Word For It. . .

2Chronicles7:14-“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Archive for the ‘inspiration’ Category

When Others Pray for Your Conversion

Posted by wordforit on March 29, 2008

 By Selwyn Duke

AmericanThinker

What should our reaction be when others pray for our conversion?

There recently was a story about a German Jewish leader, Charlotte Knobloch, who criticized Pope Benedict XVI for allowing a traditional Easter prayer that calls for the conversion of the Jewish people.  Her reaction raises an interesting issue, as praying for conversion isn’t unique to Catholics any more that taking offense to it is unique to Jews.  And to start this topic off, I’d like to pose a question: Who do you think would be more likely to take umbrage at being the object of such a supplication, a person of deep belief or one of the superficial variety?

Well, here is a little anecdote.  I’m a man who takes his faith very seriously; I believe it is the Truth and that God should be at the center of one’s life.  I also know a man who is Jewish and believes just the same.  He is orthodox, praying at the appointed times every day — regardless of the situation — and abiding by every one of the 613 Judaic laws that pertain to his life.  He is a very saintly, gentle man.  And he also has expressed that his faith — not mine, needless to say — is the true one.  Now, if I found out that he had prayed for my conversion to what he considers a superior faith, should I be offended?     
In fact, neither his perspective nor such a desire would bother me a whit.  While this may strike a Richard Dawkins type as strange, understand my position vis-à-vis his attitude: I’d expect nothing less.  And anything else would truly be less, as the only thing a belief in the equality of all faiths would tell me is that his faith was lacking.

Let us examine this logically.  Why would I sacrifice for my faith, tolerate its demands to tame the flesh and govern my life with its teachings if I didn’t believe it was the Truth (with a capital “T”)?  If I subscribed to the fiction of religious equivalence (a relativistic idea) – if I, in other words, believed it was just a matter of taste as with ice cream – why would I choose a cross?  I’d be a hedonist.

Now we move to the next step.  If I believed something was the Truth – that divine quantity that frees souls, dispels falsehoods, thwarts evil designs and brings happiness – why would I not want my fellow man to benefit from it?  Thus, why would it surprise anyone if I prayed for his conversion?

So understand that when others pray for our conversion it is often an outgrowth of love, a function of that common human desire to have others enjoy what we believe is beneficial.  In fact, what should give us pause for thought is when such people would not thus pray.  After all, what do we usually think of those who possess something they consider great and don’t want to share it?    

Such a desire also is not usual.  Imagine you knew of a health regimen that yielded weight loss without hunger pangs, vibrancy and longer life.  Wouldn’t you want to spread the word?  Might you not passionately say, “Hey, you just have to try this; it’ll make you a new man!”?

In reality, whether religious or not, most people seek converts all the time.  Political parties and groups spend time and treasure trying to convert us to their ideology; self-help gurus and instructors of all stripes peddle their techniques, theories or methods; and businesses try to sell us on the superiority of what they offer.  Whatever the case, the message is the same: Believe what we say, follow our prescription, because what we provide is the best and will improve your life.  It is proselytization.

Thus, if people would feel zealous about sharing a health regimen, why would we expect any less with respect to what they believe heals not just the body, but the soul?  Sure, we may demand they not beat us over the head; we may demand they be civil.  But it’s unreasonable to expect that their natural desire to share will be left at the door of the worldly realm.

I, of course, have had experiences with those who tried to convert me.  I’ve sometimes registered a Mona Lisa smile, or thought, “They don’t know me very well,” but I’ve never gotten upset.  Would I be offended if I learned they had prayed for such a change?  Of course not.  Truth be known, unless we’ve raised someone’s ire and he is relishing some fantasy involving our demise, most people don’t pay us much mind at all.  Thus, if I knew someone had actually taken the time to pray that I should receive what he views as the greatest gift in the Universe, I’d be touched that he cared.  That is love.

I would be remiss if I didn’t treat an important related matter.  In our secular age, many have been conditioned to fear talk of religious conversion; it conjures up images of invading hordes or the Islamists’ sword.  In fact, if we believe the Christopher Hitchenses of the world, such religious ambitions are responsible for most of the evil throughout history (of course, what eludes them is that if there is no God, there can be no “evil,” only personal or collective dislikes).  This is nonsense.

