Christian Faith 101 (Part 3)By Pastor Boffey on Sunday, January 13, 2013.
Christian Faith 101 I. This study assumes that the King James Version of the Bible (the Authorized Version of 1611 and its subsequent orthographic updates) is the preserved, perfect word of God the Creator in the English language. A. This is a reasoned assumption; it is not without a preponderance of evidence. B. An overview of this issue will be considered later in this outline. II. This study is designed to plainly and simply set forth the fundamentals of Christian faith (that which is or should be believed). A. This faith is according to the Scriptures, the word of God (ROM 10:17) and is to be earnestly contended for. JUDE 1:3. B. Plainness facilitates understanding. 1CO 14:8-9; 2CO 3:12. 1. When we think of plain in a topographical sense, we think of landscape with minimal distracting features and maximum horizons of visibility. The same concept applies to information. 2. plain: Open, clear to the senses or mind; evident, manifest, obvious; easily distinguishable or recognizable. C. Plainness facilitates assurance of belief. JOH 16:28-30. D. Plainness facilitates proper action. HAB 2:2 ct/w 2PE 2:18. E. Scripture warns about being “...corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2CO 11:3). 1. simplicity: The state or quality of being simple in form, structure, etc.; absence of compositeness, complexity, or intricacy. 3a. Freedom from artifice, deceit or duplicity; sincerity, straightforwardness; also, absence of affectation or artificiality; plainness, artlessness, naturalness. 2. The juxtaposition of thought in 2CO 11:3 shows that Paul's use of “simplicity” accords with “freedom from artifice, deceit or duplicity; sincerity....” 3. Paul's gospel was presented in straightforward fashion which did not disguise its true meaning but rather made it plain. 2CO 1:12-13. F. Basics are conveyed to the understanding by spiritual/intellectual milk, not meat. HEB 5:12-14. G. Some things are hard to be understood, but not all things. 2PE 3:15-16. III. Is there a supreme Being that is responsible for the creation, government and sustaining of all things visible and invisible, great and small? Scripture deems men fools who deny this. PSA 14:1. A. Consider atheism (disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a God). 1. For the atheist to conclude absolutely that there is no God would demand that he must exclude the possibility on the basis of absolute knowledge of all places, conditions, relationships, events etc. throughout all time past, present and future. 2. This would mean that the atheist is omniscient (all-knowing), a unique attribute of God. 3. The atheist cannot escape the concept of God; he considers himself God. B. Consider agnosticism (one who holds that the existence of anything beyond and behind material phenomena is unknown and [so far as can be judged] unknowable, and especially that a First Cause and an unseen world are subjects of which we know nothing). 1. The agnostic is nothing more than a theorist who refuses to accept the evidence that disproves his theory, such as fulfilled prophecies, miracles of healing, the Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 1resurrection of the dead, ordered complexity in the material universe and the logical necessity of a First Cause. 2. Scripture speaks of those who are willingly ignorant. 2PE 3:5. C. Consider polytheism (belief in, or worship of, many gods (or more than one God). 1. If God is the Supreme Being, there can not be others like Him or He would not be supreme (highest [in literal sense], loftiest, topmost). The God of the Bible declares Himself unique and without peers. ISA 43:10; 44:6. 2. Mind that belief in only one God is biblical and rational but it is not the sole determinant of the validity of the faith to which one subscribes. JAM 2:19. a. Jews and Muslims are both monotheistic (the doctrine or belief that there is only one God). b. Both of these systems deny that the Supreme God has had a son; they deny therefore that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. c. The monotheistic Christian faith is therefore utterly irreconcilable with that of Jews and Muslims, and it declares their belief systems invalid. 2SAM 7:12-14 c/w MAT 3:16-17; 1JO 2:22-23. IV. Consider a few philosophical arguments for the existence of God. A. The Argument from Efficient Causes. 1. Experience confirms an order of efficient causes, i.e., everything that we observe exists from a cause/effect relationship. 2. Nothing can be the cause of itself since that would imply that it was prior to itself. 3. An indefinite series of efficient causes would result in no first cause and no last effect. If there is no first cause, there could logically be no second cause, and so on. 4. There must be a first, uncaused Cause, i.e., God. JER 10:16. B. The Argument from Degree of Quality or Value. 1. We conceive of things as being more or less good, true, and excellent. 2. “More” or “less” is decided upon the degree of approach to the greatest. 