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The Alex McFarland Show-113-The Relevancy of the Church and its Effect on the World Today

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland
The Truth Network Radio
June 6, 2024 1:00 pm

The Alex McFarland Show-113-The Relevancy of the Church and its Effect on the World Today

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland

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June 6, 2024 1:00 pm

On this week's episode of the Alex McFarland Show, Alex continues the study of the relevancy of the church and its effect on the world today. He also unpacks three big objections which are; 1. Are the church's teachings bad? 2. Does the church encourage people to believe stuff without evidence? 3. Do all religions teach the same thing? The church, the believers, and all the good that they do around the world is a very good thing. Listen and be encouraged as he shares more truths about Christianity.

Scriptures:  

Genesis 1:1-3

1 Peter 3:15

Jude 1:3

2 Thessalonians 2:3

1 John 2:15-27

John 8:24

John 10:35

Exodus 20

Romans 1 & 2 

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Book: The God You Thought You Knew

Book: God Is Not One by Stephen Prothero

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The spiritual condition of America, politics, culture, and current events, analyzed through the lens of scripture.

Welcome to the Alex McFarland Show. Is the church a net positive? The 120 million adult Christians, the 345 thousand churches that exist, and then the more than two billion believers around the world, weekly gathering to worship Jesus, proclaim the gospel, and then seven days a week doing good works, going about their lives as believers. Is that a good thing for the world?

I think so. Hi, Alex McFarland. I want to talk about the church. We began a study last week, and we were talking about all the good that Christians and churches and ministries do.

Just in the United States of America, $1.7 trillion a year of benevolent work, missions work, everything from helping look after children to giving groceries to people that are in need, paying the power bill for shut-ins and elderly people. The church does a lot of good. In fact, I've frequently quoted there's one of the famous atheist writers who admitted that the true story of Christianity is the story of billions of people going about their daily lives doing good works in the name of God. And this one particular atheist said, even if you don't believe in God or don't even specifically like Christianity, you have to admit that Christians do a lot of good. Well, I was recently reading on a webpage – it was an online forum – and these were college students, and the subject was, are Christians a net positive? And a lot of people said some pretty mean things, some almost unrepeatably evil curse words, Christians.

And it was nothing I hadn't heard before, and a lot of the things were just what we call tropes, just statements people are parroting. Preachers are just in it for the money. Well, maybe some are, but most aren't. And Christians are just blindly following things they've been forced to believe, which is absolutely false. In fact, I think about, it's been my privilege to know and work with – I don't mean casually, I mean close friends – names like Josh McDowell, Charles Coulson, Gary Habermas, the late Norm Geisler, John Ankerberg, more recently people like Frank Turek and J. Warner Wallace, and Dr. Mike Licona – alright, people that – graduates of Ivy League schools with multiple PhDs, not to mention my wife Angie as a nurse, 35 years in medicine.

I've known so many surgeons, medical doctors, oncologists, scientists, researchers, every field you can name, biology, chemistry, forensic pathology. It's been my privilege to know several physicists, brilliant, brilliant people, all of whom believed in God, if not were devout followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. So this idea that Christians are just blindly following things that we've been forced to believe, and Christians are not arriving at their faith through rational thought and reflection, it just doesn't measure up with the evidence. But yet, I hear so many college students – and I'm not bashing college students, I'm just – I can spot the young adults that are the products of a militantly secular educational system, and they've never been told how really history's most brilliant thinkers, from Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, you know, people like that – brilliant Leonardo da Vinci, Dante, Shakespeare, Charles Babbage, the Wright brothers – believed in what we call theism, that God exists.

Creation had to have a Creator. The greatest minds of history were theistic, if not born-again believers, overtly. And it gets down, though, to so many of the people in this particular web forum that were bashing Christianity. They said, but we will admit, if you look into it, Christians do a lot of good. And then there were some people that were chiming in, and this one guy typed in, he said, look, I was in college, I lost my job, I was broke.

