Tagged: World religions

Apologetics 101: Download audio files and notebook

Here are the audio files and notebook from the July 25 “Apologetics 101” workshop at Brentwood Baptist Church. You may duplicate and share any of these resources as long as you do not alter the content or charge for their use.

Audio files:

Session 1: What is apologetics?

Session 2: How do I know the Bible is true?

Session 3: Who’s the real Jesus?

Session 4: How can I counter false teachings?

Notebook:

Here’s the notebook in pdf format.

World Religions and Cults: Download Free Study

Click here to download PDF

The link above takes you to a study of world religions and cults, which some people call “alternative” faiths or other paths to God. Our stand will be on the truth of Jesus’ words in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Is this view narrow-minded and outdated, as some suggest? Quite the contrary. The words Christ speaks are “spirit” and “life” (John 6:63). To disregard them is perilous. Yet many do.

There are roughly 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide, 820 million Hindus, 400 million Buddhists, 13 million Mormons, 7 million Jehovah’s Witnesses, and millions more engaged in other false religions, or no religion at all. By all appearances, these people are sincere. They want to know the truth and believe they have found it. How can so many people be wrong? This study answers that question — and many others regarding people’s quest for ultimate truth.

Through this study, we will look at many belief systems, from Islam to Scientology. In each case, we’ll examine the background of the “alternative” faith and compare its beliefs to what the Bible says. We also will discuss effective means of witnessing to people who embrace these false religions.

Our purpose is not to condemn anyone or to assume God’s role as sovereign judge of the universe; rather, it is to compare the teachings of the world’s major religions and cults with biblical, historical Christianity so that we might be more effective in praying for and witnessing to the lost, and wiser in our ability to discern false doctrines. Every person, regardless of his or her religious beliefs, is precious in the eyes of God and is someone for whom Christ died. Our attitude as we study these false religious systems should be one of humility, love, and grace.

The words of the apostle Paul are clear: Those who are not grounded in the Word of God are subject to deceptive teachings about “another Jesus … a different spirit … a different gospel.” Every world religion and every cult that we study professes belief in Jesus and has an exalted place for Him in its theology. But without exception, each of these belief systems fails to correctly answer the key question Jesus asked in Matt. 16:15: “Who do you say that I am?” They also have false views of the Holy Spirit and without exception embrace a works-based doctrine of salvation.

Paul warned Christians in Acts 20:29-31: “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. And men from among yourselves will rise up with deviant doctrines to lure the disciples into following them. Therefore be on the alert …” Our prayer is that this study will help protect you, your family and your church from false teachers who proclaim “another Jesus … a different spirit … and a different gospel.”

Copyright 2008 by Rob Phillips

How can 4.5 billion people be wrong?

According to Adherents.com, there are 6.6 billion people in the world today. Among these are 1.5 billion Muslims, 1.1 billion nonreligious people, 900 million Hindus, nearly 400 million Buddhists, 7 million Baha’is, and millions of adherents to countless other faiths. The Web site also says there are 2.1 billion “Christians,” a broad category that includes Catholics and Protestants, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and so-called “nominal” Christians.

If the exclusive claims of Jesus are true, and even if everyone who claims to be a Christian really is, then 4.5 billion people still stand outside the kingdom of heaven. By all appearances, these people are sincere. They want to know the truth, and many believe they have found it. How can 4.5 billion people be wrong? Every Christian can answer this question by understanding the Biblical descriptions of those who do not know Christ.

Listen to or download audio file

 

Test Your Knowledge of World Religions and Cults

Think you know a lot about the differences between Christianity and other belief systems? Here’s a chance to test your knowledge — and have a little fun along the way. The answers are at the end of the exam.

 

1. Which of the following is not a Hindu scripture:

a) Rig Veda

b) Sama Veda

c) Yajur Veda

d) Darth Veda

 

2. True or false:

Islam is the second largest religion in the world – and one of the fastest growing.

 

3. True or false:

Buddhism has its roots in Hinduism but differs in many beliefs and practices.

 

4. The great dividing line between Judaism and Christianity is:

a) Kosher foods

b) The Sabbath

c) Mel Brooks

d) Jesus as Messiah

 

5. Who founded Scientology:

a) Tom Cruise

b) L. Ron Hubbard

c) E. Buzz Miller

d) Stephen Hawking

 

6. Which of the following religions is best summarized by the statement, “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become:”

a) Hinduism

b) Christian Science

c) Mormonism

d) Humanism

 

7. A cult is best described as:

a)   A blue oyster

b)   A dead-end street

c)   Merchandise at Big Lots

d)   Counterfeit Christianity

 

8. Muhammad taught that Jesus (circle all that apply):

a) Was a great prophet

b) Was born of a virgin

c) Lived a sinless life

d) Died on the cross

e) Is coming back one day

 

9. The Jehovah’s Witnesses deny (circle all that apply):

a) Ever knocking on your door

b) The deity of Christ

c) The Trinity

d) Soul sleep

e) Eternal punishment in hell

f) Jesus’ invisible return in 1914

 

10. Who is Siddhartha Gautama?

a) Master of the pan flute

b) The explorer who discovered Guatemala

c) The founder of Buddhism

d) The real name of rapper Snoop Dogg

 

11. True or false:

Mary Baker Eddy, L. Ron Hubbard and Sun Myung Moon joined forces in 1984 to form what they claimed was “perfect Christianity.” They called their new organization the Unification Church of Christian Scientology.

