items from your place of employment, you have displayed outward anger and hatred towards others, you have committed adultery with your neighbor's wife.

Here is what I would say to you (after having a lead-in conversation) I would say, Roland, you have admitted to being a fornicator, a thief, a murderer (hatred), and an adulterer. If God were to judge you based on the Ten Commandments, would He find you innocent or guilty? You would have to reason that you would be guilty of breaking His Commandments. (now, at no time have I raised my voice or yelled, I have just been having a discussion with you) If God found you guilty of breaking His Commandments, would you go to heaven or hell? For breaking His Laws, you would have to say you are headed for hell? Then I would ask you if that concerned you. I would hope your answer would be "yes." I would then ask you if you knew what God did so you wouldn't have to go to hell. This is where the grace of God comes into play.

See, at no time have I ever yelled at any person that I have witnessed to. I just present the gospel message (the whole gospel message) to the person so that he can see for himself that he has broken God's Laws and will have to face God in judgment some day. When a person see's that they are headed for hell, it is then that the ultimate love of God is displayed. Why? Because it finally makes sense. Why should He die just for our sins? If a person does not realize that he has sinned against God and God alone, he will feel that all he has to do is ask for forgiveness and all is cool with God. It is not just asking for forgiveness it is actually repenting of sins that is needed. Repentance is a fruit of the spirit of the person who has genuinely been saved!

So when I see people displaying open sins and professing to be a Christian, I will challenge them on it because I do not want the blood of Christ trampled on by someone who is not willing to die to self for the sake of the cross.

Please feel free to contact me anytime to discuss anything you want to discuss in private. You can search the internet through a ton of blogs searching for answers about what it means to be a Christian, but beware that there are false converts out there parading around as Christians. If you follow after their teachings it will lead you to hell. Unless they are preaching repentance of sin, the inerrancy of Scripture (God's Word) and faith and trust only in Jesus, then they will lead you to death. I can give you Scripture to back up everything that I am teaching on here. When someone is only giving opinions that says, "I don't think God will judge us for..." and you read the Bible and see that God's Word says He WILL judge people for their sins unless they repent, you will see that they are not teaching accurately the Word of God.

My prayers are with you, your family and your brother. I pray that God will give you wisdom and discernment for the Truth of God's Word. May His Word come alive in you as you lead your family into a saving relationship with Jesus!

Nator said...

So Brian, what you are saying to Roland is that you have the answers that he is searching for?

pastorbrianculver said...

The answers are found in the Bible. It is the inerrant Word of God. If you believe in the Bible being God-breathed, and you believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior, you can find the answers that I have given. The people who do not have the answers are the people who don't believe in the Bible, and are not obedient to God's Word. Pretty simple actually! God has not left us without a witness. Jesus has shown us the way to heaven. You can try to make a negative out of my comment to Roland by making me seem like a know-it-all, but the truth is, I am a believer in the Word of God. I pray that you come to the same saving relationship with Him by being obedient to His Word. Not by picking and choosing which Scriptures you will believe in or not believe in. Not by believing the Bible to be full of errors and not by neglecting to repent of sins for your salvation. Give me Scripture Nator to show me why you think I am wrong. If you cannot show me Scriptures (taken in context) then you have no need to judge me and try to make me out to be bad. Do you still believe in the universalist point of view that everyone will go to heaven? If you do, then you obviously do not believe in a need to repent of sins since we will all go to heaven (by your belief system). What do you do with Scripture that clearly states that we MUST repent of sins?

Nator said...

Hi Brian. Happy Easter. I hope your Easter service was as good as ours today.

First thing though, I never said I was a universalist, you did. I did say that I don't believe the Bible is inerrant, because I don't. But that doesn't mean I don't believe that it is inspired by God. I do.

Do I think you are a know-it-all? No I don't. But I do think that you discount grace. I know all about the pyro thread about grace. I don't think they did a good job with it either.

As for scripture, I have given you scripture in the past, actually I have dissected a large passage, but you dismissed it out of hand, so whatever scripture I give you, you will dismiss. I guess that is why I consider the Bible to not be inerrant. You can give me scripture that I can counter with other scripture. Inspired, yes. Inerrant, No. Does it point to God? Yes.

Roland said...

The Bible is great.
But it doesn't have ALL the answers.
Disagree if you wish.
God has ALL the answers.
And to try to contain Him in a book is ludicrous.
Does that makes sense?

As for your approach, go for it.
I just think people do better when they learn to fish for themselves instead of being fed and having to rely on the one feeding them.
Just my opinion.
Well, not just mine..., :)

Roland said...

Another thought,
What about the scriptures that tells us we MUST forgive others?

pastorbrianculver said...