Religious belief is not a prerequisite for a desire to force your ways on others, only belief.  Imposition of will doesn’t require that it be God’s, only that it be a will.  Mao Tse-tung, who could not be confused with a prelate, was fond of saying that “Power comes from the barrel of a gun.”  And he and his fellow travelers practiced what they preached, fomenting unrest, launching military campaigns, instituting “re-education camps” to cure “heretics” and, ultimately, murdering 100 million people during the 20th century.  Their devotion to their godless creed was thorough, and they would stop at nothing to make the world thoroughly godless.  If it makes you feel any better, however, they never prayed for anyone’s conversion.  Communist leaders wanted everyone to pray to them.

Then there is the fear expressed by Charlotte Knobloch, that, to put it in general terms, implying that a group’s characteristic beliefs are lacking could provoke persecution.  While it certainly could, a little more philosophical understanding is in order. 

First, again note that this danger isn’t unique to the “religious” realm.  I mentioned the communists’ re-education camps and their penchant for killing dissenters, but they singled out groups on other bases as well.  The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia persecuted people with eyeglasses and Joseph Stalin murdered great numbers of Jews.  Then there is the Nazi Holocaust.  And, on a smaller scale, I recently read a story about a man who killed another during a political argument. 

In light of this, would we say that people shouldn’t proclaim or even imply that one ideology, or even idea, is better than another?  Not only is this impossible, but it would squelch the search for Truth.  You see, this world poses many questions, and many claim to have the answers – thereby imputing superiority to their ideas – and guess what?  Some of them must be correct.  And we will only find out who they are when they can air their beliefs and we can scrutinize them.      

Besides, as age-old ethnic battles prove, an easily identifiable set of beliefs is unnecessary for persecution.  Whether it’s the slaughter of the Tutsis in Ruanda, the ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, the Armenian genocide or the recent strife in Kenya, man has never needed dogma to justify destruction.  But something else is also true: He does need dogma to forestall it. 

This brings us back to the kind of people who are offended by religious proselytization.  What do you suppose is their nature?  Sure, some are callow religionists whose grasp of faith is superficial and who react like children, but, relatively speaking, that isn’t common in the West.  No, the typical person of this persuasion is very different.  He extols a certain unwritten secular code of decency, one that goes something like this:

“I won’t say my beliefs are superior to yours if you don’t say yours are superior to mine, deal?  After all, if we will just agree with the opinion that Truth doesn’t exist and that truth is opinion — that it’s all relative — we will get along.  We shall just say that all perspectives are equal and live happily ever after.” 

Consequently, while religionists might expect a person of faith to believe that he grasps a Truth they don’t, the secularist in question views such a belief as the most offensive impertinence, a violation of the rules of civilized society.

There is an obvious contradiction here, in that if all ideas are equal, a position of religious equivalence cannot be superior to one of religious chauvinism.  Thus, secularists’ call to the former not only renders them guilty of the very arrogance of belief they accuse religionists of, it is also illogical.  Even more to the point here, it is dangerous.

If people en masse were to answer this call and descend into the confusion of moral relativism, they certainly would have no perceived divine command to do evil.  They also would have no reason not to.  Logically, they could not launch wars, persecute infidels, or root out heretics in the name of God, but they also could not logically say that doing those things is wrong, not for that reason, a different one, or no reason.  Logically, it wouldn’t be wrong to be illogical.  

Of course, there is every reason to fear misconceptions about the Truth.  It poses a grave danger when people believe they have been enjoined to spread their beliefs by the sword, for instance.  Yet, whatever a religionist’s moral compass, it exists.  He may violate his fellow man insofar as he has fallen victim to misconceptions, but he will seldom be as dangerous as one who, at bottom, cannot believe in misconceptions or correct conceptions, but only perception.  As serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer told his parents as a teen, “If there’s no God, why can’t I make up my own rules?”  Dogma isn’t an impediment to peaceful coexistence, but a prerequisite for it.  That is, the correct dogma.

So we have nothing to fear from those who pray for our conversion.  For one thing, I tend to think the people who are praying for you are not those praying against you or who would prey on you.  Second, if they are wrong and you know the Truth, God won’t try to change your heart.  If your conception Truth is flawed, then their prayers are in order.  And if you think them impertinent because you don’t believe in Truth, perhaps you might ponder a pearl of wisdom from G.K. Chesterton:

“They call a man a bigot or a slave of dogma, who is a thinker, and has thought thoroughly and to a definite end.”

Contact Selwyn Duke

                            ******************

Posted in Christianity, culture, God, inspiration, Jesus, Life, politics, Religion, Thoughts | 2 Comments »

Bible Literacy Quiz

Posted by wordforit on February 23, 2008

Written by: Sue Bohlin   

This article is also available in Spanish.

