The following are my notes from a workshop at the Legacy Conference 2013 by David Wood and Sam Shamoun.
Objection # 1 – The Bible has been corrupted.
Muslims have to believe that the bible is corrupted, but their scriptures teach them that no one can corrupt the scriptures.
This is what we call “The Islamic Dilemma” because current Muslims tell us that we should not trust our bible but Muhammad and the Qur’an tell us that we should trust the bible.
For example consider these passages:
Qur’an 3:3-4 – He has revealed to you the Book with truth, verifying that which is before it, and He revealed the Torah and the Gospel aforetime, a guidance for the people, and He sent the Qur’an.
Randy Newman’s book Questioning Evangelism is about how to use questions in order to lead to gospel conversations. The book is primarily filled with stories and examples of conversations that Newman has had while doing evangelism in his life and ministry.
It is divided into three major parts.
Part one, “Why Ask Questions?,” provides the rational for the rest of the book. Newman makes his case for why we should use this approach in our conversations with lost people. He explains that this is what Jesus and Paul often did and he explained the wisdom in taking this approach.
Part two, “What Questions Are People Asking?,” is the biggest section of the three. Here Newman takes common questions that he faces from non-Christians and helps readers think about how they should approach those topics. The topics he includes are: the exclusivity of Christ, the problem of evil and suffering, the authority and authenticity of the Scriptures, homosexuality, marriage, and hypocrisy. With each of these issues he gives sample conversations and draws lessons from them to teach us how to approach these difficult questions. Continue reading
The following is an excerpt by Tim Keller in Christianity Today. The rest of the article can be found HERE.
Tolerance Is Exclusive Too!
Nothing is more characteristic of the modern mindset than the statement “I think Christ is fine, but I believe a devout Muslim or Buddhist or even a good atheist will certainly find God.” This approach is seen as more inclusive.
I point out that the universal religion of humankind is: We develop a good record and give it to God, and then he owes us. The gospel is: God develops a good record and gives it to us, then we owe him (Rom. 1:17). In short, to say a good person, not just Christians, can find God is to say good works are enough to find God. But this apparently inclusive approach is really quite exclusive. It says, “The good people can find God, and the bad people do not.” What does this mean for those of us with moral failures? We are excluded.
So both approaches are exclusive, but the gospel’s is the more inclusive exclusivity. It says joyfully, “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been at the gates of hell. You can be welcomed and embraced fully and instantly through Christ.”
The following is an excerpt from John Frame’s book The Doctrine of God, Chapter 9, “The Problem of Evil.” The headings are added by David Mathis; the paragraphs are Dr. Frame’s.
God Is Sovereign Over Sin
. . . God does harden hearts, and through his prophets he predicts sinful human actions long in advance, indicating that he is in control of human free decisions. Now theologians have found it difficult to formulate in general terms how God acts to bring about those sinful actions. . . . Do we want to say that God is the “cause” of evil? That language is certainly problematic, since we usually associate cause with blame. . . . [I]t seems that if God causes sin and evil, he must be to blame for it.
Words: The Theologian’s Tools
Therefore, there has been much discussion among theologians as to what verb should best describes God’s agency in regard to evil. Some initial possibilities: authors, brings about, causes, controls, creates, decrees, foreordains, incites, includes within his plan, makes happen, ordains, permits, plans, predestines, predetermines, produces, stands behind, wills. Many of these are extra-scriptural terms; none of them are perfectly easy to define in this context. So theologians need to give some careful thought about which of these terms, if any, should be affirmed, and in what sense. Words are the theologian’s tools. In a situation like this, none of the possibilities is fully adequate. There are various advantages and disadvantages among the different terms. Let us consider some of those that are most frequently discussed. Continue reading
The following is an excerpt from Mark Dever’s address at Georgetown University titled “Is Becoming a Christian Intellectual Suicide?”
In order to affirm the broad sweeping claim that becoming a Christian is intellectual suicide you must be certain that there are no exceptions to that claim and the reality is that there are plenty of exceptions.
When we look at ethical issues, what sense does it make to say that John Newton or William Wilberforce were anti-intellectuals when they were leading abolitionists, but also devout Christians. What does this mean in reference to a Martin Luther King Jr.
When we turn to the arts there is the painter Michelangelo, the poet John Milton, the musician Johann Sebastian Bach or the writer, lecturer, and literary critic at Oxford, Cambridge C.S. Lewis.
Are we to assume that all of these people have committed intellectual suicide? If so, what can that mean about these men?
In Political theory there was Sir Thomas More and Sir Francis Bacon and Edmund Burke who all called themselves Christians. Alexander Hamilton who designed parts of the United States finance system. All of these men had their political theory affected by their faith. Abraham Kuyper was the Prime Minister of the Netherlands in the early 1900s but also a noted systematic theologian.
One is very often asked at present whether we could not have a Christianity stripped, or, as people who asked it say, ‘freed’ from its miraculous elements, a Christianity with the miraculous elements suppressed. Now, it seems to me that precisely the one religion in the world, or, at least the only one I know, with which you could not do that is Christianity. In a religion like Buddhism, if you took away the miracles attributed to Gautama Buddha in some very late sources, there would be no loss; in fact, the religion would get on very much better without them because in that case the miracles largely contradict the teaching. Or even in the case of a religion like Mohammedanism, nothing essential would be altered if you took away the miracles. You could have a great prophet preaching his dogmas without bringing in any miracles; they are only in the nature of a digression, or illuminated capitals. But you cannot possibly do that with Christianity, because the Christian story is precisely the story of one grand miracle, the Christian assertion being that what is beyond all space and time, what is uncreated, eternal, came into nature, into human nature, descended into His own universe, and rose again, bringing nature up with Him. It is precisely one great miracle. If you take that away there is nothing specifically Christian left. There may be many admirable human things which Christianity shares with all other systems in the world, but there would be nothing specifically Christian. Conversely, once you have accepted that, then you will see that all other well-established Christian miracles-because, of course, there are ill-established Christian miracles; there are Christian legends just as much as there are heathen legends, or modern journalistic legends-you will see that all the well-established Christian miracles are part of it, that they all either prepare for, or exhibit, or result from the Incarnation. Just as every natural event exhibits the total character of the natural universe at a particular point and space of time; so every miracle exhibits the character of the Incarnation.
C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock. (Grand Rapids: Eerdman’s, 1970), pp. 80-81