What is Truth?

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. 

-Winston Churchill

From Ben,

Have you ever been asked about truth?

Juan: So you believe in God right?

Lucas: I do.

Juan: But how do you know that is true? How do you know anything is true?

Lucas: Well how do you know something is true? We know certain things that are always true. Like the sun will rise. Whether or not you want it to happen, it still does. The same is with truth. Truth doesn’t care what you think, it is true no matter what. Just like God and who He is.

Today, many people may tell you that truth is in the eye of the beholder, but is that so? The reality is that truth is not up for debate. The truth is true and always will be.

In order to explain this idea practically, I’m going to use an illustration that a good mentor of mine shared with me.

Here’s a picture of a fruit:

If I were to ask you what this is, you would tell me it’s an orange. But why? How do you know? Well, it’s an orange; this is something we know to be true. What if you opened it up, would you expect to find a potato? No, that would be crazy, we know we will find an orange; it’s a truth of nature.

So what if you really didn’t want it to be an orange? Let’s say that you want it to be a banana. Would it change? Absolutely not. The truth is something that we don’t have control over; we can’t change the truth no matter how hard we try. What if you woke up one day and really didn’t want the sun to rise, would that change it? Absolutely not. Gravity doesn’t just work some of the time, it works all the time. That’s God. Here’s the kicker. God will deliver, even when you don’t think He can or you don’t want Him to; even if you don’t believe He can. Ignoring this truth doesn’t make it any less true. 

Here’s the kicker. God will deliver, even when you don’t think He can or you don’t want Him to; even if you don’t believe He can. Ignoring this truth doesn’t make it any less true. 

The truth is always true. We know we can’t change the truth, like gravity or photosynthesis, things that always happen, whether or not we want them to. The same is with God, He is true, even if we don’t want Him to be. He is the ultimate source of truth. If you don’t believe the truth, does that change it? No. The truth is still the truth, even if you don’t support it. 

As you defend and grow in your walk with Christ, don’t forget that truth doesn’t change. When our human minds can’t comprehend something that is always true and constant, remember that God holds it all. The truth is that God is always there and He always will be, despite whether you think its true or not. 

What about those who have never heard the Gospel?

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

~ Romans 1:18-20

From Caleb,

Would God really send those who have never heard the Gospel to hell? Let’s talk about it, because this a question that believers and non-believers share alike!

Let’s look at an example…

Hunter: “Do all people really go to hell if they don’t confess Jesus Christ as their Savior?”

Alice: “God makes it pretty clear throughout scripture that all have fallen short of glory and that the wages of sin is death. I would recommend taking a close look at the book of Romans.”

Hunter: “Yeah. I get that. I know all that stuff. But let’s just say, for example, there was a guy on a remote island, and no one knew he was there, so no one could share the Gospel with him. This guy, when he died, would he go to hell?”

Alice: “Sadly, yes. But let me explain why…”

“But let me explain why…”

I’m sure that our friend Alice would answer somewhat along these lines: The truth is yes, and God makes it clear through the apostle Paul why in Romans chapter 1. 

From Romans, we are shown that these people, even though they have never heard about God, have already had the truth and knowledge of God revealed to them through creation by God himself. Because he has so obviously demonstrated himself through everything that exists, God tells us that these people are “without excuse”. 

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This means everyone, no matter the circumstance, is separated from God, and without trusting in Christ to save us from our sins, we will spend eternity separated from him. This even includes the person on the island that has never had the opportunity to hear about Christ.

“Some may think that this is simply a hypothetical situation, its normal, but it’s not, this is real life for 3.14 billion people.”

Some may think that this is simply a hypothetical situation, its normal, but it’s not, this is real life for 3.14 billion people. There are 3.14 billion people that haven’t even heard the name of Jesus, so you need to keep that in mind when answering this question. Most people, when they ask this question are waiting for you to say that they will go to hell, that way they can, essentially, roast you by saying “See! God is an angry, unjust God! How could he call himself good and loving when he does stuff like that!”

Be prepared to answer that response. My reply to that would then simply be that by God doing this, he is able to call himself just and holy. He is just because he puts in place consequences for sin. He is holy because sin cannot exist in his presence. Sin cannot exist in his presence because he is perfect and without fault. He is light, and in him and around him there can be no darkness. However, he has made a way for us to be made right with him. Based on this, you can say that he is both just and good. 

Not only has he made a way for us to be restored back to him, but he has also made it abundantly clear through creation. Because he has made it clear through things such as creation, Paul says these people have no excuse for the sin in their hearts. These people are still guilty of sin, and God cannot be in the presence of sin. As Christians, this knowledge should break our hearts. This should motivate us in our walk to share the Gospel unconditionally with people in our nation and abroad. This is Christ’s grand design!

Is Hell a Real Place?

“The God that Jesus teaches us about doesn’t give up until everything that was lost is found. This God simply doesn’t give up. Ever.”

~ Rob Bell, Love Wins

From Caleb,

As every day “case makers” for Christ, it is important for us to be able to answer this question; moreover, this is a part of Christian doctrine.

Yes. It is a real place.

Unlike what Bell proposes in his book Love Wins, the truth is, as Christians, hell is a real and important place. Hell turns our faces to God in pure worshipful trembling. Hell is a reminder of what we deserved and what we were saved from, this should drive every follower of Christ to worship even more. This doesn’t mean all we preach is “hell-fire-and-brimstone”, there’s a balance.

What scripture shows us that hell is a real place. Here are some examples, “And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10) “And throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:50).

