Apologeet.nl

The World Can Use Some Apologists

Posts Tagged / Faith

Debating Atheists?

Why I don’t Debate Atheists

Why I don’t debate atheists? Well, that statement is not entirely true because, so now and then, I do respond on their remarks. However, I try to avoid these endless debates on forums, YouTube and other online platforms. You see, it is often a quite different situation if you meet someone in person, and it turns out that this person identifies himself as an atheist. For some reason, the conversations are much more respectful if you can look each other in the eyes. Or that might be because I look impressive…

Angry People on Both Sides

Christians

I guess my stance is mostly about online debates. I used to be an un-believer. I wouldn’t classify myself as an atheist back then. I think the term agnostic is more suitable. I remember how fiery I was when I finally became a Christian. One day I went along with an evangelist. He used to go to the pubs on Friday night. He was the real deal, and I wanted to see how he did.

One evening we came across a group of young men who used to be my friends. As my friend the evangelist started his plea, they started to mock him. They were very disrespectful, and he didn’t say anything about it. No worries! I was there to save the day. I looked my old mates in the eyes, lifted my fist and told them to listen or else…

It worked! They listened to the whole story. Later I told my friend that I thought that the whole episode was a success. He laughed and said that I might consider changing my tactic. Back then I thought that there was no need to change. If people don’t want to listen, you just make them to.

Making people listen can quickly become a goal in itself. The sincere Christian might have a hard time not trying to force the Gospel up someone’s throat. I mean, we really want that guy or lady to be saved right? Maybe you can spook them into Christianity. Tell them about hell, that worked for me! But than it might come as a surprise that Jesus’ warnings about hell were mostly discussed among His own followers. Jesus didn’t seem to preach fire and brimstone all the time.

Okay, how about trying to outwit the other with smart arguments. With the Christian world-view we have logic on our side, so debunking all the arguments launched by atheists seems to be the way. Only, now we seem to forget that most unbelievers are just not easily convinced by arguments that seem to take the supernatural in account. Even if the supernatural isn’t even part of the argument, many just know that in the end you try to convince them about God anyway.

Yes, I know! It can be very frustrating to know you have logic on your side, but the other just doesn’t want to grab it. Oh, those dumb atheists! Are they purposely dumb? Or are they just born that way? Oops, you see what happens? You became angry, and maybe even confused.

Atheists

But how about people who call themselves atheist? Are the any better? Well, honestly? I think many atheists, especially the typical YouTube atheist, are much more nasty and angry in online debates than most Christians. They yell, they make up all sorts of names for us, they blaspheme the name of Jesus, and they treat others like rubbish. Not all of them! I have been blessed with some very nice and respectful discussions in the past.

But, just recently one person commented on one of my videos. I’ll pick some of the words from that comment: brainwashing, trojan horse of irrelevance, gobblygook, spiritual enslavement, maniacal control freak-ridden pseudoreligions.

You have to hand it to him or her, it is very creative. But, really? How much effort will it cost me to respond on all these accusations? And I don’t think it will result in anything else than an even angrier person. The writer will probably shout, with Caps-Lock on, that he is not angry! Okay, if this is the way you normally respond, I do not want to see you angry… Better not discussing these topics with you than.

Emotional

Actually, I believe that apologetics is in the first place a great tool to help Christians grow in their faith. I’ll come back to that later.

Angry Christians

First, I think I need to address the emotional side of this issue. I do understand why Christian get angry. Many of us just don’t understand why others are willingly ignorant while showing them all the signs and arguments for a creating God.

2 Peter 3:3-5

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.

That’s right, the Bible says that many unbelievers are willingly ignorant, purposely dumb. Oh boy, I can see all the angry comments already, that is going to be fun to read!

Angry Atheists

But, why this emotional responds. Why would they scoff the way they do? I know, the topic of God vs. atheism can be very emotional, but you will not find comparable insults on the Christian side. Why then are so many atheists so angry?

Atheists often like to say that they just don’t believe in God. However, if they really were unbelievers they should live their lives as if God did not exist, right? You see, I don’t believe in the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. Many children have heard this story, and they loved it. They fantasised about it, and re-enacted the story in the garden. But I know it is a fairytale, it is not real. But I am not going to write books called The end of Jack and the giant, Jack’s giant is Not Great, or The Beanstalk Delusion.

The urge to fight this hard against Christianity seems to reveal a certain anger towards God; they behave like they are at war with God. Bitterness sounds through the titles of their book, the titles of their videos, their discussion and what not. Yes,you can hear their bitterness through their nasty insults in the comment section under Christian videos.

But I also think they become so angry because they are not used to having their sophisticated reasons revealed as they are, not as sophisticated as they think they are. Just look at the responses when the famous spokesmen of atheism lose in debates against people like William Lane Craig, John Lennox, Norm Geisler, Frank Turek etc.

As soon as the atheist community feels that their fighter lost, they are quick to say that they weren’t in shape, he didn’t prepare well enough, he made a fool out of himself etc. No, they would have answered differently! Like they, the all-knowing YouTube atheists, are more knowledgeable than those heavyweights on stage. Don’t get me wrong, there might be a few very intellectual atheists roaming the internet, but the fast majority haven’t studied the topics as deeply as these men. They are prepared big time when they step into that arena with a Christian apologist. So, don’t pretend you would have done much better.

Why I, Personally, do not Debate Atheists?

