(Podcast 2.23.18) Message: “What Will Heaven Look Like, Pt. 2” (Rev. 6, 9, 21, and 22)

Source: (Podcast 2.23.18) Message: “What Will Heaven Look Like, Pt. 2” (Rev. 6, 9, 21, and 22)

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(Podcast 2.23.18) 4 Things We Can Learn from Billy Graham’s Life

Source: (Podcast 2.23.18) 4 Things We Can Learn from Billy Graham’s Life

Thank You, Dr. Billy Graham!

This article was originally posted at BellatorChristi.com. To reply to this post, please go to https://bellatorchristi.com/2018/02/21/thank-you-dr-billy-graham/

It was announced today (Feb. 21, 2018) that Dr. Billy Graham had passed away. Dr. Graham was a global evangelist who reached thousands upon thousands with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Graham is popularly called “America’s Pastor.” While we will miss him, we know that heaven has gained a great ambassador for Christ. May we all strive to share the gospel in our lives and through our witness.

We should pray for Dr. Graham’s family. But, we should also celebrate the promised heaven that Graham is now experiencing. Dr. Graham challenges us to be the best ambassadors that we can so that when our time comes to enter his glory, we will carry with us a heavenly reward. Dr. Graham, we will miss you. But, we who are in Christ will see you again.

 

Love in Christ,

 

Brian Chilton

Simple Tools to Test Truth Claims

By: Brian G. Chilton | February 12, 2018

Shared from https://bellatorchristi.com/2018/02/12/simple-tools-to-test-truth-claims/. Please go to the provided link to share any comments or to ask questions.

We live in a day called the information age. This is a time when we are inundated with information. Some information is based on truth, whereas other truth claims are flawed. While it is not a popular assumption to hold: Not every opinion is correct. Not every worldview is truthful. So, how does one know whether a claim is truthful or flawed? You could take detailed courses in logic, which is advised if you are able to do so. However, a few simple tools in your tool belt will help you decipher truth claims. This article will focus on two: the laws of logic and testing truth claims.

1. Know the Essential Laws of Logic

First, it is important for you to know the essential laws of logic. Let’s focus on five of the more important laws.

Law of Identity: (A = A). The law of identity simply states that something is what it is. Douglas Groothuis compares this to a person saying to another, “You aren’t acting like yourself today.” The person infers the identity of the individual as a particular thing.[1] The claim “An oak is a tree” infers that oaks are identified as trees.

Law of Noncontradiction: (A ~A). The law of noncontradiction states that nothing can be what it is not. That is, an oak cannot be a tree and cow’s milk. Either it is a tree, or it is cow’s milk. Thus, a thing cannot be what it is at the same time being what it is not.

Law of Excluded Middle: (A V ~A). The law of excluded middle shows that a claim must either be the thing it claims to be or not. It cannot be both. An oak cannot be milk. Therefore, if a person needs shade in the summer, then the person must decide whether the shade from the oak’s leaves will be beneficial or milk. Since milk does not provide shade, the person must choose the oak. But, perhaps the milk would provide a refreshing beverage, but it cannot be chosen to provide shade.

Law of Bivalence: (A~A)=(A V ~A).[2] The law of bivalence simply notes that one must choose between proposition A or proposition ~A. That is, every truth claim is either true or false. It can’t be both. Therefore, one must choose.

Law of Rational Inference: (A = B, and B = C, then A = C). Coinciding with the previous four, the law of rational inference may be helpful in deciphering truth claims. In this sense, if A is shown to equal B, and B equals C, then naturally it follows that A would equal C. For example, if my son’s father’s name is Brian, and I am my son’s father, then it logically follows that I am Brian, my son’s father.

2. Know How to Test Truth Claims

A syllogism is a logical construct that has two criteria and one conclusion. The kalam cosmological argument is a syllogism. It has two premises and one conclusion. The argument goes as follows: 1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause. 2) The universe had a beginning. 3) Therefore, the universe has a cause. How does one test such arguments such as theses? Simply follow three steps.

