Got Refuted?

As a Christian Apologist, I’ve been “allegedly” refuted more times than I can count. I’ll go into why I say “allegedly” in a moment. So, how did all this refuting happen to me? <gasp!> Was I in error that many times, or has every Christian teaching I’ve ever delineated been debunked? Have I been selling snake oil? “Of course you have, David Ragland!”, says the opposition.

So, dear reader, how many times have you been “allegedly” refuted by someone who disagrees with your stance on [topic x]?

Let’s consider the operative term before moving on, shall we?

Definition of refute:
refuted; refuting
transitive verb
1 : to prove wrong by argument or evidence : show to be false or erroneous
2 : to deny the truth or accuracy of refuted the allegations

source: “Refute.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2018

Now, from the same source we have:

“But for every study that shows acid rain is damaging frogs, another one refutes it.”

– Emily Yoffe, New York Times Magazine, 13 Dec. 1992

If we look at reference 1, we read, “to prove wrong by argument or evidence : show to be false or erroneous”. Is Yoffe then saying that the aforementioned acid rain studies are being proven ‘absolutely’ wrong by the opposition?

That is unlikely and here’s why:

When it comes to propositions, we can divide them into two categories; e.g. quantitative and qualitative. While mathematical propositions are considered quantitative, others are qualitative. So, if one wants to prove a person wrong on a mathematical sum, they only need to do the math and mathematically prove it. That is, 2 + 2 = 5 is easily “refuted” as it’s a quantitative proposition; it’s in a category that allows for such.

A qualitative proposition on the other hand, “ . . . like most of those that we meet with in conversation, in literature, in politics, and even in sciences so far as they are not treated mathematically (say, Botany and Psychology); propositions that merely tell us that something happens (as that salt dissolves in water), or that something has a certain property (as that ice is cold): as to these, it belongs to Logic to show how we may judge whether they are true, or false, or doubtful. When propositions are expressed with the universality and definiteness that belong to scientific statements, they are called laws; and laws, so far as they are not laws of quantity, are tested by the principles of Logic, if they at all admit of proof.”

Source: Read, Carveth. Logic Deductive and Inductive (Kindle Location 451). . Kindle Edition.

So, while a qualitative proposition can rarely, if ever, be proven with deductive certainty, we can at least present the evidence which leads us to make a given abductive inference. This sword cuts both ways, by the way. Just as we cannot prove a reasonable qualitative proposition ‘absolutely’, our arguments for such can only be “refuted” as outlined in reference 2 of our definition; i.e. “to deny the truth or accuracy of refuted the allegations”.

In Summation:

Anytime someone disagrees with us, they have to provide a very good reason for saying they’ve refuted our position. For example, have we been [proven] guilty of violating a first principle or law of logic? Moreover, the opposition can be called upon to identify their claim of refutation as (a) an absolute disproof, or (b) a mere denial of our argument as demonstrated in a counter argument. Finally, when issuing a challenge, a far more humble approach would be to say, “I have a counter argument which is disconfirming to your claims.”

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The Gospel Message

What is the Gospel Message?

The Gospel Message is basically an account of God’s plan to redeem (deliver) us. Within this message, we are told:

1.) Why we need salvation and what it is we need to be saved from
2.) How our need for salvation was met and by whom

See:  1.)  Redemption  2.)  Regeneration

We need salvation because of our sin

We are all born with a sinful nature and all of us have committed sin in our lives (Rom 3:23). This sin divides us and our Creator, our God. God requires sinless perfection from mankind (Lev 11:44; Matt 5:48; 1 Pet 1:15, 16). Again, a breech has been created between God and all humans by our sins. Moreover, we cannot be perfectly sinless (God’s requirement) of our own volition (Isa 64:62; Thes 1:9; Rom 8:3).

See: 1.)  Fall of Man

Where does this leave us?

Without God’s forgiveness for our sin, we are lost. No one is fond of admitting that a placed called “Hell” exists, or that God would ever send anyone there. Yet the Bible tells us: “Final Judgment is the sentence that will be passed on our actions at the last day (Matt. 25; Rom. 14:10, 11; 2 Cor. 5: 10; 2 Thess. 1:7-10).” [1]

See:  1.)  Final Judgement  2.)  Hell

If we are hopelessly sinful and separated from God, how do we escape judgment?

The short answer is that we are powerless to escape judgement; we must be rescued. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 we read, “3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

Here, the Apostle Paul delivers the Gospel Message in short order. Our salvation was provided for by God’s son, Christ Jesus. He did so by sacrificing Himself in our place; He took our punishment.

God the Father, because of His perfect love for us, provided for our Salvation. He sacrificed His only begotten Son, the only possible perfect sacrifice, for the sins of mankind (2 Cor 5:15; Gal 2:20; 3:13; Eph5:2; 1 Tim 2:5 6; Titus 2:14). Jesus, who was born of a virgin (Matt 1:18-25), died in our place upon the Cross of Calvary and was resurrected on the third day providing proof of who He was and what He had done for our atonement (Matt 20:17-19; Mark 8:31; Acts 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3; Rev 1:5).