So why am I not going to use apologetics in debates with atheists? Well, the first reason is very simple. I just don’t have the knowledge to respond very quickly on all the questions they launch. I practice apologetics as a hobby. That means that I do not have the time to do the amounts of research needed to successfully debate. There are very good apologists out there who are privileged enough to spend many hours studying all the different topics. I rather leave it to them, who I consider to be much smarter on these topics than I am.

Why I use Apologetics

However, I do feel knowledgeable enough to make videos like these, and to preach, and educate. Why? Because preparing a video, sermon or a study can be done in parts. I do not have to have add-hoc answers, I can prepare myself over the course of days or even a week. I thus rather use my talents to help the Church of Christ grow.

I came across this explanation of apologetics:

Apologetics is the systematic and logical defence of Christianity against its detractors and unbelievers backed up by evidence showing its credibility.i

I know the invitations in the Bible that say you need to try to convince people. But there are even more texts that say that we need to help each others to grow in the faith. Our young people need to see why we believe what we believe. They need to be able to relate it to the surrounding things. That way they can adopt the Christian faith with intellectual and rational honesty, rigor, and certainty.

GobblyGook

Did I just say ‘young people’? Yes, that is because the older Christians don’t have much trouble right? Well, wrong! I actually found that many older Christians aren’t that stable in their faith as the like you to believe. What they do master though, is appearance. Many older Christians are just not willing to change much about their lifestyles. Becoming an atheist isn’t relevant for them because that would mean they lose their social activities. Then, a teenager or someone in his twenties comes by with questions, and they just tell them that faith is a mystery, they shouldn’t try to rationalise faith etc. And that is just what my atheist friend would call gobblygook.

Throughout the centuries we have seen many attacks towards Christianity. We even see many within Church who proclaim a different Gospel than that of the first apostles. I get to see first hand what happens when Churches are undereducated. In the South-West of Madagascar there are many small churches. Many believers there can’t read and write. They have little knowledge of the Bible. Now, they get a visit from a well-trained Muslim, and he tells them that his prophet is the promised comforter as mentioned by Jesus.

John 14:16

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.

I hope you know how to answer this. Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, who came 40 days after His ascension. But these poor Christians have no answer and are quickly lured into Islam. Where are the apologists in those regions?

Young Christians

And now I look at you! Who me? You might wonder. Yes, what is your position? Are you going to spend all your time debating angry unwilling people, because you hope that they tell you the truth when they say they try to gain more knowledge and information about your faith. I forgot were I read this. The question was why atheists always want to debate. And answer that received most likes was because they love to learn.

But you are not called to satisfy their needs. If they want to learn, they can go to the library. You are called to be the light and salt in this world. You might know this text in Matthew 5:13-16

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

To be a Christian is not a synonym of being a wimpy guy or girl. We have enough cry-babies already, Christians who hold to a wishy-washy Gospel and have no idea how to live accordingly let alone how to defend it. In the West most Christians should be able to familiarise themselves with their doctrines. So, why is this not happening? Laziness? Not pressed enough? Not shocked enough when more than half of the youth in church actually leaves the faith of their parents behind them? I have no idea. And that bothers me big time.

But what I do know is that your position doesn’t need to be like that. The Church is in need of strong men and women who can lead and train others. We still need many, well-trained, missionaries or evangelists here on Madagascar. Christians who are not afraid of confronting false teachers, who are not afraid of correcting those Muslim preachers. Christians who like to come with me to visit the biggest witchdoctor of our area… Fun guaranteed!

Anyway, I would like to challenge you to really become the salt and light Jesus was talking about. Try and see whether you can find a good Bible-school in your area. Maybe an evening school, I’ve done that for five years and I loved it.

Outro

Okay, I’ll leave it at this. I think I will do the next video on the importance of apologetics. I already touched a little on that topic in this one, but there are many more good reasons to train yourself as being an apologists. But that has to wait for the next one. For now, just let me know your thoughts in the comment section of this video. I love to hear from you.

I also want to thank all of you who subscribed to my channel. On YouTube I’ve got something like 1800 subscribers, and on Odysee I already have around 5000. Which is amazing! Let’s see whether we can reach more people with the Good News of Jesus Christ by growing even bigger.

Maybe, you can add some more Christian flavour to the Odysee sauce by starting your won Christian channel. You can use my invitation in the description to get started, and we will both receive some free LBC!

In the description of this video you’ll find ways to support me, and I’ll place a link to the Dutch and English transcript of this video.



As always, thank you for watching,

God bless you and we see each other in the next video!


i Livermore, D. J., School of Jewish & Biblical Studies, Introduction to Apologetics, [internet] http://www.hadavar.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Apologetics-1-Introduction.pdf, (accessed 21-05-2022), p.6.

Dangerous Stuff! [2]

The Unsafe Position of an Apologist Part 2

Apologetics is the branch of Christian theology that deals with the defence and establishment of the Christian faith. An apologist uses logic, evidence, scripture, and wisdom when dealing with opposition, challenges and questions. An apologist loves to gain knowledge in a multitude of subjects like biblical theology, logical fallacies, Scripture itself, cults, philosophy, false religions, and so on and so forth.

But how about a little humility, a loving heart, compassion for the lost? When I became I Christian somewhere in 1994, many were wearing these wristbands with the letter WWJD. What Would Jesus Do? I am not sure whether this is still cool to wear, but I do know that in some cases it is a good reminder. Jesus, the Son of God. He knew the Scriptures as no other. He knew what was in someone’s heart… Still, He was humble enough to wash the feet of His own students. Stinky, filthy feet… Are we prepared to lay aside our hard-earned knowledge and ‘lower’ ourselves in the hopes that the other might be saved?

