Theology and Apologetics Roundtable: May 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Scientology's Insufficiency in Solving Man's Problems

If I were to mention the word Scientology, a few people may come to mind. Famous celebrities who advocate this belief system consist of names like: John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Kirstie Alley, Isaac Hayes, and many more.

L. Ron Hubbard who was a modern genius, founded Scientology and even after his death, Scientology has continued to survive and millions today still follow the teachings of Hubbard. Scientology claims to be the only major religion to ever emerge in the 20th century and the fastest growing movement worldwide today.

Scientology is a very complex belief system with complex terminology like Thetan, MEST, and Engrams. It blends Far East Asian religion with the works of the human mind. Hubbard’s most famous written work, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, is absolutely considered authoritative is basically what the Bible is to Christianity.

The belief system is centered around self-works. To put in simpler terms, the basic idea of Scientology is that it attempts to provide an individual the means to solve his/her own problems, reach their life goals, and gain everlasting happiness. Scientology teaches that each individual is his own innate divine god and can come to that realization once they are able to tap into that mental capacity.

However, the Bible teaches us that mankind’s life problems is the result of sin or rebellion and indifference towards God that separates us from Him in this life and eternity. Jesus Himself tells man his sinful condition;

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” [1]

So if man is so defiled and sinful innately, how can we have the capacity of being divine gods too?

Thankfully, as born-again Christians we don’t have to fret and work our way out of our mess. Jesus says “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. [2] Jesus freely gave His life on the cross because He loved us that much to bridge the gap between man and the God of the Bible. We do nothing to earn our way to heaven. There is no merit on our part. This contradicts the beliefs of Scientology. Sadly, today many are following this cult with great enthusiasm and mainly due to the celebrity statuses that advocate it.

[1] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Mk 7:21–23). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[2] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Jn 14:6). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hospitality to the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses

Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are two major “anti-Trinity” Christian cults that, even though they are faithful in their door-to-door evangelistic efforts, their message is utterly false and has no agreement with orthodox, biblical Christianity. Sadly, we as evangelicals who know the truth of God’s Word and the message of Jesus Christ, I would dare to say the majority aren’t as emphatic about personal evangelism to Mormons and JW’s should they knock on our doors. I think one of the problems we don’t invite Mormons and JW’s in our homes can be found in 2 John 10-11.

10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. [1]

In the first century, it was customary for Christians to open their homes to traveling teachers of the Gospel with lodging and hospitality. Teachers of God’s Word traveled regularly. The Greek word for “greeting” that is mentioned in verse 11 gives the idea of welcoming a false teacher as a brother in the Lord or as part of the believing body of Christ. Doing so would affirm to false teachers that you would be encouraging their ministry. This is not to say that false teachers aren’t to be treated with love and compassion. But I believe the Bible does not permit the hospitality of lodging or teaching in front of a congregation for false teachers.

There is no wrong doing for a Christian to open their doors to people such as Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses over a cup of coffee and open dialogue. These are perfect opportunities for apologetics and evangelism. We are all given the Great Commission to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to an unbelieving world. That includes Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

[1] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (2 Jn 10–11). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Apologetic Response to Messianic Claims of Unification Church

The Unification Church, at best, is a cult of Christianity. Sociologically, one would consider this a cult due to its deceptive recruiting practices. Sun Myung Moon formally established the church in May 1954. It was originally called The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. Later in 1997 it was called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. It is currently shortened to the Unification Church. Followers of the UC are commonly referred to as “Moonies”.

Regarding the Messianic claims of Christ, Moon makes the claim that Jesus failed in His two-part mission to redeem the human race from both spiritual and physical death. Moon maintains that Jesus fulfilled the mission of spiritual redemption while he subsequently failed the mission of physical redemption. Moon makes the claim that Jesus failed the second part of the mission because He was crucified before He could marry and produce offspring. On a side note, Moon acknowledges Christ as the second Adam but not as the final Adam. Moon also makes the claim that Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, was also Jesus’ father. This is an obvious denial of the virgin birth and questions Jesus’ deity. Because of this redemptive failure, a third messiah needed to come finish the divine task. Who would this messiah be? Moon of course. He makes the claim that at age 16, Easter Sunday, he received a vision from Jesus who called him to fulfill this mission.

The UC makes the claim of being a Christian movement. However, it deviates tremendously from orthodox, Biblical Christianity. It is a cult both theologically and sociologically. The Bible makes very clear that Jesus mission was completed in its totality. His death and resurrection provided full atonement for mankind. Jesus obtained absolute salvation from the effects of sin and death, in both the spiritual and physical realms.

Colossians 1:19-22

For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— [1]

[1] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Col 1:19–22). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 BibleCollegeScholarship

Going to a Bible College is expensive. On top of that, finding a scholarship can be really difficult. That's why I was so excited to find the Bible College Scholarship website today. Not only are they giving away a $1,000.00 scholarship and a digital theological library, all I had to do to apply was watch a short video and answer a few questions! It took less than 15 minutes. What is best of all is that if you're in Bible College and apply for the Bible College Scholarship, and put my name as the person who referred you, if you win the scholarship, so do I! We could both get a $1,000.00 scholarship and digital theological library. So, do us both a favor and go apply for the Bible College Scholarship today.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Personal Mission Statement

In the power and union with Christ through the Holy Spirit, and beginning in my personal walk with the Lord, I surrender my purity as a single person to honor Him with a holy lifestyle, and I surrender my life without any reservation to go as He leads and obey as He commands. I will live an intentional life by reaching people with the Gospel, multiplying the Church through discipleship, and living an authentic Christ-centered lifestyle. In seeking a mate, I purpose in my heart to never compromise my purity, nor settle for anyone less than God’s very best for my life.