This particular church had a Wednesday night supper, and then a soup kitchen. And this guy wrote, he said, I'm not a believer, I'm not religious, but I've got to admit, this particular church saved my life at a period when I had no money, no food, and he said they asked nothing in return. Now, three big objections that I want to address. That's, one, that the church's teachings are bad, and I disagree. And frankly, I believe that many people don't, when they blindly say that the teachings of the church, quote unquote, as one person in this web forum said, said, well, I'll grant you, Christians do a lot of good, but their teachings screw up the world. That's what this person wrote online.

Let's talk about that. Then secondly, one guy said, I'll admit Christians do a lot of good, but I will never embrace a religion that, now listen to this, that says, quote, it's okay to believe stuff without evidence. Christianity doesn't say that.

Although, some people believe because of the evidence, some people don't believe and maybe don't even know there is evidence. But then a third objection, people were saying, well, religions all teach the same things. So let's talk about this just a little bit, and I'm going to begin with a couple of scriptures. One is Genesis 1-1, that, of course, everyone knows it very famously. It says, in the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. Verse 2, the earth was without form and void, darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, let there be light, and there was light. All right, Genesis 1-1, you think about the world views that are refuted by this one verse.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Well, atheism is refuted because atheism says there is no God. Well, Genesis 1-1, creation had to have a creator, there is a God. Agnosticism says we cannot know God, but here we know who God is.

And as we get through the pages of scripture and, of course, the words of the only man that ever rose from the dead, Jesus Christ, we vividly know who God is. So agnosticism is refuted. Then polytheism says there's many gods. No, we are monotheistic.

There is one God. Pantheism says nature is God, or God is all. No, creation is distinct from the creator. Well, panentheism, sometimes called bipolar theism, says God is in matter. No, the nature of God is different from the substance of creation. Materialism says matter is eternal. Steady state theory, or matter is eternal. No, there was a beginning. In the beginning. And then naturalism says there's no supernatural thing outside of the created order.

No, there is a supernatural origin of the natural universe, and there's a supernatural realm distinct from the physical, empirical, natural universe. Well, we're going to come back, and we're going to really unpack these three main objections. This is on the internet even right now about the Church, Christianity, believers themselves.

Are they a net positive? We'll talk about this and more when we come back. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. Christian author and speaker Alex McFarland is an advocate for Christian apologetics. Teaching in more than 2,200 churches around the world, schools, and college campuses, Fox is driven by a desire to help people grow in relationship with God. He arms his audiences with the tools they need to defend their faith, while also empowering the unchurched to find out the truth for themselves. In the midst of a culture obsessed with relativism, Alex is a sound voice who speaks timeless truths of Christianity in a timely way. With 18 published books to his name, it's no surprise that CNN, Fox, the Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets have described Alex as a religion and culture expert. To learn more about Alex and to book him as a speaker at your next event, visit alexmcfarland.com or you can contact us directly by emailing booking at alexmcfarland.com.

He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program. Alex McFarland here, so honored that you're listening. We're talking about the evidence for Christianity.

And, you know, in a way this does relate to a question we got online just a few days ago. A woman in Texas sent in the question, what is apologetics? And, by the way, if you want to reach us, you can email me, info at alexmcfarland.com.

I-N-F-O info at alexmcfarland.com. Well, apologetics is presenting, explaining, and defending the Christian faith. It's not apologizing.

It's not saying, I'm sorry. But it's, you know, as the Bible says in verses like 1 Peter 3, 15, Jude verse 3, that we are to defend what we believe. And, you know, 2 Thessalonians 2 verse 3 speaks about the unbelief and the rebellion, the course of the age, especially as we get more and more near the return of Christ. 2 Thessalonians 2 verse 3 says, Let no man deceive you, for that day, in other words the end of time, will not come except there be a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, the Antichrist. You know, read 1 John 2, 15 through 27, and it also talks about the fact that the spirit of Antichrist is in the world, and the Antichrist will come. In other words, and then in 1 John 2, 22, you know, what is the spirit, the mindset, the assumption of Antichrist, that Jesus is not the unique Son of God, God incarnate, who came in the flesh. It says in 1 John 2, 22, Who is a liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ, the anointed one? He is Antichrist that denies Father and Son. So one of the litmus tests for biblical orthodoxy, do you believe that Jesus Christ is the unique one and only Son of God as he claimed to be? You know, in John 8, 24, Jesus said, regarding his deity, in other words, that Christ is God incarnate, unique man, unique message, certainly unique credentials. But Jesus said, If you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sins. Now, I've got a postcard, folks.