  1. Define the terms. Terms will either be clear or unclear. Are the terms that used clear? In the case of the kalam, they are. The term universe refers to the material cosmos. Beginning refers to the origin or starting point of a thing. Cause references the reason for something’s existence. In the case of the kalam, the terms are clear.
  2. Test the premises. Premises, or statements, are either true or false. Do things that begin to exist have a cause? Certainly! Homes have a reason for their existence, to provide shelter. The second statement is also true. It is nearly unanimously agreed that the universe had a beginning, a starting point. Both premises in the kalam are true.
  3. Evaluate the argument.[3] Arguments are either valid or invalid. If the first statement is true, “Everything that begins to exist has a cause,” and the second statement is also true in that “The universe had a beginning,” then the argument naturally flows to its conclusion that “The universe has a cause.” That Cause can be inferred to be the Creator. The kalam cosmological arguments passes the truth test.

Conclusion

The tools given in this article do not only apply to syllogisms, they apply to any truth claim. The fact is that not everything you hear from others, read online and in the newspapers, or see on television is based on truth. Use these tools and you will have, what I call, an instant bologna tester. You will be able to decipher truth from fiction. As wonderful as it is to proclaim, Christianity gloriously holds to the test of truth. That being said, the Christian should strive to find the truth, because the “truth will set you free” (Jn. 8:32, CSB).

 

About the Author

Brian G. Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com and is the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction); his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors); and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is currently in the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University. Brian is full member of the International Society of Christian Apologetics and the Christian Apologetics Alliance. Brian has been in the ministry for over 15 years and serves as the pastor of Huntsville Baptist Church in Yadkinville, North Carolina.

Notes 

[1] Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2011), 48.

[2] The ⊕ symbol refers to exclusive or propositions. In this case, one is forced to choose between A or ~A because both cannot be true.

[3] For further details, see Peter Kreeft, Socratic Logic (South Bend, IN: St. Augustine’s, 2014), 26-27.

 

© 2018. BellatorChristi.com.

(2.9.18 Podcast) What Does God Look Like?

Follow the link to find the podcast. On this edition of the Bellator Christi Podcast, Brian discusses what the Scripture tells us about God’s appearance and attributes.

Source: (2.9.18 Podcast) What Does God Look Like?

Review of “Love Thy Body” by Nancey Pearcey

By: Jason Kline | February 6, 2018

Pearcey, Nancy. Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2018. $22.99. 336 pages.

Postmodernism is our nation’s current “mood” in how many view the world. Among its many issues, it is sweeping the masses into blind indifference. It is one of them tricky philosophies to adequately frame due to the subjective nature of postmodernism’s core beliefs (subjective rather than objective in nature). I was excited to hear about the upcoming book, “Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality,” by Nancy Pearcey, and jumped on the chance to be part of her launch team. I really had no idea what I was getting into, having only read a brief snippet explaining the contents of the book. But, I was looking to find a single resource that would help me understand and address the times in which we now live. I knew that Nancy Pearcey would not disappoint. However, I did not realize how applicable this book would be to me exposing the influence of Postmodernism even in my own life and views.

Nancy Pearcy, author of “Total Truth,” is an excellent voice speaking to highly relevant and controversial topics our culture is facing today; like the existence of objective truth, abortion, euthanasia, human sexuality, and the transgender movement. I was expecting from Pearcey an all-out assault on Postmodernism as seen in the more secular camp, and she does, but I was delighted to see Pearcey also address the Christian community; our own short comings, and, how we should be responding – from a loving, caring and compassionate position rather than one of condemnation. This is a poignant and timely admonition from Pearcey to the American Church and a word that is paramount if we ever hope to be the salt and the light of the world.

I am surprised by the scholarly support and endorsements, of those like, Robert P. George, of Princeton University, who calls this a “Terrific New Book.” The level of support Pearcey’s book received certainly leaves this as a resource to be considered and not overlooked. I believe “Love Thy Body” is a powerful primer on discerning the times, framing the issues at hand, and retrieving natural law as a first principle rather than a choice. Like I mentioned earlier, Postmodernism is a difficult philosophy to capture and explain in its fullness. Pearcey, in my opinion, not only puts her thumb on the problem within today’s culture but also makes its ideas accessible to the masses. Pearcey pulls no stops nor dances around any issues that currently are causing so much division and controversy. She cuts right to the truth of each mater and organizes her thoughts on these issues in ways that is thought provoking, alarming, and heart captivating and comprehensible. I only have one slight nuance with a comment George makes about “Love Thy Body.” He calls it, “A Terrific New Book.” While I do not disagree, necessarily, I do think “Love Thy Body” as a “Terrific new book” is an understatement. This book is a ringing alarm calling for change, a resource for generations to come, and a practical guide to “Loving Thy Body.” For that, I give Pearcey a five-star rating!

