What Happens When We Die?

By Reeves

As a young child I really didn’t really mind much about the “here after” or life after death question. I wasn’t concerned about this subject. Now that I become a Christian this motivate me to think about this matter all the time. My fiancé asked this question long time ago, “What happens when people dies?” Do we become unconcious while dead?” and “What happens of the souls of those who have denied Christ as their Lord and Savior?”

These questions are important and we should not neglect to ponder these questions. As an ambassadors of Christ, we ought to address questions and be able to answer (such as indicated above) to those who are seeking for the right answer.

Since I’m a Christian (protestant) I’ll only answer this question in a Christian perspective and since the only real answer to this questions can only be found in Jesus Christ’s our only redeemer.

So, “What happens when we finally die?” Once a believer in Christ dies, though his flesh or physical body remains buried, at the moment of death his spirit (or soul) undoubtedly goes right away to heaven in the presence of his Creator God.

For information, death is a temporary cessation of bodily life and a separation of the soul/spirit from the body. This means that once we ceased to live our spirits separates apart from our bodies.

Paul says, “We would rather be away from the body, and at home with the Lord.” (2 Cor. 5:8) Jesus told the thief who was crucified and dying next to Him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

This statement contradicts the teaching of Roman Catholicism on purgatory. Jesus said, “Today” (present tense). The dogmatic doctrine on purgatory is lethal, and dangerous. Purgatory is also unbiblical. In short, to be away from the body is to be at home with our Lord.

The Bible does not allow the teachings of reincarnation (see. Is reincarnation Biblical? ). What about the doctrine of “soul sleep?” This doctrine goes, “That when a person die they immediately go into a state of unconscious existence. But this is utterly false. It is clear that the spirit of the believers go immediately into God’s presence and enjoys fellowship with Him there (read vv. 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; Luke 23:43; Heb. 12:23).

In addition to our present discussion let’s say (for the sake of arguments) that the doctrine of “soul sleep” is true. Jesus would have said, “Today you will no longer have consciousness none whatsoever!”

But “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) There really ain’t no need to place some abstract interpretation here. Jesus was very clear and precise and no nonsense (purgatory, reincarnation, soul sleep) should be added. “What happens to the souls of unbelievers?”

Contrary to the teachings of reincarnations and purgatory that people who rejected in this life Christ’s atoning death on the cross will never have a second chance to reconfess their sins. The writer of Hebrews emphasized this, “Just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgement.” (Heb. 9:27)

Yet still the Bible nowhere says that the final judgement will depend on our deeds while we were still alive, but certainly on what has occurred in this present life. Someone might protest by stating that “Eternal punishment comes only to those who consciously rejects Christ nad that anyone deserves a second change to accept Christ.”

This idea is not supported by the Scripture; we are all sinners by nature and by birth. We actually do not deserve any of God’sgrace nor do we deserve to even hear the good news of Christ.

We are already condemned not only because of a willful rejection of Christ. (John 3:18) Unbelievers bodies will not be raised until the day of The Great White Throne Judgement.

Nevertheless, they will pass into the state of eternal punishment immediately upon death. The bodies of those who rejected Jesus as their Lord and Savior will be raised and reunited with their spirits, as they stand before the great judge of mankind that is God. (see. Matt. 25:31-46; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15 and Rev. 20:5,12).

Advertisements

Jehovah’s Witness

By Reeves

Introduction 

The Jehovah’s Witnesses officially known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society was founded by a fella Charles Taze Russell. He was born February 16, 1852, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

As a young lad without theological degrees, organized a Bible study group and was ordained by his member as “pastor.” In late 1800’s Charles founded and published the magazine Zion’s Watchtower. It contains his odd interpretation of the Bible. 

After Charles Taze Russell’s death came Joseph F. Rutherford become the successor of the Watchtower Community. The name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” was adopted during his rulership. Rutherford died in 1942 and was replaced by a fella Nathan Knorr. 

The members of the Watchtower increased from 115,000 to 2 million members under his presidency. During 1961 the society produced their self-proclaimed English translation of the Bible entitled The New World Translation of Holy Scriptures.

