Apologetics?

ARMDavidI’m always fascinated at the various responses I get from Christians whenever I mention apologetics. The responses range from, “What are you talking about? Are you ‘apologizing’ for being a Christian?” to, “You should not really get involved with Apologists. They tend to be divisive and arrogant.” Some Christians know exactly what apologetics are but either have no interest in them or think that apologetics are better left to the academics. So what exactly are apologetics anyway?We get the word “apologetics” from the New Testament Greek word “apologia.” The literal translation of this word is “defense.”

The Apostle Paul uses this word in Philippians 1:7,16 and Peter uses it in 1 Peter 3:15 when he urges all of us to be “ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.” So we use the word apologetics to describe the defense of the faith. “So why should we defend the faith?” [1] a well meaning Christian may ask, “I mean God is big enough to defend Himself isn’t He?” This is true. God does not need us to stick up for Him but he has given us the great commission which we cannot fulfill without apologetics. With all of the contrary ideas in our culture and even sometimes in our churches, we need to have some understanding of apologetics, not only to defend our faith but to also share our faith. We are told in Jude 3, “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” We are also told in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” Paul goes on further in 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.” Peter also shares this same message with us in 1 Peter 3:15, “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

So as we can see from these instructions, it is virtually impossible to share your faith without using apologetics. We automatically become defenders of the faith ever time we share the gospel. The study of apologetics only increases our ability to reach a lost and searching world for Christ. Unless we know what we believe and why we believe it, we will not be able to share our faith effectively. Many times using apologetics involves correcting false ideas about Christianity. False ideas about Christianity are all around us. We see them coming from Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists and many other distortions of Christianity. We even see false ideas about Christianity coming into our homes through television and radio. Sadly, we sometimes even here false ideas about Christianity in our own churches. Yes, sometimes apologetics must be used to defend our faith against the false ideas that would lead the lost and searching astray. We are given examples of apologetic correction all throughout Scripture.

Solomon’s Proverbs are full of comparisons between truth and error, wisdom and folly and light and darkness. Jesus Himself spoke out against error. In Matthew 12:34,39 Jesus said this to the religious leaders of His day, “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? … A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign.” Later in Matthew 15:7 He called the scribes and Pharisees “hypocrites,” and in verse 9 He said, “They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” Then in chapter 23 of Matthew He goes on to call the religious leaders who are teaching falsehood, “blind guides,” “whitewashed tombs,” “snakes” and “brood of vipers!” So even Jesus, who we like to think of as meek and mild, had to use apologetics to protect people from following false teaching. We don’t like to do that today. All too often when false teaching comes creeping into the church, we would rather not confront it because we want to keep the peace. Sadly but necessarily, apologetics must be used here as well. Jesus wasn’t the only one in the early church to speak out against false teaching. The apostles and disciples were busy using apologetics as well. Both Peter (in Acts 2:14-41; 3:12-26; 4:8-12) and Stephen (in Acts 6:8-10; 7:1-60) spoke forcefully against the unbelieving Jews. Paul also condemned sorcery (in Acts 13:8-12) and the Jewish leaders as well (in Acts 13:16-46; 14:1-4; 17:1-4).

The defense of the faith using apologetics obviously didn’t end with Jesus and the apostles or we would not have seen a need for the Reformation. Obviously various heresies had found a place in the church and needed to be corrected. Even well before the Reformation there were heresies that needed to be refuted by the early first and second century church fathers. All throughout history, from the early beginnings of the church until today, where ever the truth of the gospel is taught, there are counterfeiters competing for the minds and hearts of the lost and searching. Today, we have apologetics available to us to refute almost any kind of heresy, false teaching or just plain misunderstandings that we may have as believers in a wide variety of fields from defending the faith against objections by atheists to sharing the gospel message with our Muslim neighbor.

