What is Apologetics?

Apologetics may be simply defined as the defense of the Christian faith. The word “apologetics” derives from the Greek word apologia, which was originally used as a speech of defense or an answer given in reply. In ancient Athens it referred to a defense made in the courtroom as part of the normal judicial procedure. After the accusation, the defendant was allowed to refute the charges with a defense or reply (apologia). The word appears 17 times in noun or verb form in the New Testament, and both the noun (apologia) and verb form (apologeomai) can be translated “defense” or “vindication” in every case.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top Ten Posts from The Real Issue for 2015 (LINKS FIXED)

This past year has been a busy one for ministry and work, with not much time for blogging. To be honest it this has been somewhat of a let down. But we know that God works all things out, and we were allowed to post what you read this year.

As the year 2015 draws to a close, I want to thank you all for reading our posts here at The Real Issue Apologetics Ministry blog site. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from The Real Issue!



When you think on Christmas and in particular that very first night, what do YOU think of?  Those experienced Christ's birth encountered a baby who was and is 
Infinite and yet an infant.
Eternal and yet born of a woman.
Almighty, and yet nursing at a woman’s breast.

Supporting a universe, and yet needing to be carried in a mother’s arms.
Heir of all things, and yet the carpenter’s despised son.

~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon ~

May the wonder of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ and all that it implies and means, overwhelm your soul and spirit with awe, as it did for the shepherds and those who were eyewitnesses to it that very first night. 

As we celebrate the virgin conception and Incarnation, may we continually be amazed and grateful at God's amazing grace toward all who believe. You see, it starts at the manger.  From his Incarnation to His Crucifixion to His Resurrection and Exaltation ....it is all start with the baby in the manger...God with us, for us: Jesus Christ is Lord! May you and yours continue to reflect on His finished work that all started that first night and have a very blessed Christmas Day.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Update on My Physical Health

This has been a real difficult three months, and possibly the reason why you have not seen any posts. It is hard to communicate when one is not themselves physically. This past Wednesday I was at work and experienced a pancreatic gallstone attack. Six days later (today), I am back home, and asking you to pray for us and stay close to the Real Issue.     

I just arrived home from a six day stay at Mary Washington Hospital. No, there are no pictures of me sedated or at my worst. To say the least, I have a lot of physical maintenance to do with my blood sugar levels and recovering from the surgery. Thanks to my living in the same fallen world as you, they to their filled me up with fluids. I will also taking insulin for a short time period (hopefully) to maintain my pancreas until I get back to a normal way of life. I am also taking a cycle of blood thinners to ensure no post surgical clots and hopefully remove a very small blood clot on the outside wall of my liver.  

The gall bladder is gone. But I am feeling much much better despite being very very very weak right now.  

I want to thank all of those dear friends and saints for your prayers and love outreach to our family. This was no walk in the park, and if it got worse, I would not be typing this right now, could have becoming under sepsis and possible not being in this earthly existence. Now on the road to recovery.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thoughts from Rob on the Refugee Crisis

We are hearing a lot from the media pundits and in various circles about the government's decision to bring Syrian refugees into this nation. I want to provide you with some thoughts on how I see this.  

Points of agreement:

1. I agree that this refugee crisis is a great opportunity for us, as Christians in the west, especially in the U.S., to show Muslims what unconditional love looks like and point them to Jesus. These are people for whom 'Isa (Jesus) died.

2.  I think the government is not making a good decision due to other nations with like worldviews could take them. That said, I also agree that some have used this refugee crisis to perpetrate further evil on the western world at large, in general.

If Everything Needs a Creator, then Who or What Created God?

Introduction.

Those of you who have been following some recent Twitter to Facebook quotes have noticed that I have been involved in some conversations with the fellow coworker, who embraces a pagan religion, and who loves to see if he can stump me.  Without getting into the crux of the conversation, it somehow ended up on what kind of God exists. 

My conversant took tried to state that the universe had always existed and if was expanding it at a constant rate. In other words, he was promoting his understanding of a "steady state" universe.[1] This prompted him to question me with the following, "If you believe that God created the universe, then who created God?"

