Category Archives: Apologia

Sabbatical Excerpt: Nabeel Qureshi on The Trinity


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… The professor was teaching rarefied science, describing the subatomic world. At that level, things happen that make no sense to those of us who conceptualize the world at only a human level. Even the apparently simple idea of atoms is baffling when we think about it. It means that the chair I am sitting on is not actually a solid object, innocently supporting my weight. It is almost entirely empty space, occupied only in small part by particles moving at incomprehensible speeds. When we think about it, it seems wrong, but it’s just the way things are in our universe. There’s no use arguing about it.

I turned my glance away from the other students, concluding they had not blindly accepted a nonsensical concept. They had just realized before I did that there were truths about our universe that do not fit easily into our minds.

My eyes rested on the three separate structures of nitrate on the wall, my mind assembling the pieces. One molecule of nitrate is all three resonance structures all the time and never just one of them. The three are separate but all the same, and they are one. They are three in one.

That’s when it clicked: if there are things in this world that can be three in one, 3even incomprehensibly, so then why cannot God?”

Excerpt taken from, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi. (Page 195-96).

Nabeel is a speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Recently, his book was published by Zondervan and now is in the market.

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Ken Ham Debates Bill Nye “The Science Guy” on Creationism


Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis and Creation Museum and Bill Nye “The Science Guy” who is also an Emmy Award-winning science educator and CEO of the Planetary Society will be debating on Creationism. The event is labeled as the “debate of the decade” and also claimed that the tickets to attend live were completely sold out within two minutes of release.

The debate is sponged by Answers in Genesis and is to be held in the 900-seat Legacy Hall lecture arena at the Creation Museum. You do not want to miss this debate, though you may not fully agree or disagree with both speakers. You may stream live on debatelive.org or also Google+ Hangouts On Air through YouTube.

Did Paul Really Fail in Mars Hill?


Apostle Paul’s address to Athenians in Areopagus Hill (“the Roman equivalent is Mars Hill”) is one of the well-known passages (Acts 17:22-34) to his readers. Some see Paul’s rhetoric for the risen Christ among Athenians in Mars Hill as his total failure. They claim that Paul never opted to use rhetoric that appeals to the intellect thereafter. They see no place of apologetics or have lowly view on need of apologetics in the evangelistic ministry thus are quick to discredit it on the basis that Paul could not win many and plant there a local church. Is it really true that Paul failed miserably in Athens and never was apologetic in other places that he later preached and planted the churches?

Firstly, we have to remember that Paul had no plan to stay extensively in Athens and preach there. He was forced to leave Macedonia to escape persecution. There he was waiting for Timothy and Silas to join him from Berea (Acts 17:14) and then travel to Corinth. While waiting for them in Athens, Paul could not contain himself from preaching after seeing the rampant idolatry of Athenians. Those idols were dedicated to different gods and goddesses to appease them so that no bad omen would fall up on them. Idolatry is one of the prime issues he addresses in his epistles. In fact, Athens was named after a goddess, Athena, in her honour.

Secondly, the Athenian Council of Ares which had the full control of affairs in the city, silenced Paul immediately after he mentioned the risen Christ from the dead in his address to the council. Some of them thought that Paul was preaching a foreign god. They probably mistakenly understood Anastasis (“resurrection”) for the goddess consort of a god named Jesus, because the “resurrection” is in the feminine gender while Jesus is in the masculine gender.

For Athenians, the resurrection could have never happened. Paul’s proclamation of the resurrection account was the utter foolishness. Five hundred years earlier, their own tragic poet Aeschylus (525-456 BC) claimed in the same Athenian Council of Ares, “When the dust has soaked up a man’s blood, once he is dead, there is no resurrection” (Eumenides 647-48). Therefore, Paul seemed to be a mere babbler, who had not knowledge of his own but learned things from other people without understanding and made his own, to them. That caused commotion among them which led to a sudden dismissal of the council.

Finally, Paul was not legally free to continue teaching in the city, since the council had not taken any action to approve Paul to do what he wanted to do – teaching or reasoning with Jews and God-fearing Gentiles everyday in synagogues as well as in agora. It was the forum and marketplace of the city which happened to be the centre of Athenian life. All he could do in Athens was to wait for receiving legal protection or permission from the council to teach or move on to Corinth.