We can look to a number of contemporary teachers such as C. S. Lewis who we can call a literary apologist and Francis A. Schaeffer who we can call a philosophical apologist. We also have works by Walter Martin who was a pioneer in religious and cult apologetics and Henry Morris, who specializes in scientific apologetics defending creationism. Others are Josh McDowell, who enunciates historical apologetics; John Warwick Montgomery, who uses legal principles to defend Christian truth; and Charles Colson, who uses cultural apologetics to defend the truth of Christianity. The works of all these men and many more besides can be used to reach out and share the gospel with our lost and searching family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. So what about apologetics? Don’t ‘apologize’ for your faith in Christ, share it and be prepared to defend it! Let’s not forget that the use of apologetics is a necessary part of sharing the gospel and not something that is an area of study reserved for the academics. Apologetics are not an optional field of study for the Christian but a necessity. Note: 1.) Much of what follows is my adaption of information given in the Introduction of the book Fast Facts On False Teachings by Ron Carlson and Ed Decker, published by Harvest House Publishers, copyright 1994. (lest I be accused of plagerism!)

Lawrence Hughes Update

As shocked and appalled as we may be at seeing Muslim children and youths being martyred for Allah we should be even more so at Jehovah’s Witnesses who claim to be Christian sacrificing their own children in the name of Jehovah of the Watchtower. Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that abortion is murder and denounce it yet at the same time are willing to allow their own children to die needlessly by refusing life saving blood transfusions. This kind of martyrdom has been going on in North America and around the world for decades with untold thousands of victims. One such victim was Bethany Hughes.

Bethany Hughes was martyred for Jehovah of The Watchtower at the tender age of 17 in 2002. Since that time, her father Lawrence Hughes has been battling the Watchtower in Canadian courts. Did Bethany really have to die? Do any Jehovah’s Witnesses really have to die for refusing blood transfusions? Well Lawrence Hughes doesn’t think so and neither do many who have lost loved ones in this manner. His fight continues to this day. He is currently in a position to appeal a court decision that sided with the Watchtower and is seeking your help. The following message is from an email he sent me dated September 5th, 2008.

EMERGENCY MESSAGE FROM LAWRENCE HUGHES

1) Legal experts say that I will win the Appeal. Refer to Conflicting Interests, Conflicting Judgments and the Ethical Obligations of Lawyers and Judges

2) Please view my youtube video entitled “INSTITUTIONAL MURDER”. I plan on creating other videos and I would appreciate your feedback and ideas on other videos.

I plan on creating other videos and I would appreciate your feedback and ideas on other videos.

3) Please visit Bethany’s Website.

As pointed out by Kerry Louderback-Wood and others, the Watchtower Society over Jehovah’s Witnesses has taken out of context or misapplied quotes from secular authorities.  It keeps giving out dated and/or vague information concerning medical treatments. The Canadian Red Cross states that 50% of Canadians will need blood in some form. Most don’t get the needed blood and afterwards many die!  The ratio may be far worse for many still developing nations. The Watchtower can deny this and similar estimations all they want, but let the record also note that they are ignoring the fact that even one sacrificed human is one too many!  How many hundreds of thousands must die to draw due attention from media and officials worldwide?!! (See QUESTIONS FOR JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES by William I. and Joan Cetnar, 1982 edition; p. 26 of 1996 edition by Prometheus Books of David A. Reed’s book Blood On The Altar: Confessions Of A Jehovah’s Witness Minister)

Surely you too are sickened by even the thought of senseless Institutional deaths or murder!

Yes, in almost every hospital in the world, Jehovah’s Witnesses are dying……………. refusing life saving whole blood transfusions.

Millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses are in danger of dying unless something is done to prevent it.

These victims are being coerced under duress of severe loss of normal ties including with family members, brain-washed and misled.

The Watchtower Society practices amount to senseless wrongful Martyrdom and on a regular basis they honor the deaths of Jehovah’s Witnesses who die refusing a blood transfusion.

Yes, the cover of the May 22, 1994 Awake! magazine published by the Watchtower Society shows pictures of twenty six beautiful children with their faces gleaming and smiling. Many of them died refusing a blood transfusion. It is for honoring their deaths.

The title of the magazine brags, “Youths Who Put God First.”

The preamble on the second page reads, “In former times thousands of youths died for putting God first. They are still doing it, only today the drama is played out in hospitals and courtrooms, with blood transfusions the issue.”

The first story is about Adrian, a fourteen year old boy who died refusing a blood transfusion. The title of his story reads, “He remembered his Creator in the Days of his Youth.”

This is one of many stories in this magazine telling how Jehovah’s Witness children were Martyred.

DavidGnampic.jpgMy sixteen year old daughter Bethany told me that her lawyer from headquarters, David Gnam,  promised her that she would be featured in the “Awake!” magazine, if she died refusing a blood transfusion.

