A Quarterly Publication of West Kern Christian Center
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO HIS PURPOSE
Connection Point MAGAZINE
Volume 9 - Fall 2016
In the Defense of the Faith “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” 1 Peter 3:15
In this edition… ‣
From the Editor, pg. 2
You Gotta Serve Somebody, pg. 3
By the Numbers, pg. 4
God: Fact or Fiction, pg. 7
The Historicity of Jesus, pg. 8
The Orphans of Pakistan, pg. 10
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“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” C. S. Lewis F RO M TH E E DI TO R For those of us who hold to the Biblical worldview, the last year or so has been like living in an alternate reality. Men and women are no longer identified by their genetic makeup, but by how they feel about their sexuality. Were we to attempt to take that same kind of logic and apply it to any other area of life, it is not unlikely that someone would recommend some kind of psychiatric treatment, and they would be right in doing so. Things are as they are. You can’t just change reality (unless you are living in twenty-first century America, it seems). When we can change reality simply by choosing to feel differently about it then what does anything mean? This is what I would call a genuine case of the inmates running the asylum. While we usually mean that with some level of hyperbole, in this case I really don’t. One’s sanity is determined, at least in part, by one’s hold on or departure from reality, and our nation’s most recent experiment with gender identity seems to be just such a departure. Of course, the problem is that in the real world we cannot change reality. Things really are as they are. Calling a cat a dog doesn’t make it so any more than calling wrong right makes it so. Truth is objective and absolute. Despite the petulant, entitled attitude our generation seems to have toward most things today, we actually don’t get to be the arbiters of what is true and what is a lie or what is right and what is wrong. God is the author of truth, and that truth is written everywhere if we have the willingness to see it. Jesus said, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:19-20). In other words, the rejection of truth is due to man’s desire to justify his own way with some kind of moral impunity. In fact, if he can somehow be seen as defending the rights of others to live as they see fit, he can even claim to be taking the moral high ground, which is exactly what we see happening today in our society.
CONTENTS From the editor/2 You Gotta Serve Somebody, Karen Raub/3 By the Numbers, Randy Bunch/4 God: Fact or Fiction, Shadric Metzner/7 The Historicity of Jesus, Brittany Metzner/8 The Orphans of Pakistan/10
However, none of this changes what is true anymore than closing our eyes makes the light of the sun go away. In the same way we still feel its warmth on our cheek, so the world still perceives the imprint of objective morality on their conscience, even when they refuse to openly look at the light of truth (see Romans 2:14-16). The same light that exposes our failings is the light that illumines the way of salvation through the One who died to reconcile us to God. This edition of Connection Point Magazine is a special one to me. Three of the articles were written by students who took the Christian Apologetics class I was privileged to teach this last summer quarter at Summit Bible College. My prayer is that their solid arguments for the reality of God and objective truth both strengthen your faith and serve to equip you to present the Christian worldview more effectively. Now, perhaps more than ever, it is time to be ready to give a defense of our faith and a reason for the hope we have in Christ.
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You Gotta Serve Somebody Karen Raub The nineteenth century postmodern philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), unabashedly proclaimed, “God is dead.” Although nothing could be further from the truth, Nietzsche’s godless philosophy dominates much of Western culture through today’s postmodern worldview. It is a worldview that believes perceived truth to be approximate and constantly evolving. Morality is conditional, not fixed, and left up to interpretation. Perspective on truth is defined by the cultural dictates of the community. This growing worldview challenges Christianity by its comfortable precepts of relativism, pluralism, and spiritualism. If God is dead then there is no absolute or universal truth. Morality has become relative and the Bible has lost its authority. A clear example of relative morality based on a loss of Biblical authority would be the general acceptance of abortion, i.e. “I don’t believe in abortion, but I won’t tell someone else what to do. What is not moral or acceptable to me may be okay for you.” If we can establish the Bible as divinely inspired, then it is reasonable to believe that morality is not relative but rather constant. The fulfillment of Bible prophecy is one of the most compelling proofs that the Bible is divinely inspired. There are over three hundred specific prophecies in the Old Testament that are fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The complete fulfillment of the prophecies indicates omniscience only God possesses. Dr. Peter Stoner, author of Science Speaks, applied the principle of probability to the fulfillment of just eight of the over three hundred prophesies. (Christ born in Bethlehem, Micah 5:2; A forerunner of Christ [messenger John the Baptist], Malachi 3:1; Christ to be betrayed by a friend, Psalms 31:9; Christ to enter Jerusalem on a donkey, Zechariah 9:9; Christ to be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, Zechariah 11:12; 30 pieces of silver
cast down and used to buy a potter’s field, Zechariah 11:13; Although innocent Christ kept silent when on trial, Isaiah 53:7; Christ crucified, Psalm 22:16)
how anyone could say that these are equally acceptable “truths.” The word “many,” in “many paths lead to God,” appears to include all the major religions of the world. Polytheistic religions like Hinduism and Buddhism would then be considered paths to God. The chasm that separates the “truths” held by Christianity and these polytheistic religions is so deep it makes it hard to comprehend anyone believing that there is reasonable logic to such a statement. Under pluralism how does one reconcile an eternal universe and reincarnation with Christian doctrines of creation and eternal life? All major religions hold doctrines, which are an integral part of their fundamental beliefs and in conflict with Christianity. If there are many paths that lead to God, then who is this God? How can he be personal in Christianity and impersonal in Islam? How can God be one in Christianity and many in Hinduism? How can salvation through Christ and not good works be the door to eternal life when one’s good works is what drives reincarnation in Buddhism? Religious “truth” under pluralism is looking more like an oxymoron.