The Credo’s of Jehovah’s Witnesses

  • Unusual Practices 

For some odd reason a Jehovah’s Witness (JW) must refuse Blood Transfusion. One must not wear a cross necklace not even just an ornament. They refuse to be active in the political arena such as refusing to vote elections, salute the flag or sing a national anthem. Christmas and birthdays are excluded too. Serving in armed forces is an absolute a no no in their practice. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are commanded to be very active to proselytizing for the movement. 

  • Source of Authority 

There are no “articles of faith” or authoritative doctrinal statements according to their beliefs. Most of their theological views are found in their different publications, including the famous The Watchtower and Awake.

  •  JW’s And Its Doctrines 

Trinity, is denied. According to them the doctrine was not conceived by Jesus or the early professing Christians. In the field of their theological studies, Jesus Christ deity as God incarnate is denied. Their favorite biblical passages they use to quote denying Christ’s deity are John 1:1, John 14.28 and Colossians 1:15. They often refers to these verses to read the texts out of contexts. 

Jesus Christ according to Jehovah’s Witnesses was just an ordinary created being-a human just like you and me. Holy Spirit to JW’s is not part of the Godhead. JW’s believe in forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ plus total obedience to Watchtower Society. Salvation for a Jehovah’s follower is through good deeds. 

Christ bodily resurrection is denied and the Second coming of Jesus distorted. Infallibility of the Scripture, Final Judgment, and eternal life in heaven are also distorted in their doctrinal beliefs. JW’s also teaches that there is no salvation outside the Watchtower Society.

A Response to Jehovah’s Witnesses 

Christ Deity 

JW’s denial of Christ’s deity wasn’t originated by Charles T. Russell but by a man called Arius. Arius was a fourth century heretic whose false theology and doctrine was opposed and condemned at the council of Nicea in 325. Arius or Arianism as its called for this teaching was opposed, and exposed his distortions of the Bible by Alexander the mentor of Athanasius. 

Later, Athanasius wrote a skillful defence of Christ’s deity entitled On Incarnation. I’m just going to write a couple of common “proof text” to rebut JW’s false doctrine namely, Christ was just a created being.

John 1:1 

The Scripture reads, ” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (KJV) But according to NWT corrupt rendition of the last clause of John 1:1 it says ” In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a God.” The reading of “…the Word [Christ] was a god” totally changed its original meaning. 

The letter a is not in the original Greek text. JW’s maintains that Jesus is only a created being a lesser god. But for the sake of the argument, lets say that Jesus was just a god, this will only add up more difficulties since the Judeo-Christian doctrine is exclusively monotheistic (Is.43:10)! 

To suggest that Jesus is just a lesser god is tantamount to that their are other god beside YHWH! 

John 14:28 

Jesus says, “the Father is greater than I” JW’s frequently uses this verse as a proof text to support their false presupposition about Jesus’ deity. 

If Jehovah is greater than Jesus then Jesus cannot be god. This is just a simple misunderstanding of the text. What Jesus meant about the “greater I” was that God the Father is greater by position, but not by nature, since both are God. Jesus is lower in office, in function in position-As man. 

Jesus is also equal to the Father, in essence, in nature, in character-As God. We have to remember that Jesus has two nature;God-man. Jesus wasn’t denying His deity as God.

Colossians 1:16 “All things” or “All [other] things” 

If one cannot change a meaning to a text all he can do is to add a word to it so that it might appear more appealing. Yet this is exactly what the JW’s did adding a word other into the verse of Col. 1:16 in their NWT. Did the word other existed in the original Greek texts? 

No. The word other is not in the Greek original text. They believe that Jesus is Micheal the Archangel a created being, therefore, they have to add other four times in to the text to justify their false doctrine. JW’s main point about Col. 1:16 is to show that God created Jesus and Jesus in the same token created other things. 

Let’s read Col. 1:16 in its original rendering, “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him…” 

Again, if we read Isaiah 44:24, where God says, “I am the Lord, that maketh all things, stretchet forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.” If Jesus created others along with God then why did God say that He did the creating by Himself?