But there are more dangers for the apologist to watch out for. This is part 2. Let’s take a look at these stinky feet, shall we?

#6 – The Arrogance that is Built on Knowledge and is not Matched with Humility

When I was still a schoolboy we had a little saying:

The more you learn, the more you know. The more you know, the more you forget. The more you forget, the less you know. So if learning means that you will know less, why should you learn anything than?

Back then I thought this to be awfully clever. What did I know as a nine-year-old! However, I think I was more or less on the right track. Let me rephrase this saying:

The more you learn, the more you know. The more you know, the more you discover there is more to learn. The more you discover there is more to learn, the more you know how little you know. So if learning means that you find out that you know very little, it means that a little humility is in order.

You see, I think I know quite a lot about my faith. Also, I have studied the Bible pretty deep, and I continue doing that. We have lived in a very remote village on Madagascar. There I found out even more things about the Christian way of living. Yes, it seems that I am pretty knowledgeable. But! When I go on the internet, when I talk with other people. Even with my own kids! I often find out that my knowledge isn’t infinite at all.

More often than not, I don’t even get to use that knowledge in my talks with the un-reached people. Doing my work as a missionary is, in my opinion, mostly about compassion. I need to humble myself when I go to that poor family who only lives of 75 Euro-cents per day. They don’t need a ‘know it all.’ They need someone who is humble enough to be with them, to listen to their stories, and to share the simplicity of the Gospel. It is humbling when they offer some food from the same plate as they are using.

Paul wanted to go to the Corinthians. Apparently they had some trouble with puffed up people. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 4:21

What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

He could have disciplined them with all his knowledge and lots of talk, but he preferred to go to them with meekness and love.

#7 – Rather Technical Accuracy Instead of Correcting with a Loving Heart

You go to the Bible study group, cell group, Sunday morning service, and you hear somebody talking about the Bible. The whole talk was pretty spot on… Except that one thing! Let’s say the person quoted one Bible verse out of context, or even worse, he cited a Bible verse, but he used the word ‘care’ instead of ‘love.’

Obviously you are going to correct this error! Forget about the whole message, let’s correct this person here and right now! Not being hindered by the idea the that brother or sister might have had a slip of the tongue, you step up as being the saviour of technical accuracy.

So, to help you, I’ll read a passage from Amplified Bible. Yes, I know many will have issues with this kind of translations and that exactly why I will quote it nonetheless! Deal with it! And try to get the message instead of focussing on the accuracy of the translation.

1 Thessalonians 2:7-8

But we [the apostles] behaved gently when we were among you, like a devoted mother tenderly caring for her own children. Having such a deep affection for you, we were delighted to share with you not only God’s good news but also our own lives, because you had become so very dear to us.

Do we have sincere affections for those around us? Are we willing to share our lives with them? Or do we rather jump into the conversation like a bull in a china shop?

#8 – Decisive and Condemnatory Attitude

Being critical isn’t a problem in itself.

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

But being decisive for the sake of being just that… Well, it is kind of awkward isn’t it? Why would you go to a Bible-study group with an attitude of being critical all the time. Why sit down and listening to the preacher, while in the back of your mind you try to find any error in his message.

This is not what Paul had in mind! In the verses before verse 21, Paul says that we need to live a life of thanksgiving, a life filled with prayer. He said that we should listen to the Holy Spirit and that we should listen to those who receive prophecies. We should listen to their message and see whether is the word of God, and whether it applies to our own lives.

Condemning others isn’t difficult either. You just sit down in your save house, on your comfortable sofa, and watch what others are trying to do to build God’s kingdom. It is so easy to find error and to shove someone away as being heretical. No worries! As long as you stay seated in your lazy sofa, you won’t get mud on your shoes.

I see other missionaries come to Madagascar. The only speak English and French. That’s enough they say. Many Malagasy don’t even understand French, let alone English. But okay, I grant them that the Malagasy language is very hard to learn. Now, these missionaries go out to an area with a lot of high-tech material. They preach the Gospel, get translated, and see many answering to the good news of salvation. Then the leave again with enough to write about in their exiting newsletters.

I am not at all convinced that these methods work that well as they say in their newsletters. Preaching the Gospel and living with the people are hard work. It is about getting your feet dirty. But hey! I look at these other missionaries. I talk with them and many seem to have their hearts in the right place. Am I the appointed one who can condemn their work, their spending of money? Instead, I try to have personal talks with them. I share my experiences and I pray for them.

Listen to this story in Luke 9:49-50

And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

And then in line with this Paul says in Romans 14:4

Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

#9 – Causing Unnecessary Strife

I became a Christian somewhere in 1994. I went to a small church with maybe around 40 members. None of them felt equipped enough to lead Bible-studies. So instead, they invited two brothers from another town. It was not secret that these two had different opinions about the second coming of Christ. We either go through the tribulation or we are going to be raptured away before that time.

I always said that we will probably have to go through the 7 years before Christ is coming back. It is a bit like the Wager of Pascal. If I am right, I am prepared for the worst. If I am wrong… Well, happy day!!

