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Talking About Our Doubts

Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown
The Truth Network Radio
July 12, 2022 4:30 pm

Talking About Our Doubts

Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown

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July 12, 2022 4:30 pm

The Line of Fire Radio Broadcast for 07/12/22.

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The following program is recorded content created by the Truth Network.

So what do we do with our doubts? It's time for the Line of Fire with your host, biblical scholar and cultural commentator, Dr. Michael Brown, your voice for moral sanity and spiritual clarity. Call 866-34-TRUTH to get on the Line of Fire. And now here's your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Thank you, friends, for joining us on the line of fire today. I'm going to have a special guest.

Yeah, that's what was in my mind, Dr. Jonathan McClatchy. So it's going to be a really helpful show today. It's going to be edifying.

It's going to be constructive. And I believe that you will be blessed and helped as friends. We are here to strengthen you in your walk, to infuse you with faith and truth and courage.

We are all called one way or another to be on the front lines. And we want to stand with you to help you be strong. 866-34-TRUTH.

866-34-87884. If you are struggling with doubts, if you are having questions about your faith, those are the only calls we're going to take today. And my guest who will be joining me at the bottom of the hour has started a new online initiative with scholars and specialists and apologists that are helping people with their doubts.

That are giving them one on one time to get them through hurdles and obstacles to their faith. So I want to talk about this subject of doubt and unbelief today. I mentioned on yesterday's show, I'll repeat this for those that didn't hear yesterday's broadcast, that I wrote an article a few days ago, some honest questions for atheists and asking, hey, when you became an atheist or if you've always been an atheist, was it based on bad experience, you used to be a Christian and prayers weren't answered, or is it a matter of as you were studying and learning, questions came up? I just asked a bunch of different questions to try to understand why people would say that they're atheists. Some, it's always been an atheist, never questioned it. Are you sure there is no God? What if the God of the Bible was real?

Would you follow him? Are you a materialist, meaning that what you see is what you get, just physical body matter, that's all there is, there is no spiritual realm, there is no afterlife. Just questions like that. And I said, look, reply in the comments wherever you're reading this, but if you can't, send in an email with your comments to us through our ministry. And I thought, get a handful of people would do that, because I'm not assuming that there are a lot of atheists who are following me and reading my articles or watching them listen to the broadcast.

And even so, just your average person is only not going to take the extra time to email someone and write something up and respond to it, seven or eight different questions. So I just got another hundred forty five pages of responses sent over me today after forty five pages were sent yesterday. So these are just people that took the time to email our ministry.

Everyone's getting a note back from me through my team, thanking them for writing and letting them know I'll be reading their their their emails with interest. But I've started reading and I plan to continue to read them with interest as promised. But I have seen some who said I was an evangelical Christian and I prayed for guidance and direction in my life and never heard anything from God or prayers whenever answered or things didn't line up with what I see in the Bible. Now, there are others that went through those same hurdles, same obstacles, and you you came out strong in the faith. You've you've made it through difficult situations, painful losses, and your faith today is stronger than ever.

But others struggle. And let's be honest, in many of our churches, doubt is not something you're allowed to talk about. I want to show you an interesting passage. In my life, the only time I ever heard anyone preach on this is when I preached on it in the last couple of years. Otherwise, I never preached on this verse.

And like I said, I've never heard anyone else preach on it. So it's in the book of Jude. I'm going to start in verse 20. But you beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit.

Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt. That's verse 22 of Jude. Have mercy on those who doubt. Save others by snatching them out of the fire to others show mercy with fear, hitting even the garment stained by the flesh. Have mercy on those who doubt.

Well, hang on for a second. Let's look at another passage. This is in Jacob James chapter one. And look at what he says there. If any of you lacks wisdom, verse five, chapter one, let him ask God who gives generously to all without reproach and it will be given him but let him ask in faith was no doubting for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind for that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. He's a double minded man, unstable in all his ways. Well, this seems to say, if you're doubting, you're doing something wrong. If you're doubting, you're double minded, and you're unstable in all your ways. Whereas Jude says have mercy on those who doubt.