Bibliography__________

Kingdom of Cults,Water Martin; Bethany House Publisher

Reasoning From The Scriptures with Jehovah’s Witnesses, Ron Rhodes;Harvest House Publishers

 Hare Krishna 

By Reeves

Brief Introduction

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is a major Hindu sect. ISKCON is a modern school of Vishnu Hinduism that developed from the fifteeth-century teachings of a man named Chaitanya, who instituted worship of Vishnu as God, opposed to the local worship of Shiva.

Chaitanya taught that Krishna was the supreme personality of the Godhead. Chaitanya Mahaprabu (1486-1534) was the key figure in the revival of devotional religion which took place in Bengal.

He got his inspiration from the Bhagavad Gita, the most influential of Hindu scriptures. Chaitanya emphasized liberation (mukti) through devotional love and service to Krishna as the ultimate and personal god. This is known as bhakti yoga. He had his own method when it comes to devotional called sankirtana dancing which is still pretty much praticed today among devotees of Krishna.

Hare Krishna Scripture:

ISKCON movement was established in the West since 1966, yet its roots can be traced all the way back into India’s history. The lifestyle and philosophical beliefs are based on ancient scriptures known as the Vedas. ISKCON’s sacred texts is the Hindu poem The Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad Gita is one of the ancient books that contains the Vedas in which one can read in it the conversation between Lord Krishna and a soldier Arjuna.

Hare Krishna Beliefs:

Many ISKCON beliefs are the same as those of conventional Hinduism. They believe that we are all spirit souls who are temporarily trapped in a material body and its cares and woes.

In ISKCON chanting the name of Krishna (sankirtana) is the only way to attain freedom from samsara (endless repetitive rebirth) and return to the kingdom of god. You probably already seen Krishna devotees in our public places with shaved heads, sporting longrobes, playing drums, and singing the 16-word chant, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare. (Krishna means “The All-Attractive” and Rama means “The Greatest Pleasure.”).

Hare Krishna Practices:

I Mantra Meditation

Devotees of Krishna practice mantra meditation. A chant, or mantra, is a vibration of sound that purifies the mind, liberating it from worries and illusion. This can only be performed by chanting or mantra by repeating Hare Krishna’s name.

II Krishna Consciousness

ISKCON teaches that, that these who place themselves in harmony with Krishna and Krishna’s energy return to their natural, pure state of consciousness that is, to “Krishna Consciousness.” Krishna consciousness is suppossedly inside each person, waiting to explode. There are four simple pratices in Krishna consciousness;

1. Reading (Shravanarn)

2. Chanting (Kirtanam)

3. Friendship (Sat-sangam)

4. Remembering (Smaranam)

The Tilaka Mark:

Devotees of Hare Krishna have the Tilaka mark on their foreheads. It is a U-shaped marking made of clay and placed on their forehead with yellow colored clay from the sacred bank rivers of India.

a. The two stripes symbolizes the lotus feet of Krishna

b. The leaf in the center represents holy basil, or Tulasi, which traditionally adorns his feet.

Monks:

ISKCON have their distinctive monks: an order of monks and priests, and congregation members. Male monks shave their heads, except for a sikna, a central patch of unshaven hair. They vow not to smoke, drink alcohol, or take any king of drugs. Gambling is prohibited and are strictly vegetarian. They chant Krishna’s name everyday.

ISCKON and Christianity

ISKCON is one of the few non-Christian cult movements that worships a god who is both personal and infinite. However, it assumes traditional monism (essential pantheism). To ISKCON, Jesus Christ is Krishna’s Son, but in a position no more unique to God than any other man could strive to attain.

Hare Krishna’s devotees does not believe Jesus Christ is the unique Son of God; God manifest in the flesh. According to the Scripture, Jesus Christ is God Almighty who became a human flesh (incarnate) in order to die for the sins of the ungodly world.

He has been God, Jehovah from all eternity (John 1:1). In addition, Christ is not inferior to Krishna, who is the original Personality of the Godhead Himself. The Christian belief has a higherview of Christ.