Monday, October 26, 2015

Is Biblical Christianity Compatible with Socialism?

I usually don't mettle on political issues unless there is something that has to do with impacting the Christian church. The last time I did something relevant to politics and culture was at the beginning of the second term of the current President's administration.

This upcoming election season has sparked a question, that raises another question. This question has  been raised over the last few decades in various circles. The question is, "Is Christianity compatible with socialism?" or "Are socialism and Christianity similar in their outworkings?

This is a worldview question. We have seen the decisions that have been made that are in direct conflict with the biblical worldview.  Since every political candidate has a worldview, I want to address this issue from a worldview perspective. What I hope to defend in this posting is that socialism, as a political economic theory, is contra-biblical. In other words, it is in total contradiction to the biblical worldview.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ministry Update Concerning the Last Two Months

Being up in the wee hours of the morning, I had been doing some reflecting and evaluating where things have been for the last couple of months.  It is hard to imagine that I have not posted a blog over the last couple of months! But it is true.

Where have we been, and where are we now?  Well these last couple of months I have been working on getting my blood pressure DOWN while maintaining our work with Ratio Christi, all the while working my full-time job in car sales (as if that might not be one of the main  contributors for stress).

So in this post, I want to catch you up on what has been happening and give you a rundown on what  the Lord has been doing with us at The Real Issue.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Nature of Apologetics in a Morally Suicidal Culture

One of the things gnawing at me lately is trying to find a way to break the thinking most believers have about apologetics.[1]  Just from conversations over the last several months, some believers have this impression that when we address the subject of apologetics, we are talking about a special discipline for a special select group of Christians.  This is not true.

Still some others have the impression that a person needs to be "ready" as if to have a certain level of spiritual maturity, before tackling questions that they may have had before coming to faith in Christ.  and that having an apologetics program is a like having an "upgraded software package" that upgrades the Christianity 101 course.[2]

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Now That the Court Has Ruled, 'How Then Shall We Live?'

Let me open this posting by asking you a question.  Do you consider yourself a tolerant person?  If you say "yes," then whether or not you agree with what you are about to read, you will tolerate me, in the real sense of toleration, as a person of worth.  If you say "no," and choose to continue reading, then I would only ask you to do to think about this position that is different from your own and see if it makes sense to you.[1]

As a result of this past Friday's Supreme Court's decision, the church in America received a wake up call.  It was a wake up call from a deep, deep sleep and presented an "exam" that it is not prepared for.  The 5-4 decision, by the Supreme Court to legalize same sex marriage has given the Christian church in this country a huge essay question that resounds with the question, "how then shall we live?"

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Authenticating Your Terms When Communicating With the Spiritually Blind

For those who engaged my last posting on how to identify cultic doctrine while dialoguing with a member of the local Kingdom Hall or a couple of Mormon missionaries, I would like to take this a little further and open this posting with an illustration.  

After a fire team squad completes an operation, each squad returns home. However, before they depart on the mission, or during the operation each squad leader receives the authentication code from the home base for their return "home" once the operation is completed. Before their return, a sqaud will have to go through the "commo" process between the RTO's (radio transmission operators at "home" and in the field) to the authenticate the squad authentically identifies with the platoon. At times the squad leader may even have to go through the process of authenticating each returning member of the fire team to make sure the enemy has not or is not entering the camp.

When speaking to members of the Jehovah's Witnesses or two nice people from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,

Thursday, June 18, 2015

How to Discern Cultic Teaching When You Are Conversing on the Doorstep

This posting is kind of going back to a specialty when I first started on the adventure in the discipline of apologetics. Prior to addressing things like the problem of evil, the existence of God and worldview subjects, I was involved with doing ministry training churches to witness to people in the cults.  So in this posting I am going to go back to that to address something that came up in a conversation just the other night.

The other night I found myself talking with a couple members at our church and we were in the discussion of how to recognize or discern the differences between biblical teaching as opposed to the teachings you hear about in the cults. One was a former member of a group and the other was eager to learn how to discern and pierce the blindness blinding those entrapped in the cult ideology.