So which is it? Well, I believe there are two different classes of people being spoken to here. There are the people that should be trusting God, that have had enough life experience in God, and know him well enough that they, we should be trusting him. And not to trust him not to believe in him is being double minded, is being unstable, is not responding rightly to our walk with God through the years. There are others who are struggling and hurting and trying to believe and not able to be sure about their faith.

I mean, you talk to one person, and they know that they know that they know that they know. Yes, I'm born again. Yes, my sins are forgiven.

Yes, God is good. I know it. I know I know how do you I just know it.

I need to talk to another person. I want to be sure. I want to feel sure.

I want to know that I know that I'm born again and forgiven that God is real, but I have questions. I don't know. I mean, I try to believe. Well, we don't get mad at that person. What's wrong with you? You don't have faith. What's wrong with you? No, we have mercy on those who doubt because those people want to believe and are struggling and having a hard time.

Now, in many of our circles, to show weakness in your faith is not acceptable, that if you open up to your friends, I'm really struggling. I just I don't know. I mean, I don't know if the Bible's true. I'm having questions. I don't know if the God we believe in is really there. I'm struggling having questions that in some circles.

What? What do you mean I have questions? Are you an unbeliever? Are you even saved? How can God is so good? God is so powerful.

The word is so amazing. How can you doubt? So you open your mouth and rather than getting help, you get judged. You get condemned. You get misunderstood.

Or let's let's take this a little further. Let's say that you're a leader. Let's say that you're a pastor. Let's say that you're a seminary professor. Let's say that you're Sunday school teacher. Let's say that you have a radio broadcast or a TV broadcast or a large social media following. You're a leader in the body, but you are now going through a season of difficulty in your faith. You're now struggling.

Who do you talk to? To announce it publicly is not wise. You're a pastor of a church of 300 people and you get up on a Sunday morning and tell your flock, hey, I just want you to know I'm really struggling in my faith right now and I don't really know if God is real or I don't know if Jesus really rose from the dead.

I don't really know if we can trust the Bible. Oh, that's going to help. I'm being sarcastic. It's not going to help you and it's not going to help your people.

It's going to send some into a panic. You know, let's say you're a well-known Christian apologist and you're doubting the arguments that you bring. As you're speaking, you're doubting your very arguments. You're going to get up on a college campus and say, you know, I just gave that presentation, but I don't even know if it's true. No, you need to get resolution in a way that will not be so painful and harmful for many that are looking to you, but you need to get resolution.

You can't just sweep those things under the rug and think that they'll just disappear. So how then do we handle our doubts? It's really important first to be honest with God and yourself. He knows anyway. He sees through our facade. If we are trying to act like we have faith, and faith is not something you try to do in that sense. If we're trying, okay, I'm going to pray like I really believe. I'm not going to talk to anybody about my struggles. Okay, God knows the struggles anyway. So you might as well start by being honest with God.

He knows it anyway and he wants honesty. Better say, God, I'm talking to you right now, but I don't even know if you're there. I don't know if I'm just talking to the walls. I honestly, that's how I'm feeling God.

And I hope you're there and listening. And this is the only thing I know how to do is to communicate, but I've got to be honest. Or, you know, I don't know if Jesus is the only way. Or I don't know if the Bible is different than other books.

Or I believe everything except this one thing I can't get over. Or here, I see all these promises in the Bible. And I've tried to take you up on the promises. And you said that if I'll do this, you'll respond in this way.

And as far as I know, I did this and you didn't respond. So God, I don't know what to do with that. Do I just throw out the promises? Do I say I didn't try hard enough?

Is it true? So you start by being honest with God. And if you don't get resolution just between you and God, that's where you look to someone or someones that can help. And that's when you say, okay, it looks like I could use some support. And how amazing it is when you pour your heart out to someone that you look to as an elder or teacher or counselor or spiritual mom or dad. And they say, oh, I went through the exact same thing and here's how God helped me get through it. Let me share this with you. Suddenly, a lot of burden lifts off. Oh, I'm not alone.

Oh, you don't think I'm crazy. Oh, I'm not the only one that had this struggle or had this question. There's kind of a big sigh of relief. But let me tell you, whatever you're struggling with, you're not the only one. You're not the first one.