Watchtower officials convinced my young daughter that arsenic would cure her skin cancer, took her into hiding and arranged for her to receive the arsenic. The arsenic given instead of standard blood transfusions killed her.

Bethany had received treatments for leukemia and her disease was in remission. In an affidavit prepared by the Watchtower lawyers, Bethany stated that she was afraid that if the disease did return, that Child Welfare would seek an Apprehension and Treatment Order and force her to receive blood transfusions.

I sent all the medical records to three experts, one being the World Expert of Pediatric Oncology.  The experts agree that Bethany had a 50% chance of living if she had received standard medical care. The experts also agree that arsenic is not a cure for skin cancer or AML leukemia which was the disease Bethany had.

Bethany could be alive today if they had not convinced her about the arsenic. Bethany had a fighting chance to live, and they took that away from her..

Will you help me to put an end to the needless deaths of Jehovah’s Witnesses?  Will you help me put an end to the Watchtower Society’s “Blood Policy”?  I have two other daughters to worry about.  Others have also lost loved ones and may lose still more.

I have filed a “Wrongful Death Lawsuit” against the Watchtower Society.  Please help save the lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Please help me to put an end to the needless deaths of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Further, please also email information about loved ones who were Jehovah’s Witnesses and who died refusing a blood transfusion, along with their photos if possible. The plan is to have a Memorial of those victims who died for the Watchtower Blood Policy.  A video is being considered for that too.

LawrenceHughespic.jpgIn conclusion, if you have any questions then please send them in now to watchtowerlawsuit@yahoo.com.  The clock is ticking and your support is needed!

Where’s The Crown?

The following is a book review written by my son Caleb for his public high school World Religions class. I trust you will be as encouraged by it as much as I was.

Where is the crown in ‘The Jesus Dynasty’?
A Review by C.D. Upton

The_Jesus_Dynasty_PaperBack.jpgWhen one reads the title of Dr. James D. Tabor’s book The Jesus Dynasty one may be tempted to think that it is another conspiracy theory about how Jesus was married and had children, but such is not the case. Dr. Tabor is Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and is an expert on such matters as archaeology, the Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian origins. His book is a historical treatise of Christian origins. His thesis contains several parts but can be summarized as follows: Jesus had a human father who was not Joseph and had four brothers and two sisters that were born from a father after Joseph died; Jesus joined a Messianic Movement started by John the baptizer his relative who he considered to be a great prophet and his teacher; they considered themselves to be the two messiahs who were to usher in the Kingdom of God and fulfill the Hebrew prophets; then suddenly when John the baptizer was killed Jesus appointed his ‘council of twelve’ who were to rule over the twelve tribes of Israel when the kingdom of God came, which included four of Jesus’ brothers and finally, once Jesus was crucified James took leadership over the movement, but this form of Jewish Christianity was all but lost when Paul came into the story and ‘hijacked’ Christianity. While Dr. Tabor is much more of a sober historian than others who have attempted to present a view of Christian origins that differs from Christian orthodoxy, his case is still flawed in many crucial points.

Before I get to the criticisms of Dr. Tabor’s work there is much to commend about the work. Tabor is right to reject swoon theories (The Jesus Dynasty, 229-30), to accept the differences in Jesus’ birth accounts in the Gospels compared to those of Greco-Roman mythology (The Jesus Dynasty, 45), and reject the legendary material about Jesus’ childhood (The Jesus Dynasty, 86). Tabor also accepts the James ossuary as authentic while many assert that it is a forgery, the historicity of the four gospels including John, the Jewishness of Jesus, and the idea that the Suba cave perhaps could have been a place where John the Baptizer did his baptizing and much else that could be agreed upon. What is also so refreshing about Tabor’s work is that it is not filled with wild unsupported theories such as notions that the Gnostic gospels predate the New Testament Gospels (eg. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown) or Egyptian origins for Christianity (eg. The Pagan Christ by Tom Harpur).