Having laid these three reasons, we cannot label his brief mission work in Athens as a complete failure, as Dionysius, the Areopagite who was also a member of the Council of Ares, a woman named Damaris and others with them believed the message and joined Paul. Given the little opportunity to preach the gospel in an unusual circumstance also he had to leave without finishing his preaching, Paul did, in fact, win some. He adapted himself to the context and the audience he was preaching to, just as he talked about it later to the church of Corinth: “To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law…. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:20-23 NIV). Thus, his work in Athens cannot be labelled or talked about as a failure in light of all the reasons presented above.

For more readings on Paul’s address to the Athenian Council in Athens, you may read my previous post.

Sources:

1. Gaebelein, Frank E., Merrill C. Tenney, and Richard N. Longenecker. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: John and Acts. Vol. 9. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981.

2. Utley, Robert James. Luke the Historian: The Book of Acts. Vol. Volume 5. Study Guide Commentary Series. Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International, 1999.

No More Animal Sacrifice… But Redeemed by the Blood of Jesus


“Who is Jesus?” This question has always generated different sorts of answers or debates throughout the history. Many people had to say different things about who Jesus was and is. That is to say, he was a god to a guru; he was a mere lunatic to moral teacher. Some go even farther to deny him his historical existence. Even Jesus was interested to know what his disciples thought who he was (Matthew 16:15). I leave these topics for some other days to discuss but want to focus on Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29, 35).

Generally, Hindu converts do not need someone tell them what the animal sacrifice is about. The ritual killing and offering of animal such as goat, buffalo, hen, or duck to the shrines in the temple is not something new to them. Animal sacrifice is one of the means to appease god or goddess. Through that satisfaction, they believe they can maintain or sway the divine favor on their side. For the ritual, they would keep or find a sacrificial animal without any blemish, by which means it has to be spotless or woundless that has never been hurt or wounded before. That is, therefore, a consecrated offering for the remission of sin of the entire household.

If  any question that a person should be asking, it is this- how much blood of animals would be enough to wash the sin of a person? What if the person committed any sin just before her/his death with due sacrifice?  How do we know that the sacrificial animal’s blood has blotted our sin? We, unless deluded, know well that none of the existing creatures comes close to human beings in terms of intelligent mind. Then, why some are told that the blood of an animal vindicates a man from the judgment of his wrongdoings! An animal cannot be equated with a man.

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Therefore, God himself took a human body to be a perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins, so that we might live through his blood. 

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There is nothing that can cover our sin, not even with human blood, since the Bible tells us that no man is righteous and all men have sinned (Romans 3:23). As a result of sin, we are inevitably destined to the grave because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). No man is without blemish, so it does not leave us an option to sacrifice a sage to turn the table of judgment. Therefore, God himself took a human body to be a perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins, so that we might live through his blood. Jesus became a lamb who was sacrificed on the cross on our behalf while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). His flesh was cut open with lashes; his limbs were nailed. He was pierced and his holy blood was poured out. And only that holy and unblemished blood of Jesus can wash away our sin and make us clean, pure, and holy. Through this blood of Jesus, we are saved from the grip of sin and its power thus are redeemed (Ephesians 1:7). Unlike animal sacrifice that covers our sin temporarily, the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God is for the eternity.

 

Ravi Zacharias: The Intolerance Test


I frequently hear people say Christianity is intolerant. After all, it calls all people – no exceptions – to think and to act as God commands. It requires all people to bow to Jesus alone. Yet in that sense, all religions are intolerant. Every religion requires people to follow what it says is true and right.

“Believe like I do” is easy to spot as an intolerant or “exclusive” claim. But other statements sound more accepting, like “You have to let people believe what they want.” But you can put the plea for openness to this test: Ask yourself, “What does the person mean by ‘You must be open to everything’?” What it almost always means is, “You must be open to everything that I am open to an disagree with anything I disagree with.”

The person who sounds tolerant will never leave you free to believe as you wish. That’s intolerance – and the worst kind of intolerance, because it is intolerance that doesn’t admit it is being intolerant!


Ravi Zacharias and Kevin Johnson, Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Truth of the Christian Message, Youth edition (W Publishing Group, Nashville: Tennessee, 2000), 9.