Pray for Ballymena
God is at work in Ballymena! On Saturday, 18th February 17 people made decisions for Jesus on the streets of Ballymena after “Jesus at the Door” training event involving 22 folk from a number of churches in the town and beyond! Ask the Lord for more labourers for the harvest is ready (Mt 9). The training was led by Deborah McCracken (Cfan/MAV); here is her report:
REASONS WHY I BELIEVE CHRISTIANITY IS TRUE (Jonny Kyle)
1. COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
o Everything that comes into being has a cause. As matter, space and time all came into existence, the cause for them must be outside of these elements and must be immaterial, spaceless and timeless. When you think of something spaceless, timeless and immaterial, it normally points to God, especially since it needs to be a personal being in order for them to choose to create in the first place.
o The fine tuning/order of the universe along with the laws that hold it all together. The information within DNA alone shows there was an intelligent mind behind creation. Information only ever comes from a mind and laws only ever come from a law giver. The existence of life all balances on a razors edge with physical constants that align perfectly to allow life and sustain it.
o If the Big Bang were a random explosion, what caused it (if not God – as it would still have to be something eternal outside of the physical properties within the universe) and any random explosion we can observe causes disorder and not order.
o Complexity of life as many of the features of life appear to be irreducibly complex, such as the operation of a single cell. Suggests an intelligent mind behind the process of their creation rather than that they could be generated entirely by chance. Designed items always have a designer.
o The evidence that we can see all points to life ONLY coming from life. Life never comes from non-life.
2. MORAL ARGUMENT
o I believe in objective morality, where some actions are always objectively wrong, such as for example torturing a baby or sexually abusing a woman. Even something as simple as another person pushing in front of us in a queue! We immediately object (at least within ourselves!) and say that it’s not right that they did that! Where does that sense of right and wrong come from? God has written our morality on our hearts and it is why we have a conscience (which means ‘with knowledge’) and is the very reason we feel guilty when we do something that is knowingly wrong. If there is an objective moral law, there must be a moral law giver, otherwise everything we consider good or evil, is just a matter of opinion if there is no standard above ours.
3. INVISIBLE PROPERTIES OF LIFE
o Consciousness, freewill and love as examples. If we were just a bunch of chemical reactions, where does self-awareness come from (we should just be moist robots), where does freewill come from and the ability to choose to love someone.
o If love was just chemical reactions doing what nature requires, it would just be defined as lust, as we would only be physically attracted to people to create further life and not have a deeper connection outside of the physical. There has also been a lot of scientific investigation over the recent years showing that the brain and the mind are two separate things. You have a soul that is you (mind, consciousness, freewill etc) and the body is just a shell.
o The fact we can choose to love someone even if they treat us badly, shows that we can go against the physical processes using the gift of freewill that God has given to us to choose to love.
4. EVIDENCE FOR JESUS’ RESURRECTION
o Transformation of Jesus’ disciples as they changed from being fearful and hiding after his crucifixion to being transformed into bold witnesses after seeing Jesus’ resurrection and preaching in the streets, even to the point of dying excruciating deaths for what they believed. The followers were all Jews who already thought they were God’s chosen people. There was no motive for them to carry on believing in Jesus had he not risen and definitely no gain to be had in dying excruciating and shameful deaths for something they knew to be a lie. It only becomes plausible if they really did see the resurrected Jesus.
o Christianity exploded in the very place where Jesus was put to death. Had Jesus not rose from the dead and showed himself to his followers and over 500 others (as documented by the Apostle Paul), it would never have taken off.
o Jesus was buried in the tomb of a well-known leader of the Sanhedrin (Joseph of Arimathea) and was guarded by a group of Roman soldiers. Had Jesus not risen from the dead, His body could easily have been presented and Christianity would have been crushed.
o Jesus’ empty tomb was discovered by women followers and this was documented in the New Testament. In the culture at that time, Women’s’ testimony was considered unreliable and had this been a lie that was being fabricated, it is more likely that they would have reported that men found the empty tomb. The fact it is documented that women found it, further attests to the fact that the New Testament account of the resurrection is factual and true.
