Monthly Archives: February 2009

Has September 11 changed us?

(photo courtesy

By Spencer D Gear

Has the disaster that struck the USA on September 11 really brought us to our senses? Are we Aussies any different following this shock? Could this really happen here?

As I reflect on these events that shocked the world, I am alarmed by what I see in Australia. I spoke with a man the other day and asked if Sept. 11 has had any impact on him. His immediate response was, “All I’ve noticed are the insurance prices.”

I have not heard words like, “This could be the judgment of God on the USA. We deserve it just as much.”

At a presentation on Capitol Hill, Washington DC, in the middle of the year 2001, researcher George Barna said that, “Twenty-five years from now, historians are likely to say the year 2001 was right around the time when the era of moral and spiritual anarchy began.”[1] Barna’s comments were prophetic. His view was that within the next few years moral chaos would be inflicted on American culture.

Then came September 11.

Why limit the moral chaos to USA culture? We have it here with shocking levels of sexual abuse, out-of-control youth and children, abusive parents, and the killing of about 80,000 unborn children every year.[2]

Now the talk of embryonic stem cell research where the embryo is spoken of as just matter. Queensland Senator, Ron Boswell, told the Australian Senate on August 28 2002 about the

“false claims made by Alan Trounson. I would like to put on the record Professor Trounson’s response. His associate, Martin Pera, told ABC Radio that this is merely a simple mistake and Alan corrected [it] quite quickly.    This is very serious, because a second case of misrepresenting embryo research has come to light today. It is not a case of a simple mistake at all but one that has been repeated. First, the video was proven to be false and now a paper offered as proof that embryo cells work on motor neurone disease has turned out to be wrong as well.”[3]

What has this to do with Sept. 11?

Jeremiah the prophet warned the nation of Judah, “Even the stork in the heavens knows her times, and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming, but my people know not the rules of the Lord. (Jeremiah 8:7) Jeremiah continued to warn: “But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation. (Jer. 10:10)

What brings on God’s wrath? If you read the books of Jeremiah (chs. 4, 8 & 10), Hosea and Romans (chs. 1 & 2) in the Bible, these are the kinds of activities that provoke the Lord God to wrath against humanity: the evil you have done, idolatry, no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land, sin that “breaks all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed”, “all the godlessness and wickedness of men”; and because of “your stubbornness and unrepentant heart.”

I heard little of this kind of assessment in the 12 months following September 11, 2001. Those who proclaim peace when there is no peace are false prophets who will be brought down with the other sinful people when judgment comes. See Jeremiah 6:13-15. There is a clear link between sin and judgment.

David Chilton explained how this applies to contemporary American culture. He wrote:

A few years ago when I worked with the Institute for Christian Economics, a reporter for a national Christian magazine called. He was polling economists and economic writers around the country, asking us a single question: “If you could change one government policy in order to pull us out of our economic problems, what would that change be?”

“That’s easy,” I said. “Stop killing the babies.”

The journalist’s instincts were keen and he said: “Uh…what?”

“Stop killing babies,” I repeated. “You know, abortion? In case you’ve missed the story, over 4,000 unborn babies are slaughtered in this country [USA] every day. They’re poisoned, chopped in pieces, suctioned, or simply delivered and left to die. Sometimes the doctor strangles or smothers them.”

“Uh, yeah, I know that.” He sounded nervous. “But I think you misunderstood the question. I was asking what economic policy you would recommend to alleviate the country’s problems.”

“Yes, I know that. But you misunderstood my answer. I said that if I could change only one thing to solve our economic problems, I would stop abortion.

That’s not the only thing wrong, of course. Many other things should be stopped, such as the government’s manipulation of money and credit. Confiscatory taxation should be stopped. Protectionism should be abolished. Fractional reserve banking should be outlawed. We could talk about a lot of things. But you asked for one thing. Life isn’t that simple, but I was willing to play along. So I said baby-killing.”

“Wait a minute,” he said, exasperated. “What has abortion got to do with our economic problems?”

“Maybe that’s the real problem,” I replied. “Here you are, a writer for a respected Christian publication, and you don’t get the connection between (a) the legalized murder of one and a half million people every year, and (b) the fact that God is selling us into economic bondage to other nations. It’s called Divine Judgment.

“And it won’t stop with mere economic judgment. Murder is a capital crime.”

       The reporter suddenly discovered he had other calls to     make.[4]

There is something fundamentally important here. God’s law is eternal. His justice works throughout history to fulfil His purposes. Nobody can escape the consequences of God’s absolute and universal law. When a nation breaks His laws, it suffers the consequences.

Australian culture is under a similar sentence of judgment. We have failed to outlaw the abominations that are plagues in our culture. Think about our acceptance of relativism. We create our own values. You believe what is right for you and I believe what is right for me – even if they are contradictory.

Consider the real consequences! If a person chooses what is right for him or her, why should we complain if that choice is the terrorism of September 11, rape, stealing, paedophilia, lying and murder? This relativism, as Frank Sinatra would sing it, “I did it my way,” is leading our nation to anarchy. After all, there is widespread endorsement of this view of ethics today in Australia, “I create my own values.”

September 11 has more in common with Hervey Bay, Qld., Australia, than you could imagine (that’s where I was living when I wrote this article). The Old Testament prophet, Obadiah, gave a warning that is very contemporary, “The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head” (Obadiah 15). Are we listening to God’s message from Obadiah and its application to Australia in the 21st century.

Nations have been warned before by prominent figures:

The Russian novelist, dramatist, historian and dissident, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), wrote:

The strength or weakness of a society depends more on the level of its spiritual life than on its level of industrialization. Neither a market economy nor even general abundance constitutes the crowning achievement of human life. If a nation’s spiritual energies have been exhausted, it will not be saved from collapse by the most perfect government structure or by industrial development: a tree with a rotten core cannot stand.[5]

“When there is no God, everything is permitted. Crime becomes inevitable” said Ivan, one of the characters in Fyodor Dostoyevski (1821-1881), Russian fiction writer, essayist and philosopher.[6]

We must be serious about the implications of September 11. So far, it hasn’t changed us much at all.

Will it take a similar tragedy at Parliament House (when parliament is sitting), Canberra, or a packed-out Sydney Opera House to move us? How will we respond to the terrible and tragic fires that have devastated the state of Victoria, Australia, in February 2009, killing more than 180 people?[7]

We live in a universe with moral laws. The laws are those of the character of God Himself. When we break those laws, we have moral guilt before the Great Judge. The most loving thing we can do is to warn of judgment when God’s laws are flaunted as they are in Australia.

We urgently need another John Bunyan who will show us what happens when we turn to Vanity Fair.[8]


[1] Cited in Charles Coleson, 19 July 2001, Breakpoint Commentaries, “In and of the world,” available from: [Accessed 15 February 2009].

[2] At the time of writing this article in 2005, accurate abortion statistics were difficult to determine in Australia. The government has provided this explanation at, “Research Brief no. 9 2004–05: How many abortions are there in Australia? A discussion of abortion statistics, their limitations, and options for improved statistical collection,” 14 February 2005, available from: [Accessed 15 February 2009].

[3] Senator Ron Boswell, Commonwealth of Australia Parliamentary Debates, Senate Official Hansard, No. 8 2002, Wednesday, 28 August 2002, p. 3908, available from: [Accessed 15 February 2009].

[4] David Chilton, Power in the Blood: A Christian Response to AIDS. Brentwood, Tennessee: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc., 1987, pp. 41-42.

[5] Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 1991, “Our own democracy – the future of democracy in the Soviet Union,” National Review, September 23, Available from “Find Articles,” at: [Accessed 28 January 2007].

[6] Edward Wasiolek, “Fyodor Dostoevsky, ‘If God Does Not Exist, Then Everything Is Permitted’ (argued by character, Ivan, in The Brothers Karamazov), available from: [cited 28 January 2007], also quoted in Charles Colson with Ellen Santilli Vaughn, The God of Stones & Spiders. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1990, p. viii.

[7] Australian Federal Police, 14 February 2009, “Australia fire survivors in emotional return to ruined town,” available from: [cited 15 February 2009]. See also Bonnie Malkin, 11 February 2009, “Australia bush fires: Residents return to burned out homes as death toll climbs,” The Telegraph [UK}, available from: [Accessed 15 February 2009].

[8] John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress, ch. 6, “Vanity Fair,” available from: [Accessed 15 February 2009]. A paperback edition is available as a thrift edition: John Bunyan 2003, Pilgrim’s Progress, Dover Publications, Mineola, N.Y. It was first published in 1678.

Copyright © 2005 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 19 June 2016.


Just accept it by faith — a No! No!