Others have gone through that same valley and are on the mountain today with a big smile on their face, full of faith. We'll be right back. It's The Line of Fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Get on The Line of Fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH.

Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Welcome, friends, to The Line of Fire. Hey, we have our first registrants for our trip to Israel.

We just sent out our e-blast yesterday. We will be physically in the land eight days, May 17th to 24th, so there's travel days on either side of that. So it's it's about a 10-day trip overall, and it's going to be an amazing time. Not only the incredible tour during the day, just just that is everything.

I mean, you go for that is everything. But I'd like to do special events at night for those that want more to do, those that sometimes just want to crash and chill at night. But since we're together, we've got a great opportunity. We do Q&A nights. We do live radio broadcasts. We've got Dr. Mark and Angela Stengler with us. They're going to do a Q&A night, medical and health nutrition things, and we'll have a night, we'll worship and hear from a messianic Jewish leader in the land. So it's it's just it's an incredible trip. So go to the website,, You'll see it right on the home page and get signed up if you want to be there.

It is going to be an amazing time. If you are struggling with doubt in your own life, there is major unbelief. There's a hurdle.

You're having a hard time getting over. We're going to take some calls today. 866-348-7884.

Bottom of the hour. We'll be joined by Jonathan McClatchy and we'll talk about this new online initiative talking about your doubts. So many of you know, when I came to faith, here was a heavy drug user for two years, ages 14 to 16, got radically born again. And my dad was thrilled to see that I was off drugs because he was concerned. He didn't know the full details, but he knew I'd become a heavy drug user and he was concerned as any parent would be. So when he saw the radical change in my life, he said, Michael, I'm glad you're off drugs, but we're Jews.

We don't believe this. So he brought me to meet the local rabbi and local rabbi was about 11 years older than me. He was fresh out of Jewish Theological Seminary.

Brilliant man. We were actually in touch again a couple of years ago. My job commentary came out and reached out to him and wanted him to have a copy because I knew he had spent a lot of time studying job many years ago. And again, brilliant, brilliant man deep into the Hebrew language. So he took a personal interest in me. We would talk about the faith and, you know, I was brand new, but started to get some good foundations. And as we talked more, he'd say, look, you know, you don't know Hebrew.

How can you teach us? And I said, well, you know, I'll take I'll take Hebrew when I go to college and learn. I said, in the meantime, I'm using the Hebrew dictionary in the back of Strong's Concordance, which is not a reliable dictionary, by the way. It's a long story.

But but anyway, I said in the meantime, I'm using that. His answer was meantime, meantime, if you don't know, Hebrew doesn't mean a thing. Well, he took such a personal interest in me that he kept bringing me to meet different rabbis. And he just thought maybe something would connect, maybe something that the rabbi would say would get my interest.

Maybe they'd raise a question that really got me thinking. So, we brought many different rabbis over the years, culminating with two Chabad rabbis, two Levavature rabbis. So, ultra-orthodox Jews that were active in doing outreach to people just like me. So, I was 18 years old, 18 and a half years old when I met with them. At that time, I had read the Bible cover to cover probably five times in the King James. I had memorized maybe 4,000 verses.

The previous six months, I had memorized 20 verses a day without missing a day. So, I was immersed in the word in English, and I was immersed in prayer, and I had a very solid relationship with the Lord. But, excuse me, these men were immersed in prayer as well, and spent hours and hours in study every day, and were devout Jews, and very caring, and very interested in me as a young Jewish man.

And they spent hours with me, and it really threw me. Because everyone I met with up to then, other kids in school with their different beliefs, Jehovah's Witness knocking on my door, somebody with some other mystical beliefs, whatever it was, man, I had an answer for everybody. And I was like, it was like a machine gun with the Bible. You know, I didn't have all the wisdom and compassion, but man, I could quote scripture.

And I demolished these other arguments. But with these rabbis, I'd quote scripture like, ah, English, we've got to look at the Hebrew. And the New Testament's got it wrong, and I didn't have the academic ability to respond to them. And I couldn't read the Hebrew, just some of the letters. So, you know, it made me feel like a little child in the presence of adult teachers, and who was I to differ with them?