Roland, you are right when you say that God has all the answers. But where I would disagree with you is on the Bible. See, the Bible is not just a "book" that was created by the imaginations of man (men). It is God-breathed and God-inspired writings. There is nothing in the Bible that God did not want in the Bible. It is His Word for mankind. Jesus is the Word made flesh. We have all the teachings that we need by the examples given us through Jesus and by the leading of the Holy Spirit as we read the Bible. There are no errors in the Bible. Maybe I can help you on this one. give me an example of where the Bible is wrong. Show me where it is fallible. And I will show you by using Scripture that it is not. I have no problem having a dialog with you on this so long as you come across with a sincere motive for wanting to learn. But when people respond with an arrogant tone in their message, I will ignore them. Sure we are to forgive people, but at the same time, we are to use discernment too. I am not perfect and don't pretend to be. I have my faults and give them over daily to God.

you said,
"I just think people do better when they learn to fish for themselves instead of being fed and having to rely on the one feeding them. Just my opinion."

If you are going to fish, the important thing to remember is to be fed. Yes, not by me, but by God's Holy Word. The Scriptures tell us and show us how to reach the lost. The examples are there. And in all honesty, you can say you don't want to be fed by one person and at the same time you say people should "learn" to fish for themselves. So, at some point, you will learn by listening to others point of view. Which takes me back to my original point for you. Just be careful about "who" you are listening to. If you don't believe the Bible to be inerrant, what kind of power does that show your God to have that He cannot control what men write in a book about Him? Especially a Book that is God-inspired? Is that the kind of God you want to follow? The Bible is consistent from Genesis 1:1 to the end of Revelation. For the more than 1000 years that it took to write the Scriptures, it is very consistent from beginning to end. It is historically accurate, it is scientifically accurate, it is archeologically accurate. It is validated by Truth. Which is why it is important to realize the authenticity of God's Word.

I agree with you that we cannot contain God in a book. That would be silly at best. The book is more of an instruction guide on how to live, how to follow Jesus, how to get to heaven and how to avoid hell. It is God's written Word for us to read.

So, does God mention abortion? Not specifically but He does say Thou Shall Not Kill.
Does He mention anything about transvestites? Not specifically, but He does say a man shall not lie with another man. He does say that we are to be pure of mind. He does say that we are to be Holy just as He is Holy.
Does He talk about lying? Yes
Does He talk about stealing? Yes
Does He talk about adultery? Yes
Does He talk about fornicating? Yes
Does He talk about dishonoring your parents? Yes
Does He talk about coveting? Yes
Does He talk about gossiping? Yes
Does He talk about Whispering? Yes
Does He talk about cussing? Yes
Does He talk about homosexuality? Yes
Does He talk about loving? Yes
Does He talk about forgiving others? Yes
Does He talk about repentance? Yes
Does He talk about obedience to His Word? YES!

God's Word will provide you with the way to live your life. It will give you insight into His will for your life.

Here is my suggestion (sorry for the length of this response!!)
Read God's Word. Don't put "opinions" into the equation. But let the Holy Spirit guide you in all things. Don't overlook certain verses that go contrary to what you might believe. If you truly want to grow in the Lord, realize it is all God-breathed. Soak it in. Live by the Word of God. Repent of your sins, be obedient to His Word, and put your trust and faith in Jesus alone for your salvation. We are to love others. Do you love them enough to tell them the truth that they need to hear?

pastorbrianculver said...

what about forgiveness? I think I answered that in the long response. is there something else you are asking about it?

pastorbrianculver said...

Nator, I mean no disrespect towards you at all. If it comes across that way, I apologize!

The universalist part comes from a book in which you have said on another blog that you agreed with it. It was the book written by two Quakers who were promoting universalism. They were promoting the idea that ALL will go to heaven. You had mantioned that you agree with a lot of what they said. I have seen it and agree with none of their arguments. When you look deeper into why they felt it was necessary to write the book you see that they have issues of homosexual family members (or they themselves are). They are trying to justify that all will go to heaven because they do not want to face the reality of a God who will send people to hell. Even when the Bible says that is exactly what will happen.

As for the Bible being God-inspired and yet with errors. Like I said in my long response with Roland, if it is God-inspired and YET still has errors, how small does that make God look? That He is not able to control the pen of the men who wrote Scripture. Sure the Bible can come across as being wrong when compared to other Bibles. But that in and of itself does not lend to Scripture itself being wrong. When you compare the way The Message (Rick Warren Bible) is written compared with other translations, you will most likely encounter many errors. Rick Warren takes great liberty in changing meanings in much of The Message. He is all about grace with no mention of sin and repentance. It is a one-sided message.

Nator, I have finished the rest of my reply as a post. It is not bad, and does not put you down at all. I just felt it was important enough and I wanted to convey the message to everyone.

I hope you and your family had a great Easter! Mine was especially fine since I got to play with my little grandson! That is always a special joy for me! (I am too young to be a papa, but that is okay!)

my prayers are with you and your family
God bless
Brian

Roland said...

Don't put "opinions" into the equation.
Ahh...
You don't do that?

pastorbrianculver said...

I try my best not to put my opinion into it. I used to always just say, "I think it says this..."
But when I used to do that, I was not saved. When I finally got saved, I started looking at the Bible with a more discerning eye. I would make sure that I could always back up what I was teaching with Scripture. When you do that, you leave "opinions" out of it. I might slip every now and then, but I honestly try not to do that. We can know what the Bible says by doing some research on Scriptures.