The best place to start in critiquing the book is to ask ‘What kind of biases does the author have?’ and ‘How do those biases affect the work?’ Tabor clearly has an anti-supernatural bias as expressed in this quote:

TaborDustJacket.jpgHistorians are bound by their discipline to work within the parameters of a scientific view of reality. Women do not get pregnant without a male — ever. So Jesus had a human father… Dead bodies don’t rise… So if the tomb was empty the historical conclusion is simple — Jesus’ body was moved by someone… Tabor, The Jesus Dynasty 233-234

Clearly Tabor’s philosophical view of the nature of reality affects his conclusions about historical matters to some degree. Is Tabor unaware that there are plenty of good historians and scientists that do believe in miracles? This bias is simply an unwarranted faith assumption or rather a dogma (It is rather ironic that Tabor has such a unwavering faith assumption, when he himself is so critical of people who hold dogmas).

AmosKloner.jpegTabor, while an expert on archaeology, seems not to be concerned that there is some criticism of some of his archaeological speculations, not the least of which is the Talpiot tomb. While Tabor’s thesis does not rely very heavily on archaeology it is noteworthy to examine the claims. Tabor I am sure is very aware that he is most likely one of the very few archeologists in the world today who believes that the Talpiot tomb has any connection to Jesus and his family. While I will not go exhaustively through all the problems with the family tomb hypothesis there are some brief things that should be noted: Why is the tomb in Talpiot. If it is the family tomb should it not be in Nazareth?; There is no historical record of any kind that says Jesus was married or had children and Amos Kloner, the Jerusalem District archeologist who officially oversaw the work at the tomb in 1980 and has published detailed findings on its contents, maintained that the possibility of the tomb having any relation to Jesus is close to zero (The Jesus Dynasty 25-26). Another radical archaeological claim is that Tabor believes that we may possibly have the tombstone of Jesus’ father Pantera. New Testament scholar Dr. Ben Witherington III, who has been very critical of Tabor’s work, has this to say in regards to the inscription on the tombstone:

BenWittheringtonHiRes.jpgGerman theologian Adolph Deissmann concludes from this inscription that Pantera died in the middle of the first century. If this is correct, it follows that (1) Pantera was not a Roman soldier in 2-6 B.C., the period in which Jesus was born (as Tabor acknowledges); and (2) if indeed this cohort of archers went to Dalmatia in A.D. 6 and then on to the Rhine in A.D. 9, as Tabor avers (p.69), then our man Pantera was not even yet with them, or if he was he had only just become a soldier in the first\decade of the current era, not in the period 2-6 B.C. In other words, the calculations are off by a least a decade. Witherington, What have they done with Jesus 297

Aside from the archaeology and presumptions, most of Tabor’s criticism has been received from Tabor’s history and exegesis of the New Testament texts. While much can be argued in terms of history and exegesis of Tabor’s work we will only examine the issues that are more important in terms of Tabor’s thesis. One of the crucial parts of Tabor’s thesis is that Jesus considered John the Baptizer a second messiah and a co-partner in the messianic movement, but this is highly suspect. Scholar Dr. Darrell Bock a professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary had this to say:

bock.jpgTabor claims that John is the one who initiated the messianic movement, though it might be more accurate to say he announced the arrival of the promised time of renewal… The evidence for twin Messiahs comes from a text from Qumran, home of the Dead Sea Scrolls, even though we can’t be sure John was part of that Dead Sea movement…There is no evidence for it in any Christian materials (or even in sources that some argue go back to John the Baptist’s circles). Bock and Wallace, Dethroning Jesus 180-181

It is also important to note that in John 3:27-30 and its parallel in Mark 2:19-20 says that Jesus is called the ‘bridegroom’ while John the baptizer is called the ‘friend of the bridegroom.’ These texts make it clear that John and Jesus are not on the same level. While much more time could be spent on Tabor’s view of John the Baptizer, another crucial part of Tabor’s thesis, which he calls ‘the greatest secret of the New Testament’ is also suspect. Tabor believes that Jesus’ four brothers were part of the twelve apostles. Beside the fact that in the epistle of James and the epistle of Jude there is no evidence of this, are there any other problems with this idea? Some scholars believe Tabor’s exegesis of Luke 6:14-16 is flawed. This is what Witherington has to say about this issue:

Tabor says that the phrase “James of Alphaeus” means James son of Alphaeus, and this is likely correct… But Tabor then wants to turn around and read the adjacent phrase “Judas of James” as meaning Jude brother of James. This will not do. The Greek construction is the same in both cases… when Luke wanted to say someone was the brother of another disciple, he inserted the word adelphos… But neither was Simon the Zealot or Jacob listed as one of Jesus’ brothers… In a desperate move Tabor suggests that Matthew/Levi son of Alphaeus is actually Joseph (p.164), even though no gospel text or later source even remotely suggests this. But then no source suggests that Mary was married to Clopas who is really Alphaeus either, as Tabor argues. Witherington, What Have they Done with Jesus 304-305

It appears that a closer look at the list of twelve shows that Jesus’ brothers were not part of the twelve. This is a crucial part of Tabor’s thesis because if Jesus’ brothers are not part of the twelve then you don’t have a Jesus dynasty.

nt_wright_featured.jpgWhat most astounds me though about Tabor’s thesis is his explanation of where he believes Jesus is buried. Tabor suggests that Jesus was finally buried in Tsfat and he bases this on the testimony of a sixteenth century rabbi who had no independent knowledge of the early evidence of Jesus’ death and burial! (The Jesus Dynasty 238) This in my mind smacks of bad history, taking so-called evidence from the sixteenth century is not very helpful for the understanding of the historical Jesus. Tabor also wants to explain the resurrection appearances by saying that they were some kind of powerful religious experiences (Ibid.). Well this simply won’t do. N.T. Wright, whom Tabor acknowledges (Ibid. 345) has shown in his book The Resurrection of the Son of God that resurrection only had one meaning in that time and that was of a physical body coming back to life.

One last controversial part of Tabor’s thesis must be addressed and that is Tabor’s idea that James and Paul had irreconcilable Christianities. It is important to acknowledge two things concerning this issue, one that this part of Tabor’s theory is not new and two that practically no New Testament scholar thinks that there wasn’t any conflict between Paul and the other apostles, the question is how far reaching was this conflict and is it really as big of a conflict as some think. All of the conflicts presented in the New Testament (Acts 10-11, 15, 20; Rom.13-15; Gal.1-2) are about the Jew-Gentile conflict, they are not arguing about the deity of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, the death of Jesus or anything major, they are for the most part arguing about the relationship of Jews and Gentiles, and observance of the law. What is also crucial to recognize is that in one of Paul’s epistles, 1 Corinthians, he speaks very positively of his apostolic colleagues (3:5-9, 21-23; 4:1; 9:5). So I think this argument about conflict in the early church is exaggerated.

Much more could be said about Dr. Tabor’s work. As stated earlier, this is a refreshing criticism to the Christian faith because it’s grounds are more scholarly than most. It definitely got me thinking about a lot of things and it at least kept me on my toes in wrestling with his ideas. Tabor’s book I believe does offer us a contribution to the study of world religions because it very much stresses that Jesus was a Jew, the apostles were Jews and they lived in a Jewish culture, something that Christianity has long needed to be reminded of. I like what Darrell Bock says about the issue:

Perhaps the solution is to reject both the approach of Marcion, who shut out the Jewishness of early Christianity, and the approach of Tabor, who in seeking to maintain the Jewishness actually excludes the contribution of the most Jewish-instructed of all the apostles, Paul. Bock and Wallace, Dethroning Jesus 191

Bibliography

Bock, Wallace. Dethroning Jesus. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc, 2007

Witherington. What have they done with Jesus. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006

Tabor. The Jesus Dynasty. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2006

2007 Annual Report

2007pic.jpgThis past year has been a very busy one for ARM. New doors were open to us to offer seminars and our print and digital publishing had also expanded. In addition to our own ministry activities, we were actively promoting other ministries and events throughout the year. For instance, our friend Tony Costa has been especially busy this past year as you will see in our following calendar of events.

2007 Annual Report

WOJpic2.jpgJanuary
We hosted ‘In The Name of Jehovah’ seminar at Westmount Park Church. We also promoted the Decoding The Da Vinci Code Seminar by Tony Costa at Tyndale Seminary. And just to let everyone know what we were doing the previous year, I posted our 2006 Annual Report on our web site.

skepticscover2 copy.jpgFebruary
This month we were pleased to promote The Bible Skeptics Conference in Whitby, Ontario hosted by Paul MacGregor. Speakers included malone&me.jpg Bruce Malone from Search For The Truth, Dr. John Barnett from Discover The Book, Andrew Barron from Jews for Jesus Canada and Dave Hunt from The Berean Call. barnett&Neil.jpgWe have DVDs available of that conference. Write to us to find out how to get your own copy (see address below). We also promoted ‘The New Age Movement: Is it Really New?’ seminar by Tony Costa at Tyndale Seminary as well as his‘Who Is Jesus?’ presentation at York University. In response to tract distribution program done in my neighborhood by the Seventh-day Adventists this month, I responded to the claims of the tract first in email conversation with someone on the other end of the email address given on the tract. This in turn resulted in my February web posting ‘Why Sunday?’. The spamming and negative emails I have been receiving as a result of this posting continue to this day.