These two brothers were very knowledgeable. I considered them to be the most smart people I knew back then. Still, they couldn’t resist pulling each other down on this issue. They never came together as they prepared different studies and sermons. But somewhere during their talks they just had to say something about the other, without actually calling the other’s name. No, but everybody knew to who the were referring.

It caused division in that, already small, group. It was a very unpleasant atmosphere to be in as a young Christian.

Proverbs 20:3

It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: But every fool will be meddling.

Strife can develop when a difference of opinion becomes the priority in a relationship. Strife is always accompanied by pride and an unteachable spirit in one or both parties.

#10 – Argumentative Lifestyle

I love teenagers! I do. I have three of them and the fourth one is starting to become one as well. But what are teenagers good at? Right, constantly arguing about every single rule you give them. It doesn’t really matter what the rule is about. As soon as the word ‘rule’ falls, they are right on top of it. And again, I love that phase. It is the time they learn to think for themselves. The time in which they are actually wrestling with all the lessons you’ve laid out before them. And you know what? Normally, this time will pass, and if you did your job well they will acknowledge it… One way or the other.

But, we, as adult apologists, are no teenagers any more right? They older we get, the more we understand that others might be right so now and then as well. Life is not about arguing all the time.

2 Timothy 2:14 (NIV)

Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarrelling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.

And now listen to what Paul says two verses further in verse 16

Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.

The Church of Christ needs more loving and considerate people. Whether we like it or not! We belong to each other, we are brothers and sisters…

Bonus!

Now that last Bible verse seems to call out just another issue! So, here a bonus for us all.

Until, now I mostly looked at these dangers with an emphasis on the Church right? But Paul says that we should “avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” And isn’t this just exactly what we can see around us? Some are so occupied with discussing, debating and learning, that they forget they need to be still so now and then as well.

I like to study. So much, that I quite often listen to atheistic chatter. I just want to know their arguments. And honestly, occasionally they seem to have a point. Yes, sometimes I listen to them and have a hard time to debunk their ideas. What do I do? Do I indulge myself in that chat with the risk of becoming more and more ungodly myself, or do I withdraw to seek the Lord?

Salomo knew what to do.

Proverbs 13:20

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: But a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Let’s be wise and surround ourselves with wise people who love the Lord God.

God urges you to surround yourselves with wise people and to

Ephesians 5:18b-21

[…] be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Outro

These were the dangers I came up with. If you didn’t see the first part I would suggest doing that as well. You’ll find the link in the description of this video. I am sure you can come up with even more dangers, I would like to read about them in the comments. Remember! I am mostly active on my Odysee channel. You’ll find a link to that channel in the description of this video.

In the same description you’ll find ways to support me, and I’ll place a link to the transcript of this video. I always try to make the transcript available in Dutch and English.

If you want to start your own channel on Odysee you can use my invitation in the description, and we will both receive some free LBC!

As always, thank you for watching,

God bless you and we see each other in the next video!

Dangerous Stuff! [1]

The Unsafe Position of an Apologist Part 1


I love apologetics. Apologetics is the branch of Christian theology that deals with the defence and establishment of the Christian faith. An apologist uses logic, evidence, scripture, and wisdom when dealing with opposition, challenges and questions.

But there are serious dangers when it comes to apologetics. An apologist can come across as being arrogant, the dreaded ‘know it all’ in house groups or on the internet. And trust me! It is not hard to actually fall into that trap. After all, an apologist loves to gain knowledge in a multitude of subjects like biblical theology, logical fallacies, Scripture itself, cults, philosophy, false religions, and so on and so forth. So yes, many apologists will have to bite their tongue of when they hear strange and unbiblical ideas… But often they do not bite hard enough because they can’t resist correcting the surrounding people.

But there are more dangers lurking around the corner. I am going to do this video in two parts of each 5 dangers. This is part 1. Let’s take a look at these monsters, shall we?

#1 – Apologetics Before all

How much time do we spend just talking with the Lord? Are we reading the Bible because we want to get closer to God. Do we want to get to know Him better or are we mostly trying to gain more ammunition for our battles? In everything we do, we need to put Christ on the first place. He ought to be on our throne, not our books or our knowledge.

Psalm 46:10

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Matthew 6:33

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

#2 – The Enemy Attitude

Are those critics and atheists on social media your enemy? Do we need to defeat them in every debate? Oh boy! Those nasty atheists. Sure enough, they are on their way to hell.

But hold on a minute. Isn’t that just the case? Aren’t those unbelievers lost? Shouldn’t we show compassion for their lost souls? God Himself looks at these people and is

2 Peter 3:9

[…] not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Jesus walked with his disciples through a town. He stopped, looked up into a tree, and spoke to a man who had climbed it to see Jesus as he passed by. The man was a notorious sinner, he was a hated tax collector. The type of guy who in greed had betrayed his own people.

Jesus didn’t start a fiery debate. Telling the man how stupid he was. No, instead He decided to have dinner at the man’s place, He together with His 12 disciples The man also invited all his tax collector friends. Not long after, the man, who we now know as Zacchaeus, believed in Jesus and was ready to repent of his sinful deeds. He gave everybody he had cheated on back their goods and even more.

All this without a harsh and argumentative attitude. Jesus was compassionate, and so should we.

#3 – Yearning for Victory

This one ties in with the one we just discussed. Are our discussions aimed at victory rather than seeing people be saved by Christ? Not many are brave enough to just stop a discussion. We are afraid that the other party announces victory. But why do we have this desire for victory over the conversion of souls? Why do we think it is more important to come out of the debate as the number one? Sometimes it is just better to stop and pray. Tell the other that it is not very likely that you come to the same conclusions, but that you love him or her nonetheless. I know, that sounds wimpy! But who cares? It is his or her soul you want to reach, right?