Take Flight



Spencer D Gear

Time Australia magazine, 10 January 2005, published this letter: As a “Sunday-School teacher, I tell my students what most of us here in the Bible Belt [USA] believe: the Scripture is the inerrant word of God, given by inspiration to the writers of the Bible. That Matthew and Luke record different details makes neither of them inaccurate. Nor does the fact that some of this cannot be corroborated by other sources. That’s why we call it faith.”[1a]

This was a response to a liberal theological view in Time that debunked the Christmas story.Is this teacher’s response the way to go with Aussies who don’t care about God and the Bible?This view seems to be a blind leap of Bible-Belt faith that accepts the inspired, infallible word of God.

When the apostle Paul was dealing with those in the synagogue, the marketplace and with the pagan philosophers at Mars Hill (the Areopagus), Athens, he took a different line (see Acts 17:16-34).

If they didn’t care about God, he started where they were with their issues.He got to know his audience: “He was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols” (v. 16). If God was not at the forefront of their views, he reasoned daily with them – even in the marketplace (v. 17).This was no one-way communication.It was a vigorous question and answer dialogue.

On Mars Hill, the apostle showed us how to do it:

Know people and their “idols” (vv. 16-22);

Nature of God and human beings (vv. 23-27);

Ordinary quotes from life (vv. 28-29);

Word of God (repent, judgement, resurrection, vv. 30-31).

This is hardly a politically correct method in these days of so-called tolerance toward many things – except tolerance toward born-again Christianity.

One contemporary apologist says that we need to unmask the “intellectual bluff” of people and “follow-through” with an exposé of their ways.[1b]What are some of these Aussie idols that need to be unmasked?

Following the events of Sept. 11, 2001 and the tsunami in Dec. 2004, I received comments such as: “What a monster of a God you have who would allow such slaughter!””Did your God cause this?He’s a cosmic Saddam Hussein.”We need solid answers to the problem of evil.

J. B. Phillips wrote: “Evil is inherent in the risky gift of free will. . .Exercise of free choice in the direction of evil is what we call the ‘fall’ of man, is the basic reason for evil and suffering in the world.It is man’s responsibility, not God’s.He could stop it, but in so doing would destroy us all.”[2] So, do you want God to wipe out all evil?Also take a read of Genesis ch. 3 to understand the origin of evil. Check out Ron Rhodes, Why Do Bad Things Happen If God Is Good?[3]

Around Christmas & Easter times, trusty old chestnuts are trotted out.

Recently, flack against the Bible has been fuelled by the mass media coverage given to the Jesus Seminar Fellows and others of their kind.These Fellows concluded that “eighty-two percent of the words ascribed to Jesus in the gospels were not actually spoken by him.”[4]

Dr. John K. Williams, retired Uniting Church minister, wrote in The Age, January 19 2004: “An evangelist who preaches the ‘old time religion’ is asking hearers to stake the living of their lives upon beliefs for which there is no evidence whatsoever and that fly against humankind’s painfully acquired knowledge of the world and of themselves. That is not simply, as we today are taught to say, a ‘big ask’ but an outrageous ask.”[5]

In responding, we could examine: (a) What are a writer’s presuppositions about the nature of God and the supernatural?Has he/she reached conclusions before considering the evidence? (b) What is the evidence in support of the reliability of any document from history, including Julius Caesar, Captain James Cook, the Old & New Testaments?

F. F. Bruce, formerly of the University of Manchester, investigated the accuracy of the New Testament and concluded: “The earliest preachers of the gospel knew the value of this first-hand testimony, and appealed to it time and again.’We are witnesses of these things,’ was their constant and confident assertion.And it can have been by no means so easy as some writers seem to think to invent words and deeds of Jesus in those early years, when so many of His disciples were about, who could remember what had and had not happened… The disciples could not afford to risk inaccuracies.”[6]

All of us can be guilty of assuming the truth or otherwise before we deal with the evidence.Check out these resources: F. F. Bruce[7], Walter C. Kaiser Jr., The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable & Relevant?[8] and K. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament.[9] Kitchen concludes: “In terms of general reliability . . . the Old Testament comes out remarkably well, so long as its writings and writers are treated fairly and evenhandedly.”[10]

Biblical Christianity does not say, “Just believe!”It provides evidence for faith: “After his suffering, [Jesus] showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). Unthinking Christianity is sick Christianity.

To God Be the Glory!

[1a]  Available from:,9171,1013262,00.html [cited 18 June 2009].

[1b] J. Budziszewski 2003, “Off to College: Can We Keep them?” in Ravi Zacharias & Norman Geisler (gen. eds.), Is Your Church Ready?  Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Zondervan, p. 121.

[2] Cited in Paul E. Little 1987, Know Why You Believe, Victor Books, Wheaton, IL., pp. 115-116.

[3] 2004, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon.

[4] Robert W. Funk, Roy W. Hoover and the Jesus Seminar 1993, The Five Gospels, Macmillan Publishing Company (A Polebridge Press Book), New York, p. 5.

[5] Williams, J. K. 2004, ‘It’s not good enough for us’, The Age [Melbourne, Australia], January 19 2004.

[6] F. F. Bruce 1960, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, pp. 45-46 (a revised 2003 edition is available).

[7] Ibid.

[8] 2001, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

[9] 2003, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.

[10] Ibid., p. 500.

Content of the Gospel and Discipleship[1]

Ticket to Heaven
(courtesy ChristArt)

Compiled by Spencer D Gear [1a]

Some people ask me questions such as these:

  • What must I accept and do in order to become a Christian?
  • What’s the difference between a real Christian and one who goes to church?
  • What must I do to receive salvation?
  • How can I get to heaven and avoid hell?

 The following broad outline is designed to answer these questions.

A. You must understand God’s holiness.

 “God’s holiness means that he is separated from sin and devoted to seeking his own honor.”[2]

Proverbs 9:10; Psalm 111:10; Job 28:28; Proverbs 1:7; 15:33; Micah 6:9.

1. God is utterly holy and His law, therefore, demands perfect holiness.

See Leviticus 11:44-45; Joshua 24:19; I Samuel 2:2; 6:20.

2. Even the New Testament gospel requires this holiness.

See I Peter 1:15-16; Hebrews 12:14.

3. Because the Lord God Almighty is holy, He hates sin.

Exodus 20:5.

4. Sinners cannot stand before Him

¨ What is sin? “Sin is any failure to conform to the moral law of God in act, attitude, or nature. . . Sin is more than simply painful and destructive–it is also wrong in the deepest sense of the word. . . Sin is directly opposite to all that is good in the character of God.”[3]

Psalm 1:5

B. You must understand God’s righteousness/justice.

In English, the terms “righteousness” and “justice” are different words. This is not so in the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament. There is only one word group behind these two English terms.[4]

1. What is God’s righteousness/justice?

  • “God always acts in accordance with what is right and is himself the final standard of what is right.”[5]
  • What is right or just? “Whatever conforms to God’s moral character is right.”[6]
  • Deuteronomy 32:4; Genesis 18:25; Psalm 19:8; Isaiah 45:19; Romans 9:20-21.

2. Christ’s sacrifice was to show God’s righteousness

When God sent Christ as a sacrifice to bear the punishment for sin, it was to show God’s righteousness. See Romans 3:25-26.

C. You must understand that you are a sinner who sins & God hates sin.

  • Gospel means “good news.”
  • What makes it truly “good news” is not only that heaven is free, but also God’s Son has conquered that sin.
  • Jesus said: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). What do you think Jesus meant by that?

1. Sin is what it is that makes true peace impossible for unbelievers.

Isaiah 57:20-21

2. All have sinned.

Romans 3:10-18

3. Sin makes the sinner worthy of death.

James 1:5; Romans 6:23

4. Sinners can do nothing to earn salvation.

Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16; Revelation 21:8

D. You must understand the wrath(anger) of God.

“If God loves all that is right and good, and all that conforms to his moral character, then it should not be surprising that he would hate everything that is opposed to his moral character. God’s wrath directed against sin is therefore closely related to God’s holiness and justice.”[7]

1. What is the wrath of God?

“God’s wrath means that he intensely hates all sin.”[8]

Exodus 32:9-10; Deuteronomy 9:7-8; 29:23; 2 Kings 22:13; John 3:36; Romans 1:18; 2:5, 8; 5:9; 9:22; Colossians 3:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2:16; 5:9; Hebrews 3:11; Revelation 6:16-17; 19:15.

2. God is slow to inflict his wrath on people. Why?

See Psalm 103:8-9; Romans 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9-10.

E. How can God’s wrath be pacified/appeased?

1. God has provided a way through blood-sacrifice.

Leviticus 8:15; 17:11

2. By Christ’s death (blood-sacrifice), he appeased the wrath of God.

Hebrews 9:7, 12, 20, 22, 24.