3. Therefore, there is something that is most good, true, and excellent, i.e., God. C. The Argument from Values in General. 1. Truth, goodness, and beauty are real in our experiences. 2. The fact that we recognize degrees of truth, goodness, and beauty suggests that we presuppose an absolute standard to which these values approximate. a. There must be an absolute. b. The statement, “There are no absolutes” is self-contradictory. c. If it is absolutely true that there is no absolute truth, then there is absolute truth. 3. We cannot suppose that in the end these values oppose one another; the ultimate values must form a unity or a supreme value, i.e., God. D. The Argument from Religious Experience. 1. The fact that men have generally believed in the divine suggests that the idea of God is innate in the human mind. ROM 1:19. 2. If we base our knowledge of the universe on experience, religious experience has a claim to be included. V. The existence and power of God are evident from a fair evaluation of the creation. PSA 19:1-3; ROM 1:18-20; ACT 14:17. A. There are four possibilities which would explain the existence of the universe. Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 2 1. The universe spontaneously emerged from nothing. All observation denies this. Something has never been seen to come out of nothing of its own accord. 2. The universe is eternal. This is refuted by the Second Law of Thermodynamics: the Law of Entropy. This law states that although the total amount of energy remains unchanged, there is a tendency for energy to become less available for useful work. In time, all matter tends to lose available energy. In other words, everything is wearing out. a. Even evolutionists are forced to measure time by decay rates. b. At present observed rates of entropy, if the universe has been here forever, it has long since been reduced to a net total of zero energy. c. The Bible confirms the Law of Entropy. PSA 102:25-26. 3. The universe does not exist. a. This position supposes that everything is imagined. b. This is legal and medical insanity: the inability to cope with reality. 4. A force greater than the universe brought it into existence. In other words, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth” (GEN 1:1). B. From all observation, only the 4th alternative (above) explains the present phenomena. 1. There was a time when energy was being concentrated, not dissipated, through a process not presently observed. 2. Scripture affirms this very principle. HEB 11:3. 3. Then something happened and entropy began. The Bible identifies this as sin which caused universal death and corruption. ROM 5:12; 8:21-22. C. Furthermore, the existence of the present material universe is only part of the problem. If all the material of the universe did come into existence from nothing of its own accord, or if the material has always been here, how did life come from non-life? Where has nonliving matter ever been seen to become living matter of its own accord? 1. Observation confirms the Law of Biogenesis (life only comes from life). 2. Atheistic evolution affirms (in the absence of proof) that life must have come from non-life sometime in the past. Mind that the same people tend to mock the idea of a bodily resurrection from death! 3. Further, if the evolutionist theorizes that there must always have been life, he has therefore granted that there is such a thing as eternal life. 4. The other alternative is that there has always been an intelligent source of life Who instilled that principle into matter in a creative act. GEN 1:11, 21, 24; 2:7; ACT 17:24-25. D. Scientists affirm that all matter is composed of atoms. The nucleus of the atom consists of particles called neutrons and protons. The neutrons have no electrical charge and are therefore neutral, but the protons have positive charges. 1. One law of electricity is that like charges repel, so what holds the atom together? 2. One atheistic theory is that there must be something called “nuclear glue” or “gluons” to hold it all together. Thus, they hope and have faith that things are held together by something that they have never seen. 3. While believing in this, they find fault with Christians who believe that there is a God Who has left abundant confirmation of His existence and holds all things together. COL 1:17; HEB 1:3; 2PE 3:5-7. E. Either the present phenomena have come into existence through random chance or they are here by design. If by design, this necessitates a Designer with the power to carry out His plans. Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 3 1. Atheistic evolution affirms that, given enough time, all present things can be explained through the “card-shuffling” concept of random chance. But disruptive change in complex systems tends to produce disorder, not increased order. 2. One of the most important proteins is hemoglobin: it is responsible for the red color of blood and the oxygen chemistry based on our breathing. a. It is composed of a distinct chain of 574 amino-acids which must link together in a proper order. b. The odds of just one molecule of hemoglobin coming into existence through random chance would be 1 in 10 650 . 3. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) codes for all the proteins of a creature, not just hemoglobin. If the interconnected double-helix spirals of the DNA don't line up perfectly, the amino-acids which they direct cannot form the proper proteins. 4. The T4 phage, a tiny creature which preys upon bacteria would be one of the smallest specimens of DNA. It has been reasonably calculated that the odds of one proper ribbon of DNA for one T4 phage coming into existence by random chance would be 1 in 10 78000 . 5. Given the above facts, note that evolutionists estimate that the universe is about 4- 1/2 billion years old (give or take a few billion) or 1.4 x 10 17 seconds old (say 10 18 seconds old). At a random shuffling rate of 1 per second, hemoglobin could never have been produced yet, let alone one T4 phage. (The Philosophical Scientists, pp. 79-83, by David Foster, Dorset Press). F. There is no amount of time conceivable to man that could possibly allow for random chance to produce creatures like the giraffe. Its neck has blood vessels with unique intermittent valves which prevent its very high blood pressure from blowing its brains out when it drops its head to drink. They then reverse their function and prevent the blood from rushing away from the giraffe's brain when it lifts its head back up. If random chance mutations are responsible for such an animal, it does not exist. G. Likewise consider the amazing bombardier beetle, whose body has two special chambers which hold volatile chemicals. 1. As a defense, the beetle releases these chemicals into a third chamber where they would explode if not for the introduction of a special chemical inhibitor, which prevents the premature detonation of its “bomb” until it is released into the air at the boiling point of water. 2. How many “missing link” bombardier beetles got blown away until one pair of them happened to evolve the same complex apparatus at the same time in the same place? H. The construction and function of the human eye is so complex and exquisite that it cannot be explained by random chance mutation. 1. Beyond the construction of the eye itself is the incredible process by which the image it views is transmitted to the brain where that image is actually “seen.” 2. Most species of animals also have the faculty of eyesight. How did they all manage to evolve this in the same segment of time as humans by random mutations which statistically should only produce greater disparity between species, not similarity? 3. There are not enough zeros in man's imagination that could be added to a number which would account for the generations and years it would take to produce a complex system of life which simultaneously and almost entirely functions by light and a vital apparatus to process the images that light makes possible. 4. An all powerful, all-seeing God made the eye. PRO 20:12. Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 4I. The vast, complex intricacy of the workings of the universe screams of a Designer and Controller. A supercomputer, by comparison, is a collection of errors. J. In the face of such evidence, only a fool would deny there is a God. PSA 14:1. VI. The creation declares to an intelligent, honest person that God exists, but comparatively little can be known of a person by merely examining a product he has made. So too with God. A. Only a little can be known of Him by studying His creation. JOB 11:7-9. B. Man is an intelligent creature with the ability to think, feel and decide. But the reason for his existence can only be known if God communicates it to his intellect. C. God made man able to communicate. 1. God, the Cause, must also be able to communicate. 2. Since God is the most important fact with which a creature can deal, it stands to reason that God would communicate to man. D. A provision has been made for every observable need. 1. For example, there is food for hunger, drink for thirst, etc. 2. Thus, it stands to reason that God would provide for man's need to know his Maker and his Maker's will for him. E. Any good earthly father communicates with his children. Would God be any less good? F. Being man's Creator, God is man's Master with a right to his service. 1. Service implies an expressed rule. 2. If it is just for men to express rules to their servants so that they might be served, would God be less just? G. Personal experience confirms that a relationship with God is deeply founded on His word. Men relate to God through His revelation of Himself. H. Without a communicated revelation of God, man's attempts to relate to God invariably lead him into a corrupt worship of the creation rather than its Creator. ROM 1:21-25. I. These things argue for the necessity of a divine revelation of God beyond that which is made in the creation. VII. Observe the nature of God's revelation, noting that the Bible is the only book in the world that claims to be authored by God. A. God speaks and His word is perceived as such. 1SAM 3:1-18. B. God has spoken to men verbally and in writing. 