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October 15, 2018 12:35 pm
Best-selling author, speaker and advocate for Christian apologetics Dr. Alex McFarland, best-selling author and apologist Dylan Burroughs together bringing you the truth for a new generation.
This is TMG radio God says in first Thessalonians in all things give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. But there are some things in life that let's face it, from argument perspective, it would seem hard to be grateful for hard to be thankful for some of the pain in problems of life and as we record this radio show and as it nears our nation is reeling in compassion and sadness, and concern for what the people in the Panhandle of Florida have gone through and are going through his work in Michael's drug said to be the fourth largest hurricane in American history and one article. Speaking of some of these beach towns that have just been decimated.
They said it looks like an atomic bomb has gone off and they're just going to have to bulldoze everything and start over, and invariably the human response to pain-and-suffering like this very often is why why do bad things happen so down the program.
Dylan Burroughs and I are going to talk about.
Why do bad things happen and what is the Christian response to pain-and-suffering and one thing that our heart doesn't like to go there but will get a look squarely at the question, do life's problems mean that we can't trust God I Dylan it's great to be with you my brother in this thing of human suffering and sadness in the problem of pain Emily. This is been a perennial question people throughout the centuries of wrestled with, but I think you and I would agree Christianity uniquely gives an answer right in first. All we don't deny that there is suffering in our world today when you wake up and you see that 11 people least have died as a result of hurricane Michael you still have 1.4 million people in the Southeast with no power. So many people affected by this. One of the largest hurricanes ever make landfall, and certainly the largest make landfall on Florida's Panhandle since record keeping began in 1851. What do we say in response to this is Christians will first we don't deny it. We live in a fallen world, where things happen that cause devastating effects.
So first we recognize it and accept it, but second we have to consider what is the purpose of this what is the meaning of this. We don't always understand why, but the Bible does talk about reasons that suffering or natural disasters even happen in our world today. So we want to talk about that a little bit Alex to get us started. Why would we see natural disasters happen in our world.
What would be a good biblical responses on these things taking place today. While clearly the main reason that we have pain-and-suffering in all the world is because of sin, that this is a fallen world and you know, this might not be a perfect illustration but as we talk about this and what this world is and is not that you know this world is not heaven.
We love life and it's a blessing to be alive and certainly life on this planet has many, many joys and blessings, but there are deep valleys and stars to not a great illustration but Dylan, I was in a restaurant and I was watching a child, just devour some sort of appetizer auto note was potato wedges and cheese or something and I heard the mom say the child don't overeat because the main course as it come you're eating that appetizer, but you better wait for the entrée, this world is not the entrée. Heaven is the main course in this world is the appetizer and you can't fault the appetizer for not being the entrée, a lot of people say this life is is messed up things go wrong, but we gotta remember and and I think many of the great thinkers in history of have come to this realization and II think when we look at this as Norm Geisler would say were, standing on the shoulders of giants, but this world with all of its failures and foibles and this world without its challenges really does prepare our heart for heaven. Now what we want to do as Christians is respond to the problem of pain-and-suffering without compromising any of God's core characteristics are God's essential attributes.
We know that God is good God is wise and God is powerful and other been different people that have thrown up their hands in frustration and said, well, maybe God doesn't exist. Or maybe God just doesn't care. Or maybe God is not able or maybe God just doesn't know what to do either was the song a rock song. About 10 years ago.
What if God were one of us just a slob like one of us to remember that song Dylan yes yes I kind of recoiled the first time I ever heard that and out years ago those Greek philosopher named it Peck to tests and he really answer the problem of evil in a not adequate way is very influential in the life of a guy name areas who later was identified as a heretic who was wrong on many key Christian doctrines, but let's ask this question, and Dylan all through the year.
Can we as a Christian we like you said we recognize evil is real suffering is real.
It's not an illusion. I made there. There are things in this life that are indeed heartbreaking but nevertheless we still maintain that God is good God is all-powerful and God is all wise, so the reality of evil doesn't negate the reality of the Christian God does it know it doesn't.
So, it leads to this tension that God is good and yet there is evil in their suffering in our world today and elitist to this idea could there be a good purpose, or any good reason for suffering that we face. We see a natural disaster like this hurricane what good could come out of something like this that's a question we want to address in a very real and compassionate way because we know a lot of people go through pain and go through challenges and we don't want to negate that in all of us face those things in our lives that bring us down.