Salvation in ISKCON is obtained by removing one’s karmic debt through devotion to Krishna, and right actions through handful incarnations. According to Hare Krishna, Salvation then, must be earned by performing a series of works. This is contrary to what the Scripture teaches Christians namely, we cannot earn salvation by performing good deeds by filling his or her bank account!

Since ISKCON has different God, a different Jesus, and a different way of salvation from what the Bible reveals, it is therefore impossible for there to have a common ground between Hare Krishna and Jesus Christ.

Source_________________

AMG’s Encyclopedia of World Religions, Cults and the Occult; Compiled By Mark Water

Is It possible for a Christian who has accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord, yet lose his salvation? Before attempting answering this delicate and important question we have to ask if a person is really saved. Did he have a genuine saving faith or a counterfeit based faith?

Certainly before we can be assured of our salvation and have the certainty for being eternally saved a person must be born again. Jesus Christ was is clear about this and said,

“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3)

    The above word “born again” simply means turning away from his sinful life. A born again person must live a new life, new thinking, and new aim or purposes in life and trust his salvation only in Christ.

    The Bible clearly warns against spiritual pride. Christians risks the possibility to fall into corruption of sinning or even leave his faith and become apostate (2 Peter 2:20).

    Why does this happen to a Christian in a first place? Can the cause of falling-away-from-faith from these professing Christian accepted the decision for following Christ superficially?

    There are various reasons why those who profess their faith does not have eternal security such as follows:

1. Professes the Christian faith but does not repent (Luke. 3:7-14; Acts 26:2).

2. Having religious zeal apart from the gospel (Romans 10:1-4).

3. Knowing not, saving faith always produces works (Eph. 2:8-10; Heb. 11:4,7)

    Or perhaps this believer (who lost his salvation) failed to understand that as a Christian we need to live a disciplined and holy life (Lev. 19:2) so that at the end of our “race” he would not be disqualified or even eliminated from the competition, and win the Crown of Life (1 Cor. 9:24-27)?

    Henceforth, false Christians can never lose their salvation because they never had it in the first place! Genuine Christians on the other hand if they lived consistent biblically based, Christ-like life can rest assured that they are indeed on their way to heaven and are eternally secured. 

    I am totally in disagreement with my fellow brethren who argues from the negative side that true believers in Jesus Christ can lose their salvation.

Once Secured, Always Secured!

    I would argue against the false notion that a Christian who have an intimate with Christ Jesus is in risk losing his eternal security.

    First of, it is a contradiction in term to say that saved can be unsaved. Remember a born again Christian has been saved from the following:

a. Saved from the penalty of sin (Rom. 5:9)

b. Saved from condemnation (v. 8:1)

c. Saved from eternal punishment in hell (Jude 23)

    Indeed, Jesus told us that, “He that  believeth on the Son hath (right at this very moment!) everlasting life” (John 3:36).

Born again believer have everlasting life with God in heaven not “probably” or even “maybe” but today!

    Our source of life which is none other but Jesus Christ give us the positive certainty,

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any one pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27, 28). [emphasis mine]

    How wonderful and encouraging to read this profound word from our Lord Jesus Christ. Not only that we are assured in him he also will hold on us!

    There is no possible way that a Christian will lose, (who depends and believes in God) his salvation. Jesus says,

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

    This is very simple, the person who hear and believe in Him shall not come into judgment. What a promise indeed! But what if a believer who had everlasting life with God lose his salvation? The Jesus Christ would not be true to his word. Yet it is impossible for God to lie (Titus 1:2).

    Again Jesus tells us,

“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25)

    All we have to do is to believe in him who is “the resurrection and life” only then we have eternal life. Paul the Apostle responded to the jailer and said,

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31)

    It is hard for me to reconcile between the genuine believer who is saved will ever be unsaved. On the top of this, it is important to remember that security is based on the grace of God and the fact that eternal life is a gift. 

     Of course, this is ONLY true for “born again” Christian.

Re-checking Christians Attitude Towards God

    If you are a Christian and is saved by the grace of God then, you don’t have any reason doubting your eternal security.