“To answer the question what is the probability of one man fulfilling all eight prophecies, the principal of probability is applied. Therefore, multiplying all eight probabilities together (1 times 2.8 x 105 x 103 x 102 x 103 x 103 x 105 x 103 x 104) gives us 2.8 x 1028, or for simplicity sake 1 x 1028 or 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000… With Christ fulfilling all eight prophecies, what are the odds the prophets were just guessing?” Although scientific and archaeological discoveries continue to substantiate the accuracy of the historical and cultural references found in the Bible, the above evidence alone makes it reasonable to believe that the Bible speaks with the authority of divine inspiration and can be viewed as true. With this evidence Christians can present a judicious case for the absolute truth established in the Bible based on its divine authority. As our society has become more secular, it has opened wide the doors for religious pluralism to flourish. Religious pluralism that once entered our culture as an acceptance of one’s freedom to have his own religious beliefs, has now become a mantra for those who proclaim, “There are many paths that lead to God.” To say that there is only one way, as the Christians do, is construed as elitist and arrogant by secular, pluralistic thinking. If we embrace the current concept of pluralism, we must reject who Jesus claimed to be, nullifying the essence of Christianity. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (John 14:6). “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Granted there are threads of truth that are shared by various religions. However, the foundation stones upon which Christians stand are exclusive, negating the belief that “all paths that lead to God.” This concept of pluralism somehow views mutually exclusive beliefs as equally acceptable. Christianity teaches that Jesus died on the cross as atonement for our sins but Islam teaches that Jesus did not die on the cross and therefore did not atone for our sins. It is hard to understand
The New Age spiritual movements of the West have taken on many of the principles of Eastern religions and are in sync with today’s secular postmodern worldview. Because truth is seen as subjective, one is able to pick and choose what is right for himself. There is no absolute or universal truth as there is in Christianity. The question is then raised, “To whom do you owe your allegiance?” From a Christian worldview there are really only two choices no matter how the New Age or postmodern worldview may disguise their answers. The words to the Bob Dylan song, “Gotta Serve Somebody,” are profound in light of this question. “But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed. You’re gonna have to serve somebody. It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” There is nothing subjective or relative about this statement. The postmodern worldview of secularism that dominates Western culture today is comfortable with pluralism because its core “truths” are relative. There are no absolutes. There is no need to serve anyone but yourself.
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By the Numbers by Randy Bunch
The following is an excerpt of Randy Bunch’s essay by the same title, available in its entirety and free of charge on the Pre-Order page of ImmutableBook.com. Download the essay for free and pre-order your copy of Randy’s new book, Immutable: Changeless Truth for a Changing World. When Darwin formulated his theory and wrote his book, The Origin of the Species, it was the mid 1800s, or the days of the steamboat in other words. We didn’t know much about the cell then compared to what we know today. In fact, it is almost comical to hear how some scientists of the day described the cell, seeing it as little more than “a simple homogenous globule of plasm.”1 Needless to say, we have found that the "simple” cell is anything but! It wasn’t until former cryptographer, Sir Francis Crick, realized that the DNA molecule was really an information repository housing a genetic code made up of a four letter chemical alphabet 3.1 billion characters long, that the mystery of the cell began to be unlocked. In fact, DNA itself, as complex as it is, doesn’t even begin to explain just how complex the cell really is. Here is how it was described in the documentary, Unlocking the Mystery of Life. “In a process known as transcription, a molecular machine first unwinds a section of the DNA helix to expose the genetic instructions needed to assemble a specific protein molecule. Another machine then
copies these instructions to form a molecule known as messenger RNA. When transcription is complete, the slender RNA strand carries the genetic information . . . out of the cell nucleus. The messenger RNA strand is directed to a two-part molecular factory called a ribosome. . . Inside the ribosome, a molecular assembly line builds a specifically sequenced chain of amino acids. These amino acids are transported from other parts of the cell and then linked into chains often hundreds of units long. Their sequential arrangement determines the type of protein manufactured. When the chain is finished, it is moved from the ribosome to a barrel-shaped machine that helps fold it into the precise shape critical to its function. After the chain is folded into a protein, it is then released and shepherded by another molecular machine to the exact location where it is needed.”2
discovered, and there are many mysteries about which the best of molecular biologists are simply having to admit that they do not have the first clue. Yet the materialist, or Darwinian naturalist, would have us believe this all formed by random chance over millions of years through the process of natural selection. This undirected process supposedly created all these complex systems, even filling them with information that the cell can somehow interpret and use to carry out its functions. Bill Gates has said that DNA is like a computer code, only a lot more complex than anything we have been able to produce. However, the thing about code or any form of information is that it is created by an intelligent agent outside the system. We often use the simple illustration of a message written on the sand of a beach. We would expect the waves to create repeating patterns in the sand, but if we saw a message that said, “Good to see you here. I hope you enjoy your day,” you would not for one moment assume that it was the result of an unguided, natural process that took millions of years. Why?