Christ and Him crucified in our place, is our only hope of Salvation (John 14:6; John 1:29; Romans 3:25-26; Rom 4:25; Rom 8:31; Cor 5:7; ). We must have true abiding faith in Him and His perfect sacrifice to receive Him as Lord and Savior (1 Joh 5:7; 1 Peter 1:5). Jesus, the Provider of our salvation, commands “ . . . repent ye, and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15)

Finally, no Gospel presentation is complete without speaking to the importance of the resurrection of Christ. Christ’s resurrection is proof positive of Father God’s power to resurrect all of mankind. God is the Creator of all life and only He can restore us to life after our bodies have died. Death has been overcome by Christ’s sacrifice and we, therefore, have hope of resurrection (1 Cor 15:54–55).

We close with Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

 

References:

1. Easton, Matthew George. “Entry for Judgment, The final”. “Easton’s Bible Dictionary”.

 

 

See also:

The Gospel Message at Tribos (longer message)

Christianity vs Atheism: The Political Divide

Christianity vs Atheism:
The Political Divide
C. David Ragland, Jr.

 

The fact that atheists and Christians are at odds on multiple topics is definitely no secret. It is also a grand understatement to say that theism and atheism will never coalesce ideologically. While the God debate undergirds this polarization, it is arguably the culture war between these two groups which spawns much of the rampant animosity.

Francis A. Schaeffer is quoted as saying:

“We must realize that the Reformation world view leads in the direction of government freedom. But the humanist world view with inevitable certainty leads in the direction of statism. This is so because humanists, having no god, must put something at the center, and it is inevitably society, government, or the state.”

Simply put, Schaeffer believed that godless persons will be naturally inclined toward liberalism rather than conservatism. Why is this the case?

“We need to understand enough of modern thought to identify the ways it blocks us from living out the Gospel the way God intends, both in terms of intellectual roadblocks and in terms of economic and structural changes that make it harder to live by Scriptural principles.”

– Nancy R. Pearcey, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity

Conservatism, which is based on tradition and social stability, also stresses the importance of established institutions. Conversely, liberalism promotes the idea that society must progressively change and move away from many conservative traditions and values. Liberalism is also based on the idea that humanity is essentially good and promotes virtually unfettered personal autonomy. So, liberal ideals are in direct opposition to Christian values and, therefore, the natural choice for atheists.

 

Apologetics, its justification

Apologetics, its justification
Message #1 in the series
C. David Ragland, Jr

 

Over the years, I’ve had many people ask me why I bother responding to Christianity’s critics. After all, shouldn’t we simply live out our faith, share it with those who are receptive, and let God deal with the unbelievers?

In this message, let’s consider two (2) simple points:

1.) If Christianity is about being a follower of Christ, the Christian ought to defend the truth as Jesus did.

2.) The critics of Christianity aren’t always people we’ll never come in contact with. Almost everyone has a family member or friend who struggles with their faith in Christ or is even a full-fledged unbeliever.

Our first point is self explanatory, so let’s consider the following hypothetical scenario to buttress our second.

Jesse Ventura said, “Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people’s business.”

Men like Ventura often have pervasive, negative influence in our society because of their celebrity status. For example, Ventura was a popular pro wrestler and, to everyone’s amazement, was even duly elected as the Governor of Minnesota (!)

So, what do we do when little Johnny says, “Mom, I don’t wanna go to Church today. Jesse Ventura said . . .”

Now, Mom can tell the kid, “You’re going to Church because I said so, boy! Ventura is nobody’s role model!” Yet will a mere assertion of parental authority counteract little Johnny’s disillusionment, or only galvanize his rebellion? The truth that all people, willful children included, want and need the truth explained to them. Apologetics, as a ministry, works to that end (1 Pet 3:15).

Summation:

We are called to be disciples of Christ and discipleship includes the emulation of our Lord (Jn 14:12). Christ was most assuredly the greatest Defender of our faith. He defended it to grave and back. Also, a working knowledge of Apologetics is a dire necessity for all Christians. We never know when the Enemy will come to very own homes.

Please reference the following resources:

1.) Book: The Apologetics of Jesus: A Caring Approach to Dealing with Doubters by Norman L. Geisler

2.) Website: God And Science.info

3.) Webpage: Why Defend Christianity?

4.) Webpage: Our Reasonable Hope: An introduction to Christian Apologetics

5.) Video: How to Completely Refute Atheism

The Two Gates:  An Inescapable Dichotomy

C. David Ragland, Jr.
Apologia411.com

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

– Words of Christ as recorded in Matthew 7:13-14

Here, Christ issues a dichotomous statement of terms. We are expected to follow Christ and no other path will do. The narrow gate is our goal; alternate paths lead to destruction. We either repent and believe the Gospel, or we reject Christ and face eternal damnation.

Our two-fold problem

Due to unregenerate man’s innate rebellious nature, he chafes at God’s ultimatums and is, therefore, prone to either reject Christ altogether or seek an alternative path (false religion). Additionally, there is a fierce battle being waged for the souls of men in the spiritual realm.

The enemy of our souls has power to work within the earthly realm to lay traps. For these causes, there are few who will find the correct gate. Some complain that it’s as though the deck is unfairly stacked against mankind. Remember, it is those who reject Christ, who refuse to acknowledge God who are turned over to a reprobate mind.

Again, while the paths are many and the distracting temptations great, the message of the two gates is clear. No matter the route, we will enter one of two gates in the end. This is precisely why it is imperative that we know and understand the ‘essentials’ regarding core Christian doctrines.

The key is to first find the correct path (way), else we can never find the correct gate.

Jesus is the way!