 

About the Author

Jason Kline is a regular contributor of Bellator Christi.com. He serves as a resident chaplain for Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care of Southwest Virginia. Jason graduated with a Master of Divinity from Liberty University. It was also from Liberty University where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Business and Religion. Jason also received his Certificate in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. He is a full member of the International Society of Christian Apologetics. Jason proudly served his country in the United States Air Force. His current research involves the soul and how the theology of the soul influences the counseling process.

 

© 2018. BellatorChristi.com.

Do Everything for the Glory of God: Reflections on Nick Foles

By: Brian G. Chilton | February 5, 2018

Shared from https://bellatorchristi.com/2018/02/05/do-everything-for-the-glory-of-the-lord-reflections-on-nick-foles/ Please post all comments at Bellator Christi.com.

Last night, I joined thousands of others watching one of the most-watched spectacles of the year. Of course, I am talking about Super Bowl LII. The Philadelphia Eagles faced the always dangerous New England Patriots. The Patriots had won 5 championships already. The Eagles had not won a single one. The Patriots were led by their franchise quarterback Tom Brady. The Eagles relied on their backup quarterback Nick Foles after Carson Wentz’s was injured. The story for this game was already intense going into the game. However, when Nick Foles and the Eagles won, it was a true underdog victory.

Admittedly, I am neither an Eagles nor Patriots fan. I cheer on the Green Bay Packers and the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers lost in the first round. The Packers . . . oh, well, let’s just say they have a lot of work to do. Most importantly, I am a Jesus fan. Which this is what led me to find a great interest in the Eagles: the testimony of Nick Foles.

Nick had almost given up on the NFL. He currently attends Liberty University’s Rawling School of Divinity during the offseason in hopes of becoming a high school pastor after his NFL career is over. Already, I was cheering on the Eagles because of this fact. But, the demonstration of faith, not only by Foles but also from his coach and several of his teammates, made me even happier for this team.

During my devotions today, I came across a passage from Paul’s letter to the church of Colossae. Paul notes, “Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for whatever wrong he has done, and there is no favoritism” (Colossians 3:23-25, CSB). This means that every job is important.

No matter what the task, the Christian has a testimony. No matter how menial or how glamorous, the Christian should work for the glory of the Lord. From the person digging ditches to the CEO of a company, every position is important. How much do we glorify the Lord in what we do? This is the challenge I think Nick Foles gives us. He showed integrity after leading his Eagles to a Super Bowl win and he showed integrity when things did not go well for him. In all things, he tried his best to give glory to God. We should strive to do the same.

Nick Foles Videos

About the Author

Brian G. Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com and is the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction); his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors); and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is currently in the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University. Brian is full member of the International Society of Christian Apologetics and the Christian Apologetics Alliance. Brian has been in the ministry for over 15 years and serves as the pastor of Huntsville Baptist Church in Yadkinville, North Carolina.

© 2018. BellatorChristi.com.

Are Religious Discussions Important?

This article was originally posted at https://bellatorchristi.com. Please go to https://bellatorchristi.com/2018/01/29/are-religious-discussions-important/ to leave a comment.

By: Brian G. Chilton | January 29, 2018

An old adage claims that the two worst conversations to have with a person involve religion and politics. Since people hold deep emotional feelings pertaining to these two issues, the logic of the cliché claims that the two topics must be avoided. However, these two topics are arguably the most important topics that one could discuss. I will leave the issue of politics with the pundits. Nevertheless, political policy affects everyone in the nation to which it is given. On a larger scale, religion is an issue that deals with life’s most important questions. Does God exist? Is there an afterlife? How does one get to heaven? Did Jesus of Nazareth exist? Did Jesus rise from the dead on Easter Sunday?