To me and to most readers, I’m sure, this sounds like the workings of a modern factory more than it does something that is going on all the time in each of the onehundred trillion cells in our bodies. Nevertheless, this is what we have
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Because we know that the presence of information necessitates intelligence. After all, no one thinks the markings on the Rosetta Stone were brought about through the random workings of wind and erosion. Besides this, the odds of even the simplest protein forming by random chance is 1 in 10125. That may not mean much to many of us, but that probability is so incredibly remote as to defy all logic or common sense. For example, if you took all the matter in the known universe and broke it down and counted all the subatomic parts (that’s protons, electrons, etc.) there would only be 1081 of those in the entire universe! Besides, it takes a lot more than that simplest of proteins to make up the complex systems of the human body. The eye alone is so amazingly complex that we could not even imagine making something even close to its equal. This is what Dr. David N. Menton said in an article entitled, Can Evolution Produce an Eye? Not a Chance!3 “It has been estimated that 10 billion calculations occur every second in the retina before the light image even gets to the brain! It is sobering to compare this performance to the most powerful manmade computer. In an article published in the computer magazine, Byte, (April 1985) Dr. John Stevens said: ‘To simulate 10 milliseconds of the complete processing of even a single nerve cell from the retina would require the solution of about 500 simultaneous non-linear differential equations one hundred times and would take at least several minutes of processing time on a Cray supercomputer. Keeping in mind that there are 10 million or more such cells interacting with each other in complex ways it would take a minimum of a hundred years of Cray time to simulate what takes place in your eye many times every second.’”4 Now, that is complexity at its finest! There is no way you’ll ever convince me that natural selection, working on random mutations over time produced that! Besides, there hasn’t been enough time! After all, given that scientists believe the universe is roughly fifteen billion years old, that’s only 1017 seconds! The unlikeliness of this all happening by undirected, natural processes led Nobel Prize Laureate, Sir Francis Crick, to say,
"An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”5
mistake of his career. It wasn't until Edwin Hubble was able to confirm through observation that the that the universe was indeed expanding that Einstein, and eventually the entire scientific community, embraced what Hoyle derisively called, the Big Bang model of cosmology.
Astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle agrees, saying, “The trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in (1020)2,000=1040,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.”6
Today, the Big Bang theory is the accepted paradigm of cosmology. Our universe, we now know, had a beginning. There was a moment when all matter, energy, space, and even time came into existence in what is known as a singularity. In that moment, our universe came into existence with characteristics so finely tuned that they boggle the mind. After all, when one thinks of a “bang” or an explosion (and this was certain a release of immeasurable power), we don’t think of it producing order. And yet that is exactly what happened.
By the way, these men were not theists but atheists, who gave credit for the origin of life on earth to the theory of panspermia, meaning that life came to earth by way of “seeds” transplanted here either on comets, asteroids, or by an alien race (no, I’m not kidding). The point is, that these men, though atheists, were honest enough to acknowledge that there is no way for life to have begun by chance. Not only that, but Hoyle had such a regard for the apparent design in the universe that he admitted,
For example, in the first few pico-seconds after the Big Bang, the four fundamental forces of the universe were irrevocable set. Had any of them been different by even the slimmest of margins, we would not have a universe capable of sustaining life. A picosecond, by the way, is one-trillionth of a second, or, as it was explained to me, the time it takes something traveling at the speed of light to cross the breadth of a hair. In that infinitesimally small amount of time, the values of those four fundamental forces: the electromagnetic force, the gravitational force, and the strong and weak nuclear forces, were forever set. Just how precise are they? Well, the weak nuclear force, which operates inside the nucleus of an atom, is so finely tuned that were it altered by as little as by one part in 10100, we would not have a universe capable of sustaining life.