In a way, I wish you could see this, but in a way I'm glad you can't. A postcard came in the mail from the Church of Scientology. Now, I've been to California to the Church of Scientology, and I've frankly did a prayer walk around the Church of Scientology. But here is a postcard, and this is, as you may know, Scientology was founded by a science fiction writer named L. Ron Hubbard. I bought his book when I was a new believer back in college. I bought that book, Dianetics, and tried to read it.

It was, boy, tough sledding. Scientology is the religion created. I know very famously people like Kirstie Alley, Tom Cruise, John Travolta have been in Scientology.

The actress, Leah Remini, left Scientology and did a documentary exposing it. This postcard comes, and on the front is a big cross. And there are priests in priestly garb. There's a picture of what is clearly a church with crosses. There's a man teaching from, it looks like a Bible, to some Hindu monks.

And there's a black family, a man wearing a cross around his neck. And it says, we believe differently, but we all believe in a better world. And it's basically a big postcard urging people to partner up with Scientologists.

And it says, you serve your congregation, we serve you. And it says, don't we all believe in life's most valuable skill, communication? Don't we all believe in understanding each other better?

Don't we all believe in resolving interpersonal conflicts? Don't we all believe? And it says, we have these little small differences, we're all really one, and here are 19 free courses that we need to link arms. And of all things, there's a quote on the back from a Baptist minister in North Carolina, the Bible Belt, and it's basically praising all that he's learned from Scientology.

Well, here's my point. If you don't really know your stuff, and here's Scientology with a cross on the front. But look, they don't believe in the cross of Christ. They don't believe in the blood atonement. They don't believe in the need for redemption in Jesus. They certainly don't believe that Christ is the one and only Son of God. And Jesus said, all others who come denying me are thieves and robbers. John 1035, Jesus said the scripture cannot be broken.

So here's my point. When 2 Thessalonians 2 verse 3 talks about a falling away, and people being deceived in the end times, and people that really are not grounded in the Son of God and the Word of God being deceived and led astray. The word is apostasy, which is literally the Greek word for riot. We are living in times like that.

We really are. And that's why we always say in every broadcast, look, if you've never been born again, by all means turn your life over to Christ and be saved. Jesus is as close by as a prayer. And we've got a tab on our website on alexmcfarland.com, a tab that says, what does God say about my relationship with him? If you need to know how to be born again, go on, free of charge, no strings attached. This little booklet will tell you how to be saved. If you are saved, this little booklet will tell you how to grow in the Lord, how to have assurance of your salvation, how to begin to defend your Christian faith. We've got, and we've given away a quarter million of these to Protestants, Orthodox, Catholics, and we take the Apostles' Creed, which is one of the oldest belief statements of Christianity, and we go line by line, twelve points that prove Christianity drawn from the Apostles' Creed, which perhaps for sixteen hundred years, probably longer than that, Christians have recited, I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. And go to my website, alexmcfarland.com, look for the little tab, what does God say about my relationship with him?

Well, when we come back, we're going to look at some of these objections that were on this blog site. Are the Church's teachings a net positive? Does the Church urge people to believe stuff without evidence, as the critic said? And do all religions teach the same things? We submit that no, the Church's teachings don't mess up the lives of people. No, the Church does not say it is okay to believe stuff without evidence, quote unquote. And no, all religions don't teach the same thing. And as every born again we'll be quick to point out, Christianity is not religion per se, it's a relationship with Jesus Christ. Although there certainly are boundaries and parameters and moral truths that Christians affirm from God's Word and live. But we'll come back after this brief break and we'll look at these objections and more and talk about why, yes, Christianity is a net positive.