3. God calls this “propitiation” and it makes God favourable towards sinners.

Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17; I John 2:2; 45:10 (atoning sacrifice/sacrifice of atonement = propitiation)

  • Propitiation is important “because it is the heart of the doctrine of the atonement. It means that there is an eternal, unchangeable requirement in the holiness and justice of God that sin be paid for. Furthermore, before the atonement ever could have an effect on our subjective consciousness, it first had an effect on God and his relation to the sinners he planned to redeem. Apart from this central truth, the death of Christ really cannot be adequately understood.”[9]

  • “The atonement is the work Christ did in his life and death to earn our salvation.”[10]

F. Who is Christ and what has He done for you?

The solution for the sinner is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

1. Christ is eternally God

John 1:1-3, 14; Colossians 2:9

2. Christ is Lord of all

Revelation 17:14; Philippians 2:9-11; Acts 10:36

3. Christ became man

Philippians 2:6-7

4. Christ is utterly pure and sinless

Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22-23; 1 John 3:5

5. The sinless one became a sacrifice for YOUR sin

Corinthians 5:21; Titus 2:14

6. He shed His own blood as an atonement for sin

Ephesians 1:7-8; Revelation 1:5

7. He died on the cross to provide a way of salvation for sinners

1 Peter 2:24; Colossians 1:20

8. Christ rose triumphantly from the dead

Romans 1:4; 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

G. What does God demand of you?

“Repentant faith is the requirement. It is NOT merely a ‘decision’ to trust Christ for eternal life, but a wholesale forsaking of everything else we trust, and a turning to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.”[11]

1. Repent

What is repentance? “Repentance is a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ.”[12]

Ezekiel 18:30, 32; Acts 17:30; 26:2

2. Turn your heart from all that you know dishonours God

Thessalonians 1:9

      3. Follow Jesus

Luke 9:23, 62; John 12:26

4. Trust Jesus as your Lord and Saviour

Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9

5. Repentance and faith continue throughout your life

Repentance and faith must start together at the beginning of the Christian life. See Acts 20:21. Repentance and faith must be lived by Christians throughout their lives.

Concerning faith, see Galatians 2:20; I Corinthians 13:13.

Concerning repentance, see Revelation 3:19; 2 Corinthians 7:10

H. You must count the cost of following Jesus with much thought.

  • Salvation is absolutely free.
  • So is joining the army; you don’t have to pay to get into it. Everything you need is provided.[13]
  • Following Christ is like joining the army. It will cost you daily. It will cost you freedom, family, friends, doing things your own way (autonomy), and possibly even your life.[14]
  • I must tell you, a prospective believer, the full truth and nothing but the truth.
  • Read what Jesus said about this in Luke 14:26-33; Matthew 10:34-38; Romans 6:6.

A.W. Tozer wrote:

“The cross is the most revolutionary thing ever to appear among men. The cross of Roman times knew no compromise; it never made concessions. It won all its arguments by killing its opponent and silencing him for good. It spared not Christ, but slew Him the same as the rest. He was alive when they hung Him on that cross and completely dead when they took Him down six hours later. That was the cross the first time it appeared in Christian history. . . The cross effects [i.e. brings about] its ends by destroying one established pattern, the victim’s, and creating another pattern, its own. Thus it always has its way. It wins by defeating its opponent and imposing its will upon him. It always dominates. It never compromises, never dickers nor confers, never surrenders a point for the sake of peace. It cares not for peace; it cares only to end its opposition as fast as possible.

With perfect knowledge of all this, Christ said, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.’ So the cross not only brings Christ’s life to an end, it ends also the first life, the old life, of every one of His true followers. It destroys the old pattern, the Adam pattern, in the believer’s life, and brings it to an end. Then the God who raised Christ from the dead raises the believer and a new life begins.

This, and nothing less, is true Christianity. . .

We must do something about the cross, and one of two things only we can do – flee it or die upon it.”[15]

  • Read Mark 8:35-37.

I. I urge you to trust (have faith in) Christ alone for your salvation.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:11, 20; Isaiah 55:7; Romans 10:9-10;
  • What will you do with Jesus?

J. After you trust Christ alone, what should you do? Where do good works fit in?

  • Good works: See Hebrews 5:9; Titus 2:14; Ephesians 2:10;
  • Baptism: See Acts 2:28; 8:36-39; Mark 16:16; Romans 4:10-11;
  • Join with a local church. See Hebrews 10:25.

K. What was the first creed of the early church?

See Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5.

L. How will you know that you are a Christian?

1. You presently continue to trust Christ for salvation

Colossians 1:23; Hebrews 3:14; 6:12; John 3:16 (“believes” means “continues believing in him.”[16])

2. There will be evidence in your heart of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit[17]

  • Through the subjective testimony of the Holy Spirit within your hearts. Romans 8:14-16; 1 John 4:13.
  • Your life will produce the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23
  • You continue to believe and accept the sound teaching of the church. 1 John 2:23-24
  • You will have a continuing relationship with Jesus Christ. John 15:4, 7
  • You will have a life of obedience to God’s commands. 1 John 2:4-6, 10, 19; 3:9-10, 14, 17, 24; 4:7; 5:18; James 2:17-18.
  • You will give to needy people. Matthew 25:31-46

3. You will have a long-term pattern of growth and obedience in your Christian life

2 peter 1:5-7, 10; John 6:40

M. How will other people know that you are a Christian?

By the fruit in your life

Galatians 5:22-23; Matthew 7:16-20; 25:31-46; James 2:17-18

N. Do you want to repent and trust Christ alone for your salvation and live eternally for and with him?

O. What happens to those who reject God’s offer of salvation?

Because God is an absolutely just God, if you reject his offer of salvation you will receive the consequences God has decided. At death, God sends you to hell.

1. Hell forever

“Hell is a place of eternal conscious punishment for the wicked.”[18] David Kingdon writes: “Sin against the Creator is heinous to a degree utterly beyond our sin-warped imaginations’ [ability] to conceive of. . . Who would have the temerity to suggest to God what the punishment . . . should be?”[19]

Matthew 25:30, 41, 46; Mark 9:43, 48; Luke 16:22-24, 28; Revelation 14:9-11; 19:3

2. Is hell just?

Revelation 19:1-3


[1] This summary of the content of the Gospel is based on John F. MacArthur Jr., Faith Works: The Gospel According to the Apostles. Milton Keynes, England: Word Publishing, 1993, p. 247ff.

[1a] Spencer D Gear PhD is ordained with the Christian & Missionary Alliance Australia, is an independent researcher, Bible teacher and Christian apologist, based in Brisbane, Qld, Australia.

[2] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994, p. 201

[3] Ibid., p. 490, 492.

[4] Ibid., p. 203.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid., p. 204.

[7] Ibid., pp. 205-206.

[8] Ibid., p. 206.

[9] Ibid., p. 575.

[10] Ibid., p. 568.

[11] MacArthur., p. 252.

[12] Grudem, p. 713.

[13] MacArthur, p. 253.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid., pp. 254-55, from A. W. Tozer, The Root of the Righteous. Harrisburg, Pa.: Christian Publications, 1955, pp. 61-63.

[16] Grudem, p. 803.

[17] Ibid., p. 803-806.

[18] Ibid., p. 1148.

[19] In ibid., p. 1151

Copyright © 2012 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 14 December 2015.

Answering Bright Atheists [1]

By Spencer D Gear

Some prominent Australians have identified themselves as atheists. These include Australia’s 21st Governor-General and federal minister in Gough Whitlam’s Labor government, Bill Hayden.  He refused to swear on the Bible when he became Governor-General in 1989.  Atheism is alive and well to the point that while I was surfing the Internet recently, I came across this link to a fellow promoting that he is legally ordained as an atheist with the Universal Life Church.

To put it simply, an atheist is a person who does not believe in the existence of God. How many atheists are there in the world?  In a 1991 worldwide poll, it was found that 4.4% of the world’s population were atheists.[3] However, if we add the figure of “non-religious,” the highest figure rises to about 20% of the world population, or about 1.2 billion people.[4] Most of these would be agnostic – they are not sure about whether God exists.  According to the International Bulletin of Missionary Research by David B. Barrett & Todd M. Johnson, the estimated number of atheists worldwide in mid-2005 was 151,548,000 and the numbers are decreasing.[5]

This should not cause Christians to become complacent.  There is a group of atheists making its presence felt on the Internet.  I encountered a couple of them recently, making their views known on a Christian forum.  They called themselves, “Brights” (see also, The Brights) and one of them claimed that he was a person whose worldview was entirely naturalistic, with no room for the mystical or supernatural.  They have as much right to be debating on the Internet as I have as an evangelical Christian who is committed to proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This gospel presents Jesus Christ as the one and only way to eternal life (John 14:6; Acts 4:12) but I found these atheists to be just as one-eyed with their views.  I’ll share some of my interaction with Frank (not his real name).

The kinds of questions raised by Frank point to a need for Christian teaching in our churches that seems not to have received high priority for everyday believers in the part of Australia where I live.  This ministry was critical to the survival of the early church and there is an urgent call for it today.  I’m speaking of the theological discipline of apologetics – a defence of the Christian faith. 

