Monday, May 11, 2009

Dr. John Lennox @ the Basics Conference

Augustine wrote:  "Beware of mathematicians out of all those who utter empty prophecies."

Bring Scripture back to Christian music and go against the stream of mindless repetition.  

"American football can best be described as a series of prayer meetings interrupted by war."  

Mark 12:28-31

I Peter 3:13-17

13Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.

Born in Northern Ireland to a home of vigorous discussion.  "The Christian faith provided a cradle for the developing mind that God had given me."

"I was greatly blessed to have the opportunity to study at Cambridge where I was taught to think."

It's sad when an educational system doesn't teach the children to think, and the churches don't allow the children to think.

In college "I sensed in my heart and mind the need to settle the question.  Was my faith in God due to my Irish mind?"  Is the Christian faith true?  

We must come to a settled conviction that what we're dealing with is the truth.  Jesus claimed to be the truth.  It's not simply a claim to say true things.  He claims to be something deeper than that.  He claims to BE the truth.  

Jesus Christ stand behind every true scientific claim.  He IS the truth.  

Let us stop being ashamed of bringing our beliefs into the marketplace of truth.

Sharing faith.  That is one of the most immense responsibilities.  God is quite capable of changing the minds of people who do not have the same religious background as we do.

In the hot house of universities it's easy to go along with a Christian group.  Many Christians have not thought through their faith sufficiently.  It doesn't withstand the force of the secular world.  The bedrock knowledge of Scripture is needful to stand in the public winds of secularism.  

Some have only a technical belief in the inspiration of Scripture.  We say we believe in the inspiration of Ezekiel, yet when we are asked what is in the book of Ezekiel we cannot say.  

It's one thing to feed the lambs in our congregations.  We are also called to feed the sheep.  Lambs require only milk.  Sheep need much more.  

"My view of Scripture changed in one evening. I found a man who knew, knew Scripture."  

We must first be utterly certain that the Scriptures are true.  Then we must take it out and present it in the marketplace of the world.  

"I'm grateful for the conviction of my wife that she has never stood in the way of the ministry.  She has put up with more than a wife ought to bare."  

The New Atheists have declared was on religion on the basis of science.  "Religion poisons everything," says Christopher Hitchens.    

Young people are discovering that parents and pastors can't cope with the questions presented at college.  Pastors feel threatened and intimidated by scientists.  Thus the Christian view is being squeezed out of the marketplace and pushed into silence.  

How do we approach the situation?  

Let's take comfort from the New Testament.  This is not the first time Christianity has run afoul of the government and popular culture.  Paul and his team had no internet, no concordances, no advanced teams.  Without those things they confronted the pantheon of Greco-Roman gods.  They confronted Epicureans and Stoics in the marketplaces of the ancient world.  

It is either Materialistic-Humanism or Theistic Creationism.  

We are being called to do what Peter said, Be ready to give a defense of anyone who asks of the hope that lies within us.  We have no option but to get involved in the heat of the battle.  To stand aside and say nothing gives the perception that we have nothing to say.  

We shall never engage the minds of others if our own hearts and minds are not engaged.  We cannot bring someone's mind to where we ahve not been ourselves.  

Peter tells us we ought to be ready to give a "Dialogue" about Christ.  "If I go a week without being involved in a dialogue I sense something is wrong."  Are we among the world?  Are we answering the questions the world is asking?  If we aren't in the marketplace, we don't know what the world is asking!  

Apology - This is not a special area of theology.  In fact, all Christians are called to give this defense.  What did Paul do?  He relates his life story on the steps of the Antonia fortress.  He speaks of the change in his life from a religious bigot to Christian.  Paul gives a defense to various characters in the book of Acts.  He relates the change and experience he had.  He is told that he is to give a defense in Rome.  What is that defense?  It's evangelization.  It's a answering of the questions.  It's what we must do the moments we open our mouths in any city in the world.  

What ought to be the context of this defense?  A state of fear.  Look at verse 14.  Peter is speaking from a context of fear.  And Peter knew that fear.  He experienced it.  He experienced it so much that he denied Christ three times because of it.  

What do we fear?  Mistakes?  Misunderstanding?  The changing laws?  

There is not limit to what God can do with a man who fully trusts him!

We have no clue of the riches of Scripture.  That is because we don't take God seriously.  Has God really said what the Scriptures say?   

This is after all a very big battle and God has given us one weapon.  A sword.  The sword of the Gospel.  The best way to keep a sword sharp is to keep using it.  Not on our fellow Christians!  We ought not play religion like children, just throwing labels at one another, while the world out there laughs and says, "I told you so!"  We are not to be dogmatic about things the Scripture is not dogmatic about.  

How is it that our knowledge of the stock market, sports, and other things grow so quickly, but our knowledge of the Scripture seems to stay the same.  Then the moment we go to speak in the marketplace of ideas, it becomes quickly apparent of our lack of knowledge.

But what if we can't answer every question?  Just tell them, I don't know.  We don't lose our authority by admitting something we don't know.  However, if we tell people we know something that we don't know, we quickly lose authority.  

How do we begin this dialogue?  We are to be asked.  If we aren't asked, perhaps we ought to ask others of their hope.  Yes, they don't have any hope, but that will begin the conversation.  

*Are we giving out copies of the Bible?   It must speak that we believe in it if we are willing to give it away.

There is a confusion that leads people to say, "You can't reason people into the kingdom."  It's obvious what they mean.  Use your reason and persuasion to the hilt, but don't trust it.  Don't trust reason and use God.  Trust God, then use the reason he's given you.  

CS Lewis said, "God has no more patience with theological slackers than he does with any other kind of slacker."

Christian faith is not blind.  It's evidenced based.  "These things are written that we might believe."  We must fight against the idea that faith is a believing in things that have no evidence.  
Sanctify in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord!  Set him apart as your supreme value!

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