And they were so sincere and devout, and seemed to love God the way I did. So, it really threw me. It raised some questions, and I thought, okay, I must study more. I must go deeper.

I must learn more. I must get a better foundation, because I've got to follow the truth wherever the truth leads. And I didn't doubt, for a split second at that time, that God was real. I didn't doubt that God had called the Jewish people. And therefore, as a Jew, I had a responsibility to God. The question was, who was Jesus?

And if the Old Testament was the Word of God, was the New Testament also the Word of God? So, I struggled. I really struggled. But I determined I am going to pursue God with all my heart and soul, and I'm going to study and learn.

And all of the professors that I studied with, college, so getting my bachelor's degree, then getting my master's, then getting my PhD. All of them were non-believers in terms of not believing what I believed. Some were atheistic and hostile. Some were religious Jews. Some were nominal Christians. Some were nominal Jews.

Some other backgrounds. But I did not study with a single person who believed what I believed. And that meant, for years, I was in environments where my beliefs were being challenged by very well-educated men, in some cases women. And, in addition to that, I was still dialoguing with rabbis.

I was still meeting with rabbis. So, I constantly had my faith challenged. And my determination was, before God, I will follow you and your truth wherever it leads, regardless of cost or consequence.

Interestingly, in a letter that Rabbi Berman wrote me early on in our relationship, that was his prayer for me, that I would have the courage to follow the truth wherever it leads. And that's been something that's just been in my heart as a believer. And what happened was, studying with all these people who did not believe what I believed, having my faith challenged for years, my faith deepened. My faith was strengthened. My confidence in Jesus Yeshua being the Messiah was strengthened. My confidence in the Bible being God's Word was strengthened. So, somehow my walk with God, and then the intellectual answers that I received, rather than weakening my faith, strengthened my faith.

So, I want to encourage you that there are answers, that you don't need to stick your head in the sand and just say, okay, I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe. And, God does invite us to really get to know him, to really spend time with him, to really make a quality commitment to be with him. If we will do that, he will reveal himself. If we will do that, he will open up the Word to us.

If we will do that, he will reward those who diligently seek him. Alright, so here's what we're going to do. We are going to, you know what, I've got Jonathan on the line now. I'm going to introduce our guest, and then we will interact, and we'll take some of your calls as well. Alright, I was going to bring Jonathan on at the bottom of the hour, but we're going to start right here. Hey, Jonathan, welcome back to the line of fire. Thanks for being on with us, sir.

Hey, thanks so much for having me on. How are you doing? Doing very, very well. Hey, since you were on a few years back, you've done a little bit more academic work, so where do you stand with that? Yeah, so I completed my PhD at Newcastle University in evolutionary cell biology, and I currently am an assistant professor of biology at a Christian college in Boston, Massachusetts, called Statler College, where I've been for the last three years. So that's what I'm currently doing. Okay, so just explain to us, if you can simplify, what you got your PhD in. You've explained the overview, but what is this exactly? Yeah, so I did my PhD on the evolution of the eukaryotic cell division cycle, so the cell division cycle is how cells divide in our bodies. Eukaryotes are organisms that have nuclei, so we are considered eukaryotic organisms, and the way that our cells divide is by a process known as mitosis, and so that was the subject of my PhD dissertation.

Got it. Alright, so for those listening and your heads spinning, yeah, these are serious academic pursuits, and we've just got a minute before the break, but have you always been a Christian, or did you have your own season of not believing? I grew up in a Christian home.

My father is an elder in the church I grew up in. I became a Christian myself when I was about age seven, and I've been a Christian since then. I've never had a time when I walked away from Christianity, but I have become interested in and really had a heart and passion for helping people with intellectual doubts concerning the veracity of the Christian faith. I've watched hundreds, if not thousands, of deconversion stories on YouTube. I've purchased and read books by people that have struggled with faith and have deconverted.

I've also engaged one-on-one privately with people that have either deconverted or considered deconverting, and my heart and passion is to help people to at least have an opportunity to have access to the evidence and the best case for Christianity before they abandon the Christian faith. Got it. All right, what an important pursuit right now, friends. We'll be back with Professor Jonathan McClatchy on the other side of the break. We'll take some of your calls too. Stay tuned. Thanks, friends, for joining us on the line of fire.