Proverbs 16:21

The wise in heart shall be called prudent: And the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.

James 1:19

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath

#4 – The Not So Smart Brother Syndrome

Seeing fellow Christians as opponents when they don’t agree with you over secondary issues. It is very easy to withdraw in our bunker with like-minded brothers and sisters. That other brother is just not smart enough to understand your view on the theology around certain topics.

Years ago, I regularly had contact with a brother on the other side of the planet. He, too, loved apologetics. One day we had a nice online chat about evangelism. He actually though it to be wrong that some famous Christians used a lot of money on buildings like huge replicas of the Ark of Noah. I said that they at least try something to evoke the interest of people. I mean, doing nothing is very little right?

Anyway, as the chat continued I wanted to make my point clear by another example. I told him about a brother who went to the supermarket and bought some bottles of beer. Armed with these bottles he visited the homeless in our city. He sat down and offered them a beer while he started to share the Gospel. Now, I didn’t want to say that this was such a good idea to do! All I wanted to say was that this specific brother at least tried something to reach these people. He tried something while most other Christians in our town didn’t even come close to these people.

I pity the moment I mentioned this example. My online friend was very quick in condemning the approach. Not a word of understanding, not a shred of sympathy towards my attempt to explain a totally different issue. No, the word ‘beer’ didn’t leave his mind. That was the trigger word. Whether I agreed with the approach… I said that I used the example to explain that people sometimes make weird jumps in order to do something. Well, apparently I agreed with giving alcohol to homeless people. No, I said, better not! But, dumb as I could be, I said that drinking alcohol can be accepted in one culture and not in the other. Anyway, long story short. My online friend demanded my repentance. Repent of this wicked and sinful idea!! I said that there was nothing to repent for as I never agreed with the whole alcohol giving thing in the first place. Repent! Right now!

Later, I found our little chat in an article about using alcohol. My words were used to show all the God-fearing Christians that there are people who call themselves Christian but refuse to repent from such ideas. Apparently I was the typical ‘not so smart as the other’ guy.

I know, alcohol is a hot topic among many. So is the rapture, gifts of the Holy Spirit, women in church etc. But honestly, I don’t need you to agree with me on these matters. I have great friends, brothers and sisters who wholeheartedly disagree with me on some topics! But we love each-other dearly. Why? Because we know that Christ saved us. Jesus died for us on the cross, and He rose again on the third day. He is the Saviour of the world, and He brought us together as brothers and sisters.

Psalm 133:1

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!

Our brother and sisters are not our opponents when they don’t agree with us over debatable issues!

#5 – The Elect

What do you do when the other brother doesn’t seem to be on the same page as you are. Right! You withdraw yourself from his company, and you try to find as many like-minded as possible! Then, when you found them, you can drink coffee after the service with them. You can have your own private Bible studies with them… Yes, you can even sit next to each-other every Sunday morning.

I don’t think I’ll have to explain that such isolation isn’t very smart, right? Just because we seem to know more about certain topics, doesn’t make us elite or superior to the other.

Romans 12:16

Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Outro

These are the first five dangers I came up with. I would like to name five more in part 2.

I would like to read your ideas about this topic. Let me know in the comments below. Remember! I am mostly active on my Odysee channel. You’ll find a link to that channel in the description of this video.

In the same description you’ll find ways to support me, and I’ll place a link to the transcript of this video. I always try to make the transcript available in Dutch and English.

If you want to start your own channel on Odysee you can use my invitation in the description, and we will both receive some free LBC!

As always, thank you for watching,

God bless you and we see each other in the next video!

Is the Church Losing Her Credibility?

Yes, you heard it right. I am worried about the credibility of the church and with that the message the churches ought to preach.

Before I continue, I would like to say that when I talk about Christians and the church I tend to talk about ‘we’ and us’. This is because I believe that we cannot divide the church in partitions like you do with your hard-drive in your computer. The Christian church is the body of Christ. No matter what kind of church you are attending, if you confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, that He died and rose again on the third day, that He is the only way to God the Father, and that He is the only One through whom we can be forgiven, than you are part of universal or catholic church. Mind you, catholic means ‘universal’, so we are not talking about the Roman catholic church here. So, again, I refuse to distance myself from my brothers and sisters in Christ! And thus I talk about ‘we’ and ‘us’.

Also, you should know that I hesitated for a long time whether I should make this video or not. This is not because of the message, but much more because of my position as a missionary. As missionaries we kind of live a visible life – we are looked at from all sides. There is a good chance that some of our supporters may not agree with this message. This also means that there is a chance that some may take offense. I would regret that since I believe that, despite different views, we belong to the same body of Christ. If you have trouble with your little toe you could cut it off, but it is better to find out what is causing the trouble. It might not be inflammation, it might be something else.

Anyway, in July 2020, I already said that Christians are way too quick to hide. I seemed to me that many of us forgot about their own message that, they, who are in Christ, do not have to worry or to be afraid. We have seen examples in the past of bold Christians who stood up for that what is right. They stayed behind in cities to take care of the ill and deceased, often with the risk of losing their own lives. They both talked the talk and walked the walk. They actually did what they preached. Like Jesus, touching the lepers and eating with sinners. .