First Peter 3:15-16 calls all of us: “In your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience” (ESV).  “A defense” (ESV, NASB) is translated by the KJV and NIV as “an answer.”  This is too weak a translation as the original Greek, “apologia,” refers to a defence before a judge in the court (as in Acts 22:1; 25:16).  This is the responsibility of every believer to defend his or her case as to what this hope in Christ means. This is everyone’s responsibility when unbelievers and believers question the basis of our faith. 

After the death of the twelve apostles, those who defended the Christian faith (apologists) had a prominent ministry in the church.  These names may not be as well-known today as Frank Peretti, Rick Warren, James Dobson and Tim LaHaye, but the Lord provided the ministry gift of the apologist to expose secular thinking and defend the Christian faith in those early centuries. 

I’m speaking of  Christian leaders in the first five centuries of the church such as: Justin Martyr, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus of Antioch, Tertullian, Origen and Augustine.  With the exception of  St. Augustine, most of these are not well known in today’s church, but they exercised critical ministries in a hostile pagan world for the early church.

Justin Martyr (from André Thevet)

Justin Martyr

Tertullian of Carthage (from André Thevet)


Augustine of Hippo (from André Thevet)

St Augustine

As apologists, they had positive and negative ministries through their writings.  “Negatively, they sought to refute the false charges of atheism, cannibalism, incest, indolence, and anti-social action” of their pagan neighbours and writers.  “They also developed a positive, constructive approach by showing that in contrast to Christianity, Judaism, pagan religions and state worship were foolish and sinful.”[6]

These people were obedient to the apostle Peter’s call to persecuted believers in first century culture (1 Pt. 3:15).

We of the West continue to live in antagonistic cultures to Christian claims.  Today the ministry of the apologist is sorely needed.  Recently I engaged in some apologetic response swith Frank, a Bright.  The name, “Bright,” in referring to atheists, seems to be derived from the time of the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, 17th –18th  centuries.  It was an intellectual revolution that attempted to exclude faith from cultural influence.  It marked the birth of secularism.

Frank’s pointed questions are deserving of a considered response.

A.  An atheist’s good questions

This is my summary of Frank’s concerns.  They need good answers of defense:

1. If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-merciful and all-good, why would He allow people to live and die without the opportunity of salvation?
2. Why isn’t God’s word available universally?
3. Frank does not believe in free will.
4. Wouldn’t it be fair for God to allow people to choose Him (and not be coerced) by allowing the Gospel to be available to everyone?
5. There are many people who live and die without hearing your Gospel.
6. If the only way to salvation is through Christ, how is it merciful or good for God not to make salvation available to all people?
7. Frank lives in a country where the Word of God is available to him.  He has rejected it and objects to the Christian claim that he faces eternal damnation after death, merely because he has not accepted Jesus as his Saviour.
8. How is eternal damnation for unbelievers “all-merciful”?
9. Why is accepting God’s Word necessary when he can get into heaven another way?

I attempted to address one of these questions.

B. Why would God allow people to live and die without the opportunity of salvation?

Thoughtful Christians have often asked this another way, “Are the unevangelised lost?”  Or, “What happens to those who have never heard the Gospel?”  This applies to those who lived before and after Christ.  How will the person who has no Bible translation and no missionaries be exposed to the gospel message that will lead to salvation?  Or, are they forever lost without the Gospel?  If so, is this fair of God?

There is something critical that we need to understand.

1. We deserve nothing from God

Before the fall of the human race into sin, God warned Adam:

And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17).

There is nothing complicated here.  The future of the human race depended on one and only one divine prohibition.  Adam had only one divine command to remember at this point of the human race, but the command was serious with “the strongest form of prohibition,” evidenced by the translation, “You must not eat.”  The penalty was: “dying you shall die,” which means that you shall “certainly die.”[7]

This at once raises the question, “Why was this penalty not carried out as threatened?”  We answer: “It was; if the Biblical concept of dying is kept in mind, as it unfolds itself ever more clearly from age to age.” Dying is separation from God.  That separation occurred the very moment when man by his disobedience broke the bond of love.  If physical death ultimately closes the experience, that is not the most serious aspect of the whole affair.  The more serious is the inner spiritual separation.[8]

Since God writes the laws of the universe, when Adam disobeyed God by eating of the fruit, human beings (Adam as our representative) immediately entered the world of death – separation from God, including physical death.
Why couldn’t God have changed his mind as some theological liberals want to contend?  If God did an about-turn on this threatened punishment, he would be like a fickle parent who gives severe threats to his children and then does a flip-flop when he is faced with the child’s consequences.  God is not like that.  What he says he means!

We are assured that God’s nature is unchangeable: “You [God] remain the same, and your years will never end” (Ps. 102:27); “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed” (Mal. 3:6).  Isaiah 46:9-11 states it powerfully:

I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say: My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please. . .
What I have said, that will I bring about;
what I have planned, that will I do.

You can depend absolutely on what God says.  He will not change his mind.  Since God warned Adam that sinning would amount to the consequence of separation from God, that is exactly what happened when Eve disobeyed by listening to and obeying the serpent’s temptation, “You will not surely die” (Gen. 3:4).  God’s consequences followed.

Therefore, we deserve nothing other than eternal separation from God.  God could have allowed all human beings to go on their wilful way and be separated from God forever.  This would mean that all people would be damned because of the sinful choice by Adam and Eve as our representatives.  If God had chosen to save nobody from all of humanity, he would be completely just and nobody would complain about his unfairness.

If [God] had decided to save only five human beings out of the entire human race, that would have been much more than justice: it would have been a great demonstration of mercy and grace.  If he had decided to save only one hundred out of the whole human race, it would have been an amazing demonstration of mercy and love.  But God in fact has chosen to do much more than that.  He has decided to redeem out of sinful mankind a great multitude, whom no man can number, “from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9).  This is incalculable mercy and love, far beyond our comprehension.  It is all undeserved favor: it is all of grace.[9]

In God’s justice, he did not change the punishment when Adam and Eve sinned.  However, in his mercy, grace and love, he provided a way for people “from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” to be saved.  God promised this Saviour in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

How does that work out with people who have never ever heard the Gospel?

2.  Some foundational truths

Before we examine how God reaches out to the people who have never heard the gospel, we need to nail down some fundamental teaching about God’s view of salvation for any people.

a. All people are in a sinful, lost condition

The Bible is clear that all people are sinful from conception (Ps. 51:5) and that all people are “by nature objects of [God’s] wrath” (Eph. 2:3).  Rom. 5:12 confirms that “just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.”

b. The lost are damned forever

One of the best known portions of Scripture confirms the eternal condition of those who do not believe (put their trust) in Jesus Christ:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God (John 3:16-18 ESV).

c. There is only one Saviour

God’s word is clear that there is no salvation apart from Christ’s work of redemption.  Jesus said, “”I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).  When the apostle Peter preached before the Council, he declared concerning Jesus: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).  Paul, the apostle, affirmed this: “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5).

These verses confirm that there is only one way to be saved and that is through faith in Jesus Christ (see also John 3:16, 18; 5:24; Rom. 10:9ff).  The Bible holds only one view – salvation from sin is found in nobody other than faith in Jesus Christ.

So, where does that leave the ungodly who have never heard of Christ’s salvation?

For the heathen who do not have access to the Word of God or a Christian missionary proclaiming the good news, the situation is: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:20 TNIV).  Their conscience also bears witness, either accusing or excusing them (Rom. 2:15). What have they done with this light that they have received? 

3.  Eternity in their hearts

There’s a fascinating verse that appears in a rather neglected book of the Bible,  Ecclesiastes 3:11, that provides a window into God’s view of the unevangelised: “God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end” (NLT).  What does it mean that God has placed eternity into a person’s heart (inner being)?

Don Richardson wrote a provocative non-fiction book back in 1981, Eternity in their Hearts: Startling Evidence of Belief in the One True God in Hundreds of Cultures throughout the World.[10] He examined cultures and histories from around the world and presented testimonies of missionaries who went into pagan cultures.  This book showed how God had been active amongst unreached, unevangelised people groups.

Richardson provided evidence of God’s action amongst these unreached peoples, pointing towards redemption.  Many of these people had been prepared for the Gospel’s entrance.  This book provides remarkable evidence for people like me who grieve over the answer to this question: “What about those who have never heard the Gospel, whether that be in the Old Testament era, or after Christ?”

Current world population is 6.35 billion people as I type in August 2005.[11] The population of unreached people groups is about 2.5 billion people.  This means that 39.4% of the world’s population groups have not been reached with the Gospel of Christ.[12]

In his first chapter, Richardson gives the story behind the altar “to the unknown god” that the apostle Paul found when he went to the Areopagus in Athens, told in Acts 17:23.  Richardson’s chapter also tells the stories of other biblical examples of God’s evidence and action amongst pagans (Canaanites, Melchizedek – see Hebrews 7, Genesis 14, Psalm 110).

