A different kind of commentary

The Epistle of Jude may be one of the most neglected New Testament books. Bible readers are tempted – in part by its brevity and in part by its similarity to 2 Peter 2 – to skip over Jude on the way to Revelation, or to give this short epistle little more than a glance.

This is unfortunate, because Jude speaks volumes about the value of Christian apologetics. The Last Apologist is more than a verse-by-verse commentary. Each chapter explores key words and phrases, and poses thought-provoking questions that make this a handy resource for personal or group study.

Order your copy in print or Kindle versions.

For bulk orders at a deeply discounted price, send your request to cdowell@mobaptist.org.

Three simple truths about the Trinity

This is the third in a series of columns about the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available in print and Kindle versions from Amazon.com.

Consider three simple truths the Scriptures teach about the Trinity:

  1. There is only one true God.
  2. The Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Spirit is God.
  3. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct, but inseparable, persons who exist simultaneously.

1. There is only one true God. Christians do not worship three gods; that’s polytheism. We do not worship one God made up of three parts; that’s tritheism. Nor do we exalt God as a lone actor who wears three different masks; that’s modalism.

Rather, Christians worship one God who exists as three distinct, co-equal, co-eternal persons, sharing all the attributes of deity, agreeing completely in will and purpose, and existing eternally in divine, loving relationships with one another.

Scripture is clear that there is only one true and living God. The Shema, the most important text for considering Jewish monotheism, reads, “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deut. 6:4).

The Lord Himself declares in Isaiah 43:10, “No god was formed before me, and there will be none after me.”

And the apostle Paul writes, “there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith” (Rom. 3:30).

Many other passages could be cited, but there is a clear and consistent theme throughout Scripture that there is one, and only one, true God.
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Pick up your copy of The Apologist’s Tool Kit

3d_apologists_FINALFollowers of Jesus always have faced attacks from outside the church – from worshipers in the cult of Caesar to radical Islamists. But potentially more damaging are threats from within – from false teachers who tickle our ears (2 Tim. 4:3) to false prophets who come to us with “cleverly devised myths” (2 Peter 1:16).

The Apologist’s Tool Kit equips you to defend the Christian faith with gentleness and respect. This easy-to-read reference addresses some of the most commonly challenged Christian doctrines, from the existence of God to the authority of Scripture. Each chapter concludes with probing questions, talking points, and references for further reading, making this a handy resource for personal or group study.

Order your copy in print or a Kindle edition.

For bulk orders at a deeply discounted price, send your request to cdowell@mobaptist.org.

 

Defining the Trinity

This is the second in a series of columns on the Trinity.

How do we biblically define a term that never appears in the Bible? As Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, and others are quick to point out, the word Trinity is conspicuously absent from the pages of Scripture. Therefore, they argue, to embrace such a term goes against the Bible’s clear teaching.

Not so fast. While it’s true the term Trinity is not found in English Bible translations, that doesn’t mean the doctrine is missing in action. We might point out that phrases such as “the second coming” and “receiving Jesus as Savior” never grace the Bible’s pages either. Even so, Christians look forward to the return of Jesus one day, and we enjoy benefits as adopted children of God, having received Him by faith (John 1:12).

So, when we talk about the Trinity, it’s important to show how Scripture describes God as one eternal being in three persons. This is not as easy as it sounds, for the Trinity in some respects is a mystery – a revelation of God hidden in times past but revealed progressively from Genesis to Revelation.
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Is God guilty of genocide?

In The God Delusion, atheist Richard Dawkins vents:

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

It seems odd that Dawkins, who has made a career out of pillorying a God he says does not exist, charges this fictional character with a plethora of crimes, including ethnic cleansing.

But the question itself is a valid one. When God instructs the Israelites to annihilate seven nations inhabiting the Promised Land to make room for His chosen people, He uses unambiguous terms.

In passages like Deuteronomy 7:1-2 and 20:16-17, God tells the Israelites: “you must completely destroy them … you must not let any living thing survive.”

And the biblical narrative suggests the commands are taken quite literally: “They [the Israelites] completely destroyed everything in the city [Jericho] with the sword — every man and woman, both young and old, and every ox, sheep and donkey” (Josh. 6:21).

Does Dawkins have a point?
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