We don't understand why but we also want to recognize that God may have a purpose and a plan in this Alex. So what are some ways that God could work in a positive way through some of these tragic things that we see in life will you know Malcolm Muggeridge years ago was a brilliant journalist and he became a Christian eventually in life and he said you know. Imagine how prideful we are and were selfish. He said even in spite from these challenges, he said, could you imagine if the world were nothing but Apple, pine, cotton candy, the word Hughes was insufferable. Imagine how insufferable we all would be if everything always went our way. So, Malcolm Muggeridge, like many great thinkers. I think of Corrie 10 boom who survived the Holocaust and Billy Graham who was just one of the great leaders of our lifetime pain-and-suffering humbles us and this the first segment ebbs away, but I want to talk about when we come back why there is suffering and let's identify just what is sin and fallenness. This is true for a new generation radio. Gotta pull away for a brief break. Satan is will talk about our our look at suffering and the outcomes of it when we return. After this, as we take a break, let me tell you about 310 three books that will answer questions that come your way from others or even yourself about the Christian faith. Number 110 answers for skeptics today. Skeptics are looking for authenticity, integrity, and straightforward faith in this book you will learn how to answer intimidating questions. Identify the roof issues behind those questions and dismantled the spiritual bombshell dropped by nonbelievers. Those usually end up just being a puff of smoke, number 210 answers for atheists were Alex looks at the philosophical assumptions at the root of atheism and agnosticism exposing logical historical and conceptual fallacy. Alex shares clear explanations of beliefs and biblical answers to those questions that often leave you stumped, but no more in number three. The 10 most common objections to Christianity and how to answer the know many Christians hear these objections and have a crisis of faith, but Alex and Dylan have been around.
They visited many places and talked with many people through the years and could offer straight answers that will give you confidence and understanding about your beliefs, so the 310s once again 10 answers for skeptics 10 answers for atheists and the 10 most common objections to Christianity and how to answer find them wherever Christian books are sold for Alex McFarland.com when caring about not afraid to ask hard questions we care about a lot of things.
We are engage magazine.net online group of millennial's, brought together by a common goal to share truth apply Scripture and to get involved in are lost and hurting world engage magazine.net host discussions that help you apply biblical worldview to your daily life engage magazine.net and see the Dylan Burroughs back with Alex McFarland on treatment for new generation radio before we dive back into our discussion will give Alex an opportunity to talk about things going on entry for new generation. Recently some ways God is working across our nation through young people and changing life return.
He catches up a little bit Alex and what been happening, but will thanks Dylan you know I'm so grateful for the way the Holy Spirit of God is moving. As we record this on just getting in from about two and half weeks of preaching in several cities and I was just in Baton Rouge Louisiana where we are getting ready for the next truth for a new generation conference and out.
People are excited. I spoke at a Christian school, I spoke at a public school in Mississippi and a lot of young people are very excited to not only learn how to have a relationship with Jesus. But how to defend their faith and adopt what I want to say also is thank you to everyone who is supporting this ministry, as we do major events around the country as we distribute literature and as we broadcast and we've got to radio programs. A television program.
We've got a growing online presence. We've got an app and we are all about presenting the gospel and equipping the church to defend the faith. Let me just say we thank you because we could not do this without the prayers and financial support of people who believe in evangelism and the Christian worldview and what I want to say is our prayer guide for America. This is a little bookmark that Scott evangelistic praying and revival praying we've given out tens of thousands of these. We got a pack of these and we want to send you it's a shrink-wrapped package. We hope you'll daily pray for specific things for this country for a move of God in our country but will distribute these to your church and to your friends and will become a nation of intercessors for your gift in any amount to support the work of truth for new generation, and all the multifaceted parts of this ministry, we want to send you a package of the prayer guide for America and maybe you'll start a prayer group. Maybe God will lead you to get some your friends together or maybe your Sunday school class and so the information is on the website truth for new generation.com or you can write to us and that PO Box 10231, Greensboro, NC 27404 and for your gift in any amount which is tax deductible and we send a receipt at the end of the year.
Of course, will send you a package, the prayer guide for America and I will keep you up-to-date on what's going on but I Dylan back to the question of pain-and-suffering, which is probably the most commonly asked question.
As I travel and speak and we minister and fight yesterday when I was in Louisiana doing a leaders luncheon for this citywide event we have coming up. Several people are driven hours because they wanted to meet me. Not necessarily for the big conference, but they wanted to talk to me and it was after this luncheon.
I spent a couple of hours really doing pastoral counseling and Dylan. It wasn't OG Alex please talk to me about the parchment manuscripts of the New Testament and it wasn't Alex. Will the Internet be used by the antichrist. Someday in the future, though it was pain-and-suffering fly. The bereavement why the cancer why the struggles with sin, and so many things and so we're going to answer three questions why is there suffering. Could there be good purpose in suffering and what should be my response when I faced, suffering, and Dylan. Let me quote Thomas Aquinas here in the summa theological which was a major landmark theological work.
Aquinas writes this, that only God is fully satisfied within himself God is happy, joyful within his own nature. God alone does not come to happiness by some outside activity is Aquinas and that's true, but man has to come to God to be fulfilled. And so we will never be fulfilled. Apart from God.