The story is told of the Incas and their renewal under Pachacutec,  the builder of the mountain fortress Machu Picchu, who believed in a triune creator.  Pachacutec (aka Pachacuti) attempted to direct his people to the worship of Viracocha, the creator.  However, much of his time was spent in building temples to Inti, the Inca sun god.  This happened before his renewal.  Unfortunately he limited the worship of Viracocha (God) to the upper classes.  Nevertheless, there was evidence among unbelievers of seeking after the worship of the creator God.

Richardson tells of the Santal people of India who had legends about being reconciled to Thakur Jiu, who was the “genuine God” in Santal.  It was not surprising that these people were enraptured with the Gospel message when it reach them through missionaries, Lars Skrefsrud and Hans Borrenson, in 1867.[13]
Now to a response.

C.  A reply to Frank

You raised a number of thought-provoking matters for me as a Christian believer.  I’ll only tackle one of your issues. You ask: “If god is all-knowing, all-merciful, all-good, and all-powerful (and I may have left out some “alls”), why does s/he permit some humans to live and die without an opportunity to be saved? Why is god’s word not universally available? . . .  many humans live and die without ever having heard of the Bible, Jesus Christ, or christianity. Are they saved anyway?”

It seems to me that you need to consider the following:

Your statement here assumes too much.  From a finite human perspective, your explanation seems as though it sinks the Christian ship, that God has not revealed himself to all human beings.  But when I check God’s view I find something quite different.   Take a look at the Book of Romans 1:18-20:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (ESV).

Based on God’s revelation of himself in the natural world, he states that we are “without excuse.”  I find this world replete with intelligent design, behind which is the Intelligent Designer.  When I look at the plan of my human eye, right down to the design of the universe, I am overwhelmed by the nature of the Intelligent Designer behind it.

I read in the January 1994 issue of National Geographic: “Several hundred billion spinning stars revolve around the center of the Milky Way galaxy.  Midway out its arms, stars—including our sun—move at about 500,000 miles per hour, taking 250 million years to make a single circuit.”[14] That is only one galaxy.  How many galaxies are there in the universe?  When I examine the enormity and design of the cosmos I see what God means.  This is light from God (about himself) from creation.  What have we done with it?

This all-loving, all-knowing magnificent Creator, Lord and Saviour of the universe has declared that on the basis of general revelation in the world around us, all people “are without excuse” before Him.   Neither you nor I writes the laws of the universe (we only discover them), but the God who made us declares without equivocation that all of us will face Him, but we will not be excused for not knowing God.  He’s the absolutely just God.  Of God, the Rock, it is stated,  “All his ways are justice.  A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he” (Deut. 32:4 ESV).
There will be no lawyers or judicial decisions that fake the evidence when we face Him.  On the basis of God’s evidence, we stand defenceless before Him.  What have all these human beings done with the light that God has already provided?

I want to pick up a point that I would like you to ponder.  You stated, “I am a Bright.  Specifically, I’m an atheist.”  For you to affirm a universal negative that God does not exist (atheism), you have to look behind every nook and cranny on Mars, Jupiter, Neptune, etc., and under every leaf of the cane fields, avocado trees and macadamia nut trees, wild carrots and thistles in the yards, in my region, plus everywhere else in the universe – all at the same time.

I find atheism to be an absurd position.  You need the omniscience (all-knowledge) of God himself to be able to assert such a universal negative view.  I consider atheism to be illogical on these grounds.

I note that former British philosophical atheist, Antony Flew, has become a theist.  He told Christian philosopher & apologist, Gary Habermas, “I don’t believe in the God of any revelatory system, although I am open to that.  But it seems to me that the case for an Aristotlean God who has the characteristics of power and also intelligence is now much stronger than it ever was before.”[15] The New York Times (16 April 2010) reported, “Antony Flew, Philosopher and Ex-Atheist, Dies at 87” (died 8 April 2010, Reading, England).

French atheistic novelist and philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre, wrote: “The idea that a transcendent, creator God does not exist is fairly unique to this [20th] century.  If there is no infinite, personal, creator-God who transcends His creation then there is no infinite reference point which can give meaning to the particulars of life.  Man is alone, there is only the cosmos, and man’s consciousness of himself.”[16]

Sartre rejected the infinite reference point but Jesus claimed this infinite reference point as God.  When I consider the Intelligent Design in the universe, history, archaeology, Old Testament and New Testament prophecy, the manuscript evidence that affirms the integrity of the Scriptures, the logical consistency of the Christian world and life view, and the lives changed through an encounter with the living Christ, I have not been able to find a serious contender – and certainly not in atheism.

However, Jesus did say, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14). 

Sounds to me, Frank, that you have chosen the gate that is wide to destruction.  To do that, you have suppressed the truth that God has revealed in creation. 

Thank you for considering these matters.

D.  Frank’s atheistic reply

How does an atheist respond to a theist like me who quoted Romans 1:18-20, showing that all human being “are without excuse” before God when it comes to knowledge of God’s “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature” as these “have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made”?

Frank began his reply by telling that when he checked “god’s view,” he could interpret it many ways and that the many different religious beliefs confirm his view.  Please notice what he did.  Even though he quoted the Romans passage that I gave him, he did not deal with the content of this passage but used a customary diversionary tactic.

This is how I responded:

You have scuttled our prospects of having a rational conversation with your using logical fallacies.  Here you have erected a straw man by drawing a false picture of my argument.  Your use of the straw man here is enough to show me your attempt to get away from the exact content of my post. 

His response was primarily imposing his agenda of atheistic naturalism, with no possibility of supernatural intervention.  He spoke of other Christians and me as “CF denizens,” ie. Christian fundamentalist aliens.
At one point Frank wrote, “But I understand your basic point that I am over-assuming when I say that there are people who live their whole lives without being exposed to god.”

That’s not what I said at all.  My quoting from Romans ch. 1 stated clearly, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.”  This applies to all people everywhere – including you, Frank.  This is your use of a fallacy again. [Frank referred to the remote tribesman who has no opportunity to hear of anything like Christianity.  He begged to differ with the biblical evidence that god’s existence is clearly apparent in the universe and is sufficient to alert any person of the existence of God.]

In speaking of the knowledge of God in creation, you stated: “Even if it’s true, you seem to be implying that mere recognition of some vaguely defined, ‘higher (supernatural) power’ is sufficient for salvation, as opposed to getting and embracing the christian message. Am I right on this?” 

Dead wrong, Frank!  This is not “mere recognition” of  “some vaguely defined, ‘higher (supernatural) power.’”  What God provides in evidence from creation means that you, me and everybody else in the world stands “without excuse” before the Creator and Sustainer of the world.  Does it provide eternal salvation?  No!  But it provides us with evidence to pursue God.

But what do you, Frank, and all other God-haters and God-rejectors do with this evidence?  Exactly as Romans 1 states: “who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”  I’m not pointing the finger only at you (I was like it at one time) but it is a tragedy that from God’s view, you are responsible for your own blindness to God’s “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature.”  How?  By your suppressing God’s truth through your unrighteous living.  That’s stating it as God sees it.  I hope you realise what you are doing before it is too late. 

If I used Frank’s tactics in my Rostrum debating club, my supervisors would immediately cry, ‘Foul’, and my results would be zilch!

Peter, another Bright atheist, gave his reasons for why Frank responded as he did.  Speaking for myself, although he assumed Frank and other Brights would agree, he considers the Bible as a set of man-made stories being used to explain various aspects of a growing religion. “It is riddled with flaws and inaccuracies, and is not seen to be in any way divinely inspired. To quote from the bible to argue the point that God has revealed himself to all human beings immediately stops rational discussion from occurring.”

E.  A learning experience

1. I consider that there is an urgent need for apologetics to return to its place in biblical teaching and equipping in the local church.  The young of today are the Internet generation.  If they visit chat rooms and www forums, they will encounter agnostics, sceptics and hard-headed atheists.  Frank was of the latter category.    My response to Peter was: “You have demonstrated to me again how your position is dogmatically bigoted against evidence. Unless the evidence is your kind of evidence, you won’t listen to me.”

2. Frank was so committed to his atheistic worldview that he would not consider anything outside his naturalistic framework.  Don’t be conned by the idea that Christian evangelicals are the only ones who are fixed in their agendas.  I found as much one-eyed intolerance to beliefs among these atheists as I have ever found among evangelicals committed to the inerrancy of Scripture.  I am one of the latter group.