So what I would like to do in this posting is share with you a tool that you can use to discern what is false teaching as oppose to what is biblical teaching when it comes to conversing with someone from the local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses or from the local ward or stake from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.[1]

First let me share with you about the word that is more or less a "hot-button" term, the word "cult."

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Congratulations to The Poached Egg Apologetics Network for Five Years of Ministry!


It was about three years ago that I received a phone call from Greg West sharing with me about his passion on apologetics. At that time The Poached Egg Apologetics Network was still in its adolescence, and reflected that passion.

What is this poached egg illustrative description?  The name of his ministry comes from C. S. Lewis' statement in Mere Christianity,

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Monday, June 8, 2015

Apologetics Serves Evangelism in a Post Christian Culture

Thinking this morning about where our culture has been and where it is going, I could not help pondering about the church’s effectiveness in this post Christian culture in reaching those without Christ.  

The truth is that every believer already, whether they realize it or not, does some form of pre-evangelism to the ones who are hostile to the gospel message. The question now becomes, do they want to continue to do it poorly or do they want to do it well? And it saddens me to think that there are many pastors who are still stuck in the old paradigm of "the Bible says" approach to evangelism. 

While that paradigm may work in some scenarios, such encounters are becoming less frequent as our culture plunges itself deeper into the the naturalistic worldview.  How is this manifesting itself?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

In the Culture We Have Today, Pre-evangelism or Apologetics Cannot be Ignored

A couple of postings ago, I shared with you about four dangerous trends that are confronting the church and the culture. With these four trends, the task of apologetics is needed more than ever. People today are living out a humanistic existence, reflecting no need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  

Just the other day, I was at Sheets, picking up a smoothie, and saw someone with a tee shirt that had the word "Church" on the back. I thought that this might give me to seek an opportunity to talk with the young man sporting the tee shirt, with the hopes of a conversation. It turned out that the concert shirt a country musician named Eric Church's world tour and not for the Epic Life Church[1] that is here in "the Burg."

Monday, May 11, 2015

Does it matter what one believes, as long as they are sincere?


Have you ever been told by someone that it is "okay to believe what you believe, as long as you are sincere?" In this quick posting I would like to get to the "real issue" of why this is a little shortsighted at the least and spiritually dangerous at best.

To put it short and to the point, sincerity is a good thing, but it should not be our final answer for thinking that we are believing the right thing. Your and my spiritual well being should not be hanging in the balance of our sincerely believing what we believe.  One can be sincere in what they believe, but do you realize that they can also be sincerely wrong.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Rob is a Guest on Theology Matters with the Pellews: Apologetics in Evangelism


This past Thursday, I had the privilege to be interviewed on the Theology Matters with the Pellews podcast hosted by my good friend Devin Pellew.  Devin and Melissa Pellew are full time missionaries with Ratio Christi serving at UNC Winthrop.  They also are actively involved in reaching out to the faculty at UNC Winthrop and have a great work among the churches and in the local correctional facility.   

I was interviewed by Devin on the first segment of Theology Matters on the subject of the need for apologetics in evangelism. In this segment, we address the role of apologetics being needed in a typical evangelistic scenario where the person does not accept the Bible as authoritative for salvation and that in those times we need to put the brakes on the gospel to clear the road to get the person to the gospel.  Apologetics in this case becomes the handmaiden to evangelism.

For those of you who have some of the common issues about trying to get apologetics a hearing in your church, or if you would like to know what apologetics is all about, and how it can impact your evangelism, please contact us at the Real Issue Apologetics Ministry and we would love to assist you or your church in the equipping of the saints to engage the cultural setting where they are located.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Four Dangerous Cultural Trends the Church Needs to Address

It has been a few weeks since I have posted on The Real Issue. Much of the reason has been time being stolen to do what I love to do, by my full time job. I am trying to take back "my life" even though my life is fully in Christ, no matter where I am.

But as I have been thinking on how to regain ground, and reboot my blogging and writing.  Being a "tent-making one dollar apologist,"(1)(2) working in what I call "the secular city," and battling in a job that is not for the feint of heart, I have been mulling over my next posting.  Being a culture watcher and viewing everything from a "worldview perspective" has prompted some thoughts about four dangerous trends that the Christian church in America needs to address. 