So Aquinas said that part of the reason for pain-and-suffering in this world is to show us that we are not complete in and of ourselves. We only can be fulfilled as we turn to God, and it just might be the pain of life that causes us in humility and contrition to turn to God because apart from the Lord. We were always going to be empty most certainly true. And as we continue our topic today.
We talked about why is there suffering. We live in a fallen world when there also times of people make choices that cause suffering and we have to remember that all suffering is due to sin is not something God is doing because he's out to get us, but it's something that happens as a result of living in a sinful world sometimes eats our own sinful consequences only talk about natural disasters. Part of this is just the everyday existence in a fallen world.
We face these times were their tornadoes, their hurricanes, their tsunamis and we understand that they happen but we struggle to understand why they happen at the times and places they do it because the tragic consequences, and lies. They do not lead us to talk about. Could there be good purpose in suffering. Now, in an article I wrote recently at about three quick reasons that God may not prevent natural disasters. I think this is interesting when you think about the Bible. The first one is that God may use the forces of nature to focus our attention on him and his greatness. You think about when Jesus calm the storm with his disciples what he did that because there was an opportunity for him to show his power as God's son among his followers. A second reason is that God may use their natural disasters is a judgment on sin, we see that in the plagues in Egypt and we see that and other times throughout the Old Testament, especially when God use that to draw people to him as a form of judgment and then there's the third reason that we see in Romans 828 that God can use an event to bring about an even greater good and all share one quick story and then get back to you Alex is that a few years ago we had a tragic tornado in our area.
Chattanooga and North Georgia and one of my coworkers had his home destroyed and I remember hearing him tell the story of being in his bathroom trying to stay down and away from the storm and feeling that suction then thinking he may be pulled up out of his own home, and yet God spared his life at his house completely destroyed and he didn't know why only aftermath of that storm out one of his neighbors was there and helping out the cleanup and a disaster relief crew was there and began talking with him about God and through that conversation. His neighbor came to faith in Jesus Christ.
They think about that and selfishly could say God he could've done that some other way. Could any Abbott he I remember my friend St. you know I don't like that this happened but if it was what God wanted to use for my neighbor to have faith in Jesus Christ to spend eternity with him. I'm okay with that. So there are times when God can use a disaster to bring about even greater good than we would ever expect. We gotta take a break from the segment staging looking to come back on truth for new generation radio and look at why there is suffering and what good can come out of it.
Based on our response stating first Peter 315 tells us to be ready always to give an answer for the hope we have were instructed to be prepared to defend our faith. This is Alex McFarlane for the life he answers teams students we train at North Greenville University, a leading Christian college in South Carolina.
The life answers. Teams are made up of students who will inspire and equip your congregation.
These apologetics teams. We train speaking churches to youth groups and train Christians of all ages to address key issues of our times. From a biblical perspective like is there a God is the Bible true. What about gender and moral issues. Call me at 864977 2008 and we will arrange for the life answers team to come to your church and give a presentation that will benefit your people for years to come. 864-977-2000 eight and always be ready if you're a Christian parent. You of course want to instill a biblical view of life in the hearts of your children, your pastor, you want to offer ministry that draws young families to your church. This is Alex McFarlane encouraging you to check out my new book and video curriculum. The 21 toughest questions your kids will ask about Christianity. I interviewed hundreds of children ages 5 to 12 and we address actual questions from actual children. The spiritual issues that are on the minds of your kids the book and video lessons are great for groups of any size and was produced with the goal of equipping kids to stand strong for Christ in any situation. The 21 toughest questions your kids will ask the book study guide and video series.
You'll find email@example.com that AFA store.net that TMG radio with Alex McFarlane and Dylan Burroughs were talking about wiser pain-and-suffering. What good can come from it.
Let's divide suffering, evil, pain, whatever you want to call it into three categories really moral evil.
Natural evil and existential pain moral evil are those things humans do to each other like murder and theft in war and lying and rape moral evil. Natural evil weather disasters. Earthquakes, tidal waves, really, which all of which are traceable to fallenness. The flood sin.
In fact, much of the behavior of the planet. The way that the plates shift in the tectonic activity that causes things like tidal waves and weather patterns are traceable to the flood which was a judgment on sin. But even things like birth defects and the pains of this life and human pain and animal pain. We call that existential we experience them. Dylan from you know things like losing our car keys and then were frantically looking and we hit our head and we say a curse word and were all the more angry. Everything from mere inconveniences to plagues and diseases really the fallenness of this world, it's a daily reminder, this world is imperfect but God is still good. And God is still faithful ride.