“A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”7 What Hoyle is admitting to is the unmistakable precision and design built into living systems. However, the story does not even remotely end there. The design which Hoyle implies extends far beyond the origin of life into the very nature of the cosmos.
Even more amazing is the fine tuning of what is known as the cosmological constant, or the energy density of empty space (also known as dark energy). This is the energy that governs the expansion rate of the universe. Were this off by as little as 1 part in 10120 we would not have a life-sustaining universe. This one design feature alone is sufficient evidence for many scientists to acknowledge that the universe seems to have been fine-tuned to an amazingly narrow set of parameters to allow for life. However, there are hundreds of these fine-tuned features that testify to the careful and exacting way in which our universe was designed… (end excerpt)
Before the 20th Century, science had embraced the Steady State model of the universe, meaning that they believed it was eternal and static. However, it was not long after Einstein published his theory of General Relativity that scientists, running equations based on his theory, determined the universe had a beginning. Einstein himself resisted this notion, even fudging the numbers in his own equations to escape this inevitable conclusion. He later admitted this to be the greatest
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IMMUTABLE Changeless Truth for a Changing World
Immutable is a new book of devotional essays from Randy Bunch that calls us back to the timeless truths of God’s Word. In its pages is a relevant message for our troubled nation and world. Filled with both homespun anecdotes and challenging cultural and social commentary, Immutable will both challenge and encourage you whether you’re a believer or an earnest seeker. Immutable will be available this January in both paperback and ebook formats. Pre-order your copy today by going to immutablebook.com, and you will receive a signed copy as soon as the book is released. Available soon at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple iBooks
THE GOSPEL’S SAVING POWER The Gospel’s Saving Power is Randy Bunch’s most recently released book and deals with the comprehensive scope of the salvation that Christ purchased for us through His death, burial, and resurrection. Randy shares from both God’s Word and his own personal experience to teach about the life-changing power of God available in the gospel. This book is available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, both in paperback and in ebook format for your iPad, Kindle, or Nook readers. It is also available as an ebook for Apple iBooks.
TONGUES: Speaking To God In a Supernatural Language Tongues: Speaking to God in a Supernatural Language, is Pastor Randy’s book that deals with the often debated, controversial subject of speaking with other tongues. If you’ve had questions, this book is for you! This book is only available as an ebook for Apple iBooks. Fall 2016
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God: Fact or Fiction Shadric Metzner Many over the years have claimed that God is imaginary, a concept contrived in the mind of man to explain the unexplainable and to give a sense of purpose and meaning to life. The reality is, God’s existence can neither be proved nor disproved. Certainly those who are believers in God and call Him Lord could provide a plethora of experiential and anecdotal evidence, but this would not necessarily convince the staunchest opponent of God. The passionate declaration of “God exists” is often met with the equally passionate, “prove it!” Scripture informs us that faith is required to even accept that God exists, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is…” (Hebrews 11:6). At the end of the day, true belief in and acceptance of a transcendent Deity requires an element of faith, but that does not mean that there isn’t any evidence of God’s existence. The Bible provides some of these evidences for us. We read in the Psalms, “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1). It is scientific fact that the universe continues to expand. As we look at the heavens and consider the vastness of the universe, it points to a powerful, divine creator. Also, as we observe all of the wonders and beauty of nature, not simply from an aesthetic point of view, but even as we consider the scientific intricacies of creation, we discover a divine creator. In addition to the wonders of creation, the Bible tells us that there is evidence of God within our hearts, “He has also set eternity in their heart…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). There is something on the inside of us that acknowledges the transcendent and recognizes that there is more to this life. We may be able to deny God’s existence intellectually but there is an intangible on the inside of humankind that defies this assertion by reaching instinctively for God.
Not only is there something on the inside of man which acknowledges the transcendent, there is also a force, if you will, at work within all of humankind which speaks loudly to God’s existence. In his letter to the Romans, Paul the Apostle presents a significant topic of consideration, “For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts” (Romans 2:14-15). The Law that Paul writes of here is the Law of the Jewish people, which God Himself instituted to serve as their moral guardrail. Isn’t it interesting that this passage states that the Gentiles instinctively did the things of the Law even though the Law was not given to them? Paul then makes a powerfully
Simply, the moral argument begins from a position of believing that all people recognize, to a certain degree, some type of moral code, believing that certain things are right while others are wrong. The factor which is inextricable to the existence of a universal moral law is the existence of a lawgiver and a divine One at that, for what purpose would morality birthed from the mind of man serve? Are not our motives impure according to our nature? Are any of us truly altruistic, truly good? Would not this sense of morality need to originate with One whose ways are higher than that of man? One who is perfect? This is where the differences in belief between Atheists and Christians are brought into sharp relief. Atheists do not believe that God is necessary in order for humankind to understand what is right and wrong while Christians certainly do believe in a higher power, a divine lawgiver, who has written this higher standard, this sense of morality, on the hearts of mankind.