This posting here will just get the ball rolling with just a short summary of these trends; and then post more on them in the not too distant future.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

For Those Who Are Struggling, What Does God Think of Me as His Child?

Here is a list of biblical affirmations about who we are, when it comes to our identity in Jesus Christ that is derived from a few selected passages in the New Testament. This is just a portion of the many truths about who we have become through faith in God’s Son.  Use this as a way of taking inventory from time to time.

• I am a child of God.

But to all who have received him--those who believe in his name--he has given the right to become God's children … (John 1:12).

• I am a branch of the true vine, and a conduit of Christ’s life.

I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me--and I in him--bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing (John 15:1, 5).

• I am a friend of Jesus.

I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father (John 15:15).

Monday, April 13, 2015

You Should Not Legislate Morality! Really?


Introducing the Challenge

Whenever you and I find ourselves in a conversation with someone centered around a volatile issue concerning morality or lifestyles, we are bound to hear something like, "you cannot legislate morality!" Is this true? Do we, ourselves legislate morality whenever we go to the voting booth? Is this challenge logical? Is this challenge correct from a political understanding?

These last two questions go to the nerve of this challenge.  Let's look at these real issues.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Charge of Islamophobia: Intolerance or Something More Problematic?

Introduction.

Have you ever heard the term, "Islamophobia?"  The other day I was viewing this website article discussing how there is a growing number of states that are not going to allow any sharia laws to be taken to the courts in their states. The Commonwealth of Virginia and others states were listed has a having passed legislation or on the verge of passing laws to keep sharia out of their law books.
 
Of course this incited an advocacy group for Islam called CAIR (the Council on American Islamic Relations). This group makes it their case to find out who is being intolerant to Muslims and the cause of Islam in this culture.  From their website we see, that CAIR has a department "to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia monitors the groups and individuals behind anti-Muslim prejudice in the United States."[1]


But what is Islamophobia? According to their website, "Islamophobia is close-minded prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims."  Islamophobic acts are those acts that are directed at Muslims in general, and an Islamophobe is an individual who holds a close minded view of Islam and promotes prejudice against or hatred of Muslims.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Series Summary of Posts on the Subject of Baptismal Regeneration

Well this series is complete, and I am sure that much more could have been addressed.  But for those of you who have been following this series on the subject of baptismal regeneration, here is a list of the posts for the series. As is the case with anything that you read on this blog, please feel free to interact with the postings at the bottom of each posting.  I will be more than happy to correspond with you and answer your questions:


What is the Deal About Baptismal Regeneration? Is it Biblical? (Click Here)

Is Mark 16:16 a Strong Support for Biblical Regeneration? NO! (Click Here)

Slipping on the 'eis' Toward a False Teaching of Baptismal Regeneration (Click Here)

Some Perceive Water Baptism Saves According to 1 Peter 3:21. . .Is This True? (Click Here)


Happy thinking and studying as you engage and get down to The Real Issue! 

Some Perceive Water Baptism Saves According to 1 Peter 3:21. . .Is This True?

I would like to take this time to thanks those for the feedback I have received in these postings responding to this whole thing on baptismal regeneration. As I conclude this series, I know that much more could be addressed and that there are some other passages out there, that are used in the feeble attempt to defend this dogma. 

As I mentioned at the beginning of this series, my friend holding to this teaching, threw down some verses, and we have addressed all of the main ones except the passage in 1 Peter 3:21,

Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you -- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience -- through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. . . " (NASB)

Those who believe that baptism is required for salvation are quick to refer to this passage, which is nothing more than a “proof text,” that states “baptism now saves you.”