2TI 3:15-17; 2PE 1:20-21. C. Scripture claims to be God speaking to men. GEN 12:3 c/w GAL 3:8; EXO 9:13, 16 c/w ROM 9:17. 1. This is called “inspiration” (2TI 3:16), from theopneustos, a Greek word meaning “God-breathed.” 2. The mechanism was very simple: God spoke His word to an appointed prophet or apostle and the word was written down. ISA 8:1; 30:8; REV 1:11. 3. This inspiration extends to the words, letters and markings. MAT 5:18; 22:31-32; GAL 3:16. VIII. Consider these evidences that the Scriptures are the Divine revelation: A. The prophetic accuracy of Scripture. ISA 41:21-23. B. The confirming signs. EXO 4:1-9; HEB 2:3-4. C. The internal agreement of the various writers of Scripture, spanning some 1500 years. DEU 13:1-4; 2PE 1:20-21. D. The historical accuracy. Numerous people, places and events have been confirmed by Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 5secular record and archaeological research. E. The scientific accuracy. Meteorological phenomena, geophysical characteristics and the laws of thermodynamics are found in Scripture. PSA 135:7; ECC.1:6-7; ISA 40:22; PSA 102:25-27. F. The witness of the Spirit within a regenerate person. JOH 8:47; 1CO 2:14; 1JO 5:10. IX. Following is a very brief treatment of why the KJV Bible is God's preserved word in the English language. A. The inspired scriptures were predominantly first written in Hebrew (O.T.) and Greek (N.T.). B. The inspiration was not limited to the original manuscripts or languages. 1. If God is omnipotent, He can certainly preserve His word in copies or translations. 2. Examples of copying being employed in the preservation and transmission of scriptures are seen in DEU 17:18-19; PRO 25:1. 3. The Greek N.T. contains many quotations from the Hebrew O.T. That's translation. God's power to make His word known in other languages is plainly seen in ACT 2:4-6. 4. By these means, many nations could receive God's word in their own language to accomplish the apostles' assignment to evangelize them. MAT 28:19-20. C. There are basically two families of manuscripts from which English Bibles have come. 1. One family of manuscripts largely came out of a philosophical academy in Egypt and are associated with the Roman Catholic Church which has had a history of persecuting those who would not conform to their beliefs. a. It should be noted that in Scripture, Egypt was a place of bondage for God's people, not liberty. EXO 1:13-14. b. This family of manuscripts is essentially the basis for all modern English Bibles since 1850. 2. The other family of manuscripts (particularly N.T. manuscripts) largely sprang from Syria where the Apostle Paul had been commissioned to evangelize the Gentiles. ACT 13:1-2; 14:26-28. a. Paul had especially advanced the principle of liberty that comes from being led of the true God. ROM 8:14-15; 2CO 3:17. b. This family of manuscripts was the basis of KJV Bible. 3. If the only criterion for identifying the true Bible was the distinction between identifying with bondage or with liberty, choose liberty. D. The KJV excels all other English Bibles. 1. It upholds and glorifies Jesus Christ more than any other English Bible. Other versions provably diminish His nature, virgin birth, deity, sinlessness, work, and victory over death. 2. It bears the fruits that God's true word should produce in men who believe it: repentance from sin, submission to Christ and victory over the darkness of this world. ACT 26:18; 1TH 2:13-14. 3. It bears the fruits of God's wisdom among peoples who exalt it: justice, righteousness, technological advancement and prosperity. PRO 8:12-21. 4. It is internally consistent whereas other English Bibles have obvious internal contradictions and errors. God's word is pure. PSA 12:6-7; JOH 10:35. 5. It is very readable, written primarily in single-syllable words and research has shown that it is more readable than other English Bibles. Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 66. It lends itself to easy memorization more than any other book. God wants His words to be remembered. PSA 119:11; 1CO 15:1-2. X. Here is a simple overview of the Bible. A. It consists of 66 books and epistles (letters) in two major divisions: the Old Testament (39 books) and the New Testament (27 books and letters). All of it is inspired. 2TI 3:16. 1. The O.T. consists of the Pentateuch/Books of Moses (GEN to DEU), the historical books (JOS to EST), the Writings (JOB to SON), and the Prophets (ISA to MAL). 2. The N.T. consists of the four gospels which are the record of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ (MAT to JOH), the Acts of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, the epistles/letters of the apostles (ROM to JUDE) and the Book of Revelation. 3. The O.T. is Christ veiled; the N.T. is Christ revealed. 4. The N.T. is the clearer, superior revelation from God; the O.T. must be interpreted according to the explanations given of it in the N.T. 2PE 1:19-21; 1JO 4:6. B. The O.T. was the peculiar blessing of the nation of Israel (PSA 147:19-20; ROM 3:1-2) whereas the N.T. marked the going forth of God's word to all nations. ROM 16:25-26. C. The central Person of the entire Bible is the Lord Jesus Christ. 