JOURNEYS TO FAITH FROM ATHEISM TO THEISM

Testimonies of atheists converting to Christianity are powerful, particularly of people like Antony Flew and C.S. Lewis. Both men were members of The Oxford Socratic Club, a student-led organization that was dedicated to providing an open forum for the discussion of the intellectual issues connected with religion and specifically Christianity. The club clearly had an impact on these intellectual giants who spent over a decade together adhering to the practice of Socrates—following the argument wherever it led. The members were committed to following the truth of all arguments, even if it led them in a direction that they did not want to go.

Most people do not know that British philosopher Antony Flew was one of the most celebrated atheists of the last 50 years. For five decades, he launched an aggressive attack on the existence of God. And then, in 2007, he stunned the world by announcing that he had changed his mind. He laid out his reasoning in his book There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. In the book he states:

“I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite intelligence. I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source. Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than half a century? The short answer is this: This is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science.”

At a symposium at New York University, Flew shared some controversial thoughts:

“What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together.” When asked how his atheist friends responded, he said: “I have been denounced by my fellow unbelievers for stupidity, betrayal, senility, and everything you could think of, and none of them have read a word that I have ever written.”

In the end, Antony Flew’s mind was changed because of the principled practice he followed all of his life: follow the truth wherever it leads. It seems quite logical that if we do not have a great love of truth, we most certainly will never find it

C.S. Lewis is among the most influential writers of the twentieth century. Many people are somewhat surprised to learn that Lewis, who was dutifully raised in a traditional Christian household in Ireland, actually became an avowed atheist in his early teens while attending public school at the prestigious Malvern College in England. It would be years later, after World War I, and well into his years at Oxford University, before he began his great search for a deeper and richer understanding of God’s existence.

Lewis writes that there were two events in his life that ultimately led him to the Christian faith. The first step began when he read G.K. Chesterton’s book The Everlasting Man, and the second, he has written, had a “shattering impact” on him. This event occurred one night, when one of the more militant atheists on the Oxford faculty staff, a man by the name of T.D. Weldon, came to his room and confided that he believed the historical authenticity of the Gospels appeared to be surprisingly sound.

Weldon’s remarks about the historical authenticity of the Gospels wouldn’t let him rest, as the conversation echoed in his memory and continued to haunt him. So, Lewis, a determined seeker of truth, began an investigation.

As a professor of English literature at Oxford, he had spent his entire professional life studying ancient manuscripts. And though, up to that time, he had never seriously read the Bible, he nonetheless considered it to be one of the world’s great myths, like Norse mythology. The Gospels, Lewis noted, didn’t contain the rich, imaginative writing techniques of most ancient writings. With a literary critic’s ear for language and meter, Lewis recognized that the New Testament didn’t contain the stylized and carefully groomed qualities one would expect in any myth-making culture.

Lewis writes:

“[The Gospels] appeared to be simple, eye-witness accounts of historical events primarily by Jews who were clearly unfamiliar with the great myths of the pagan world around them…I was by now too experienced in literary criticism to regard the Gospels as myth. They had not the mythological taste.”

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Lewis continues, emphasizing that the Gospels were different from anything else he had ever read in ancient literature.

“Now, as a literary historian, I am perfectly convinced that whatever else the Gospels are, they are not legends. I have read many legends and am quite clear that they are not the same sort of thing. They are not artistic enough to be legends. From an imaginative point of view, they are clumsy; they don’t work. Most of the life of Jesus is totally unknown to us and no people building up a legend would allow that to be so.

Here we have this brilliant man, C.S. Lewis, an expert in ancient literature, a man of integrity and great education, who for so many years had dismissed the Gospels—the most influential body of writing in the Western world—simply because they sounded so unconvincing and without merit.

C.S Lewis books such as The Case for Christianity and Mere Christianity have done much to impact the world for Christ and will continue to do so.

AMY CONEY-BARRETT CONFIRMED AS SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

Amy Barrett has been confirmed as the new Justice of the Supreme Court after the Senate approved her nomination, delivering Donald Trump a major victory on the eve of the election.

Amy with her family and President Trump

The vote means the 48-year-old Ms. Barrett becomes the third conservative judge to be appointed in the president’s first term. Because she is appointed for life, it is an outcome which will shape the decisions of the nation’s highest court for a generation, impacting issues from health care to abortion to gun rights and labour and anti-discrimination laws.

Christians understand that without Trump at the helm Amy Coney-Barrett would not have been appointed to the Supreme Court. This should be a massive reason for them to return him to the Presidency at this upcoming election.