866-348-7884. If you are currently struggling with doubt, question about your faith, and want to talk about it, by all means, give us a call. So, back with my guest, Professor Jonathan McClatchy. So, Jonathan, it's a big subject, but if you had to list the top causes of people deconverting, deconstructing, losing their faith, what would you say are the principal things that you hear over and over again?

Absolutely, and it's certainly a very diverse community. I often tell people that if you've talked to one deconvert, you've talked to one deconvert, because there's such a diverse pool of reasons that people have for deconverting, and indeed it's a diverse pool of reasons that people have that accompanies their deconversion. But to give some of the more popular concerns that people have, the trustworthiness, reliability of Scripture, especially the Gospels and Acts, is a very popular topic that we get asked about. The case for the resurrection, the plausibility of miracles, human's objection to miracles, the problem of divine hiddenness is a popular subject, as well as the problem of evil, and also, of course, scientific objections to the Scriptures as well. These would probably be the most popular topics that get raised.

Got it, yeah, and those are certainly common ones that we run into. Why do you think there seems to be an increase in this phenomenon now, as compared to maybe a generation or two ago? That's a good question. It's not clear whether it's an increase in people deconverting from the faith, or whether it's an increase in people being willing to talk about their deconversion publicly.

It could be either of those, or perhaps both. But I think that there's wider access to the Internet and the dissemination of information and that sort of thing, and so everyone, essentially, with a webcam and microphone and keyboard, can have a platform and a lot of information that's out there on the Internet, much of it critical of biblical Christianity. And unfortunately, we haven't done a very good job as the Church of equipping and educating those that are in our congregations concerning the objections to the Bible and the evidences bearing on Christianity. Yeah, I definitely see it the same way as what you described, Jonathan, and you'll have, say, the books of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris and Bart Ehrman became bestsellers, and then their sayings, their arguments kind of became popularized and then filtered down to just the man on the street or a 15-year-old kid online and filtered down through memes and quotes and things like that. And suddenly, stuff that maybe you would deal with if you were in grad school and you had a professor raising issues or you were at some liberal seminary and they were questioning the Scriptures, now it's just kind of trickling down to your average person.

So that's why we have to do a better job of getting solid answers out. Now, you started a new initiative, which is very exciting and very unique. So let all listeners know about this.

Absolutely. So the website is, and essentially we've assembled a team of more than 50 scholars and experts in different subjects from New Testament scholarship, Old Testament scholarship, biblical Hebrew, Old Testament archaeology, New Testament textual criticism, philosophy, astrophysics, geophysics, biology, biochemistry, psychology. We've got therapists and pastors and so forth. And basically, we are a team of scholars and thinkers who are willing to do one-on-one private Zoom calls with Christians who are struggling with their faith, struggling with doubts in regards to the veracity of the Christian faith. So for essentially any topic that you can imagine, we have a scholar or specialist who is able to do private mentoring with people concerning that issue, including emotional concerns.

A lot of people leave their faith not so much for intellectual concerns, but there's also emotional doubt as well. We have people who have degrees in psychology, we have therapists, we have pastors, and so that is essentially what we're trying to do at Talk About Doubts. We also now have a Discord community for past inquirers to talk about doubts to facilitate community and further discussion, help us stay in contact with people that we've been in touch with in the past. We also have weekly hangouts with past inquirers to talk about doubts, where we alternate week to week. One week it's an emotional support group, which is actually run by one of our former inquirers.

We actually have three former inquirers now who are part of our team. And every other week we have an online course on the evidences for Christianity. So is the website for that. Basically the way it works is someone will go on the website and submit a form, and then we distribute that to the relevant scholar, and that scholar will then get some contact with that individual to schedule a private conversation concerning their doubts. So this is an incredible initiative, Jonathan, and obviously much needed, but that you have specialists willing to take time.