My Real Experience…

Guy: “So… What do you think about hell?”
Me: “Do you mean do I think it’s a real place?”
Guy: “Well… Sorta, yeah.”
Me: “Yes, I do. It is something that is made very clear all throughout the Bible.”
Guy: “If hell is a real place, do you think, even if I am a really good person and believe in a higher power, I will go to hell?”
Me: “I’ll preface my answer with this: I couldn’t say that I loved you and cared about you as a person if I didn’t tell you what is truth. All love with no truth is being a hypocrite, but all truth with no love is being brutal. With that being said, yes. That’s what God’s word says. I know that can be a hard statement to hear, but I say it because I care.”
Guy: “Dude, that’s gutsy. I can’t believe you would say that! You said what you thought was true even though you knew I might be offended? That’s bold. I like that.”

Do-s and Don’t-s…

Do – ACTUALLY ANSWER THE QUESTION! I know this question can be super intimidating to answer, but you can’t dance around answering the question. People will notice what you’re doing and will call you out potentially; furthermore, you will accomplish nothing by not answering the question. The only thing it helps is your pride.

Do – Speak in Love. While we have to speak the truth to people, doing so with no compassion won’t get anything accomplished. With no compassion, people will be hardened, turned away, and angered. Remind the person that you are telling them what you know to be true because you care about them and love them.

Don’t – Use it Against Them. This isn’t something you should say to hurt someone, you tell them the truth because you’re broken for them. Your heart should break over the eternal destiny of a persons soul, that’s why you speak the truth. There must be a balance of truth and love.

Don’t – Allow Yourself to Think You’re Better. Don’t think that you have some how magically gotten it all figured out. The truth is this: you are just as much of a sinner as them, and you deserve hell just as much as the next person. It is Christ’s sacrifice that covers us. Make sure you are constantly thinking and praying for humility while you speak to them. We’re simply beggars pointing to where the bread is.

Challenge…

Go forth and speak the truth in love.

Are Mormons Christians?

Mormons

“Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”

– Isaiah 44:8

From Alex,

The Lord has recently laid the Mormon church and people on my heart, and I think it is my duty to share this with you. Many people have claimed that Mormons are Christians. “I follow Christ, I want to be more like Christ, of course, I’m a Christian” a Mormon might say. The official name for the Mormon Church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for goodness sakes! Under the “Scriptures and Study” tab on the LDS website, in fact, they list the Bible as one of their Holy Books they subscribe to! But, foundationally, does the Bible and the Mormon Church speak of the same God? Let’s test every spirit here and look at a few core Mormon beliefs, in order to discern whether they are parallel to what God says in the Bible.

Before that though, let’s ask: Where is the authority in the Mormon Church?

The answer is: there are many different sources. From the Church governors, consisting of a small 3-person team by the name of the First Presidency, to the group of 12 Apostles under them, to the Book of Mormon. All of these forces are considered eligible to dictate truth regarding god, man, doctrine, etc. through mediums like prophecy and revelation (as both the First Presidency and the Quorum of 12 Apostles are believed to be current-day Isaiah’s, who receive revelation from god today and pronounce it to the church as doctrine).

Mormons believe that all men have the potential to become gods themselves. They teach that men, through living a good Mormon life, are able to become exactly like the God of the Bible, and, through “afterlife work” (which they really won’t admit to knowing much about), they too can become all powerful, all knowing, and all present. In fact, they would support the claim that the same God described in the Bible used to be a man just like you and me, a sinner even. I don’t know about you, but this sounds an awful lot like the promise given by Satan in the garden. This belief by itself distinctly separates Biblical Christianity from Mormon theology. The Mormon god and the God of the Bible are not the same because of this.

But, to support that claim even further, let’s take a look at another belief that (discreetly) distinguishes the two: the method of salvation (how someone gets to heaven). In Mormonism, like in almost all religion, you are saved by living a life devoted to the rules of the Deity. Contrary to the Bible, Mormons believe the grace of God comes “…after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). In other words, if you try hard enough, pray often enough, and give regularly, then the mercy of God is extended to you. The Bible does not teach this at all. The Bible says “…by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight…” (Romans 3:20), “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Romans 3: 22), and “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23). Meaning, you can’t earn it! Because everyone has sinned, we are all condemned before God, and it is only by faith that one is made right with God before any good works are done. Paul speaks clearly about this in Romans 4, that before Abraham did anything good for God, he was innocent in God’s eyes. He wasn’t justified because he lived a good life filled with rule-following and good intentions. Even with that, he still would’ve been condemned without faith.

Mormonism teaches 1) that you can earn your way to heaven, and 2) that one day, in the afterlife, you can become a god too. These beliefs directly conflict with the teaching of the Bible. Mormons are not Christians.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. “Becoming Like God.” Doctrine and Covenants 8, http://www.lds.org/topics/becoming-like-god?lang=eng.

The Catalyst

THE CATALYST – December 8th @ 11 am

The Catalyst (1)

“And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”

~ Acts 4:31

Throughout scripture, we can see that when the people of God want to see crazy thing happen, they come to him in cooperate prayer, continually. This is what we want to see the Lord do. We want to see God change the hearts of the students in our schools back to him!

On December 8th, you will gather at YOUR school with other students and begin prayer walking around the campus at 11 a.m.. Adults are welcomed to the event as well!

Adults, go pray for the school that your children attend or attended. Take time to invest in that school by praying with students as well!

Home-Schoolers, pick a local school to go pray around, or if you participate in a co-op, go there!

Through The Catalyst, we seek to unite believers in the community with one another all for the sake of advancing the Kingdom. Use this opportunity to build community with one another: go out to lunch or hangout with one another after the event!

Following the first event on December 8th, you will meet again EVERY SECOND SATURDAY OF EACH MONTH at the SAME TIME.

Help spread the word by downloading the picture and posting it to social media!

Download the picture HERE!