DIGITALISATION, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, AND ROBOTICS

THE SWITCH TO RENEWABLE ENERGY IS A MASSIVE DISRUPTER TO GOVERNMENTS, COMPANIES AND INDIVIDUALS TO MANAGE CHANGE BUT ADD DIGITALISATION, A.I. AND ROBOTICS AND WE HAVE CHAOS.

“But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.Daniel 12:4

How about this prophecy given to Daniel about the time of the end. In addition, we have many prophecies that in the “last days” chaos and lawlessness will abound.

How about this FLYING CAR developed by an Israeli company that uses hydrogen and electric battery power.

For some people like me that love change and can see all the new investment opportunities that this change provides, it is an exciting time. The big challenge for me is that I can so easily get sidetracked from what God is calling me to do in the twilight years of my life. I need to make sure I continue to live eternally now knowing that there are eternal rewards for building God’s kingdom on earth.

HOLY SPIRIT’S GUIDANCE

The “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23), when taught as merely a set of godly character traits (which they are) (and we need to pursue them), stops short of the ultimate purpose of those traits.

The Amplified Version translates the words “fruit of the Holy Spirit,” as “…the work which His presence within accomplishes.” The Holy Spirit’s presence guides us (as a coach) and guards us (comforts: “strong; fort”) throughout each day and in every decision. As we yield to that work of God’s Spirit (“be filled” Ephesians 5:18), God lives, not merely within us and for us, but through us.

Reimagine discipleship as the ongoing filling of the Spirit (“keep on being filled”) to reveal God’s will through God’s Word. Refocus evangelism as the work of the Holy Spirit to connect each disciple to the needs of the people (family, friends, strangers), the places (work, play), and opportunities (activities, events,) God has called them to serve … resulting in the showing and telling of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit’s internal presence is always purposing towards an external expression of the character of God, revealed to the lost and the least through our unexpected actions and uncommon reactions. Each “fruit” is a gift we bring as we walk a bridge into a conversation to pray for someone or a situation, care for them with acts of service or mercy, and share the Gospel of faith in Jesus.

The fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, goodness (a life full of virtue), faith that prevails,  gentleness of heart and self control (strength of spirit).

The purpose of the fruit of the Spirit is not to make us nicer neighbors; it grows within us to make us loving neighbors who enlighten people to the problem-solving, life-transforming character of God. “This is how God loved the world” (John 3:16): look to what Jesus did, look at how Jesus-followers live and give, serve and sacrifice.

Gifting the fruit of the Spirit is intended to be a daily reality for every authentic Christian, not only for those who have the gift of evangelism or the calling of an evangelist. Valuing the fruit of the Spirit as a witnessing tool can be a huge encouragement to believers who deeply desire to share their faith but often hesitate or have been ineffective. Making disciples who reproduce by sharing their faith must include equipping them to simply look for ways to express the love of God through the spiritual traits they most often or easily exhibit. Some display the love of Christ best through acts of kindness and mercy, others as peacemakers. Every Christ follower needs to seek the discernment of the Spirit into how the Spirit is most effective; which “fruit” (character trait) seems most prevalent and effective in which situations?  

Fruit-of-the-Spirit evangelism is walking God’s love over a bridge into a situation or experience with the gift of joy or peace or patience or kindness, goodness, faith, gentle humility, or restoring control. Love motivated gifts, suited to a person or relevant to a problem, bring practical blessings that point lost people to hope that breeds faith…sharing stories can easily ensue.

Instead of looking first at what we should “do” to evangelize (methods), what if we looked at the focus of our prayers for others? Which fruit of the Spirit predominates our intercession? What passion is stirred within us when we are led to care for people; their problems or possibilities? When does our presence result in conversations about spiritual issues or opportunities to share life stories?

Another great article from Phil Miglioratti • The #ReimagineFORUM
How To Equip UnWitnessing Christians to Share Their Faith

THE QUESTION OF GOD’S EXISTENCE

No doubt this is the most important question you can ever ask. As renowned French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal said, you’re betting your eternal destiny that you are right.

Is what I believe true? I cannot think of anything more tragic than to live life with a false view of reality. A false view of the existence of God.

Armand Nicholi was a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of the book, The Question of God. The book is based on a course he taught at Harvard’s undergraduate school. In the course, he compares the lives and beliefs of Sigmund Freud, the atheist, with C.S. Lewis, the Christian. In the prologue of the book, Nicholi writes some interesting words contrasting these two men’s views on the existence of God.

Are these worldviews merely philosophical speculations with no right or wrong answer? No. One of them begins with the basic premise that God does not exist, the other with the premise that He does. They are, therefore, mutually exclusive if one is right, the other must be wrong.”