NeilBulloch.jpgMarch
ARM hosted the ‘Understanding Islam’ seminar led by Neil Bulloch at Westmount Park Church and The Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Matthew in Scarborough. MissionFestgroup2.jpgTony Costa was busy this month speaking at the Toronto Mission Fest on the subject of Cults in Missions, debating with Muslim Apologist Shabir Ally at McMaster University, on the subject of “Who is Jesus?” and delivering his Raidersoflosttomb2.jpg ‘Raiders of The Lost Tomb’ lecture at Grace Bible Church in Scarborough. ARM also promoted the ‘Becoming A Contagious Christian’ live satelite broadcast with Mark Mittleberg and Lee Strobel hosted by The Church of St. Mark – Lutheran in Mississauga and we contagiouschristianpic2.jpgpromoted The Toronto Passion Play at Queensway Cathedral in Etobicoke. After receiving an amazing email letter sent to the ministry, I had to post ‘A Pastor Repents’ on web site. PastorSiegPudel.jpg Last but not least, Pastor Sieg Pudel of Hope Community Church in Brampton invited me to write an article for The Messenger, a denominational publication of the Church of God in Eastern Canada.

mormonismposterpic2.jpgApril
ARM hosted ‘Mormonism: What’s The Difference?’ seminar at Westmount Park Church and The Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Matthew in Scarborough led by Vincent Poldrugovac, author of ‘ENSIGN: Raising The banner of Truth.’ After receiving an amazing book in the mail called I Can’t Hear God Anymore: Life in a Dallas Cult I posted ‘The Case For Easter’ on our web site. And with last month marking the tenth anniversary of the Heaven’s Gate suicides, I directed readers once again to my posting ‘Alien Obsession!’ which includes a story by my friend Terrie Nettles.

Catholicismposterpic.jpgMay
We hosted ‘Catholicism: What’s The Difference?’ seminar at Westmount Park Church and The Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Matthew led by Vincent Poldrugovac. We also promoted the following events: The ‘Discover the Bible’ seminar at The Church of St. Mark – Lutheran led by Rev. Dr. Jeff Loach, District Director of the Canadian Bible Society. RichardBennett2.jpgThe former Catholic Priest Richard Bennett’s speaking engagements in Ontario at the Toronto Free Presbyterian Church in Scarborough, Faith Reformed Baptist Church in Scarborough and Barrie Free Presbyterian Church in Barrie. AlisterMcGrath.jpgWe also promoted the ‘Deluded About God’ lecture by Alister McGrath at Wycliffe College and ‘The God Hypothesis: Theism versus Naturalism’ lecture by Tony Costa at Seneca College. Tony was also one of many speakers who participated in the The Copernicus Lectures which we also helped to promote. Finally, in response to the growing popularity and activity of a new breed of atheists I posted ‘Does God Exist?’ on the web site.

Knoxchurchpic2.jpgJune
We were pleased again this year to help promote the Summer Fellowship Series at Knox Presbyterian Church called ‘Images of God’ with speakers like Victor Shepherd, Professor of Systematic Theology at Tyndale Seminary, and Donald Carson, Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, among many others. Also, our ministry partner Neil Bulloch taught a course on Islamics every Monday evening at Bridle Trail Baptist Church in Markham.