 

12. According to Mormon history, which of the following Jewish tribes crossed the Atlantic and became the ancestors of the American Indians:

a)   The Lamanites

b)   The Jebusites

c)   The Parasites

d)   The Kung Pao Buckaroos

 

Answers:

1) d; 2) true; 3) true; 4) d; 5) b; 6) c; 7) d; 8) a, b, c, e; 9) b, c, e; 10) c; 11) false; 12) a

 

Learn more about world religions and cults

 

How Can 4.5 Billion People be Wrong?

            

We are beginning an 8-week study of world religions and cults. Our stand will be on the truth of Jesus’ words in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Is this view narrow-minded, outdated, or even bigoted, as some suggest? Quite the contrary. The words Christ speaks are “spirit” and “life” (John 6:63). To disregard them is perilous. Yet many do. According to Adherents.com, there are 6.6 billion people in the world today. Among these are 1.5 billion Muslims, 1.1 billion nonreligious people, 900 million Hindus, nearly 400 million Buddhists, 7 million Baha’is, and millions of adherents to countless other faiths. The Web site also says there are 2.1 billion “Christians,” a broad category that includes Catholics and Protestants, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and so-called “nominal” Christians.  If the exclusive claims of Jesus are true – and I believe they are – and even if everyone who claims to be a Christian really is, then 4.5 billion people still stand outside the kingdom of heaven. By all appearances, these people are sincere. They want to know the truth, and many believe they have found it. How can 4.5 billion people be wrong? Every Christian can answer this question by understanding the Biblical descriptions of those who do not know Christ. 

A Godly purpose 

Our purpose in this study is not to condemn anyone or to assume God’s role as sovereign judge of the universe; rather, it is to compare the teachings of some of the world’s major religions and cults with biblical, historical Christianity so that we might be more effective in praying for and witnessing to the lost, and wiser in our ability to discern false doctrines. Every person, regardless of his or her religious beliefs, is precious in the eyes of God and is someone for whom Christ died. Our attitude as we study these false religious systems should be one of humility, love, and grace. 

A look at 2 Cor. 11:1-4 

The words of the apostle Paul are clear: Those who are not grounded in the Word of God are subject to deceptive teachings about “another Jesus … a different spirit … a different gospel” (2 Cor. 11:4 HCSB). Every world religion and every cult that we study professes belief in Jesus and has an exalted place for Him in its theology. But without exception, each of these belief systems fails to correctly answer the key question Jesus asked in Matt. 16:15: “Who do you say that I am?” 

In his classic book The Kingdom of the Cults, the late Dr. Walter Martin tells about a training program held by the American Banking Association. Each year the ABA sends hundreds of bank tellers to Washington to teach them to detect counterfeit money. Writes Martin: 

“It is most interesting that during the entire two-week training program, no teller touches counterfeit money. Only original passes through his hands. The reason for this is that the American Banking Association is convinced that if a man is thoroughly familiar with the original, he will not be deceived by the counterfeit bill, no matter how much like the original it appears. It is the contention of this writer that if the average Christian would become familiar once again with the great foundations of his faith, he would be able to detect those counterfeit elements so apparent in the cult systems, which set them apart from Biblical Christianity” (pp. 16-17).

This is a great lesson for us. Even though we will spend some time looking at the history and teachings of major world religions and cults, our focus should be on the truth of the Word of God. Then it won’t matter what the counterfeit religions are; we’ll be able to identify them and lovingly steer their proponents toward the truth.

The state of the lost 

Back to our earlier question: If we believe Jesus is the only way of salvation, and if so many people reject that belief, how can so many people be wrong? The answer lies in what the Bible teaches about the state of those who don’t know Christ. Specifically, the Bible says the unbeliever is:

 

 

  • Natural (vs. spiritual) – a man or woman who regards the things relating to God’s Spirit as foolishness  (1 Cor. 2:14)
  • Blinded in his or her mind by Satan (2 Cor. 4:3-4)
  • Bound by Satan (2 Tim. 2:26)
  • Alienated from God (Eph. 4:18)
  • An enemy of God (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:21)
  • Condemned (John 3:18)
  • In spiritual darkness (Acts 26:18; Eph. 5:8; Col. 1:13; 1 Peter 2:9)
  • Spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1-2)

What hope exists for these 4.5 billion people? As we speak to them about the things we have seen and heard (Acts 4:20), the Holy Spirit must do the necessary work of convincing them of their need for Christ (see John 16:7-11). As we learn to share our faith with unbelievers, we must remind ourselves that winning the lost requires patience, perseverance, a clear understanding of scripture, and above all the work of the Spirit.