Ultimately, the belief which is true will be consistent with the real world and the one which is untrue will present a view of life that is not in harmony with reality so the investment of your time to settle the matter is mandatory.

Another consideration, if we live our life with the view that God does not exist then our life is going to be very different from the person who believes God does exist.

As a believer, I know I will be judged by God for how I lived my life on His earth. God instructs me to love my neighbour as myself and that I must forgive those who treat me badly regardless. Imagine the world if we all lived this way.

As an unbeliever, I can make up my own rules on how I live my life. This is all there is so I might as well make the best of it. It is after all the survival of the fittest. Abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, gay marriage, transsexuality, all good, in fact, anything goes if most of us agree on it.

The world we live in now is fast abandoning God and His commands and we are seeing all of the above with lawlessness escalating. All those who hold God’s values are facing increasing persecution.

God’s Word, the Bible, predicts exactly what we see unfolding in the world today. The prophesied events are those that lead up to the wrath of God being poured out on the earth prior to Jesus’ second coming. How different it will be from Jesus first coming to earth. The second time He comes as king leading an army that defeats the Antichrist at the battle of Armageddon. He will then rule the nations from Jerusalem. The world will be His Kingdom and He rules the nations with a rod of iron.

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness, He judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems, and He has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron.” Revelation 19:11-15

The Rapture of the Saints those dead in Christ and those alive on earth happens after the tribulation period spoken of in Daniel and Revelation that refines the church. The Rapture initiates the wrath of God being poured out on an unbelieving world. Jesus meets the saints in the air and takes them to heaven. Everyone on earth will see Jesus and know that the wrath of God that is poured out over the next twelve months and ten days is God’s judgement (The wrath of God poured out on the earth in Noah’s day also lasted 1 year and ten days). After this, Jesus returns to earth as captain of the army of Saints to defeat the army of the Antichrist.

WHY DO WE MAKE DISCIPLES?

Great to see God raising up young people who understand the purpose of the church is to make disciples who complete the Great Commission. Watch this young couple as they explain the 411 Discipleship Training Course. This is just one of the many initiatives God is raising up for His purposes in the “last days”. You will be encouraged as you learn what is being accomplished to build God’s Kingdom here on earth. I hope you embark on Troy’s 411 program with your partner. It asks the following four questions. WHY?, WHO?, WHAT? & WHEN? Go watch the video and find out why.

ISRAEL’S FUTURE FORETOLD

There are many prophecies in the O.T. where God reveals to His prophets the end of the story for the nation He created. The book of Jeremiah is just one where we learn that God is going to restore both Israel and Judah back to their promised land but only after a period of trouble greater than anything they have experienced in the past.

For behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the Lord, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.” These are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah:
“Thus says the Lord: we have heard a cry of panic, of terror, and no peace.
Ask now, and see, can a man bear a child? Why then do I see every man
with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor? Why has every face turned pale? Alas! That day is so great there is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob, yet he shall be saved out of it.Jeremiah 30:3-7

Can it be said that any previous times of trouble fulfil the requirements of the prophecy here in Jeremiah 30 and 31 and answer to “the time of Jacob’s trouble”?

It does not seem that they do, for the simple reason that the prophecy before us clearly defines a time of trouble from which Israel is saved by Yahweh. This saving then brings about a spiritual revival. It is because of the saving of the people that they turn to God once again and are acceptable in His sight. This outcome cannot be said to have been accomplished in the past events of Israel’s history.

Could there be a gap in time between the trouble and salvation and the spiritual revival? By simply reading the text it is clear that the troubles from which Israel are saved and the spiritual revival are directly correlated – meaning that they have to occur together.

Consider what the prophecy says about the final outcome of the time of Jacob’s trouble: “For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.” Ezekiel 30:8-9

The two aspects are inextricably linked. Because Yahweh had saved Israel, therefore they serve Him. It is not only Yahweh that is served though – the spiritual revival causes Israel to serve Yahweh and “David their king, whom I will raise up unto them”. This is interesting – who is “David their King”? Is this not a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ? The one who the Lord God shall give “the throne of his father David” (Luke 1:32). The one who will “restore again the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6). “David” means “beloved” and this is a term applied to Jesus in Matthew 3:17 where, after his baptism the Father says “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Therefore, due to these connections it is reasonable to conclude that the outcome of this prophecy is the Kingdom of God being restored again on earth under the rulership of the son of Almighty God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

AWESOME NEW FILM COMING SOON

A film which will hopefully give you a clearer vison of Jesus and will inspire you to love Him more dearly. If nothing else, I hope it drives you to want to know more about the book of Revelation which is ultimately the book of the Revelation of Jesus. It is the last book of the Bible and it needs to be the book we know best in these last days so we know Him and what to expect will happen on this earth before He appears.