JohnPiperpic2.jpgJuly
This month we let John Piper do the talking in our posting ‘Health & Wealth?’ on the web site.

tonycosta.jpgAugust
This month we added the ‘Jesus in Islam’ video debate between Muslim Apologist Shabir Ally and Christian Apologist Tony Costa on the web site. lawrence.jpgLawrence Hughes was busy this summer in Calgary with his continuing battle against the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in his wrongful death suit against them. He was restored as the administrator of His daughter Bethany’s estate thereby allowing him to proceed with legal action. We will keep you posted.

jwposterpic.jpgSeptember
This month we hosted the ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses: What’s The Difference?’ seminar at Westmount Park Church and The Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Matthew.
ChristinityIslampic2.jpgWe also promoted Sola Scriptura’s CHRISTIANITY – ISLAM : Two Faiths! Two Worldviews! – One God? Conference with Dr. Michael Haykin, Dr. James White, and Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile,
realjesuspic2.jpgas well as ‘The Case For The Real Jesus’ with Mark Mittleberg and Lee Strobel live broadcast event at The Church of St. Mark – Lutheran in Mississauga.

ctbfposterpic2.jpgOctober
We offered the ‘Called to be free’ seminar at Westmount Park Church and The Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Matthew and TPposterpic2.jpgpromoted ‘The Truth Project’ weekend at Rexdale Missionary Alliance Church in Etobicoke. We also promoted the ‘Exploring Islam’ satelite broadcast at The Church of St. Mark – Lutheran in Mississauga as well as wotmposterpic2.jpg The Way of The Master Basic Training Course also offered at The Church of St. Mark – Lutheran. We were also pleased to promote ‘The Jesus Conflict’ debate between Muslim Apologist Shabir Ally and Christian Apologist Tony Costa which can be seen and heard at TheConflict.ca.

maydposterpic2.jpgNovember
Our last event of the year was called ‘The Mission At Your Door’ which was an all day seminar led by myself and Vincent Poldrugovac on the subjects of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons at The Church of St. Mark – Lutheran in Mississauga and we also promoted the CCN broadcast called ‘Secret Believers- What Happens When Muslims Believe in Christ’ with Brother Andrew hosted there. Tony Costa was also busy answering ’3 Top Questions’ on God, Jesus and the meaning of life to students at Humber College.

ENSIGNpic.jpgDecember
Vincent Poldrugovac released an updated version of his book ENSIGN: Raising The Banner of Truth.

Comments

For those readers who have supported this ministry with your prayers and generous gifts of support and also for the benefit of those who may only have just heard of this ministry, I’d like to share some encouraging words from some folks who have been served and encouraged by The Apologetic Response:

“I enjoy getting your updates and this was a great response. Well researched and well stated. I have always seen the key being Exodus 31:17 – “It will be a sign between me and the Israelites for ever” as was stated in your post.”
Posted by Brian in response to ‘Why Sunday?’.

wendy6 copy.jpg“I was a member of a Bible-based cult for seven years. As a Christian who was raised in the mainstream Southern Baptist denomination, who had earned an undergraduate degree in Sociology and a master’s degree in Religious Education from one of the world’s foremost Protestant seminaries—Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary—and who had worked in the mental health field for twenty years, I should have been the last person to join a cult! Cults and new religions are thriving and it is imperative that churches understand how they operate and why they appeal to Christians and nonChristians alike. I thank God for David Upton and his ministry. I pray that the Apologetic Response Ministry will continue to equip the church to better minister to individuals who have been led away from the freedom that is in Christ.”
Wendy J. Duncan
Author of ‘I Can’t Hear God Anymore: Life In A Dallas Cult’
DallasCult.com

Jill.jpg“David Upton has a sincere heart for God, and his Apologetic Response offers a strong, consistent and much needed defense of the faith.”
Kevin Rische and Jill Martin Rische
Walter Martin Ministries

Basilpic2.jpg“The Apologetic Response often offers a number of informative resources such as books and DVDs to help equip Christians in their outreach efforts; however, an even greater resource that ought not to be overlooked is found in the very members that constitute A.R.M. and who, due to their unswerving commitment to serve Christ by serving His people, tirelessly share both their knowledge and their experience in reaching out to others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Apologetic Response serves as a unique resource that I prayerfully hope many congregations will consider utilizing as they consider their commitment to Christ’s commission– for it invariably includes communicating God’s Good News with cultists.”
Basil Christi
Director of Christian Outreach
The Church of St. Mark – Lutheran

jose-hurtado-peru.jpg“With so many cults in the world today, it is refreshing to have people like David Upton in Apologetic Response providing sound evidence and resources to counter the tide of falsehoods these movements spread. This is particularly important since cults like Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Mormons can literally wreck a life or a family , sometimes they look nice and noble, but the truth is painfully different. The fact that Apologetic Response has material in Spanish was particularly valuable to me since my previous church is in Lima, Peru where Spanish is the official language. Keep up the good work David, and may Apologetic Response have an even better year in 2008.”
Jose Luis Hurtado
Beaches Worship Centre

Stmatthewspic2.jpg“Both Neville and I really appreciate your ministry. Your presentations on the various cults are informative and very relavent to those of us in the
church. Our congregation certainly has appreciated your seminars. May the Lord open more doors for you so that you can educate others.”