Stay tuned. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. Over the last several decades, it's been my joy to travel the world talking with children, teens, adults, people of all ages about the questions they have related to God, the Bible, Christianity, and how to know Jesus personally.

Hi, Alex McFarland. I want to make you aware of my book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity. You know, we interviewed hundreds of children and parents and families to find out the questions that children and people of all ages are longing to find answers for. In the book, we've got practical, biblical, real life answers that they have about how to be a Christian in this modern world.

My book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask, you can find it wherever you buy books or at resources.afa.net. He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program.

Alex McFarland here in the middle of recording. I've got a message that I'll tell you about in a moment. We're talking about the relevancy of the church and the fact that we believe, yes, the church is a net positive. Earlier in the program, I was talking about reading on an internet forum. It was like some of the bloggers grudgingly acknowledged the church does some benevolent good, but said other things that were objections. A lot of this is reminiscent of what's in my book, The God You Thought You Knew, Exposing Ten Common Myths About Christianity. I put that book out after interviewing 300 plus college students and the myths they had about, you know, the God of the Old Testament is a mean vindictive bully and Jesus of the New Testament is about love.

There are two different views of God and a lot of misconceptions. Christians are hateful and judgmental, which is really kind of a myth. I say, having spoken in more than 2200 churches throughout the Western Hemisphere, that Christians are loving, kind people. Now the Word of God has judgment for sin because God loves us enough to try to cause us to be saved. But Christians as a whole, living out the ethic of Jesus, are a very loving group of people. But look, there can be professed Christians who don't live a very Christ-like life and there can be atheists that appear outwardly to live a good moral life.

But the question, at least according to God, God's Word and the Son of God, Jesus, have you been born again? So let's go over some of these misconceptions and I believe myths. The number one that was on this blog said, okay, Christians might do some good things, but their teachings, quote, screw up the world, end of quote.

That's what a blogger said. Well, the teachings of Christianity, which go back now 20 centuries, really the teachings of Christianity include the teachings of Judaism that God created and it was perfect, but man sinned. And sin not only separates us from God and is a wedge between us and others, unresolved sin will cause the loss of our soul, will not go to heaven. But Christianity teaches Jesus Christ, the righteous, died on the cross. And what's so wonderful about Christianity, I was talking with Sean McDowell earlier today about the fact that Christianity is based on Jesus, a literal historical figure who rose from the dead, a literal historical provable fact of the ancient world.

And it's been noted that Hinduism or Buddhism is not contingent on the historical life of any one individual. But if Jesus did not rise from the dead, we have no Christianity. The fact that Jesus literally was able to resurrect and beat death and Christ promised, whoever believes in me, I will give you everlasting life, Jesus had the power to grant forgiveness and impart eternity. That proves the historical necessity of Jesus Christ. So the teachings of Christianity don't mess up the world, as bloggers allege, but Christianity gives people not only hope for eternity, but a reason to live today.

And it's all rooted in fact, the most documentable facts of the ancient world. Secondly, some bloggers say that Christianity, quote, makes it possible to believe stuff without any evidence, end of quote. Well, this often gets back to the fact that, and I've heard this in debates at 200 American universities, skeptics will say, you can't prove Christianity. And I always ask, what kind of proof do you want? Because there are different kinds of proofs. How are you using the word proof? Now, if you are referring to a mathematical proof, of course you can't analyze any historical event on a mathematical level. A mathematical proof can tell you the tensile strength of cable. A mathematical proof can tell you the load limit for the roof of a building with steel beams as the trusses.

A mathematical proof can tell you at what temperature wood will combust when subjected to friction. But when you're talking about history, was JFK shot in November of 63? Was Jesus really a real person? That's called a statistical proof. It's called the preponderance of evidence.