You need to connect with Maranatha Ministries (download their app) to get great teaching on Biblical “end times” prophesied events. Make sure you work through the Maranatha series on Daniel. It will prepare you for the coming series on Revelation. I am confident that God has raised up both Dalton Thomas and Joel Richardson to prepare His church for His second coming. I met Joel at an “end times” convention in Texas and we have corresponded over a number of years now. Joel and Dalton have been working together for a number of years now and it has been interesting to see how God has expanded each of their ministries as they have been faithful with the tasks God has given them.

A NATION IN FREEFALL

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, was asked the following question about transgenderism by a young mother: “How will you as president reverse [the Trump administration’s] dangerous and discriminatory agenda and ensure that the lives and rights of LGBTQ people are protected under U.S. law?”

The mother prefaced her question with the revelation that she is the mother of a ten-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy who identifies as transgender: “I’m the proud mom of two girls, 8 and 10. My youngest daughter is transgender.”

Here was Biden’s answer — keep in mind we are talking about an eight-year-old, a third-grader:

I will flat out just change the law. Every — eliminate those executive orders, number one… the idea that an 8-year-old child or a 10-year-old child decides, you know I decided I want to be transgender. That’s what I think I’d like to be. It would make my life a lot easier. There should be zero discrimination... and so I promise you there is no reason to suggest that there should be any right denied your daughter or daughters, whichever one or two [mother: “One.”] one, your daughter — that your other daughter has a right to be and do. None, zero. And by the way, my son Beau passed away; he was the attorney general in the state of Delaware. He was the guy who got the first transgender [sic] passed in the state of Delaware and because of a young man who became a woman who worked for him in the attorney general offices.”

While Biden’s answer is trite and unserious — presidents cannot simply change laws, for one, and the word “discrimination” masks a host of controversial policy and legal decisions that would affect everything from bathrooms and sports teams to medical insurance — what it represents should be a real wake-up call to Christians everywhere.

The former Vice President of the United States — and the current flag-bearer of a major political party who could very well be the most powerful man in the world in a matter of months — thinks it is good and right for an eight-year-old boy to be encouraged to identify as a girl. He should be able to “be and do” anything his sister is or does. 

male chromosone XY
female chromosone XX

“So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

In other words, one of the most basic, indisputable, scientifically-verifiable, essential, for-the-continuation-of-the-human-race-indispensable facts of our existence — that we are created either male or female, which affects our entire embodied existence down to every cell of the body — tossed out the window in a banal exchange without an afterthought about the seismic repercussions.

The above article is by Colin Smothers Executive Chairman of Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW)

POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter and Facebook have censored the accounts of President Donald Trump and his campaign 65 times, while censoring Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his campaign zero times, according to a new study by the Media Research Center (MRC).

“Big Tech has caused serious damage to President Donald Trump’s ability to be heard on social media,” wrote Corinne Weaver and Alec Schemmel of MRC.

In June, Facebook removed a video attacking Antifa, because it violated the platform’s “organized hate policy” for featuring an upside-down red triangle.

The Trump video asked supporters to “stand with your president and his decision to declare Antifa a Terrorist Organization.”

“There is clearly no doubt where these gargantuan tech companies stand politically,” wrote MRC’s Joseph Vazquez in a separate study published last week.

The study revealed that both Facebook and Twitter gave over 90 percent of their political contributions to Democrats for the 2020 election cycle.

Twitter recently suspended Trump’s official campaign account for sharing the bombshell New York Post report that suggests the Biden family may have been trading influence for cash during Joe Biden’s vice presidency.

I personally am increasingly getting blocked from uploading posts where I criticise transgender, homosexuality, gay marriage on Biblical grounds. Note, I listed transgender first. It surprised me that these posts would be blocked particularly when most of my articles addressed the issue of very young people attending Transgender Medical Clinics being prescribed medication to block natural sex hormone release and yet reputable medical institutions acknowledge that the long term effects of these medications administered to growing children are largely unknown and will certainly have some deleterious side effects.

There is no doubt in my mind this type of censorship will only increase and the penalties for upholding Biblical values will get worse. If you need any more proof we are in the “last days” you need to study God’s Word more intently. You do not want to be like the Pharisees and Sadducees who missed Jesus first coming despite the many prophetic scriptures giving them a detailed description of where and when He would be born, why He came and where and how He would die and be resurrected to life. There are more prophecies of Jesus second coming than of His first so make sure you get to know them. Hopefully, I can help you there, if nothing else by connecting you with the many excellent “end times” ministries.