But now we’ve arrived in September 2020. The virus has become political, or maybe it has been political from the beginning, I’ll let you decide about that. New scientific findings — already known in February 2020 — show that this virus is not as lethal as many feared. Yes, it can be a nasty critter, but mostly for those who already have a health-issue to deal with. For the vast majority of the people the results are varying between no symptoms, a dripping nose to a flu-like attack.

So what do we do with church meetings? Have we ever closed the doors because of a severe flu epidemic, like the one in 2017/2018? Did we ever restrain from singing God’s glory because there might be a Joe or Mary with a dripping nose close by? But now, we’re acting like terrified puppies, afraid of getting a beating from the big dogs.

Who are these big dogs?

  • The government;
  • the people who say that you’re an idiot when you say you are not afraid;
  • the people who rather stay home than going to church because they want to be a witness to the world;
  • the do-gooders, the people who want you to belief that they do it “not for themselves, but for the other!”;
  • educated people who can not imagine that the media or the government would blow this whole thing out of proportion;
  • educated people who know all about these things, and when you hear them talk it is like listening to the mainstream news broadcasts. Yes, some of them know so much and are regarded as the intelligent brothers in church. Still, they repeat information given on television, way back in February. And when you confront them with more up to date information, they say they’ve not heard that before.

Who is the big dog?

So, to put some things in perspective. Let me summarise the Dutch figures from the last few years during the flu seasons:i

  • 2014/2015 Duration flu epidemic 21 weeks. Excess mortality 8.600
  • 2015/2016 Duration flu epidemic 11 weeks. Excess mortality 3.900
  • 2016/2017 Duration flu epidemic 18 weeks. Excess mortality 7.503
  • 2017/2018 Duration flu epidemic 15 weeks. Excess mortality 9.444
  • 2018/2019 Duration flu epidemic 12 weeks Excess mortality 3.124
  • 2019/2020 Duration flu epidemic 2 weeks. Excess mortality 404 (Corona-deaths 6.200)

I see churches who are taking care of all the advises the government is giving. Following advice is okay. But hold on! Nope, we are going to do more than that because we want to be an example for the neighbourhood. Excuse me? What example is that? Is it to show everyone how obedient you are towards the government, or towards the media. How sensitive you are for criticism. Or are you setting an example to show people that it is okay to be very much afraid. Is it normal that someone, who didn’t see me for 2,5 years, hugged me and received a comment from a brother, telling him not to do that in front of the church building (in the Netherlands we call this a ‘Grapperhaussie’). Who are we following? Are we actually running for Pope? Or are we really following Jesus… You know, the One Who is still worthy to be praised. How would we react if Jesus walked into our church and just shook everyone’s hand and even hugged some of us? What would we say to Him if He started loudly singing Psalms to the glory of God? Maybe we can’t believe that He really is who He says He is else He would have adapted a little more to our ways, right?

I really believe this is more than a natural event. Don’t take me wrong! I know the virus is real! But in the West we tend to forget about the lord of darkness. Satan is quick to use these kinds of situations for his own benefit. Before I go into that, I tell you what I think is going to happen in the future.

We have seen periods in the last 60 years were people became less motivated to go to church. Every time this happened we analysed it some years later. Oh bother! It is because of the music, or the sermons are not practical enough, or people are disappointed etcetera.

I believe we will do the same in ten years from now. Not much sooner, because next year the feelings and emotions about this epidemic are still too fresh. No, after about ten years we probably wonder what happened. Our answer might be one of surprise and bewilderedness. But we’ve had lovely and professional live streams, and we encouraged each other with Zoom meetings. Yes, we actually drank tea and coffee with each other during these great Zoom meetings!”

Yes, but despite all this, the message is clear. We do not believe our own words when we preach that, in Christ there is no fear. In Christ, we stand tall. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”(2 Timothy 1:7).

  • Boy! Were we afraid!
  • Nope, no power in our meetings, no singing, no lifting high the name of the Lord.
  • Yes, we did love. We mostly loved to obey emotional and inconsistent rules, which, by the way, were not rules but advises.
  • And then lastly we lost our sound minds. We believed all the propaganda on television. We believed the fear-mongering headlines in the newspapers. And we were quick to say that all other sounds, even those coming from professionals, were the sounds of conspiracy thinkers. Why? Because we wanted to belief that the government is honest. We wanted to belief that the ministers are not afraid to admit their mistakes. And since our ministers are so extremely honest we rather belief that all the doctors, virologists, biologists and all other ‘ists’ are in fact nothing more than a bunch of crazy people.

So, with this last point we have, in fact, also abandoned the idea that we live in a fallen world. How else do we explain the unlimited trust we’ve had in our leaders, news channels and newspapers.

Anyway, back to the spiritual factor of this event. The virus is real and like I said, it can be a nasty critter. The whole panic caused by this virus was logical in the beginning. We didn’t know what was coming. The virus is a new mutation of the old SARS-CoV-1 from 2003. The one from 2003 had a mortality rate or ‘infection fatality rate’ of about 9%. Now, nine months later, we are still frantic. But, now we cannot longer hide behind ignorance. Now we know what is going on… At least if you do your research and when you don’t solely trust the mainstream media. In February some experts still thought Covid-19 had a median infection fatality rate of about 3%.ii Since then this figure dropped to an average of 0,26%iii and for people under 70 some even say this to be around 0,04%.iv

So, what is keeping us from coming together again? What is keeping us from singing God’s glory, from listening to His word and from having genuine fellowship! I believe that satan is laughing his head of. Wonderful to see all those powerless Christians. The longer he can stretch the time of fear the better it is for his main work… Destroying the church of Christ.