    However, if you as a believer still doubts your salvation, then it is only advisable to re-check our personal relationship and attitude towards our Savior. If we really want and willing with whole our mind and soul to get right in-tune with God we must check the following:

1. Do I have a present trust in Christ for salvation?

2. Is there evidence of a renewing work of the Holy Spirit in my heart?

3. Do I see a long-term relationship of growth in my Christian life?

Again, remember if you are already a believer then be certain and be assured of your eternal security. Make sure we’re not one of whom Jesus rebuked,

“Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven…I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matt. 7:21,23).

Introduction

readinggirlLong time ago, before I met Christ and accepted him as Lord and personal Savior, I wasn’t really interested into reading and studying academic books. Books was an obscure, incomprehensible entity to my taste. I never even bothered to read newspapers or other novels just for curiosity. No, books was a waste of time, and so I believed. But when I became a follower of Jesus Christ almost twelve years ago, I felt the sudden hunger for knowledge. I never felt this craving for knowing and learning before in my life. And so I become a “bookworm” (a person devoted to reading and studying). While not neglecting studying my Bible, I indulge and keep indulging myself in reading books that touches the areas of epistemology, ethics, church history, metaphysics, theology and philosophy. There is not an hour or a minute that I actually have been in negligence with my studies until this very day. My passion in studies leads me to study apologetics and its discipline and reading other apologetical methodologies. So, my major part in my life is having possessions of numerous academical books and yes you can call me bibliophilia so much so, I find a quote from Erasmus rather telling of my condition: “When I have a little money I buy books, and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.”

    By studying certain subject (s) I came to understand the importance of knowledge and how we as thinking person should not waste our God given mind by not learning, thinking well and avoiding much irrationality or faulty thinking.  Besides from reading the Scripture, apologetics has been a great help to me because it involves, not only in knowing how to defend my faith, but it  has also given me much insight that apologetics as a discipline makes you more able and prepared in handling skeptics objections against your Christian faith. Being exposed to apologetics is absolutely not peripheral but essentially crucial in our Christian world and life view. It is really sad that not all Christians even seriously considers the study of apologetics. In this essay I will try to explain, in this essay what apologetics is and then we will proceed to why the discipline of apologetics is necessary. May you find this written material helpful and inspiring in your pursuit in studying apologetics.

What Is Apologetics?

I went to Wushu Kung Fu Academy in Stockholm and I studied there with my brother for five years under the instruction of Lois Lin. The training was quite rigid and uncomfortable because it requires techniques, skills, stamina as well as flexibility in your part. Timing was also important and so is balance. I was probably almost fifteen years of age when I begun training martial arts because it, not only teaches you to have self-control, it teaches you how to defend yourself against any kind of assault. Having knowledge in martial arts or self-defense can be very quite handy now a days, one must fight or defend through any kind of situations with little damage on your part as possible. While, Kung Fu is good with physical and mental training, it also teaches you how to defend yourself from anyone. Apologetics is almost the same as Kung Fu but not quite. Wushu, involves physical, muscular, balance, timing, strength etc., If there is no other way to avoid confrontation, one must engage and even damage your opponent in order for you not to be in his situation. Apologetics on the other hand need not have any physical confrontation but only verbal, logical, rational argumentation, and and so fort. Wushu is an art of defense while apologetics is also an art of defense and it has to do more in thinking logically and defending your faith.

Apologetics (Greek apologia) means defense as I have mentioned earlier. To give an “apology” does not hereby mean to apologize or showing regret. It means to give a rational defense of what or why you believe in certain things be it God, the Bible, Jesus and your world and life view as a Christian. Defending the Christian faith is not an option but a command to do apologetics and explain to whom why we believe what we believe. Peter a disciple of Jesus Christ wrote,

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15-16)

In additional of our understanding what apologetics is, Norman Geisler wrote,

The most important reason to do apologetics is that God told us so. The classic statement of 1 Peter 3:15, which says, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” This verse tells us to be ready. We may never run across someone who asks tough questions about our faith, but we should still be ready to respond if someone does. [Normal L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Books, p. 37]