“At the end of the day, true belief in and acceptance of a transcendent Deity requires an element of faith, but that does not mean that there isn’t any evidence of God’s existence.”
In addition to Biblical arguments (including the aforementioned moral argument) for God’s existence, there are a number of other logical arguments which provide a compelling case for God’s existence. Despite all of these arguments, Scripture tells us that many will deny His reality, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God” (Psalm 14:1). In addition to denying God’s existence, we also know from Scripture that many will deny any Biblical truth and will instead buy-in to what is false, “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…” (Romans 1:25). Not only does Scripture state that there will be those who will deny His existence (for a variety of reasons), but it also tells us that those who choose not to believe are without excuse, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
revealing statement, positing that in living according to the Law, the Gentiles, those who are of the world, showed the work of the Law “written in their hearts.” What does all of this mean, other than the fact that there was something instinctive in the hearts of the Gentiles, those who did not know God, which led them to live certain aspects of their lives according to the moral law of another? Clearly, Paul speaks to the existence of a universal sense of morality present on the inside of man, but the question begs to be asked, “Where does this sense of morality come from?” There are a variety of arguments, both Biblical and extra-Biblical, which speak to God’s existence. Paul’s writings in Romans 2 contribute greatly to what is known as the Moral Argument.
Whether or not we believe that there is enough scientific proof to confirm God’s existence, we have to realize that accepting God and stating a belief in God is more than giving mental assent to His existence; it requires a real faith to truly believe that He exists. For some this belief is formed in their hearts as they observe
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the wonder of creation, while for others it is a result of sensing that inner-drive for the transcendent. No one can truly express a belief in God without an element of faith being at work in their life. Even those who so passionately seek to prove that He doesn’t exist, in essence, are actually speaking to His existence. In Shakespearean fashion, perhaps, “The unbeliever doth protest too much, methinks.” I have found the more vehement the denial, the more probable it is that God is working on the heart of the one who’s denying.
In his book, The Case for a Creator, Lee Strobel quotes Sir John Templeton, “Faith does not imply a closed, but an open mind. Quite the opposite of blindness, faith appreciates the vast spiritual realities that materialists overlook by getting trapped in the purely physical.” Noted Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias speaks to man’s rejection of God, “A man rejects God neither because of intellectual demands nor because of the scarcity of evidence. A man rejects God because of a moral resistance that refuses to admit his need for God.” The bottom line is
A chief issue in understanding life in our “humanness,” is realizing that there is much beyond our humanity. The world in which we find ourselves is first, not of our own design, and second, not controlled by our will. All that we know about the world in which we live, and the laws governing our existence, is a result of God’s revelation to mankind. He has chosen to impart to us, completely cognizant of our limited capacity to understand, the truth regarding His identity, His will and His character. In his book, Know the Truth, Bruce Milne writes, “The ultimate source of authority, however, is the triune God himself, as he is made known to us through the words of the Bible… As we submit to its authority we place ourselves under the authority of the living God who is made known to us supremely in Jesus Christ.”1 That same Bible relates the most powerful narrative of our universe. God incarnate, Jesus Christ, was made flesh, dwelt among mankind and offered His life as a ransom for humanity. Jesus Christ is the ultimate revelation of God to man and is the central theme of the Bible and therefore, worthy of both worship and careful study.
turned toward God by the conviction that our faith is not entirely subjective and baseless, is most assuredly fruit worthy of cultivation.
As people of faith, we often presuppose the truth of the Bible, and view its claims through a lens that makes numerous assumptions about its veracity. One of its central claims is the deity of Jesus Christ and His preeminent role in the redemptive plan for humankind. As with all discussions of Christian Apologetics, it is frequently argued that these attempts at a rational explanation for our faith are unwarranted and unnecessary, however I believe that even if these discussions yield minimal fruit, that fruit in the form of human hearts
In our fallen state, and even as new creations in Christ Jesus, we still possess a finite mind with limited capabilities for understanding the eternal. By situating us in time, God has, in point of fact, made us creatures of time. The nature of things eternal will always constitute some degree of mystery and paradox to us. The reality of points not understood in their entirety does not place at odds the truth that God’s revelation is both perfect and infallible and simultaneously not completely comprehended. He perfectly (without error or omission) revealed Himself through the Word in the common currency of human communication, words, fully knowing that we would lack the sophistication to accurately and fully understand all that he revealed. This does not dim the light of revelation, but brings into sharp relief the necessity for continued study.
that there could be a preponderance of evidence (and I believe there is) which points to God’s existence but man would still deny His (God’s) reality. The enemy of our soul will do anything in his power to keep man from coming to a place of discovery and surrender to the primal longings of his heart, the longings placed there by God, longings which compel man and send him on a quest for a restored relationship with his Creator.