1. The O.T. anticipated His coming and testified of Him. ISA 7:14; JOH 5:39. 2. The N.T. declares His arrival, saving work and victory in fulfillment of prophecy and that He has been made King and Judge over all. 1CO 15:1-4; ACT 10:39-43. D. The major events of the O.T. are: 1. The record of creation and the entrance of sin. GEN 1-3. 2. The worldwide flood in Noah's day because of great sin. GEN 6-9. 3. The calling out of Abraham whose descendants would end up in Egyptian bondage. GEN 12 to EXO 1. 4. The exodus of Abraham's descendants from Egypt under the leadership of Moses. EXO 1 to DEU 34. 5. The giving of the Law / the Ten Commandments. EXO 20. 6. The Jewish conquest of the land of Canaan and their establishment as a nation there. This is the record of the Book of Joshua. 7. The establishing of a royal family in Israel, beginning with King David. This is the record of the Books of 1SAM, 2SAM; 1CH. 8. The overthrow and captivity of Israel because of sin. This is recorded in the historical books of 2KI and 2CH. 9. The return and restoration of Israel to their land to await the coming of Messiah. This is the record of the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah. E. The major figures of the O.T. are: 1. Adam, the first man. He was created perfect but sinned and brought sin, death and the curse into the creation (GEN 1-3) and serves as a type/picture of the next Perfect Man Who should come and Who would not fail: Jesus Christ. 1CO 15:45; ROM 5:19. 2. Noah, the lone preacher of righteousness whose family was spared from a worldwide flood brought on by sin (GEN 6-9; 2PE 2:5) and so also forms a picture of Jesus Christ Whose entire spiritual family will be saved from universal judgment. 1PE 3:18-22 c/w LUK 17:26-27. 3. Abraham, whom God suddenly called out of his idolatrous land and family, to whom God made great promises of eternal significance, and with whom God made an everlasting covenant. GEN 12-25. Christian Faith 101 12-30-12 Page 7a. Abraham was the ancestral father of the Jewish people. b. Abraham was a model of great faith in God's word and his faith was a token of righteousness. ROM 4:1-5. c. Abraham was given the sign of circumcision for himself and all his male descendants after he had been declared to be righteous. ROM 4:9-13. d. God's eternal promises were only to Abraham and Christ. GAL 3:16. 4. Moses, the deliverer who brought God's people out of bondage and gave them God's law (EXO), who also forms a picture of Christ Who delivered His people out of the bondage of sin and gave them His law, the N.T. HEB 3:1-6. 5. Joshua, who brought God's people into their earthly inheritance and rest, which Moses could not do. a. Joshua is spelled Jesus in the N.T. ACT 7:45; HEB 4:8. b. This all serves as a beautiful picture of the overall message of the Bible: Jesus alone brought God's people into their heavenly inheritance and rest, not Moses or his law. ROM 3:20-22; HEB 9:12. 6. David, a prophet and the first king of a royal dynasty in Israel which would culminate in Jesus Christ, David's descendant and the Eternal King. ACT 13:21-23; LUK 1:30-33. F. The major events of the N.T. are: 1. The conception of Jesus Christ in the virgin Mary's womb which was God becoming a man who was the Son of God. MAT 1:23; LUK 1:35. 2. The ministry of John the Baptist who prepared Israel for Christ's public ministry and who baptized Jesus Christ. MAR 1:1-11. 3. The blameless life and public ministry of Jesus Christ which was rejected by His own people and which culminated in His crucifixion death. ACT 13:27-29. 4. The resurrection of Jesus Christ after being buried for three days and nights. ACT 13:30; MAT 12:38-40. 5. The ascension of Jesus Christ to take the eternal throne. EPH 1:19-23; REV 3:21. 6. The coming of the promised Holy Spirit to indwell and empower the church which Jesus Christ established on earth. JOH 14:15-17, 26 c/w ACT 2:1-6. 7. The building of Christ's church in fulfillment of promises of a Divine Kingdom. DAN 2:44 c/w MAT 16:18-19. 8. The conversion of Saul of Tarsus from being the chief enemy of Christ to become the chief apostle of Jesus Christ with a special ministry to the Gentiles. ACT 9:1-6, 15. 9. The conversion of the first uncircumcised Gentile believer, which was the breaking down of a barrier that had separated Jews and Gentiles. ACT 10; EPH 2:11-18. G. The major figures of the N.T. are: 1. Jesus Christ, the virgin-born son of God Who fulfilled all of the requirements of God's holy Law for righteousness by living a sinless life, dying for sinners, and rising from the grave in victorious conquest over death and the grave. ROM 10:4; 4:23-25. 2. John the Baptist, who announced Christ's arrival and baptized him. John's ministry marked the conclusion of the O.T. economy. LUK 16:16. 3. The 12 apostles whom Christ called out to be the ministers of His New Testament and foundations of His church. LUK 22:14, 29-30; EPH 2:20. 4. The Apostle Paul, the once sworn enemy of Christ and His church who was called out for a special ministry to the Gentiles. 1CO 15:9-10; 1TI 1:12-15.