Thus, Christian apologetics seeks to serve God and the church by assisting fellow Christians to carry out the mandate of 1 Peter 3:15-16. This particular verse tells us to be on alert and ready if someone or somebody ask us tough questions about our faith. We may not always encounter tough questions about our faith but we should still be on the look out nevertheless. And if this happens we should not run and hide and hope the skeptics will soon vanish into thin air. Rather, we should answer him or her whatever the skeptic have in mind only with meekness and fear. I think we must keep in mind is that not all skeptics are sincere in knowing the answer of why you believe what you believe. Some, if not most skeptics are just out to win or with an axe to grind, and probably wants a simple quarrel, and if this happens, then no reason for giving him an answer in why you believe what you believe, because this will only cause unnecessary, waste of time discussion, that should not have happened in the first place. Likewise, as a martial artist, I have been told not to look for a fight nor fight if absolute necessary. If anyone challenges you to fight, as an self-defense practitioner, one is likely to ignore. The manners or code of conduct as a martial artist is to avoid trouble as much as possible and not to use the skills of fighting when one is provoked or challenged. This is true with apologetics in some sense though some challenges (debate) from skeptics should be faced head on just to demonstrate that their arguments are futile. In addition with our discussion, doing apologetics is more than just an intellectual task or having a brain tease. It actually enhances our understanding about God, Jesus, Scripture, science, philosophy and the discipline of theology. By having a greater insight in the area of apologetics, makes us more prepared in handling various objections against the Christian faith. Philosopher Greg L. Bahnsen wrote,

According to Cornelius Van Til, apologetics aims to defend the Christian faith by answering the variety of challenges leveled against it by unbelievers, thereby vindicating the Christian philosophy of life (world view) over against all non-Christian philosophies of life (world views). [Greg L Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, P&R Publishing, p.29]

The Necessity Of Apologetics

The world is never a safe place whether you a an expert of martial arts or not. Likewise, the Christian faith is never safe or accepted in the market of ideas but is constantly marginalized. Hostility, antagonism, mocking, and persecution towards the Christian faith is common and is unlikely to refrain. Our Lord Jesus warned us that,

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you (Jn. 15:18-19)

The beloved apostles faced similar hostility and persecution yet did not commence to witness and boldly defended their faith even unto their death of martyrdom. Though martyrdom for having the faith in Jesus Christ is uncommon in the Western hemisphere, the mocking, hostility and some form of persecution against Christians is prevalent. News media, Hollywood filmmakers, politicians , teachers, professors, etc., are united in one common agenda and this is to destroy Christianity once and for all. Why? The as the apostle Paul said, “The carnal mind is enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7). What this mean is that, the mind of the flesh is hostile to God and can never submit itself to the law of God. Becoming a faithful follower of Christ is to renew our thinking and not have the same mind of the carnal mind of the unbeliever because it is hostile to God. Again Paul wrote,

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Rom. 12:2).

The Christian mind should not be conformed (be similar) to the way of the rest of the world (“age” or “era”). The enmity against God, and its sinful, dehumanizing values should not be entwined by the believer, instead, the believer should be transformed (Gk. metamorphoo, “change”) by the renewing of the mind. Godly transformation starts in the mind and heart. In his two great commandments, Jesus Christ thought this to his disciples namely to, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mk. 12:30). Followers of Christ who are steadfastly allured by the philosophy of the world are unlikely to love their Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Doing apologetics is one of the means by loving God with all our minds, strengths, soul and heart. The Christian mind who is in accord with his faith in Jesus Christ are likely to be able to distinguish falsity and irrational arguments augmented by the carnal minds of the world. The enmity of the world against God and its false pretensions (atheism, nihilism, evolutionism, communism, homosexuality, false religions etc.,) contradicts the Christian mind. The Christian mind, by correctly being discerned (between coherent and incoherent in thinking) do not stand in common ground with the unbelieving mind, nor does he be neutral. Paul warns Christians in Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Bahnsen as quoted earlier commented,

By attempting to be neutral in your thought you are a prime target for being robbed– by “vain philosophy” of all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” which are deposited in Christ alone (cf. v.3). Paul explains that vain philosophy is that which follows the world and not Christ; it is thinking which subsuppositionally committed to Christ in all of our thinking. [Greg L Bahnsen, Always Ready, Covenant Media Foundation, p.5]