The Historicity of Jesus Brittany Metzner as His paranoid raving has given rise to one of the largest religious movements in history. There is, in reality, no middle ground. Either Jesus Christ is who He says He is, or He is not. And if He is not, then the basis for the rationality for our faith has collapsed. From the standpoint of Apologetics, the case for the Christ of the Bible would rest upon our ability to demonstrate that it is likely, or better stated, reasonably likely, or as reasonably likely as reasonably not likely, that the historical Christ existed. There is significant historical evidence, as opposed to Biblical or Christian evidence, that Jesus did, in fact, exist within the time frame described in the New Testament. Pliny the Younger, wrote of Jesus in a letter addressed to the Emperor, Trajan. Pliny served as the Roman governor of Bithynia. In a letter circa A.D. 112, Pliny asks Trajan’s advice regarding the way in which those accused of Christianity should be dealt with. According to Pliny, the followers of the teachings of Jesus were both numerous and committed. In the letter, Pliny details some important information regarding early Christians, he writes:
In examining the life of Christ, it should be noted that there are really only three possible conclusions: either He spoke truthfully about His nature, His mission and His identity, He was purposefully deceitful, or He was delusional, but harmless. In any case, if He spoke the truth about His life and mission, we must confront the idea that we are accountable to God’s righteous standards. If He was a liar, then nothing He said can be relied upon. His teachings on morality and claims to deity must be interpreted as an attempt to mislead the seeker. If he was deluded in His thinking, than He is far from harmless,
“They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called on
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to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food – but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.”2
up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared ... restored to life.... And the tribe of Christians ... has ... not disappeared.”3
Several important historical inferences can be gleaned from this passage. First, early Christians sang hymns of praise to Christ, indicating that they believed in His deity and His equality with God. Second, their commitment to His teaching was corroborated in a pious life that had practical implication upon their behaviors within the social-political context of hedonistic Roman culture. Last, there is a remark upon their habit to partake of food together, of an ordinary kind, which is a reference to Holy Communion, a sacrament instituted as a commemoration of the sacrificial death of Jesus.
There is some lingering doubt regarding possible changes made to the original text. However, the basic reference to Jesus’ existence is not disputed. It is accurately reported that he worked feats, miracles if you will, and that He was crucified under Pontius Pilate. These references to the life, work, and circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus certainly work to corroborate the biblical narrative.
Another historical evidence for Christ is found in the writings of first century Jewish historian, Josephus. In his work, Jewish Antiquities, is found what is called the “Testimonium Flavianum.” The most significant revelation about Christ within the text reads: “About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he ... wrought surprising feats.... He was the Christ. When Pilate… condemned him to be crucified, those who had . . . come to love him did not give
The human resume of Jesus Christ would include, but surely not be limited to the following: Jesus was manifested in flesh, (1 Tim. 3:16, John 1:14). Mary gave birth to Jesus in the natural physical sense (Luke 2:7). He experienced human emotion, he was recorded to have both loved (John 13:23), and wept (John 11:35). He lived the reality of human life, and yet he did so perfectly. “The first Adam was a prototype of all mankind so that in his sin we all were contaminated as we were born of Adam’s seed. Jesus as the second Adam was the prototype of a new generation of people who would be free from Adam’s defilement by virtue of being born of an incorruptible seed through new birth into Christ.”4 The incorruptible nature of Jesus became the basis for our redeemed parental legacy in our new birth. Because his humanity was perfect in action, we are no longer doomed to fail, freed from our former sinful nature. All of this, including our new relationship with God in Christ, is contingent upon the truth of the claims of Jesus. There is overwhelming evidence within the body of Scripture that underscores the veracity of His claims, but history also testifies to the historical context of Scriptural assertions. While we will never have complete evidentiary proof of Jesus Christ’s deity on this limited side of eternity, we can, with great certainty, give credible reasons for our belief.