It's like proving something in a court beyond all reasonable doubt. And by the way, skeptics never know these things. They've not gone this far into the analysis of whether Jesus was true or false, historical or non-historical. But when you look at Christianity, did a man named Jesus live? Was he crucified at Passover? Did he rise?

It's overwhelming. I mean, it's been said, if you can believe in the lives of Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare, Washington crossing the Delaware, then you must believe in the life of Jesus because the statistical proof, eyewitness testimony, multiple testimony, hostile testimony even, it's overwhelming. So Christianity does not ask anyone to believe something without evidence. Quite the contrary, the New Testament says that we have not followed cleverly devised fables. And then thirdly, people assert that all religions teach basically the same thing.

That's false. There is an element of truth, perhaps, in that all religions seem to set forth a moral foundation, really a moral code that is very reminiscent of what you find in Exodus 20, the Ten Commandments. But Romans 1 and 2 tells us that's the law of God written on every heart, that we all know that we shouldn't steal, we shouldn't lie, we shouldn't bear false witness against somebody, slander somebody, adulterate, commit murder. You know, I think about the book by Stephen Prothero, God Is Not One, O-N-E. And I interviewed him, he's a professor, and he had heard so many people glibly say, well, all religions teach the same thing. So he looked at two dozen of the world's major belief systems and he said, no, all religions don't teach the same thing.

They might all be false but they can't all be true. And Christianity is unique in what it says about Jesus's identity message credentials. His identity, the Son of God, God incarnate. His message, believe in who he was and what he did on the cross and you'll be saved. And then his credentials, well, no one else has credentials anywhere near the pedigree of Jesus. Virgin-born, sinless life rose from the dead. You know, midway through the recording of this broadcast, I got a Facebook message and I found out that one of my great friends from my seminary years, a Christian brother who owned a local store, one of my friends had died and I'd been asked to go to Virginia to do the funeral.

And, you know, what a joy to know this person is with Jesus. And it reminds me of the day my own mom died 10 years ago and at that point I got a phone call from an atheist friend. He said, hey, what are you up to? And I explained that we were leaving the hospital. And he said, oh, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry. And this particular atheist, when I explained that my mother had just died, my mom was a Christian, he said to me, he said, oh, if my mother had just died, I would be suicidal. That's what he said, an atheist.

And I said, well, see, that's the difference. For a Christian, we rejoice. I mean, of course, you know, it's never fun to say goodbye to a loved one, but when they are with Jesus and you know, you'll see them again and you'll see them again soon.

Christians, as the Bible says, we may sorrow, but not as those who have no hope because for the Christian, we know that there's eternity joyfully reunited with Christ and our loved ones. Do you know Christ? If you need to come to Christ or come back to Jesus, go to our website, check out the tab. What does God say about my relationship with him? Remember, Jesus is as close by as a prayer.

I hope you know him. Christianity is a net positive. And if you let Jesus in, you'll find that it is life itself to know Christ. Thank you for listening. Thank you for your prayers and support. You can give online at our website, alexmcfarland.com.

Thank you for listening and may God bless you in all things. Alex McFarland ministries are made possible through the prayers and financial support of partners like you. For over 20 years, this ministry has been bringing individuals into a personal relationship with Christ and has been equipping people to stand strong for truth. Learn more and donate securely online at alexmcfarland.com. You may also reach us at alexmcfarland, P.O. Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404, or by calling 1-877-Yes-God-1.

That's 1-877-Y-E-S-G-O-D-1. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again on the next edition of the Alex McFarland Show.

Do you have a desire to deepen your faith, better understand Christian apologetics, or to get a biblical perspective on current events? Well, I've tried to make it simple for you to do just that. On my website, alexmcfarland.com, there's a new section called Ask Alex Online. It's simple, it's clean, and you can read my answers to common questions about God, faith, and the Bible. So visit the website alexmcfarland.com and look for the section that says Ask Alex Online.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-11 02:36:58 / 2024-06-11 02:47:40 / 11

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