o The conversion of Saul of Tarsus, who became Paul the Apostle. Saul of Tarsus was a well-known persecutor of Christians and put many to death, yet after encountering the risen Jesus on his way to Damascus, he became one of the most influential followers of Jesus and wrote many of the letters within the New Testament.
o Christianity leaves itself open to be questioned and falsified as it is based on an historical event – Jesus’ resurrection. Other major world religions tend to be based on personal revelations (e.g. Buddha & Mohammed) or claims of truth through myths (e.g. Hinduism). Paul the Apostle clearly states in his letters to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15:5-8) that most of the people (over 500) that Jesus showed Himself to (not just appearances, they ate, drank and touched Him) were still alive at the time he was writing his letters. Thus, people could have easily gone and talked with them to see if this was reliable and true. This is a bold statement and if not true it would be very strange to include it in an attempt to start off a new belief system! He basically invites people to doubt, to be sceptical and then to go talk to the witnesses to check it out for themselves and so not to “blindly believe”.
5. EVIDENCE THE NEW TESTAMENT IS RELIABLE
o It is written in historical narrative and would often state the locations where Jesus was, who was present, which further allows for the documents to be scrutinised or disproved, due to there being more factual information. A lot of the geographical locations/places throughout the Old and New Testament have been backed up by Archaeological findings/discoveries over the last 50 years.
o Embarrassing details are left in, such as the disciple Judas betraying Jesus for money, another disciple Peter denied Jesus three times prior to his crucifixion, all the men disciples running and hiding, while it was the women followers who discovered the tomb was empty and then informed the men disciples, who then came out of hiding. Why if you were trying to invent a random holy book or new religion would you use fishermen, tax collectors etc. plus leave in the information about their failings and lack of belief UNLESS it is all factual and true.
o There is more manuscript evidence for the New Testament (over 5,000 ancient Greek manuscripts – much more if you include the Latin manuscripts), than any other historical document (by far), with fragments still present today that can date back to AD100 and can be used to spot check that the later versions have been copied/translated accurately.
o The internal consistencies of the writers. Some small inconsistencies are present between the Gospels (the eye witness reports of Jesus teaching, death & resurrection), which further backs up that they are most likely factual and not fabricated, as if they were fabricated, these small inconsistencies or details left out by some but included by others would most likely not have been present. However, all the core details are consistent throughout the historical eyewitness accounts by Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
o The gospels & letters of the New Testament were written very early in terms of other historical documents ranging from 48AD to approximately 70AD (so approximately 15 – 37 years after Jesus’ death), which is very early in historical terms during that period, due to a largely prevalent oral tradition. As one example Alexander the Great was only written about 350 years after his death. The fact that Jesus followers were preaching what Jesus taught from the very moment after his resurrection until it was documented in the Gospels, means that it all the core details of Jesus’ teaching, death & resurrection would have been ingrained in their minds until the Gospels were written. Many people who knew Jesus and heard Him teach would have still been alive when the gospels had been written and could easily have testified against any false information.
NOTE: All the above points are the major ones (outside of my personal experiences) that have convinced me that Christianity is true, and I just wanted to share it. Make sure you are a sceptic regarding what you believe and continually challenge it and search for the evidence that makes it reliable. If what you believe does not provide the best evidence and answer your questions, why believe in it?! Do your own research, read books/articles, watch videos/debates, as the evidence will always lead you to what is true.
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Let us remember!
Jesus Commissions His Disciples
14 Finally he appeared to his eleven disciples while they were eating. He rebuked them for their unbelief and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who had seen him after he had risen. 15 Then he told them, “As you go into all the world, proclaim the gospel to everyone. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever doesn’t believe will be condemned. 17 These are the signs that will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons. they will speak in new languages. 18 and they will pick up snakes with their hands.Even if they drink any deadly poison it will not hurt them; and the’ll place their hands on the sick, and they’ll recover.”
Jesus is Taken Up to Heaven
19 So the Lord Jesus, after talking with his disciples, was taken up to heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 Then his disciples went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord kept working with them and confirming the message by the signs that accompanied it.
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