No worries, Satan will not succeed. When Christ comes back to this earth He will find His church, His bride. Do I say that I think Jesus is coming back next year? No, I have no idea when Jesus will return. Jesus told us just to be ready for it. I do believe however that the church, the body of Christ, is going through periods of cleansing. When I say that Satan will not succeed, I mean that the real body of Christ will endure. Paul says that in the last days people will be lovers of themselves, and: “[they are] holding to a form of outward godliness (religion), although they have denied its power” 2 Timothy 3: 5.

Did your hear that last part? “they have denied its power.” And the thing that worries me is what Paul says a little further: “But they will not get very far, for their meaningless nonsense and ignorance will become obvious to everyone” 2 Timothy 3: 9. Is this how people will look at the church? Will they see our testimony as meaningless? I sure do not hope so and it is not what Paul tried to say. He describes church-goers in Timothy’s time with terrible moral ideas. Overall we do not see that today. Many of the people who leave the church and with that, faith — some hold on to faith, but most don’t — will do so with fancy words. They often still hold a form of outward godliness. These will be the so-called Christians who, with their actions and ideas, tarnish the image of the real church. Even though it’s obvious to everyone, they still will find itchy ears.

As you may hear, I deal with both the natural and rational matters in the same way as the spiritual. The attack of the evil one will seldom take place without a tangible event. Satan is the father of lies.v He will do everything he can to maintain ignorance. The more people stay away, the more people who are angry about the situation, the more people who live in fear, the better it is for his cause. My desire is that we, as the body of Christ, look up to Him from whom we can expect everything. The crisis we are in right now is really not that big. It is nothing compared to the crisis that our brothers and sisters have experienced in the past or that many of them are experiencing in other countries right now. How did they and how do they endure? They have learned to look forward to the future with joy in their hearts. We too must look at Jesus, Who says in revelation: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. ‘Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city” Revelation 22: 13-14 (AMP).

Can we please go back to normal?

  • Back to that time when we just continued worshipping God, even when we were in the flu season.
  • The time people just used their common sense and stayed home when they were sick.
  • The time when you told someone that you didn’t want to greet them with a kiss because you had a cold.
  • The time, we as Christians massively accompanied a brother or sister when they lost someone.
  • The time Christians still visited their sick brothers and sisters.
  • The time we greeted each-other with a hand shake because we trusted that the other person washed his or her hands after going to the toilet.
  • And finally, can we please go back to the time when we were real witnesses of the powerful Gospel as taught in the Bible. It would be nice to show our neighbours the love of Jesus through real social interaction, just like Jesus did.

Endnotes

i RIVM, Monitoring sterftecijfers Nederland, 10 September 2020, Website accessed on 16 September 2020, https://www.rivm.nl/monitoring-sterftecijfers-nederland.

ii Borger, P. The Corona crisis was expected, but nothing was done, 21 March 2020, Website accessed on 21 September 2020, https://www.apologeet.nl/en/corona_was_expected/.
Borger, P., A SARS-like Coronavirus was Expected, but nothing was done to be Prepared, 29 April 2020, Website accessed on 25 September 2020, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/341120750_A_SARS-like_Coronavirus_was_Expected_but_nothing_was_done_to_be_Prepared.

iii Sanchez, F., CDC: Coronavirus Fatality Rate 0.26%, 8-15x Lower than Estimates, 27 May 2020, Website accessed on 15 September 2020, http://www.fccoop.org/?p=10552.
Mora, E., Doctor to Senators: Coronavirus Fatality Rate 10 to 40x Lower than Estimates that Led to Lockdowns,7 May 2020, Website accessed on 15 September 2020, https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/05/07/doctor-to-senators-coronavirus-fatality-rate-10-to-40x-lower-than-estimates-that-led-to-lockdowns/).

iv Ioannidis, J. P.A., The infection fatality rate of COVID-19 inferred from seroprevalence data, 13 May 2020, Websites accessed on 15 September 2020, https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.13.20101253v2.full.pdf,
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.13.20101253v3).

v John 8: 44 “You are of your father the devil, and it is your will to practice the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar and the father of lies and half-truths.” (AMP).

Dealing With Corona


To be clear, I am Dutch. Some things I say may not be applicable for those living outside the Netherlands… Or maybe, it does. Anyway. Christians, like all other people in the Netherlands, are affected by the Covid-Sars2 virus. How do we deal with it? Are we going to get caught up in the panic or do we stay calm. It turns out That many people are very susceptible to fear, yes, even Christians. Of course, Christians in particular will not readily admit this, after all:
2 Timothy 1: 7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
  • Brother! We must not tempt the Lord! (Deuteronomy 6:16 as well as Matthew 4: 7)

  • Exactly! We must obey the government. (Titus 3: 1)

  • Yes, moreover. It testifies to charity. You certainly don’t want anyone to get Corona through you? (Leviticus 19:18 and Luke 10:27)

Okay, okay, stop! It is clear enough! I’m probably not as educated as you are, but I know these texts and comments. I’m not going to tell anyone to disobey God’s word, okay? But now back to the question: How do we deal with this?

To start with our minds.