It’s alarming to us at Probe Ministries to see the drop in biblical literacy among Americans. Growing numbers of people don’t know what the Bible says, even the most basic foundational truths and people and facts.

Evangelical pollster George Barna says,

“Over the past 20 years we have seen the nation’s theological views slowly become less aligned with the Bible. Americans still revere the Bible and like to think of themselves as Bible-believing people, but the evidence suggests otherwise. Christians have increasingly been adopting spiritual views that come from Islam, Wicca, secular humanism, the eastern religions and other sources.”{1}

That’s because we’re not reading and studying the Bible. If we don’t know what God says is truth, it makes us vulnerable to believing a lie.

Take the quiz yourself: click here for a format with the questions and answers separated.

                            ______________________

1. Who wrote the first four books of the New Testament?
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
2. Who wrote the first five books of the Old Testament?
Most conservative scholars hold that the Pentateuch was written by Moses.
3. What two Old Testament books are named for women?
Esther and Ruth.
4. What are the Ten Commandments?
1. I am the Lord your God; you shall have no other gods before Me.
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife–or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Exodus 20:2-17)
5. What is the Greatest Commandment?
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37,38)
6. What is the second Greatest Commandment?
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)
7. What is the Golden Rule?
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12)
8. What is the Great Commission?
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19,20)
9. What was the test of a prophet, to know that he was truly from God?
He had to be 100% accurate in his prophecies. The penalty for a false prophet was death by stoning. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)
10. To whom did God give the 10 Commandments?
Moses. (Exodus 20)
11. Which two people did not die?
Genesis 5:24 says that Enoch, who was Noah’s great- grandfather, “walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” The other was the Old Testament prophet Elijah, who was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind with a chariot and horses of fire. (2 Kings 2:11)
12. What is the root of all kinds of evil?
The love of money. (1 Timothy 6:10)
13. What is the beginning of wisdom?
The fear of the Lord. (Psalm 111:10)
14. Who delivered the Sermon on the Mount?
The Lord Jesus. (Matthew 5-7)
15. How did sickness and death enter the world?
Romans 5:12 says that sin entered the world though one man, and death through sin. The fall of man is recorded in Genesis 3, where God’s perfect creation was spoiled by Adam’s sin.
16. Who was the Roman governor who sentenced Christ to death?
Pontius Pilate. (Matthew 27:26)
17. Who are the major prophets?
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
18. What people group is the Old Testament about?
The Hebrews, who became the nation of Israel. They were descendants of Abraham though Isaac.
19. What happened while the Lord Jesus was in the desert for 40 days?
He was tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1) Hebrews 4:15 tells us that He was tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.
20. How many people were on Noah’s ark?
Eight: Noah and his wife, his three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives. (Genesis 7:13, 1 Peter 2:5)
21. Who was the first murderer?
Cain, who killed his brother Abel. (Genesis 4:8)
22. Which person was afflicted with terrible trials but trusted God through it all?  Job. (See book of Job)
23. Who was Israel’s most well-known and well-loved king?
David. (1 Chronicles 29:28)
24. Who was “the weeping prophet?”
Jeremiah.
25. Who was thrown into the lion’s den?
Daniel. (Daniel 6)
26. Who were the two people in the famous fight with a stone and a sling?
David and Goliath. (1 Samuel 17)
27. What is the book of Acts about?
The early years of the church, as the gospel begins to spread throughout the world.
28. What are epistles?
Letters.
29. On what occasion was the Holy Spirit given to the church?
Pentecost. (Acts 2:1-4)
30. Whom did God command to sacrifice his only son?
Abraham. (Genesis 22:2)
31. What was the Old Testament feast that celebrated God’s saving the firstborn of Israel the night they left Egypt?
Passover. (Exodus 12:27)
32. Who was the Hebrew who became prime minister of Egypt?
Joseph. (Genesis 41:41)
33. Who was the Hebrew woman who became Queen of Persia?
Esther. (Esther 2:17)
34. Who was the pagan woman who became David’s great-grandmother?
Ruth. (Ruth 4:17)
35. Which angel appeared to Mary?
Gabriel. (Luke 1:26)
36. How did the Lord Jesus die?
He gave up His life while being crucified. (John 19:18)
37. What happened to Him three days after He died?
He was raised from the dead. (John 20)
38. What happened to the Lord Jesus 40 days after His resurrection?
He ascended bodily into heaven. (Acts 1:9-11)
39. What should we do when we sin, in order to restore our fellowship with God?
1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
40. How did the universe and world get here?
Genesis 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” We are told further in Colossians 1:16 and 17 that the Lord Jesus Christ was the one who did the creating.
41. Where did Satan and the demons come from?