Monochrome head-and-left-shoulder photo portrait of 50-year-old Lewis

C. S. Lewis, courtesy Wikipedia

3. Should we persist with defending the faith among hard-headed atheists like Frank who do not want to be evangelised but claim that they desire to find out how Christians think?  The temptation is that we should not “cast our pearls before swine.”  But I am reminded of C. S. Lewis, the once hard-headed atheist before he submitted to Christ.  Lewis later wrote: “If Christianity is untrue, then no honest man will want to believe it, however helpful it might be: if it is true, every honest man will want to believe it, even if it gives him no help at all.”[17]

4. When the rules of debate are rigged, it’s very difficult to have a rational conversation.  Frank did this through his use of logical fallacies.[18] Too many Christians I know use this kind of methodology as well.  A logical fallacy is used when someone arrives at an incorrect conclusion through faulty reasoning.  However, some instructors in debating recommend the use of logical fallacies as a technique of debate (see “Logical Fallacies and the Art of Debate”).[19]

It is virtually impossible to have a reasonable discussion when somebody engages in techniques such as attacking the character of a person (ad hominem), creating a version of my story that is not correct (straw man, which Frank used).  Frank also used a stacking the deck fallacy, which means that he ignored evidence that disproved his point and only used examples supporting his anti-supernaturalism.  How did he do this?  He refused to consider the Scriptures because he contended that they were “full of contradictions and errors.”  I could not have a continuing conversation when he refused to consider all of the evidence for Christianity.  Imagine being trained to be criminal lawyer but you were refused access to knowledge of the criminal code!

5. This encounter confirmed my understanding of the unflinching bigotry of hard-headed atheism.  This is not the place for new Christians to be when they are not grounded in the faith, but, sadly, too many other Christians have faith without deep roots in the Scripture and are ill prepared for apologetic encounters.

6. Those who are engaged in this kind of apologetic ministry desperately need to have prayer intercessors.  If God could change the heart of a C. S. Lewis, he can do it again with the Franks and Peters from the atheistic establishment.
If God places it on your heart to be engaged in evangelistic discussions with non-Christians, whether they be Buddhist, Mormon, Muslim, secularist or atheist, Dean Halverson’s recommendations are on target:

blue-satin-arrow-small Be patient;
blue-satin-arrow-smallRead widely in the religion or worldview on which you are focusing, and
blue-satin-arrow-smallPray fervently.[20]

One of the leading defenders of the faith in the world today, William Lane Craig, provides this analysis:


William Lane Craig, Apologist

Courtesy Wikipedia

“Our churches are filled with Christians who are idling in intellectual neutral.  As Christians, their minds are going to waste.  One result of this is an immature, superficial faith.…  As I speak in churches around the country  [USA], I continually meet parents whose children have left the faith  because there was no one in the church to answer their questions.  For the sake of our youth, we desperately need informed parents who are equipped to wrestle with the issues at an intellectual level.”  He quotes J. Gresham Machen of an earlier generation: “The church is perishing today through the lack of thinking, not through an excess of it.”[21]


The New York Times (16 April 2010) reported, “Antony Flew, Philosopher and Ex-Atheist, Dies at 87” (died 8 April 2010, Reading, England).


John Blanchard 2000, Does God Believe in Atheists?  Evangelical Press, Darlington, England.

E. E. Cairns 1981. Christianity through the Centuries. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

William Lane Craig 1994, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois

Norman L. Geisler 1999, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Wayne Grudem 1994, Systematic Theology, Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, England.

H. C. Leupold 1942, Exposition of Genesis, vol. 1, Evangelical Press, London.

D. Richardson 1981, Eternity in Their Hearts: Startling Evidence of Belief in the One True God in Hundreds of Cultures Throughout the World, Regal Books, Ventura, Calif.

Ravi Zacharias & Norman Geisler (gen. eds.) 2003, Is Your Church Ready?  Motivating Leaders to Live an Apologetic Life, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Ravi Zacharias & Norman Geisler (gen. eds.), 2003, Who Made God? And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan.


3. John Blanchard (2000:18).
4. 2005, “Major Religions Ranked by Number of Adherents,” available from:
5. Center for the Study of Global Christianity, available from:
6. Cairns (1981:105).
7. H. C. Leupold (1942:128).
8. Ibid.
9. Wayne Grudem (1994:403).
10. D. Richardson (1981).
11. See a world population meter at:
12. Joshua Project 2005, available from:
13. Berkana 2003, “Review: Eternity in their Hearts, by Don Richardson”, available from: “Christdot” at:
14. “Guide to the Milky Way,” p. 17.
15. G. Habermas  & A. Flew 2005, “My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism: An Exclusive Interview with Former British Atheist Professor Antony Flew,” published in Philosophia Christi, Journal of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, Winter 2005, available at:
16. J. P. Sartre n.d., cited in “CIM Briefing Papers: Existentialism”, available from:
17. C. S. Lewis, excerpted from his essay “Man or Rabbit”, from God In The Dock, cited in “The Skeptic’s Prayer,” available from:
18. For a description of logical fallacies, see, “A list of fallacious arguments,” available from:
19. Available from:
20. Dean C. Halverson, “Issues and Approaches in Working with Internationals,” in Ravi Zacharias & Norman Geisler (2003:146-147).
21. William Lane Craig (1994:xi-xv).

All people are without excuse.

To God Be the Glory!


Copyright (c) 2005 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 7 October 2015.


Evil and Its Cure

(rape during occupation of Germany, Wikipedia)

By Spencer D Gear

The closest I saw a recent secular writer get to what is wrong with our world was Paul Wilson’s article, “The essence of evil.”[i] It was his response to the mass murder and suicide within the doomsday religious cult in Uganda.

He also was provoked by the retired Austrian doctor who was charged with experimenting on the brains of children who had been exterminated by the Nazis. The word, “evil,” came to his mind as he thought on these atrocities.

Evil from a secular view

Paul Wilson didn’t accept the theologians’ views of evil. Rather, he prefers psychologist, Roy Baumeister’s, simple definition that evil is “the intentional serious physical harm of another person or persons.”[ii] Simple it might be, but I am still left with questions: What causes people to want to intentionally harm anybody? Where does the motivation come from?

We need solid answers to these questions if we are ever to get to the heart of greedy, selfish, and violent examples of serious physical harm. If the evils of the Nazis are to be accounted for, and sense is to be made of the Ugandan cult murders and suicides, we must have a more penetrating explanation for the origin of evil than an intentional demonstration of serious physical harm.

That’s a description of what happens when evil is let loose, but it does not get to the core of the problem of evil

A 13-year-old boy phoned me this afternoon. His sister had poked him with a broomstick and he retaliated by thrashing her on the spine with the same stick. She is very sore and beaten. He wanted help.

You don’t have to go to the extremes of the Russian Gulag or Nazi atrocities to know that we have horrible evil in our midst. From where does it come?

Values learned in a Russian prison

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 1974crop.jpg

(Solzenitsyn in 1974, Wikipedia)


Aleksandr Solzenitsyn, the Russian writer, was exiled for many years after being expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974. His accounts of tyranny under Stalin’s communist regime led to his being exiled from his homeland. He documented “the arrest, enslavement, torture, and murder of an estimated 65 million in Soviet labour camps.”[iii] He spent 11 years[iv] in Soviet prison camps. He writes from first-hand experience of what wicked people in a putrid system can do to people.

His assessment of the state of our world is penetrating, even though it was printed 25 years ago:

If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?[v]

He explained how human beings can waiver between doing the good and reverting to the bad.

“During the life of any heart this line keeps changing place; sometimes it is squeezed one way by exuberant evil and sometimes it shifts to allow enough space for good to flourish… At times he is close to being a devil, at times to sainthood… From good to evil is one quaver, says the proverb.”[vi]

Evil is within all of us

Solzhenitsyn’s view of human nature has a strong biblical ring. It was Jesus Christ who knew human nature and cultures thoroughly. Jesus declared:

What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’[vii]

It was Solzhenitsyn, raised in an atheistic, communist society, who reached his conclusions after observing what the tyrants of his society did to people. Of course, he also was informed by a Christian worldview.

Charles Colson of Watergate fame visited the Soviet Union and its prisons. He found himself at a negotiating table with Vadim Viktorovich Bakatin, the Minister of Internal Affairs and the fourth-highest ranking official in the Communist Government.

Bakatin candidly told Colson of the crime problem in the Soviet Union, with crime increasing by 38% in 1989. Colson’s candour was as devastating as Bakatin’s admission of the crime situation:

I told him that crime is not caused by economic or political or ethnic factors. It is caused by sin — by the fundamental evil in the human heart.

In a system that rejects God, there can be no transcendent values or authority to which people are accountable — so one can only reasonably expect unfettered human behavior. And that means crime.[viii]

This message was similar to that of another Russian writer, Fyodor Dostoyevski in The Brothers Karamazov, “When there is no God, everything is permitted. Crime becomes inevitable.”[ix]

Since this is the case, R. C. Sproul’s assessment is not that shocking after all: “If you think about it, we are all really more like Adolf Hitler than like Jesus Christ.”[x] Christopher Browning wrote a very distrubing book, Ordinary Men, in which he “conveys to us that it was not a few brutes, but many good and ordinary men, who committed murder for Hitler.”[xi]

Are there solutions to the problems that are rocking our society?

These are personal problems such as crime, marriage breakdown, violence towards family members and others, sexual and domestic abuse, children’s rebellion and delinquent parents.

