Friday, August 8, 2008

Being Prepared to Give an Answer

A common mistake that Christians make is to suppose that someone, by your apologetic or by your well-reasoned answer, be talked into the Kingdom of God. The motivation might be sincere but the consequences are often devastating. No matter how eloquent you may or may not be, you can't change anyone else's heart. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. Thus, while it's your responsibility to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have, it is ultimately God who changes the heart.

The problem is not that people cannot believe - it's that they will not believe. In other words, it is often not a matter of the mind. It is a matter of the will. As Jesus Christ explained, "This is the verdict. Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates light and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed." This is Jesus talking.

The Christian faith is reasonable, but as Jesus Christ made clear, reason alone will not compel a person to embrace our Lord. I'm utterly convinced that if we're prepared to give an answer God will bring into our paths those whose hearts He has prepared. So it's our responsibility to prepare ourselves to be the most effective tools in the hands of almighty God. That's what we're doing - preparing. We're getting ready to give an answer. Then pray that the Holy Spirit will use our answer as the means through which He transforms a life for time and for eternity.

We often, in our thrill-oriented society. We're looking for the next experience. You want a real experience as a Christian? Try learning how to give a defense of the faith and then see God use your well-reasoned answer as a springboard or an opportunity to communicate the Gospel and see a son or daughter of Adam come into the Kingdom. Let me tell you, there is no more wonderful experience than that. You will be exhilarated. What you thought was a duty will become a delight.

All too often the Christian church has missed the experience because they're looking for experience in all the wrong places. They go to Pensacola or to Toronto or now to Lakeland, Florida, and I hear about barking in the Spirit or laughing in the Spirit or the gold dust revival. God is etching crosses on gold teeth today. And people buy into it and wait in line for it and they get all jazzed up and all worked up, and a week later they are more depressed than ever before because they bought into something that over-promised and under-performed.

But if you get back to basics and get into the Word of God and get the Word of God into you - now that takes some work, but there is a reward. There's a real payoff. It will enhance your witnessing, your prayer life, your counseling, your relationship with mother and father, with husband and wife, with siblings and with friends.

Try it sometime. Try becoming an equipped Christian. Your life will be revolutionized, a foretaste of what will happen when you cross the veil into eternity and meet the person that God brought into your path, and you were able to share the Gospel or provide it for ministries like this that did so, and realize that you had a part in that process, and then hear Jesus say this to you: "Well done, good and faithful servant."


Anonymous said...

What a coincidence that your most recent article is *this* one: I am from Lakeland, Florida and have been to the revival in question.

Additionally, I have attempted (unsuccessfully, so I am trying to ask you here instead) to procure your assistance and feedback on a theological difficulty I had, and your title, "Being Prepared to Give an Answer," is quite appropriate -a 2nd coincidence: I am hoping you can indeed "Be Prepared to Give me an Answer."


Before I ask my question, I feel it is only right for me to relate *my* experiences with the Lakeland revival.

I went to it about three (3) times in person and once online in a chat room.

The Todd Bentley revival was held indoors inside the large, huge Lakeland Civic Center, and the atmosphere was charged, and people appeared (to me) to be charged up with expectation.

Todd, at one point, said something to the effect that: "Offences will come, but woe to that man who accepts the offense, and we must let go of our offences and hurts to get free."

This was an obvious misquote of Matthew 18:7, cf: Luke 17:1 ("Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!")

That demonstrates Bentley's lack of full grounding in the Word, but (in my humble opinion), even though Bentley got the verse mangled and misquoted, the thing Bentley actually said appears to line up with the Word: God does, indeed, want us to forgive others and 'let go' of our offences.

Lastly, I did not get healed of my cataract, even though I went there in faith the God could -and even though several people fervently prayed for me to that end.

In conclusion (to the above), I feel that -just like the wheat and tares parable, you had both real and fake Christians at this (and any) revival -just be on guard.

Please be prepared to 'give an answer' to my Bible Question

OK, I didn't plan to write a lengthy post (I am sensitive to the reader), but I felt I owed you this much -to share my personal experience from 'ground zero' here in Lakeland, Fla.

Now, the original purpose of my writing this post was because I was repeatedly unable to get through to the "Bible Answer Man" radio show for reasons that I don't feel led to share at this juncture, but I still have outstanding "Bible Questions" that remain unanswered:

Can you tell me the differences -if any -between the Ezekiel 39:9 time-period and the Daniel 8:13-14 time period? (In other words, are they contemporary to one another, or, rather, do they deal with different eras in history?)

It looks like the 2,300 days begins when the temple is polluted during the mid-point of the 7-year reign of the beast and ends some time afterwards -sort of, in the same way, that the weapons of war (long believed to be harder-than-steel compressed wood, made by the Russians) will burn in Ezekiel 39:9 -and probably begin DURING the 7-year tribulation and thus end AFTER the conclusion of the tribulation.