Saturday, February 7, 2015

My Quick Response to President Obama's Speech at the National Prayer Breakfast


You know Mr. President, it never ceases to amaze me how our Presidents try to be historians and theologians in chief, whenever something bad happens in the name of religion. You take the cake, speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast. 
In your talk at the National Prayer Breakfast you mention 500 years of the Medieval and Spanish Inquisitions resulted in approximately 6000 deaths; and the last 9 months there have been over 10,000 murdered in Iraq and Syria by ISIS. This is the olde, "look at what has been done in the name of religion" spiel. 
Let's admit, Mr. President these are truly atrocities. However the latter atrocities committed by "Islamic terrorists" is far worse than the former. 
Nine months? 10,000 Lives? Mr. President ideas have consequences. Religion or no religion, don't be putting the full culpability on the history of Christianity and not look at the history of western civilization over the last century. Be honest, (it might be hard for you) Mr. President, you want to talk historical events, do the roll call with me here:
Josef Stalin                                         42,672,000 lives
Chiang-Kai-shek                                 10,214,000 lives
Mao Tse Tung                                      37,828,000 lives
Vladimir Lenin                                       4,017,000 lives
Pol Pot                                                     2,397.000 lives
Hideki Tojo                                              3,990,000 lives
and last but not least Adolf Hitler          20,946,000 lives.
All this said Mr. President, if you don't start calling ISIS' atrocities "Islamic terrorism," if you don't stop soft selling what is going on over in the Middle East, I am horrified to think that that number of 10,000 lives in nine months is going to escalate to the level of the one's on the list. 

Lord help us

Slipping on the "eis" Toward a False Teaching of Baptismal Regeneration

Moving forward in this series on the subject of baptismal regeneration, I want to deal with a popular passage that is often quoted by those defending the position that baptismal regeneration is biblical. If you are just joining in the discussion of this subject, baptismal regeneration is a belief where the act of baptism is part of the order of salvation and an act that saves the individual. The passage I want to address in this posting is Acts 2:38,

"Peter said to them, 'Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'"

As it is one any one single verse or passage, we need to remember to discern what it teaches by first filtering it through what we know the entire Bible teaches on the subject.

In the case of baptism and salvation, the Bible is vey clear that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by works of any kind, including baptism (
Ephesians 2:8-9). So, any interpretation which comes to the conclusion that baptism, or any other act, is necessary for salvation, is a faulty interpretation.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Is Mark 16:16 a Strong Support for Baptismal Regeneration? NO!

One of the "Go To" verses that sects, cults and denominations that support baptismal regeneration is Mark 16:16. This posting is in follow up to my previous posting on this subject that arose from a conversation with a friend who embraces this teaching. I also want to thank those who have "chimed in" on my Facebook page to share their thoughts on this subject as well.  

Before we get into answering this question, though, I want to approach this from a proper hermeneutic. Biblical hermeneutics is the study or science of interpreting Scripture, and it will be this approach for this verse as well as the remaining posts on this series.  

Whenever we look at a single verse or a passage, we need to discern what it teaches through carefully considering the context of the passage, and the language that is used. We also need to understand the "analogy of Scripture" (sometimes called "the analogy of faith") or knowing what the Bible teaches elsewhere on the same subject.  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

What is the Deal About Baptism Regeneration? Is it Biblical?

Not too long ago I was involved in a friendly conversation with a friend over doctrines in various denominational groups. The conversation moved to whether or not one needed to be baptized in order to be "saved." When I use the term "saved," I am using it in the context of spiritual redemption vis-a-vis, salvation from sin.

Let us be reminded that this is a hot button among many folks who are members of groups or sects that find their roots in the American Restoration Movement or Campbellite tradition during the Great Awakening in America.

But is baptismal regeneration taught in Scripture? Some believe that it is, but this posting will argue for the contrary.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Review of 2014 at The Real Issue


We Say Goodbye to 2014 and Hello 2015!

The year 2014 has come and gone and every year I have an opportunity to compile the postings over the year and reflect on what I wrote on. Every year I sit back and scratch my head and thank the Lord for what He has allowed me to share with you.

One of the surprises that I noticed on the posting talley, that we were a couple short of our highest monthly. But I write as the spirit leads and there is enough energy to hammer on the keys.

First off let me say to those of you who read and follow The Real Issue, thank you for your indulging the postings. Some of you who do or do not follow this blog have made comments letting me know who you have been shaped or influenced by what you have read. Thank you and praise the Lord for His moving in your heart and mind.