We all have those Charlie Brown days right where is the is wrong and we don't know why. Why does everything bad happens immediately stop and think about it, we realize that God is there, despite the bad things that happen in our day-to-day lives. He's promised that his presence will always be with us. I tend to think of the book of Job and the suffering that he went through, where he lost all 10 of his children from a natural disaster and yet his responses. The Lord gave the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord, you know, it's a good example that we don't always have to have all of the reasons the explanations all the answers to why to still worship God, and still serve him. And when we do, especially in times of great suffering. That's often when God will respond in a positive way that surprising and greater than we could ever imagine. Absolutely you here at North Greenville University where I am, as you and I record Leslie Brown is the reference librarian and has helped us on some of our writing projects and down she two years ago was in a very severe car wreck, somebody crossed the centerline and hit her head on and the other driver whose fault it was sadly died and she was trapped in her car and they had to come and literally cut her out of her car and they rushed her to the ER and Leslie Brown will praise God emphatically for that car wreck and you might think how could somebody be grateful they were in a head-on collision while good news is while she was banged up and she had a couple of minor minor bone injuries. She could've easily been killed but she wasn't. But the reason that she blesses God for the car wreck and an example of how God brings good out of what otherwise would be an evil.
They rushed her to the ER. There doing the full body scan and one of the technicians said oh my goodness, how long have you had ovarian cancer and Leslie Brown said what and they identified that she had ovarian cancer that would have taken her life. The only way they discovered that she had cancer and they were able to intervene and treat her save her life. She's completely healed, but direct put her in the ER, which alerted the doctors to the fact that she had cancer and she will tell you had that right not occurred.
She would not be alive right now.
So God is wise and even like you said Dylan. Even when we don't know the reason why we don't fully know why we can trust the God who is omniscient God knows all things. God is nigh, benevolent, that means all good. And even if we don't know that the fine print and all the details. God is good.
He loves us and he absolutely has our best interests at heart. Yes, and we don't always know the reasons for the pain. We can't always control the pain that comes our way. We take pain relievers only have a physical pain, but there are pain relievers for some the things we deal with in life, but another great example is that in 2010, there is the devastating earthquake in Haiti killed over 200,000 people nationwide and not an opportunity to be there one week after it happened. Serve on a on a relief team as a tragic situation and I thought God. Why am I even here. How can I even make any difference. Among all the sadness. All of this, the tragic circumstances that are around me and then that Sunday morning, I came to the church that was at the place where we're staying in the church had several hundred more people there than usual that Sunday. The Haitian pastor got up and share the gospel. Many people came forward and at least a dozen new people came to faith in Christ that Sunday alone and a year later that ministry had double the number children in schools had a growing ministry that would not have at otherwise. And why would not wish that kind of tragedy on any nation or any place in the world. There are ways in which God works for even the worst circumstances to change lives for eternity and to do his work in ways that we can't comprehend.
Absolutely, absolutely. And you know oftentimes pain is a preparation for future ministry.
Second Corinthians chapter 1 verses three and four guests says praise be to God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of all compassion, the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles, truth, listen to this so that we may comfort those in any trouble with the same comfort wherewith we ourselves were comforted of God.
What that means is if you go through pain-and-suffering and you trust the Lord, and he purifies you he calls you to himself that the challenges of life, drive us to Jesus.
Someday we can come alongside another person and we can legitimately say I understand. I went through something similar. God is faithful, and he'll be there for you to so pain-and-suffering, like you said, it brings people to Christ. It brings people to church.
It may be preparation for future ministry. You know, if you go on some of the online bookstore, so you go to your local Christian bookstore and you Google my name or Dylan's name by God's grace we've written quite a few resources and a couple of years ago we interviewed a number of atheists we read a book called 10 answers for skeptics and another book 10 answers for atheists in the two most common objections to Christianity and how to answer them. A lot of apologetics books. One of the most common questions relates to pain-and-suffering, so we would encourage you to be equipped.
Trust God to process your own pain from God's vantage point worship as you wait and let God not only work around you, but in you and any way that we can help with books we created. We pray for God's glory and for his kingdom that it will prepare you for effective life, ministry warship and bearing fruit for our Savior. Amen. And thank you so much for being with us as we could transfer any generationally special and continue praying for those affected by the hurricane. Please let us know if we can pray for firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for being with us to next time truth for NewGeneration in association with Alex McFarland evangelistic ministries exists to equip Christians with the biblical worldview through conferences and camps for information about upcoming events visit for a NewGeneration.com or give us a call at 877 yes, God one. That's 877 yes and the number one TMG radio is made possible by the friends of Alex McFarland evangelistic ministries PO Box 10231 rural NC 27404. That's PO Box 10231 rural NC 27404. Give email@example.com or truth for a NewGeneration.com. Thanks for listening and join us again next time. As we bring you more true for a new generation on TMG radio