Those who care to investigate can clearly see Jesus in three key areas outlined in the scriptures. The common theme of his life is perfection, perfection in deity, perfection in humanity, and perfection in his work of atonement. He both exemplified perfection in the EXECUTION of the offices inherent to his identity as God-man and firmly held to perfection in BEING in those same offices. The lynchpin of the entire body of scripture, from the exposition of creation, to the stories of the interaction between God and the Hebrew people, to the Old Testament prophetic books, to the gospels, to the practical teaching and defense of the epistles, to John’s Revelation of the end, is Jesus Christ’s absolute and unimpeachable perfection.
We are privileged to be living at a time when some of the world’s premier Christian Apologists are actively laboring to make Christ known in some of the most challenging, secular environments of the world. They are seeing hearts changed by the grace of God. Below is a partial listing of websites where you can find more material to help you become more effective in defending the Christian faith.
‣ RZIM - rzim.org
Bill Craig - reasonablefaith.org
‣ Os Guinness - osguinness.org
‣ Lee Strobel - leestrobel.com
Peter Kreeft - peterkreeft.org
‣ Hugh Ross - reasons.org
‣ Josh McDowell - josh.org
John Lennox - johnlennox.org
‣ Stephen Meyer - stephencmeyer.org
End Notes for By the Numbers: 1. T. H. Huxley, 1869 2. Excerpt From: Randy Lane Bunch. “Book Title.” iBooks.
8. Sir Fred Hoyle, The Universe: Past and Present Reflections, Engineering and Science 45 (November 1981) 8–12. End Notes for The Historicity of Jesus:
3. Unlocking the Mystery of Life, produced by Illustra Media, available at: www.illustramedia.com.
1. Bruce Milne, Know the Truth (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009), 24.
4. Dr. David Menton, Can Evolution Create An Eye? Not a Chance! Missouri Association for Creation, Inc. (1997)
2. Pliny, Letters, transl. by William Melmoth, rev. by W.M.L. Hutchinson (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1935), vol. II, X:96, cited in Habermas, The Historical Jesus, 199.
5. John Stevens, Byte Magazine, (April 1985) 6. Crick Francis, Life Itself. (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1981) 88. 7. Hoyle Fred, Evolution from Space. (West Sussex, England: Littlehampton Book Services Ltd., 1982) 24
3. Josephus, Antiquities 18.63-64, cited in Yamauchi, "Jesus Outside the New Testament", 212. 4. Jim Abrahamson, Humanity of Christ: The Man Christ Jesus, (www.apttoteach.org, 1998), n.p
Connection Point Magazine
For every one of you who have ever asked, “What can I do?” We have your answer right here… As I have often said, “It was never our intention to inherit an orphanage feeding program.” Nevertheless, that is exactly what happened a couple of years or so back when we stepped out to help a couple in Pakistan with the orphanage that their ministry supported and ran. We just wanted to help out a little, and when I heard that it only really cost about $11 US to feed each child per month, I thought, “We can do this!” Of course, my intention was just to supply for the immediate need as they were struggling to come up with the necessary funds to meet the monthly budget. However, after talking to Pastor John, who alongside his wife, Rachel, are literally helping to transform their nation with the gospel of Jesus Christ, I realized that God was giving us an opportunity to do more than meet a need for a moment. When I realized that we had met an initial need that would feed the kids for a couple of weeks, my next thought was, “What about after that?” For some time we quietly gave to meet the needs of these 36 kids each month. When we went public with the need, sharing with more and more in our congregation about the kids in Pakistan, they answered the call, and we have been able to supply not only their dietary needs, but at various times we have been able to help with clothes, educational costs, some limited medical care, and even Bibles for local outreaches to the people of Pakistan. As wonderful as this outreach is, we as a church are not really able to adequately see to it that the needs of these kids are met. We continue to assist Pastor John and Rachel with the work, and they are very grateful, often making tremendous sacrifices themselves to see to it that these kids have a chance to live happy, healthy lives. Often their requests for help go unmet, and there are times when even maintaining our support has been a challenge.
Two of the 36 children that West Kern Christian Center helps to feed each month at the orphanage in Pakistan. Here their needs are met, and their smiles show it!
So, some time ago we put a page on our website where people could donate to help these kids. The PayPal link on our site is set up so that donors can pay with their own PayPal account or a major credit card if they choose. All donations are tax-deductible and 100% of all that is given to the children in Pakistan goes directly to them. To be honest, we have not been as aggressive as we should have been in getting word out about this wonderful opportunity. We are always hearing people ask, “What can I do to make a difference in this world?” Well, if you believe that making a difference happens one life at a time, then I believe I have at least one good option for you! If you would like to give to the orphans in Pakistan, just log on to their page on our website, wkcconnect.org. The Orphans of Pakistan page is under the “Connect” button on the main menu. Below you will see a link that will take you there directly. When you click the “Donate” button, just mention in the space for comments that this is for the “Orphans” and we will make sure your entire donation goes to helping them. Thank you for your prayerful consideration in supporting these beautiful children whose lives we can help to change. God Bless You! Pastor Randy Bunch Direct link: https://www.wkcconnect.org/orphans-of-pakistan.html
Connection Point Magazine
CONNECTIONS THE THREE-FOLD VISION OF WEST KERN CHRISTIAN CENTER, HELPING PEOPLE CONNECT WITH HIS PURPOSE!