We have problems in society such as injustice, discrimination, poverty, war and hatred. Paul Wilson raised the crime of “three Bosnian Serb soldiers [who] became the first men to stand trial for using rape and sexual enslavement as weapons of war.”[xii]

There is sense in what Paul Wilson writes: “The recognition of past evil acts is a precursor to stopping future acts involving genocide and other forms of violence against individuals or groups.”[xiii] He approvingly quotes the Dalai Lama when dealing with the essence of evil: “Forgiving but not forgetting.”[xiv]

However, this does not deal with the core of our problems!

As to the solution to the problem, Solzhenitsyn said what is outlandish in our day, “If I were to identify the principal trait of the entire twentieth century, I would repeat once again, ‘Men have forgotten God.’”[xv]

There is a solution to the problems in our society and for us personally. It involves an accurate diagnosis of the problem of every human being — sin–something that is anathema to today’s postmodern worldview. Recognition of past evil acts will not penetrate to the core of the sin problem. The sin problem is a spiritual issue requiring God’s cure. But how will we ever get to dealing with the sin problem when there is such a public aversion to such an explanation? Our secular society has rejected that which provides ultimate answers.

Martin Luther was spot on when he said that “the ultimate proof of the sinner is that he doesn’t know his own sin. Our job is to make him see it.”[xvi]

Evil and Good News

The solution to personal and society ills is that given by the Lord Almighty. It is called the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Truly it is “good news” (the meaning of the word, “Gospel”) Briefly, it involves these actions:[xvii]

1. There is something to admit.

You need to admit the core of your human problem — sin. Acknowledge that you have broken God’s laws, falling short of God’s standards, and rejecting his love and authority over us (see I John 3:4; James 4:17; John 3:18). At heart we are rebels and enemies of God and we need to own up to it.

2. There is something to believe.

The contents of your belief are not extensive, but they are demanding. Recognise who Jesus

is: He is God-man who has come to rescue us. That’s what the word Jesus means, “God to the rescue.” The Easter event is accurately described as the ultimate rescue.[xviii] This annual celebration reminds us that:

  • The Jesus who became flesh,
  • Died on the Cross for our sin (he took God’s punishment that all of us deserve).
  • He is alive forever through his resurrection from the dead. Bible verses such as Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:18; Galatians 3:10 and Mark 10:45 help us see the mystery of God himself dealing with our sins by putting the weight of them on Christ. You need to understand the heart of the cross of Christ and his atonement clearly grasp how the guilt of human sin can be atoned.. This rescue by God through Christ, reconciled those who repent and confess to God.

3. Consider this!

To follow Jesus Christ as a disciple is costly. Entrance to the Christian life is free, but it will cost you the commitment of your whole being for all of your life. Read Luke 14:25-35. You will be opposed as a minority movement. You are called to be “salt” and “light” in dark and depraved society.

What you need to consider can be summarised in three questions:

  • Are you willing to let Christ clean up the wrong things in your life?
  • Are you willing to put him in the number one place, above all other affections?
  • Are you willing to be known as a Christian and join the Christian community?

4. There is something to do.

You need to repent of your sin, ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins, and receive the gift of

eternal life by faith (see John 1:12; John 3:16). When you do this from the centre of your being (your heart), you instantly become a Christian and a member of Christ’s church.

Now you need to seek out a Bible-believing, Gospel-proclaiming church and seek for somebody or a group to help you grow in your new-found faith. This is called discipleship.

Welcome to the Christian family! A person who truly disciples you will define and teach a Christian worldview that influences and directs every aspect of your life.

At the beginning of this section, I said that the solution to personal and societal ills is that given by the Lord Almighty. It is called the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You might be objecting, “How will a personal commitment to Jesus Christ change society’s ills?” Changed individuals lead to changed societies. The born-again Christian must become involved in “salt” and “light” ministries in our culture. See Matthew 25:31-46 for practical examples of what this will involve.

William Wilberforce did it in Great Britain in his fight against slavery during the 19th century. William Booth of the Salvation Army led his denomination in a demonstration of “Christianity with its sleeves rolled up.” Tens of thousands of Christians are doing it in Australia today in ministries to the hungry, deprived, sick, aged, oppressed and other examples of social deprivation and alienation.

I have found this Christian answer not to be unscientific, simplistic or anti-intellectual. It is a perfect fit for what I see in my dark world. I encourage you to pursue the big answers that the Christian world view provides for the big problems we face as a nation.


[i] Australian criminologist, Paul Wilson, “The essence of evil,” The Courier-Mail, March 28, 2000, p. 13.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Peggy Jackman, with reports from TASS News Service, “A Call to Repentance,” Christianity Today, August 15, 1994, p. 56.

[iv] Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago (1918-1956). New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1974, p. x.

[v] Ibid., p. 168.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii]Mark 7:20-21, New International Version of the Bible.

[viii]Charles Colson with Ellen Santilli Vaughn, The God of Stones & Spiders. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1990, p. viii.

[ix] In ibid.

[x] In Charles Colson with Ellen Santilli Vaughn, The Body. Milton Keynes, England: Word Publishing, 1992, p. 191,

[xi] Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1994, p. 172. Zacharias is referring to Christopher Browning, Ordinary Men. New York: HarperCollins, 1991, jacket cover.

[xii] Paul Wilson, 13.

[xiii] Ibid.

[xiv] Ibid.

[xv] “Solzhenitsyn’s Bad Press,” Christianity Today, February 7, 1994, p. 57.

[xvi] In Colson and Vaughn, The Body, p. 191.

[xvii] This outline of the Gospel is based on Michael Green, Evangelism through the Local Church. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1990, p. 268 ff.

[xviii] This is the title of D. Eryl Davies profound book, The Ultimate Rrescue: Christ’s saving work on the cross. Darlington, Co. Durham, England: Evangelical Press, 1995.


Copyright © 2009 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 25 May 2017.

Does God Create Evil?


By Spencer D Gear

At a Christian Witness Ministries‘ outreach men’s breakfast, I spoke on the topic, “Can you believe in God after September 11 and the tsunami? Which ‘monster’ created evil?” [1] At question time, a thoughtful Christian asked: “How does your view of the creation of evil line up with God who said in Isaiah, ‘I created evil.'” My response was inadequate, so I have investigated further. The following is my understanding of this verse from Isaiah.

Isaiah 45:7 in the KJV states, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”

In the NIV it reads: “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.”

In the ESV, the translation is: “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.”

The NASB translation is: “The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.”

Here is the contrast:

  • “I make peace, and I create evil” (KJV);
  • “I bring prosperity and create disaster” (NIV);
  • “I make well-being and create calamity” (ESV);
  • “Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does these” (NASB).

 Does God, the Lord, create moral evil, i.e. does God create sin, or does he create calamity or disaster? There is quite a difference in the meaning. If God creates all the evil in the world, from the beginning of time until the end of this world, what kind of a God is he? If he creates calamities or disasters what kind of God is he?

The word translated “evil” or “disaster/calamity” is the Hebrew, ra. It is true that the word can be used to refer to natural disasters or calamities. It is a very common word for evil as a general description in the OT. The “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” in Gen. 2:9 uses this word, as is the evil of the people that brought the judgment of Noah’s flood (Gen. 6:5). The evil of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah in Gen. 13:13 uses this word (Grudem 1994, p. 326 n7).

Ps. 34:14 reads, “Turn away from evil and do good.” There’s that word, ra, again. We read of it again in Isa. 59:7, speaking of those whose “feet run to evil.” You can read it also in other passages in Isaiah (see Isa. 47:10, 11; 56:2; 57:1; 59:15; 65:12; 66:4)

There are many other OT passages that use ra to refer to moral evil (i.e. sin) and to disaster/calamity. How do we know how to translate? The context will tell us. Does God create evil/sin, or does God create disaster?

  • As Gordon Lewis and Bruce Demarest put it: “Isaiah does not teach the blasphemous idea that the Lord creates sin!” (1987, p. 312). If we look to the context of Isa. 45:7, this is what we find:

Isa.45:11, “Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.” He is the God of holiness. So, God could not be the creator of sin. Sin is incompatible with God’s holiness.

  • Isaiah predicted that sudden disaster would come to Babylon: “But evil shall come upon you, which you will not know how to charm away; disaster shall fall upon you, for which you will not be able to atone; and ruin shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know nothing” Isa 47:11 (ESV).

 You can read a similar emphasis in Amos 3:6, which the KJV translates as: “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD has not done it?” The NIV translates as: “When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?”

It is only when there is judgment for sin that the prophets write as in Isa 45:7, “I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things” (NIV). “Like a just judge, God decrees punishment for sin but he does not decree acts of sin” (Lewis and Demarest 1987, p. 312).

Remember Jonah who was thrown overboard by men on that ship travelling to Tarshish? “Then they [the men on the boat] took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm” (Jonah 1:15, NIV).

However, five verses later, in Jonah 2:3, Jonah is praying to God, “You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me” (NIV).