This is people saying, hey, I want to help, and I'm willing to take time with people. This is really remarkable, and you could talk with a top scholar professor. When I got hit with objections to the faith as a new believer, especially Jewish objections, I didn't know where to go. The only Christian scholars I knew of were in book form, and they were brilliant but didn't have sensitivity to the Jewish objections. The Jewish believers that I met were more evangelists, just loved winning the loss, but they didn't have academic background. The professors I knew at college were not believers, and I really didn't know where to go, and it was a matter of having to pull myself up by my own bootstraps, but it was a challenging thing.

It worked well for me, but it was a challenging time, and if I had known something like this existed, it would have been incredible. So what did God send? So one more question, and then we'll open the phones, starting with Joseph in Boston.

So we'll come your way in a minute, Joseph. Anyone else that wants to call in with questions, doubts you're struggling with, 866-348-7884. So give us an example, obviously not the person's name, but give us an example of someone that wrote to you on the website and inquired or struggling, and then they spoke with a specialist, and now their faith has been renewed. Sure, so we have actually one of our team members who reached out a while ago, over a year ago.

Basically the website, Talk About Doubts, although it launched officially in December, I already was essentially doing the same thing on my personal website. So Talk About Doubts is just the most recent version of it, but about a year ago I heard from a guy, his name is Justin. He had questions concerning the truth of Christianity, he basically looked into Roman Catholic doctrine and was trying to do research on Roman Catholicism, and then it occurred to him, wait, I've never actually asked myself the question, how do we know that Christianity is true at all?

I'm looking at how to pick between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism and so forth, but it never had occurred to him to investigate whether Christianity itself might not be true. So he reached out to us, and we at Talk About Doubts, we had several of us mentor him for a period of nine months, and at the end of nine months he actually came and visited me in Boston, and told me that at this point he was now a confident Christian, and if it hadn't been for Talk About Doubts, he would have been an atheist or an agnostic, and so we've actually brought him onto our team. He's very, very good at relating to people who are struggling with the emotions surrounding doubts concerning faith. And so he actually leads up our emotional support group that we run on Tuesday nights for past inquiries as well. Wow, how gratifying. The truth really does set us free. The doubts, the questions disappear, and we're like, oh, you can breathe deep.

God is true, the Word is true. Friends, you may be listening, you may be a scholar in your field, you may be a theologian, you may have years of ministry experience to people with emotional hurts, and perhaps you can help serve in these ways as well. You should contact Talk About Doubts to see if your services could be used. Hey, Jonathan, let's take some calls, and then we'll continue to interact. So we'll start in Boston, Massachusetts, probably not far from you, Jonathan. Welcome to the line of fire, Joseph. Thanks for calling. Hey, Dr. Brown, and Jonathan does know me.

We've done the Zoom call. So I'm also the guy—I also know David Costello, the guy that you spoke to a couple weeks ago, and that's what's getting me to think about the divinity of Christ. And after having listened to that, I'm actually starting to delve into a little bit of the Church Fathers. I'm starting to delve into Eastern Orthodox. There's plenty of Eastern Orthodox churches in my area.

I've been visiting them. And I'm just wondering, like, you know, some of the early, early Church Fathers, like Origen, Clement, Tertullian, they seem to have had a little bit of a different outlook on the Trinity. So some of these other streams, non-Calcedonian churches, things like that, you know, if I could see that as a valid form of Christianity, non-evangelical, but still valid form of Christianity, you know, maybe some people like me who are doubting a certain form of Christianity, you know, or deconstructing that, could reconstruct into another form of Christianity, and it would still be legit.

What do you guys think about that? Go ahead, Jonathan. Sure. So first of all, I do encourage people to distinguish between high-stake objections and lower-stake objections. So there are certain lower-stake objections that Christians can legitimately disagree over. An example of that would be Calvinism versus Arminianism, or Young Earth versus Old Earth creationism, or different eschatological perspectives, and so forth.