Satan was originally the best and the brightest angel, but he sinned in his pride, wanting to be God. Some of the angels followed him, and these “fallen angels” were cast out of heaven. (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28)
42. Who directed the writing of the Bible?
The Holy Spirit. (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:21)
43. Where was the Lord Jesus before He was conceived in Mary?
In heaven. (Philippians 2:6-11, 1 Corinthians 15:49)
44. Who taught in parables?
The Lord Jesus. (Matthew 13:3)
45. What are parables?
A short, simple story with a spiritual point.
46. Which two animals talked with human speech?
The serpent in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:3) and Balaam’s donkey (Numbers 22:28)
47. With which woman did David commit adultery?
Bathsheba. (2 Samuel 11)
48. Which one of their sons succeeded David as king?
Solomon. (2 Samuel 12:24)
49. Who was the female judge of Israel?
Deborah. (Judges 4:4)
50. Who was the wisest man in the world?
Solomon. (1 Kings 3:12)
51. Who was the first man?
Adam. (Genesis 2:20)
52. Who was the most humble man on earth?
Moses. (Numbers 12:3)
53. Who was the strongest man on earth?
Samson. (Judges 13-16)
54. Where were the two nations of God’s people taken into captivity?
Israel was taken into Assyria (2 Kings 17:23), and Judah into Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:20).
55. Which cupbearer to a foreign king rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem?
Nehemiah. (Nehemiah 2:5)
56. Who were the two Old Testament prophets who worked miracles?
Elijah and Elisha. (1 Kings 17 – 2 Kings 6)
57. Which Old Testament prophet spent three days in the belly of a great fish?
Jonah. (Jonah 1:17)
58. What is the last book of the Old Testament?
Malachi.
59. For which Israelite commander did the sun stand still?
Joshua. (Joshua 10)
60. Who was the first king of Israel?
Saul. (1 Samuel 13:1)
61. Who built the temple in Israel?
Solomon. (1 Kings 6)
62. Which of the twelve tribes of Israel served as priests?
Levites. (Deuteronomy 10:8)
63. Which city fell after the Israelites marched around it daily for seven days?
Jericho. (Joshua 6:20)
64. What did God give the Israelites to eat in the wilderness?
Manna and quail. (Exodus 16)
65. Which two people walked on water?
Jesus and Peter. (Matthew 14:29)
66. Who was the first martyr?
Stephen. (Acts 7)
67. Who betrayed Jesus to the priests, and for how much?
Judas betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver, the price of a slave. (Matthew 26:14-15)
68. What is the Lord’s Prayer?
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)
69. Who was the first person to see the risen Lord?
Mary Magdalene. (John 20:16)
70. Which prophet and cousin of the Lord was beheaded?
John the Baptist. (John 14:10)
71. To what country did the young Jesus and His parents escape when Herod was threatening His life?
Egypt. (Matthew 2:13-15)
72. What was Christ’s first miracle?
He turned water into wine at the wedding at Cana. (John 2:11)
73. Which one of the Lord’s personal friends did He raise from the dead?
Lazarus. (John 11)
74. Who was the greatest missionary of the New Testament?
Paul. (see book of Acts)
75. Who was Paul’s first partner?
Barnabas. (Acts 13:2)
76. Whom did an angel release from prison?
Peter. (Acts 12)
77. Which event caused God to splinter human language into many tongues?
The building of the Tower of Babel. (Genesis 11)
78. Which chapter of an Old Testament prophet’s book gives a detailed prophecy of the Messiah’s death by crucifixion?
Isaiah 53.
79. Who wrestled all night with the Lord and was left with a permanent limp?
Jacob. (Genesis 32:22-32)
80. Which two pastors did Paul write letters to?
Timothy and Titus.
81. Who was hailed as a god when he was bitten by a snake but nothing bad happened?
Paul. (Acts 28:5-6)
82. Which two New Testament writers were brothers of the Lord Jesus?
James and Jude. (Matthew 13:55)
83. Which two New Testament books were written by a doctor?
Luke and Acts. (2 Timothy 4:11)
84. Who had a coat of many colors?
Joseph. (Genesis 37:3)
85. In what sin did Aaron lead the Israelites while his brother Moses was up on the mountain talking to God?
They made an idol in the form of a golden calf. (Exodus 32)
86. How many books are there in the entire Bible?
66: 39 in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New Testament.
87. What’s the difference between John the Baptist and the John who wrote several New Testament books?
John the Baptist was a prophet who proclaimed the kingdom of God was near in preparation for his cousin Jesus’ ministry. The John who wrote the gospel of John, the epistles–1, 2 and 3 John–and Revelation, was one of the twelve apostles and one of those closest to the Lord, along with Peter and James. He called himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
88. Who saw the Lord appear to him in a burning bush?
Moses. (Exodus 3)
89. How many sons did Jacob have?
Twelve. They were the ancestors of the twelve tribes of Israel. (Genesis 35:22)
90. Who gave up his birthright for a bowl of stew?
Esau. (Genesis 25:33)
91. Which Psalm starts out, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want?”
Psalm 23.
92. Who disowned the Lord Jesus three times before a cock crowed?
Peter. (Matthew 26:69-75)
93. What did the Lord do just before the Last Supper to demonstrate His love and humility?
He washed the disciples’ feet. (John 13:5)
94. Where is the New Testament “Hall of Faith?”
Hebrews 11.