Colossians 3:10 speaks of Christians as being new people who must also be renewed in their knowledge. In ancient paganism, but also in the current scientific climate, people prided and pride themselves on knowledge. Knowledge of the natural is beautiful, but not complete without knowledge of Him who made it. Christians should excel when it comes to research. Why do I talk to and see so many Christians who say exactly what they have heard on the mainstream news channels? Why do I not hear much about coming from other sources? Are we too lazy to excel? Is it easy to adopt the dished knowledge because when you repeat the mainstream nobody can call you out, right?

Then fear!

No! I hear my brothers and sisters say, we are not afraid ourselves! We are just careful for the people around us. I’m sorry, but in many cases I don’t believe a word of it. Too often I have heard the excuse that people do something, not for themselves, but for the other person. This while the other person had not asked for it at all, did not even know about it or was not even concerned about it. We shouldn’t fool ourselves with nice talk. Of course! There are many Christians who are sticking their necks out today. Awesome! Let’s hear what Luther had to say. Luther was in the middle of a plague epidemic. Just for those of you who don’t know much about this decease. The plague will kill you quick and horribly. Without treatment, less than 40% of infected people survive the bubonic plague. The bubonic plague is sometimes accompanied by the even more dangerous pneumonic plague. If left untreated, pneumonic plague is fatal in almost 100% of cases within a few days. The plague does not discriminate like the Corona virus does. The plague strikes young and old, rich and poor! Luther answered this when he was asked how his fellow pastors should deal with the plague:

I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me He will surely find me and I have done what He has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbour needs me however I shall not avoid place or person I shall go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.” i History shows several times that Luther was not alone in overcoming his fear in times of crisis. Dionysius lived around 250 AD. and said:

Most of our Christian brothers showed unconditional love and loyalty, they never spared themselves and they only thought of the other. Not without danger did they care for the sick, meet their needs, and minister to them in Christ, and together with the sick they left life behind in perfect joy.” ii The Covid-Sars 2 virus cannot be compared with the plague epidemics. Still, we are only very quickly prepared to treat everyone as a potential threat. It reminds me of ancient lepers. Calling loudly and warning with a rattle, they walked, alone on the roads. Why is it that when I meet someone, I tend to shout: Leprous! Leprous!

Passivity

Finally, we need to say a thing or two about our attitude. I know there are Christians who don’t want to be involved in politics. After all, we are citizens of the Kingdom of God and have nothing to do with earthly politics. Looking at Jesus I see a completely different attitude. By definition, Jesus was not apolitical. Judaism, religion and government were inextricably linked. When Jesus tells the Roman soldiers to be satisfied with their salary, is political interference. His comment to Pilate in which He said that he would have no power if God had not assigned it to him, was political. We have seen great changes in history through active Christians. This started in the Roman Empire. The biblical teaching of Jesus Christ challenged almost everything the Roman world had stood for. iii Unwanted children were left in the mountains or forests, convicted criminals were branded, there were horrifying games where one had to kill another human or were spectators watched people being devoured by wild animals. These practices were slowly but surely abolished and even banned under the influence of the Word of God, the Bible. Christians did not remain silent but spoke out against these practices because they believed on the basis of the Bible that man was created in the image of God and that human life should be considered sacred (Genesis 1:26). iv Still, later we also see changes in many African countries. Cannibalism was common practise in several countries, and there was also a custom that when the village elder died, his wife had to be killed as well. There was also a gruesome habit in India. Suttee in India — the widow was burned at the stake of her deceased husband. And it were mostly bold Christians who helped stop the slave trade in the 19th century. v Admittedly, Christianity has not always been executed in a biblical way. Compulsory conversions under penalty of death, or burnings, beheadings, and torture of dissent are, to say it mildly, a blemish to true Biblical doctrine. Generally, Christians did not keep quiet! Now, should we claim to be passive? Tell that, to all those Christians who have been laughed at, persecuted, killed or tortured for their ‘unwanted’ opinion. Tell that, to the believers who have started hospitals, nursing homes, food banks, and projects for homeless people. Yes, we even owe several prominent universities to Christians who took Jesus’ teaching about charity seriously. In our day too, we need bold Christians. A live stream is not a permanent solution! It’s a great things that it is possible and that people have seized the opportunity, but let’s be honest … That is not fellowship. Where are the Christians who speak up and stand up for the interests of the Church? It is not hard to find people who stick their necks out for the catering industry, self-employed people and, for example, hairdressers. Fantastic. Keep on doing! But where are the followers of Jesus who fight for the weak? The elderly who are locked up in a room against their will. Yes, many people will say, but we do that for their own well-being! Well, that is great when grandma or grandpa ask for themselves, But since when do we consider it normal to deny people social contact in the last phase of their lives? And when they die we still think it is normal denying visitors to come? Where, then, are the Christians who oppose this? Was it not the Lord Jesus Himself who touched the lepers, He who was called friend of sinners. Christians have a message. That message isn’t just for a live stream. That message must be lived out and propagated. The message of freedom and joy, the message of salvation and humanity. Be inspired by all our preceding brothers and sisters, and step out of your cocoon in faith.


i Luther’s Works; Vol. 43, pag. 132.

ii Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became a Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1997), 82.

iii How Christianity Changed the World, Schmidt, p. 44.

iv What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?, Kennedy, J, pp. 9–11. and How Christianity Changed the World, Schmidt, pp. 63-65.

v What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?, Kennedy, J, pp. 16–17.

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