Where, you know, there are conservative evangelical Christians who subscribe to a diversity of viewpoints, and legitimately so. And so I would argue that in those cases, it's more reasonable to revise one's interpretation of certain biblical texts, rather than throughout Christianity intuitive. And there are other considerations, there are other theological points which are more high-stakes, such as the resurrection of Jesus, the deity of Christ, the Trinity, and so forth. And in terms of the doctrine of the Trinity, which is the question that Joseph asked about, I think that we need to base our theology on what the Bible teaches concerning these matters, and I think the Scriptures are very clear on monotheism, that there's only one God, and the God of complexion is unity, there being three divine persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who share that divine essence wholly and completely. I think the Scripture is very clear about the absolute deity of the Father, the absolute deity of the Son, and the absolute deity of the Holy Spirit, but distinguishes between those individuals as a person. Does that make sense?

Yeah, I mean, there's some things that are not as, it's not going to count you out as Christian, but if you look at it, you know, maybe like filioque or something like that, like he proceeds from, that was a huge debate, but nevertheless, they're still Christian, so it may be looked at as a low-stakes question. Yeah, let me just jump in, we've got a break, we'll be right back on the other side of the break, and I'll give you just one other thought, Joseph, as well. Stay right here. Music It's the Line of Fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Get on the Line of Fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH. Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Our friends, be sure to visit

If you have friends that are struggling, loved ones that are struggling, you're struggling, maybe some have actually fallen away, but there's still openness to dialogue, Hey, just one last thing I wanted to say to weigh in on my end, Joseph. When it came to David, I felt terrible for him after the show. I had no idea that he was in that level of confusion, that level of misusing rabbinic sources, that level of denying essentials about who Yeshua is. And you'll find a very steady affirmation of the deity of Jesus among early church leaders as well. The later fine-tuning and trying to come to very specific philosophical statements to me is something the Bible doesn't do, it just presents the nature of God and presents, as Jonathan said, the full deity of Father, Son and Spirit.

I believe it does it quite categorically. It is a high-stakes issue if Jesus is just another created being. If he is not himself divine, that is a massive issue. And of course, you'll find affirmation of his deity in Protestant, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox circles as well as consistently in the early church leaders. So, I just encourage you on that line, Joseph, that you want to major on the majors and you have to ask yourself, what does the Bible state clearly? What can I say it states clearly?

Can I fill in every blank in terms of how it all works? No, because God is transcendent and he's infinitely beyond us. We intellectually know he always existed, and yet that breaks down in our logic because everything has to have a beginning the way we think. But I just encourage you as you look, start with Scripture, see what Scripture says plainly, and then see, do I need to be able to figure out every detail within that, or are there certain things that are mysteries or above my intellect in terms of understanding? So that's just the other thing I would throw out to you. So you can respond to that, but that's just my last thought.

Absolutely, yeah. A messianic rabbi I know says, I don't always understand everything, but I just proclaim it. I proclaim what the Bible proclaims. And all the details, you know, we tend to confuse ourselves. But what I've been doing lately is just getting into the Bible, the original languages, the Hebrew, the Greek, and some of the church fathers, you know, so I don't confuse myself with modern theology too much, you know, although it's interesting and it's helpful.

I'm trying to go as far back as I can, even to the Arian controversy and how they work that out. But that is helpful, thank you. Yeah, hey, great, Joseph, and you're already in dialogue with folks at, so that's good and positive. All right, let's go over to Paul in Richmond, Virginia. You're on the line of fire.

Hello, yes. My concern, I'm 61 years old, I accepted Christ when I was nine years old, and so I've actually struggled with that somewhat because I was a child, but I was a very mature child. But one thing that contributes to my, quote, confusion, unquote, or quote, doubt, unquote, is all the different denominational differences. And I know he alluded to the smaller things in a previous call, but all the different denominational beliefs and how they all differ, even on the same radio station that I'm listening to in Richmond, Virginia.

I hear one minister say one thing, and I hear another minister an hour later say something else. Yeah, that's a very fair question, Paul, and I'll just go a little further and get Jonathan to respond, but if you're a Jehovah's Witness, that's it. This is what all Jehovah's Witnesses believe. If you're a Mormon, that's it.

This is what all Mormons believe. Or, if you're a Roman Catholic, there's diversity, but hey, this is what Roman Catholics believe. But when you get to Protestants, so not only do you have Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, but you have an endless array of different Protestant teachers, even on the same radio show, and they're saying different things.