Anna Maria Matthews
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Matthew

About Us

booktable2.jpgThe beginning of 2008 marks the beginning of our fifth year as non-profit volunteer ministry consisting of myself, David Upton, Vincent Poldrugovac and Neil Bulloch offering seminars on Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism and Islam. At every seminar we offer free materials as well as materials from our resource table for purchase. We also promote other ministries and events in and around our city when we are notified of them through our friends in ministry. Our mailing list serves to notify readers in advance of upcoming events as well as a means of dialogue with readers and other ministries.

Vincentseminar2.jpgWe are uniquely called to equip the body of Christ to meet the challenges of competing world views that are misinformed about the Christian faith and who Christ is. With our city of Toronto growing rapidly with almost 50% of our population being new Canadians, we are equipping individuals and churches with the tools they need to not only learn about other world views but to also learn how to share the Christian faith with them. This is accomplished through our web ministry, monthly seminars, resource table and outreach materials.

daveteaching2.jpgHaving served and equipped individuals and churches from over 20 different denominations from as far west as Brampton to as far east as Scarborough, we are equipped to come to your church or small group with videos, handouts, powerpoint presentations and live speakers to answer questions and share with your group ways to share your faith with friends, family and neighbors in ways you may not have thought of before.

Financial Report

Support for this ministry comes solely from the gifts of A.R.M. friends. We are not funded or endowed by any group or denomination. Because we are a volunteer based ministry donations are not tax refundable. Donations to this ministry that make are jobs easier are especially appreciated. This year we were blessed with a 400GB external hard drive, an external firewire CD writer, a 21″ colour monitor and an older iMac hooked up to a dual cassette deck for converting our audio tape library into digital format.

How You can Help

Please write to us at apologeticresponse@rogers.com if you are interested in hosting ARM seminars in your church or small group or even if you just need further information or clarification on anything in this report. You can also write by snail-mail to:

The Apologetic Response
P.O. Box 282, Stn. D
Etobicoke, ON.
M9A 4X2
CANADA

Please Pray:

- For wisdom, guidance and direction as we offer apologetic responses to the world around us.
- For those who are angry and/or confused, that the Holy Spirit would use this ministry to speak to their hearts and minds to receive the free gift of salvation that He has to offer.
- For protection from those who would seek to discourage this ministry.

Thanks

First and foremost to our Lord Jesus Christ for sustaining this ministry this year. Thanks also go to my friends and brothers in Christ who have helped so much this past year, Vincent Poldrugovac, Neil Bulloch, Tony Costa and Paul MacGregor. I’d also like to thank Peter Cavanaugh and Bobby Greer for their technical support. I’d also like to thank the churches who hosted our seminars in 2007: Pastor Werner Peters and the congregation of Westmount park Church, Anna Maria Matthews and the congregation of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Matthew, Basil Christi and the congregation of The Church of St. Mark – Lutheran, and Pastor Lee Wong and the congregation of Bridal Trail Baptist Church. Special thanks to all the individuals and ministries who contributed resources to share with churches in Toronto; MacGregor Ministries, CCN, Living Hope Ministries, IRR.org, 4truth.net, BereanBeacon.org, Humbleheart Ministries, Silentlambs. I also would like to thank all those who have contributed to this ministry with your financial contributions, donations of equipment and your prayers. Thank you also to those who have written kind and encouraging comments both on the web site and privately. Encouraging words are as valuable and needed as money and prayers. Last but not least, I thank my wonderful wife Heather whom I affectionately refer to as ‘Holy Heather full of Grace’ simply because she is and my faith filled son Caleb who never ceases to amaze me in so many ways.

May God Richly Bless You All in 2008,

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David Upton

The Apologetic Response
January 2008