I have heard people make the claim that religious conversations should be avoided because they are worthless. Statements such as “All people want to do when talking religion is to force their opinions on others” indicate a disdain for the topic. For some, it could include a disregard for religion itself. So, is the discussion of religion important? Let’s consider three aspects that religion covers.

1. Religious conversations are important as they discuss critical shapers of a worldview.

Why does it matter what a person believes, that is, accepts as truth? It actually matters a great deal. Everyone has a religion of some sort. The person’s religion may or may not be part of an organized religious system of thought. But, the person still has a religion because the term religion is understood as a systematized, personal belief. How one views God, the world, and humanity becomes part of that person’s religious belief. These beliefs are actually shapers of the person’s worldview.

Individuals have been moved to do great good by their religious beliefs. Countless individuals have given of themselves, sometimes even their lives, to serve other people because of their belief that God loves all people and wants to love all people. Consider missionary Jim Elliot who gave his life to share the gospel with the Huaorani people of Ecuador. Why did he share gifts and his beliefs with the Huaorani? Because he believed that God loves everyone. Elliot’s worldview was shaped by the religious shapers of his belief system.

In stark contrast, others such as Adolf Hitler[1]—who was influenced by a bizarre conflation of New Age ideology, mixed with the beliefs of atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche[2], and the biology of Charles Darwin—and Joseph Stalin—who was influenced Karl Marx and his atheism—were led to do great harm because of their worldview. Hitler and Stalin’s worldview were shaped by their religious beliefs. Ideas truly matter!

2. Religious conversations are important as they diagnose claims of truth.

Everyone has an opinion, but is every opinion based on truth? Do we take seriously the claims of the Flat Earthers in that the world is flat, and that the population’s acceptance of a round earth is part of a greater conspiracy? It seems that there are conspiracy theories for everything nowadays. While it is important to respect each person, it is not wise to accept all opinions as truth.

Some people reject the idea of a spiritual existence beyond the scope of the body that awaits the return of Christ. However, if a person accepts the authority of the Bible and Jesus’s teachings, then it is difficult to accept his teachings to Martha after Lazarus’s death, saying, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26a).[3] How could this be true if there is no survival of the soul after death? Or, what of Jesus’s promise to the criminal on the cross where he says, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (John 11:43). If Jesus is true, then ideas of soul death or soul sleep cannot. Intellectual discussions of religious belief, when done properly, can diagnose truth claims according to theological, philosophical, historical, and biblical evidences.

3. Religious conversations are important as they dissect conversational spiritual status.

Not all religious conversations will end with good results. Nevertheless, a person can gauge one’s spiritual status during conversations of religion. I heard the story of a pastor who spoke with a young man who took a lax view of sin and theology. The pastor asked the young man if he and his girlfriend were engaged in premarital sexual relations. The young man admitted that they were. The young man’s rejection of ethical and theological standards said more about his spiritual state than the veracity of the ethical and theological truths being discussed. Religious conversations may lead to deep discussions, or it may lead to revealing spiritual conditions. If a person is found to be in a lost or spiritually weak state, one knows how to pray for the person in question.

Conclusion

If God exists, Jesus is risen, the Bible is God’s revelation to humanity, and if salvation is found in Christ’s work on the cross; then religious discussions are the most important conversations that we can have. In the end, I really don’t think that people who accuse religion as being unimportant truly mean what they say. I feel that the people making this claim do not desire to be obtrusive or combative. However, it has been my experience that with proper training and in-depth contemplation, religious conversations do not need to be hostile or combative. Hot-button issues only become hostile if we allow it. Emotional outbursts do more to show the shallowness of a person’s worldview than to dismiss logical and evidential claims. Sometimes, all one needs to do is, as Greg Koukl suggests, leave a stone in someone’s shoe.

About the Author

Brian G. Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com and is the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction); his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors); and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is currently in the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University. Brian is full member of the International Society of Christian Apologetics and the Christian Apologetics Alliance. Brian has been in the ministry for over 15 years and serves as the pastor of Huntsville Baptist Church in Yadkinville, North Carolina.