In my case, Protestant basically is a child influenced heavily by Southern Baptists, but I have attended Nazarene and Vineyard, but I have not attended a church in 20 years, because I finally got so, I don't know what the word is, quote, frustrated, unquote, that I know Jesus has saved me, and that's the only thing I need to know. Alright, well Paul, thanks for your candor, number one, and for expressing it so clearly. So Jonathan, what do you say to Paul? Yeah, so I think that God delights in deep study of Scripture, and not every topic in Scripture is as clear as every other topic. There are certain topics which I think the Scriptures are very clear on. The deity of Christ would be one of those, for example. There are other subjects that theologians have long debated and are not as clear in Scripture.

Eschatology would be a good example of that. Now what does the Apostle Paul have to say about this? So in the book of Romans, in chapter 14, we read, and I quote, For God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls, and he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person that seems one day is better than another, while another seems all days alike.

Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord. So Scripture teaches that we should be charitable towards those who take different theological perspectives on the non-essentials. So I would argue that we should hold fast to the essentials of the faith, which the Scriptures are clear on, and hold with a loose grip those non-essential issues and be charitable towards those who take a different perspective on the minor non-essential aspects of the faith. Does that answer your question? Somewhat.

I'd have one final quick question because I know we're getting close. Do you, Dr. Brown or your guests, think that I'm hearing reports that in October through February we're going to be entering into a very dangerous period which some are calling Gog and Magog? I wouldn't put any stock in that whatsoever, Paul. People set dates all the time and I was reading one book about biblical prophecy and it says, you know, it's very rare that within the Bible the prophets even set dates as to when things would happen.

You can safely ignore that and I'm sure that's quite fringe. But Paul, I just want to throw out this one other thing to add to what Jonathan so beautifully said from Romans 14. I've traveled around the world, I've been overseas more than 160 times, and then just outside the US, so Canada, Mexico, etc.

So total over 200 times, I think. And I've worked with people from all different backgrounds, believers. And yet, amazingly, across culture, across denomination, the fundamentals were the same on. We believe God the same way. We believe the Bible the same way. We've been born again the same way. It's extraordinary.

I've been in so many different churches. I mean, the cultures are so different and yet we have commonalities. So could it be that this diversity is a healthy thing? In other words, we don't have to agree on these other areas because it's good.

It's fine. It's part of being a relationship, part of being family, and part of having some latitude to do some things differently. But the fundamentals, that's what things you major on. The fundamentals are organically the same.

And that's what makes us one. And maybe you could connect with some other believers in your community and be built up together. Okay, thank you for calling. Jonathan, I'd love to pursue this again in the future, get you back on, talk in more depth, take some calls. And again, friends, What a great way to reach out to experts and get one-on-one help.

It's an extraordinary initiative. But Jonathan, in less than two minutes, if you were talking to a scientifically-minded atheist and wanted that person to think about one scientific fact that would make them wonder if there is an intelligent designer or creator after all, what single thing to you is the most compelling scientific argument for a creator or designer? Well, I'll give an example from my own field of expertise, which is the life sciences. I think that one of the most compelling lines of argument for me is the information content of the cell, especially in the digitally encoded information content that runs along the spine of the DNA molecule. In every other realm of experience, we habitually associate information content, particularly in a digital form, with conscious activity. And so the observation that we find information content in the cell is not particularly surprising on the hypothesis that a mind was involved in the origins of life. But I would argue that on the other side of the coin, it is wildly surprising on the falsity of the design hypothesis. And therefore, you have a top heavy likelihood ratio where the observed data is much more expected on one hypothesis versus the falsity of that hypothesis.

And therefore, it tends to confirm, I think very strongly confirmed, the hypothesis that a mind was involved in the origin of life on our planet, and therefore, that fits, I think, far more comfortably with a theistic worldview than with a non theistic worldview. Yeah, well, well said and concisely and you nailed the time was Jonathan friends go to talk about doubts calm, share the site with friends, loved ones that are deconverted and deconstructing or for you yourself. If you're having issues, questions. Hey, Jonathan, let's do this again. I'm so glad to have you in the States with us. God bless you. Thank you. Another program powered by the truth network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-25 15:53:52 / 2023-03-25 16:12:22 / 19

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