Perhaps, however, the time periods described in these passages have already transpired -or are yet future -or BOTH (duel fulfillment)!

Furthermore, I suppose the Daniel passage could refer to 2,300 years, but that interpretation seems untenable in light of the mention of 2,300 evenings and 2,300 mornings -which implies literal days, not years for days. Lastly, the Daniel passage may refer to both days AND years. What is your take?

RE: Your response to the Michael = Jesus question on today‘s program

Lastly, Hank, thank you for trying to explain to the caller on today's program about why Jesus and Michael were not the same person (you cited Jesus was very creator and also accepts worship), however, with all due respect, you missed a lot of what I consider stronger "main" points in your reply to today's caller. Here is my own research:


In short, I don't recall you mentioning the proofs from Jude, Daniel, or Hebrews, to demonstrate how Michael was *not* Jesus, but I add this in the event it would be helpful to you -I'm asking you for help, and it is only right I try to help you if I think it possible:

(Credit given to Dr. Ron Rhodes’ Angel book for the first three ideas below here; the rest were mine.)

First, Michael is not in the same class as Jesus: Dan. 10:13 says that Michael was merely “one of the chief princes,” but contrast that with Jesus as “King of Kings and Lord of Lords,” not merely a “chief prince” and certainly not one of several “of the chief princes!” (Cf.: I Tim. 6:15; Rev. 17:14; Rev. 19:16, where Jesus is K of K and L of L.) Translation: Jesus not = Michael.

Also, Heb. 2:5 clearly says that God did not put the world into subjection of the angels, so, when Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, this immediately disqualifies Him from being any angel at all: The world is clearly under his subjection, and thus He can’t be an angel according to this scripture here.

Lastly, Michael could not rebuke Satan (Jude 1:9; cf: 2 Peter 2:10-12), but clearly Jesus could rebuke the fallen angels: Matt. 17:18 (And Jesus rebuked the devil…) Mark 1:25 Jesus rebuked another fallen angel aka unclean spirit. (Trivia: Zech. 3:1-2 shows the Lord rebuking Satan, but this may not have been Jesus; It may have been God the Father.) Thus, Michael was not Jesus, or else he would have been able to rebuke Satan himself: “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” THEREFORE: These disqualify Michael from being Jesus.

Ah, it looks like Dr. Rhodes forgot a few scriptures! I shall add them in here, and promptly email him my new updated find:

"Even in His [heavenly] servants He puts no trust or confidence, and His angels He charges with folly and error--" (Job 4:18; Cf: Job 15:15, Amplified Version) Yet, Jesus did not commit any folly or error, that is, Jesus did not sin (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18). So Jesus obviously can not be an angel, and, of course, as such, Jesus can't be Michael, the archangel. Hmm...

What's more, Michael, the Archangel, could not be omnipresent [in all places at once] when Gabriel was fighting the Prince of Persia (Daniel 10:13), but JESUS CAN be omnipresent. (See Matthew 18:20; Matthew 28:20; Revelations 1:1; and, Revelations 3:20.)

Therefore, we have NEW math: JESUS is NOT equal to Michael, and the Jehovah's Witnesses are wrong. In what else are they wrong?

If I have found favour in your eyesight, Hank, please help me with my confusion on the 2,300 days and 7 years of burning passages: I can not find any reference on your website that addresses these points, and even the book that one call screener generously promised to send me might not necessarily cover this matter (at least I gather as much in my reviews of reviews). I can be reached at the phone number I gave to your colleagues at that CRI or at -all listed on the front pages of my personal websites shown above.

I won't be able to call in tomorrow or Thursday to your program as I have church and seminary orientation, so I hope an email or post will do in its stead.

Gordon Wayne Watts
Lakeland, Florida

Anonymous said...

In addition to commenting on the Lakeland revival in my hometown -and offering feedback regarding your answer to a recent caller to your "Bible Answer Man" program, I had a question -in my prior post.

Perhaps you overlooked or didn't see my question, so I will summarize and restate it:

Q: What are the differences -if any -between the Ezekiel 39:9 time-period and the Daniel 8:13-14 time period? (In other words, are they contemporary to one another, or, rather, do they deal with different eras in history?)



PS: I meant no disrespect regarding my comments about your answer to that caller -I just meant to say that I felt your answer didn't fully address his question -because even though we know Jesus is creator and worthy of worship, this does not tell whether or not He can be called 'Michael' unless we can somehow prove that absolutely no angel can accept worship or create -not just the one which spoke to John in Revelation. So, I offered you a helping hand, and now I, in return, am asking you for a helping hand.