 

[1] See an interesting expose on Hitler’s anti-Christian sentiments at Ray Comfort, “Was Adolf Hitler a Christian?,” CBN.com, http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/churchhistory/godandhitler/.

[2] See “Michael Kalish, “Friedrich Nietzsche’s Influence on Hitler’s Mein Kampf,” UCSB.edu (2004),  http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/133p/133p04papers/MKalishNietzNazi046.htm.

[3] Unless otherwise noted, all quoted Scripture comes from the Christian Standard Bible (Nashville: Holman, 2017).

 

© 2018. BellatorChristi.com.

Will There Only Be 144,000 People in Heaven?

From Bellator Christi.com. To respond to this article, please go to https://bellatorchristi.com/2018/01/22/will-there-only-be-144000-people-in-heaven/

By: Brian G. Chilton | January 22, 2018

Allison Mathews

At our church, we recently began a new series of messages on heaven. After the service, I received a wonderful question from one of our members, Allison Mathews. Allison said that she had heard that only 144,000 people would be in heaven, and wondered if that was true. Some groups, especially among the Jehovah Witnesses, have espoused that only a select group of individuals (that is, 144,000) throughout all of history will be in heaven. Ironically, more than 144,000 Jehovah Witnesses attend Watchtower Bible studies worldwide, so someone is in trouble. While that is said tongue-in-cheek, the number of 144,000 has brought great interest to individuals wondering whom John is referencing, and how many people will be in heaven. This article will identify the 144,000 and discuss the number of people that one can expect to find in heaven as given in the book of Revelation.

Who are the 144,000?

The concept of the 144,000 comes from Revelation 7. John mentions the 144,000 after describing the Lamb of God (i.e., Jesus) opening up a scroll of which no one else is found worthy (Rev. 5:8-14). When the Lamb opens the seven seals of the scroll, a series of judgments come from the unsealing of the scroll, including the infamous Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Rev. 6:1-8), a group of martyred souls awaiting their vengeance (Rev. 6:9-11), and a massive earthquake (Rev. 12:9-17).

After all these events have completed, four angels stand at the four corners of the earth (symbolically speaking), and the angels hold back the judgments until 144,000 are sealed on the earth. The 144,000 are identified in verse four as those “sealed from every tribe of the Israelites.”[1] There are two primary options for identifying this group.

Metaphorical: The number 12 is symbolic of God’s government (e.g., 12 tribes of Israel and 12 disciples). 12,000 x 12 = 144,000. In this case, some hold that 144,000 symbolically represents the entire church, but would not hold a precise numerical value as to the number of individuals in heaven.

Literal: In this view, the 144,000 are redeemed Israelites who are saved during the time of global tribulation after the church has been resurrected. This view is the most plausible and relates best to the text at hand. Therefore, the 144,000 are Jewish individuals who are saved during the time of tribulation and not the number of all heavenly citizens.

How Many People Will Be in Heaven?

If the 144,000 is not a representation of the number of heavenly citizens, then how many people will be in heaven? Interestingly, the number of heavenly citizens is given in the verses following the description of the 144,000. John looks and sees a “vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev. 7:9-10).

So, how many people will be in heaven? Only God knows. It is a number greater than any person could count. The citizenship of heaven will include men and women who are white and black, Jews and Arabs, Americans and Russians, Iraqis and Iranians, North and South Americans, Africans and Asians, Europeans and Oceanians. Heavenly citizens will transcend from points across time itself! As Cordie Bridgewater poetically wrote in her classic hymn, “How beautiful heaven must be, sweet home of the happy and free; fair heaven of rest for the weary, how beautiful heaven must be.”[2]

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all quoted Scripture comes from the Christian Standard Bible (Nashville: Holman, 2017).

[2] Cordie Bridgewater, How Beautiful Heaven Must Be, https://hymnary.org/text/we_read_of_a_place_thats_called_heaven, retrieved January 22, 2018.

About the Author 

Brian G. Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com and is the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction); his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors); and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is currently a student of the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University. Brian is full member of the International Society of Christian Apologetics and the Christian Apologetics Alliance. Brian has been in the ministry for over 14 years and serves as the pastor of Huntsville Baptist Church in Yadkinville, North Carolina.

 

© 2018. BellatorChristi.com.