Not only that Christians should transform their minds and not to conform with the philosophy of the world, Christian apologists might strive also in defending the Gospel of Christ against those who ridicule, and mock it. Paul said, “Inasmuch as both in my bonds (prisoned), and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.” (Phil. 1:7) What Paul is telling us is that he defended and confirmed the gospel against opponents’ assault and were not silence even while in prison. Not only that Christians ought to defend the Gospel from the claws of its enemies, iy should also be advanced by witnessing to unbelieving mind. To many arguments has been advanced by atheists, and Muslims alike, for instance, the historical reliability of the Gospel, the true deity of Christ, the existence of God and so forth, yet the Scripture reminds us to “let God be true, but every man a liar.” (Rom 3:4) The Christian soldier have the obligation to devastate the skeptics prideful objection of God, His Son etc.,

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ ( II Cor. 10:3-5).

Paul reminds his fellow believers in Christ that they are at war in the world of ideologies against the unbelieving mind–the carnal mind. The Christian apologists cannot afford being neutral and carnally minded. The loyal servant of Jesus Christ should cast down the arguments that exalts itself against the knowledge of the Creator and Savior which is God. The strong holds of neo-atheism and its false pretension of arguments should be demolished by confronting it with cogent, logical, Christ-centered apologetics, yet with love and respect. The “strong holds” of the 21st century that we should be busy engaging in demolishing against their false pretenses are the neo-atheists such as Dawkins, Hitchen, Harris, Dennet and story teller and author of the Golden Compass, Philip Pullman. These infidels are not only anti-God but also anti-Christian. You don’t have to take my word for it, all you have to do is read the literatures of these fundamentalist atheists. If these militant atheists mentioned above were granted political power, Christians would probably end up similar to Hitler’s concentration camp probably for brain examination, because belief in God, Jesus, angels, hell and heaven, according to them, is a sign of having brain damage. These men as well as other secularists out there are not you average atheists. Their intentions is no longer to befriend Christians and convert them to atheism but sees us as disillusioned, fanatical sponges worthy of desolation.

God created this universe including you and I but most of us doesn’t want God to be our ruler and King in our lives. We prefer our own selfish, sinful way of life and so we tend to suppress God and worship the things that the Creator created more than Himself. Amongst the things we adore and worship which God made is our minds. We repress the Creator who created our mind by using it in denying His existence. The very mind that God endowed upon us has become the primary weapon in denying His existence. The is exactly what the prideful, militant, fundamentalist neo-atheist has been doing for all eons. They denied their Creator and even insults Him with their arrogance and consuming hate. The neo-atheists are the “sage” of this world. They call themselves the “Brights” or “wise men.” They are the Enlightened of the 21st century since the Renaissance. But, these wise men has been confounded by God as fools. “Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (I Cor. 1:20).

Christians who engages in apologetics on the other hand doesn’t need to fear the arguments made by fools because God grants him understanding in all things (II Tim. 2:7). Should Christian be intimidated by atheists ridicule and hostility? No, because God has not given the Christian spirit of fear but with a sound mind (II Tim. 1:7). Before taking stand by defending our faith against infidels we must learn that wisdom and knowledge can only be located in Christ. True knowledge (of God) cannot be found in realm of atheism and also in the realm of world religions. “In whom [Christ] are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col. 2:3 ) [emphasis mine]. The Christian mind cannot adopt the carnal mind way of thinking because the believer can only have full access of the true wisdom and knowledge in none other but Christ Jesus. The Christian world and life view is far more rational and realistic than any other kind of anti-Christian world view combined. If the God of the Bible exist, and that he came into the world by entering time and space and became in the person of Jesus and lived with us for a moment then crucified and died for our sin, and then rose back to life three days later and ascended back to heaven really is true (which it is!), then why should we fear antagonistic philosophies that undermines the Christian faith? We have no reason to fear in reasoning by defending the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the truthfulness of Christianity.