95. Who appeared with the Lord in glory on the Mount of Transfiguration? Elijah and Moses. (Mark 9:4)

96. Who is the second Adam?
The Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:45-49)
97. Which Old Testament prophet married a prostitute because God told him to?
Hosea. (Hosea 1:2)
98. What are the two sacred ordinances that the Lord commanded us to observe?
Baptism (Matthew 28:19,20) and Communion, or the Lord’s Table (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
99. What are supernatural enablings that allow a believer to serve the Body of Christ with ease and effectiveness? Spiritual gifts. (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4:8-13, 1 Peter 4:10-11)
100. Whose tomb was Christ buried in?
Joseph of Arimathea. (Matthew 27:57-60)
101. Who wrote the book of Hebrews?
Nobody knows.

102. Which is the “epistle of joy?”  Philippians.

103. What is the book of Revelation about?
The end of the world. 
104. Who is the bride of Christ?
The church–that is, all who have trusted Him for salvation. (Ephesians 5:25-27, Revelation 19:7-8)
___________________________________________

Note: http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdate&BarnaUpdateID=122

© 2005 Probe Ministries International

About the Author

Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker with Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 30 years. She serves as a Mentor Mom and speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers), and on the board and as a small group leader of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. She is also a professional calligrapher and the webmistress for Probe Ministries; but most importantly, she is the wife of Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons.

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at http://www.probe.org/.

Further information about Probe’s materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:

Probe Ministries
1900 Firman Drive, Suite 100
Richardson, TX 75081
(972) 480-0240   FAX (972) 644-9664
 info@probe.org  http://www.probe.org/

Copyright information

*************************************************************

Posted in Bible, bible quiz, Christianity, God, history, inspiration, Jesus, Religion, research | 3 Comments »

Intolerant Christianity

Posted by wordforit on February 16, 2008

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6).

. . .This verse is the one that is behind the UN’s hatred of Christianity, and is the main reason that in Canada, the Bible has been determined, under certain circumstances, to be ‘hate literature’.

. . . Leaving aside why Jesus would exclude unbelievers for a second, one has to wonder why somebody who doesn’t believe in Jesus would want to go to His heaven in the first place?

. . . To a Christian, truth matters. To the world, the truth is whatever they want to believe is true.

In the sense of ‘Christian intolerance’ the word ‘tolerant’ really means ‘pluralist’. ‘Pluralism’ is a curious philosophy, in that it holds that a number of simultaneous and conflicting truths can exist at the same time with each separate truth remaining equally true.

Pluralism holds that distinct cultural beliefs are true for that culture–but not for cultures that operate out of a different “paradigm” (like Christianity.)

Pluralists say that truth is a “social construction.” It is created through social consensus and tradition, not discovered in reality that exists independently of our beliefs. Truth is, therefore, subjective interpretation, rather than facts based in reality. . .

Complete Article: OmegaLetter

___________________________________________

I hope and pray that everyone passing through will read and absorb the entire content of Jack Kinsella’s well-written and Christ-centered essay regarding the double-speak of intolerance!

May God have Mercy.

Posted in Christianity, culture, family, God, inspiration, Life, politically correct, politics, Religion | Leave a Comment »