How is it that the men on the boat threw Jonah overboard and that God hurled Jonah into the deep? The Bible can affirm that men did it and that it was God in action. God brought about his plan by using the men on the boat. In a way that we don’t quite understand, “God caused [the men] to make a willing choice to do what they did” (Grudem 1994, p. 326).

Alec Motyer observes:

Prosperitydisaster: the older, literal rendering ‘peace … evil’ caused unnecessary difficulties. Can the Lord ‘create evil’? Out of about 640 occurrences of the word ra’, which range in meaning from a ‘nasty’ taste to a full moral evil, there are about 275 cases where it refers to trouble or calamity. Each case must be judged by its context and NIV has done so correctly here. Cyrus was ‘bad news’ to the kings he conquered and the cities he overthrew. But Isaiah’s (and the Bible’s) view of divine providence is rigorous – and for that reason full of comfort. Sinful minds want the comfort of a sovereign God but jib at saying with Job (2:10), ‘Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble (ra)?’ (1999, p. 287).

How does this relate to Isa. 45:7? God used people in Jonah’s day to perform an evil action. In Isaiah’s day, God brought disaster on Babylon through the use of human means.

God does not create all of the sinful evil in the world, but God does bring disaster or calamity as his judgment. It was God who created “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2:9).


[1] Spencer Gear is a retired counsellor and counselling manager who obtained his PhD in NT in 2015. He is an active Christian apologist and independent researcher based in Brisbane, Qld., Australia. He may be contacted through the Contact Form on this website.


Wayne Grudem 1994, Systematic Theology, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Gordon R. Lewis and Bruce A. Demarest 1987, Integrative Theology, vol. 1, Academie Books (Zondervan Publishing House), Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Alec Motyer 1999, Isaiah (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, England.

Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 31 December 2015.

Is Mormonism just another kind of Christianity?

Mormon Temple In San Diego

(Mormon Temple, San Diego, public domain)

By Spencer D Gear

I have noticed that the Christian church in Australia, where I live, does not do a very good job in equipping God’s people to deal with the cults who come to our doors.  As a result, we most often do not engage them because we don’t know what they believe and we are not confident in presenting the Christian gospel to them.

Evangelical Christians, who ought to treat a religious door-knockers, whether Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormonism, as opportunities for evangelism, do not interact readily with these cultists because, I believe,

(1) They don’t know what the cults believe;

(2) They don’t know their own orthodox theology very well, and

(3) We in the evangelical church are not equipping God’s people for the ministry of apologetics and polemics – defending the faith against secularists and defending orthodox doctrine against liberals and cultists.

It is 25 years this year (2008) since God got a hold of me in regard to this ministry of apologetics.  I was sitting in a university classroom in pursuing doctoral studies, when a professor responded to my comment on creation, “Your views are b-s” (and he didn’t abbreviate).  I did not know how to respond.  That was the Holy Spirit’s jolt to me to become equipped to defend my faith in a secular, antagonistic culture like Australia.

Baptist Press’s (USA) articles on Mormonism

The Southern Baptists in the USA produced (in late 2007) an excellent series of short articles on the Mormons that I hope you will read, imbibe and use when you share the Gospel with those Mormon missionaries who come to the front door.

For pastors, I ask that you use this and other material to equip your people to answer the Mormon who knocks on the door. All Mormons that I have met confirm that the Book of Mormon is the foundation of their religion.If the Book of Mormon were found to be false, how could Mormonism possibly survive as a religion?Isn’t that a reasonable question?Take a read below of information concerning the truth or otherwise of the Book of Mormon.

To give you a taste of some of this excellent material, here’s an excerpt from the article (below) “Archaeology & the Book of Mormon.”

Take these comments by Mormon archaeologists:

“The first myth that we need to eliminate is that Book of Mormon archaeology exists. Titles on books full of archaeological half-truths, dilettante on the peripheries of American archaeology calling themselves Book of Mormon archaeologists regardless of their education, and a Department of Archaeology at BYU devoted to the production of Book of Mormon archaeologists do not insure that Book of Mormon archaeology really exists” (endnote 21).

“What I would say to you is there is no archeological (sic) proof of the Book of Mormon. You can look all you want. And there’s been a lot of speculation about it. There’ve (sic) been books written by Mormon scholars saying that ‘this event took place here’ or ‘this event took place here.’ But that’s entirely speculative. There is absolutely no archeological (sic)evidence that you can tie directly to events that took place” (endnote 22).

Non-Mormon archaeologists state:

Earlier we read from the Smithsonian Institution’s statement “The Bible as History.” We saw that archaeology confirms much of the Bible and that professional archeologists use the Bible in their work. The Smithsonian also has a “STATEMENT REGARDING THE BOOK OF MORMON.” This statement can be requested at the same address. Every one of the statements are damaging to the reliability of the Book of Mormon. Here is the first of eight statements: “The Smithsonian Institution has never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a scientific guide. Smithsonian archeologists see no direct connection between the archeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book.”

In 1989, Michael Ammons wrote to the National Geographic Society requesting information on the Book of Mormon and archaeology. The Society replied in a letter dated April 26, 1989:

“Neither the Society nor any other institution of equal prestige has ever used the Book of Mormon in locating archaeological sites. Although many Mormon sources claim that the Book of Mormon has been substantiated by archaeological findings, this claim has not been verified scientifically.”

Also in 1989, Linda Hansen wrote to the Department of Archaeology at Boston University with a similar request. In a reply letter dated April 5, 1989, Julie Hansen of the department responded:

“The Archaeological Institute of America has never used the Book of Mormon as a scientific guide in locating historic ruins on the Western Hemisphere…. Over the past 30 years The New World Archaeological Foundation, located at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, has conducted numerous scientific excavations in Mesoamerica, originally with a view to confirming the claims in the Book of Mormon. They have discovered no evidence that supports the Book of Mormon in any way. Nonetheless, they have published in full detail the results of their excavations in Papers of the New World Archaeological Foundation, Volumes 1-55, 1959 and following…. They are accepted by the Archaeological Institute of America and the Society of American Archaeologists as legitimate scientific investigations and the New World Archaeological Foundation is to be commended for publishing the results of their work that essentially refutes the basic beliefs of the Mormon Church on which the Foundation is based” (endnote 24).

This article concluded: “Therefore, there is a consensus from professional archaeologists, Mormon and non-Mormon alike, that there is no specific confirmation of the Book of Mormon from archaeology.”

Here are the articles:

1. INTRODUCTION: When Mormons come

2.   Is Mormonism Christian? (Part 1)

3. Is Mormonism Christian? (part 2)

4.   Is Mormonism Christian? (part 3)

5.   Christian & Mormon doctrinal differences

6.   PART 1: About the Mormons

7.PART 2: Mormons & the Bible

8.   PART 3: Archaeology & the Book of Mormon

9.   PART 4: Mormonism & its Book of Abraham

10.  PART 5: Mormon evidence?

Enjoy and please distribute the links.

Some other resources

1.I located another site that includes content by some ex-Mormons who are not evangelical Christian believers, “What is Mormonism?

2.I highly recommend the ministry out of Salt Lake City, UT, right in the heart of Mormon territory, Mormonism Research Ministry.Here you will find excellent articles on:

a. Introductory Articles

·“We’re Christians just like you!”

·Eight Characteristics of a Counterfeit Christian Church

·Eight Mormon Myths

·Has Mormonism Criticized Other Churches?

·Some Questions for our LDS Friends

·Fooling the Prophet with the Kinderhook Plates

·The Book of Abraham

b. Some other articles

·The Relationship Between Jesus and Lucifer in a Mormon Context, by Bill McKeever. When recently asked if Jesus and the Devil are brothers, LDS spokesperson Kim Farah gave anything but a clear answer. What have LDS leaders taught about the relationship between Jesus and Lucifer?

·What is the Status of the First Half of the Lorenzo Snow Couplet in Mormonism?, by Aaron Shafovaloff.

·Luke Wilson, our good friend from the Institute for Religious Research, passes away.

·Trouble in Palmyra, Rescue the Prophet, and Time Travelers in Church History. Two reviews by Sharon Lindbloom in one article.

3.For more information on evangelising Mormons or countering the Mormon missionary who knocks on your door, I invite you to check out these apologetics websites and use their search facilities for “Mormon”:

Watchman Fellowship

Let Us Reason

Christian Research Institute

Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry

Probe Ministries.On this website you’ll find an article, “As an ex-Mormon, how can I find a church that is not a cult?“Good question!Take a read.

I’m reminded that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (see John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13).God does not lie (Heb. 6:18); he is the God of truth (Isa. 45:19) who hates lies (Ps. 101.7).

Jude vv 3-4 reminds us: “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (ESV).

It has been necessary throughout Christian history to “contend for the faith,” but this is even more so in the later days, according to First Timothy 4:1, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (ESV).

The God of truth calls all Christians to a ministry of discernment, with regard to false doctrine, and a ministry of contending for the faith.Will you be an active evangelical Christian contender for the faith?

Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 29 January 2014.