Is apologetics necessary? I already given you my answer. The discipline of apologetics is mandated by God. Apologetics is needed today as it was needed two thousand years ago. By doing apologetics in different areas of human enterprise (epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, logic etc.,) can be divided in three ways. Apologetics can be used as proof, as defense and as offense. More about this later in my The Discipline of Apologetics article.

By Reeves

suicideGood question! Although this question misunderstands the entire concept of the Christian faith it must nevertheless be properly responded. Assuming for a moment that the questioner is a skeptic therefore the very nature of this inquiry doubts the reality of heaven and the truthfulness of Christianity.

For instance, “If heaven exist,” the skeptics ask, “why don’t you Christians commit suicide, after all isn’t heaven a better place?” and “But heaven is not real therefore you do not commit suicide.” There are lots of ways to approach this question though I decided to only chose a few. Let us analyze this question more closely.

1. If heaven exists as Christians believe,

2. They should commit suicide (since heaven is a better place).

3. But no Christian commits suicide,

4. Therefore, heaven must not exist.

Premise 1 is true that Christians indeed believe that heaven exists but premises 2, 3, and 4 are false, and should not be taken as a valid conclusion. Premise 3 is false because there are Christians, sad enough, who commits suicide, though I believe that it has more to do with brain chemical imbalance, but not for the sake of getting to heaven pronto. There are those who died, indeed for the Christian faith (martyrs) but not by solely taking one’s own life.

Breath of Life

But what about the other premise such as 2 and 4? Are these valid? I do not think so for a moment. First of all, God intended for us to live as he has given us “the breath of life,” not the breath of death. God created human beings to live and “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Gen. 1:28).

The command to “be fruitful, and replenish” implies having great responsibility, thus committing suicide will make Christians notoriously irresponsible!

Sanctity of Life

Second, God commanded us to fully respect the sanctity of life, and He even forbade murder (Ex. 19:13). So if one commits suicide by which taking his or her own life is tantamount to 1st degree murder! Besides murder, suicide is also selfish, cowardice, and irresponsible.

Death Is Not Heaven

Thirdly, Death is not a synonym for heaven. Likewise, death does not equal heaven as if these two concepts were the same. These two words have totally different meaning and different concepts. In fact, to even think, therefore that death = heaven is oxymoron or contradiction in terms. Death means losing life, heaven in the other spectrum means gaining life!

Furthermore, one does not have to die in order for a Christian to be and or experience heaven i.e. prophet Elijah (2 King 2:11) did not went through death but went to God. The Apostle John “saw” heaven several occasions before his natural death.

Death as Curse

Fourth, death wasn’t suppose to coexist with the living. Death “entered” when Adam and Eve rebelled and sinned against their God. Dying has become a curse and part of our existence. However, just because death has become part of life, it simply doesn’t mean intertwined with life. As a matter of fact Jesus would have not said to be “the resurrection and life,” if death and life were one. Thus there is a great gulf between life and death.

Jesus Values Life

Life is better than death, and no doubt Jesus Christ apparently valued life over death. This is illustrated in Jesus’ life by, for instance, raising his friend Lazarus (John 11:44), others, and himself from the dead. So, if dying means a ticket to heaven, Jesus and Lazarus would have remained in their graves. Thus, choosing death over life just to be in heaven will devalue life and would be in grave opposition to Jesus who is life himself.

Not All Are Going To Heaven

Finally, not all are going to heaven (according to the Bible). Those who are going to be with God are those who are born again and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. So, if you are to die today without Christ in your life, your are going to be condemned to eternal punishment which is hell. If you are living Christless then I beseech you to reconsider your life in Christ and ask for forgiveness.

Conclusion

The key word in this subject is life. God created and breath “the breath of life” not death. God gives us life and responsibility. Choosing death over life means irresponsibility. Death is not to be identified with heaven because this two has different meaning and significance. We also learned that death means losing life, while heaven means gaining eternal life. Jesus preferred life over death by raising others including himself to life. One does not have to die in order for him or her to get to heaven. Finally, Only those who are in Christ are going to heaven. And those without Christ and are living in sin are going to be in hell for eternity.