“Our Mission Statement is ‘connecting people to His purpose,’ because we believe that God has called each and every one of us to live a significant life.”
CONNECTING WITH GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST
CONNECTING WITH GOD'S PEOPLE
CONNECTING WITH GOD'S MISSION
God never meant us to do life alone. First and foremost, God wants us to experience a dynamic and ever-growing relationship with Him. He made the ultimate investment into our lives when He sent Jesus to the cross to die for our sins that we might be reconciled to Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Beyond connecting with God through a relationship with Jesus, God wants you to connect with Him through His family, the Church. The Church is called to be the tangible expression of God’s will in the earth.
As we shared already, the Church is to be the tangible expression of God in the earth. We are called to make disciples of all nations, starting with where we are right now (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8).
That's our connection point with His purpose. When we accept Jesus into our lives and receive the new life He came to bring us, we begin a journey, an adventure of faith with God. The new birth is your connection point with God's purpose for your life, but the journey doesn't end there. In fact, it is only beginning.
It's through our connection with God's Church that we grow (Ephesians 4:15-16), and have opportunity to serve and invest the gifts God has given us (see Ephesians 4:7, 1 Peter 4:10-11). According to God's Word, our involvement with the Church is nonnegotiable because He has called us to love and strengthen one another in the community of the local fellowship (Hebrews 10:24-25).
The gospel must not be merely communicated; it must be demonstrated! To do this, we must express the life and love of God in practical, tangible ways that provide a platform of credibility for the gospel and demonstrate the genuineness of our faith. We have a mandate from the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, to let His life and love be known to our community and the world. We hope you'll join us!
Our Style… Each church is unique. I think that his how God meant for it to be. He seems to have put diversity in nearly everything He made, and it seems He meant the same to be true with the local church. While we hold to the same eternal truths, our styles differ. At West Kern Christian Center, we are very serious about God, His Word, and His presence, but we are also a fun-loving, joyful family who know not to take ourselves too seriously. We tend to dress a little more casually and are more concerned about your heart than your wardrobe. Some time back I got acquainted with Psalm 68:6 which says, “God places the lonely in families; He sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.” We hope God will place you in our family. You would be very welcome!
Connection Point Magazine
Connection Point Resources
Stay connected with our free media resources
From the beginning it has been our vision to provide resource rich websites and materials that will minister to the needs of God’s people. From these sites you can access our podcast, discover our radio program air dates and times, as well as read our blog, access our Healing School materials and much, much more. The best part? It’s all free of charge!
If you’re wanting to connect with West Kern Christian Center, our website is a great way to begin! Get to know our pastors, our doctrine, our location and service times, as well as a host of other relevant info! Also, take time to avail yourself to all the free resources on the site. If you’d like to be added to our mailing list, you can fill out a contact form on the Contact page. To access the website, log on to wkcconnect.org.
West Kern Christian Center is now Podcasting! If you would like to listen or subscribe to Connection Point podcast, you can access it on Apple iTunes. Simply search for either Connection Point or Randy Bunch on the Podcast section of iTunes and click the “subscribe” button. New messages will automatically be downloaded to your computer or device! If you don’t have iTunes, you can also find our podcast at wkcconnect.wordpress.com.
Writing has become a huge passion for Pastor Randy, and Word Press has provided a perfect platform for keeping his frequently updated blog available to those want to follow him. Just go to the website and click the “Follow” button to follow Pastor Randy, and an article will arrive in your inbox every time a new one is posted to the blog. To access Pastor’s Blog, log on at randybunch.wordpress.com.
West Kern Christian Center is a Spirit-filled, Bible teaching church, located at 1000 6th Street in Taft, California. Our services are contemporary, and our dress is casual. Whether you’re a “lifer” or you’ve never been to church in your whole life, we believe you’ll be comfortable among our warm and friendly church family. Join us! You will be very welcome, and we know that God will meet you here. He always does. He’s just like that! For more information: Website: www.wkcconnect.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (661) 623-5001 “God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.” (Psalm 68:6) Fall 2016
Connection Point Magazine
Published on Nov 3, 2016
A quarterly publication of West Kern Christian Center, Connection Point is a Magazine for the thinking believer who is looking to better com...