Ask Nate Anything | July 18th, 2019

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In our “Ask Nate Anything” episodes, there are no scripts, no guests, just Nate and your questions (in the area of Theology, Apologetics, and Engaging the Culture for Christ)! If you would like Nate to answer your questions on the show, send them to www.clearlens.org/ask

On this episode, Nate answered these questions:

– How much of who we are is because of how God made us or how we were raised?
– How do I respond to a pro-abortion advocate?
– How do you know when your anger is righteous and how should you display it?
– How do you bring something up with a Christian who is clearly sinning on a regular basis?
– What translation of the Bible do you read from and what are your thoughts on different translations?

Our “Ask Nate Anything” Episodes livestream to our Facebook Page every Thursday at 4 p.m. PST.

Bush & Bono Reveal How to Do Effective Evangelism & Apologetics

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Transcript: A couple of weeks ago on facebook I saw a wonderful reflection of what we’re talking about here at A Clear Lens, especially with regard to First Date Evangelism and the proper order of persuasion. On July 3rd “Spotlight Stories Official” shared a blurb about President George W. Bush and Bono.

It said: “”At U2 concerts in the early 90’s, a regular part of the show featured criticism of George H.W. Bush. In fact, frontman Bono used to call the White House in the middle of the concert to try to get a chance to speak to the 41st President. When George H.W. Bush’s son George W. Bush became President in 2001, Bono was also a critic of him.”

Now let me stop right here. There are videos on YouTube, I think, where Bono calls up the White House operator and the lady answers the phone. And Bono does this shtick. He asks for “George” and the lady says, “George who?” And he says, “The President. Let me speak to him.” And the operator says, “The President is not available. Call the comment line tomorrow” or something like that. And Bono becomes shocked and says, “The President of the United States is not available to me?”

I mean… for somebody with Bono’s convictions, it’s as an amusing little shtick he puts on for his audience. Anyway, that really happened. Bono trolled George H.W. Bush in the early 90s. And he was a critic of George W. Bush! Alright, let’s get back to the blurb.

It says: “George W. Bush didn’t (try to) go to war with (Bono) Instead he invited him to talk about something they had a common passion for, saving lives in Africa. They had lunch together in the White House Mess hall, then Bush took him to the oval office. For 40 minutes they discussed A.I.D.S., malaria, and debt relief.

After the meeting, in 2003, President Bush started a program in Africa known as PEPFAR, which 14 years later is credited with saving over 11 million lives. Yesterday, Bono was in Texas as part of the current U2 tour, and paid a visit to his old friend. It is amazing what can be accomplished when mature people find common ground for the good of all.”

End quote. Friends, this is true! In a 2013 interview with Fox News, Bush said, “[Bono] was skeptical of me and frankly I was skeptical of him… And we became pals because we shared a common desire to help others on the continent of Africa.”

Imagine that. Two opponents who actually became friends! And more than that, if you read other interviews with Bono talking about his friendship with George W. Bush, Bono says that he became open to some of what George W. Bush had to say (this is in regards to their differing ideas about foreign aid). Bono even stopped criticizing Bush about the War in Iraq! Before that he openly criticized the war!

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that Bono fundamentally changed his mind at all, because we don’t have that kind of information. But what we do have is a public record of two opponents changing their stance and — not only setting aside their differences in order to work together — but actually developing a genuine friendship.

Now, here’s the question for us today: Are you seeking relationship with your opponents? Is there someone that you’re currently clashing with? Someone who doesn’t share your beliefs, someone who maybe has been snarky to you in the past — even trolled you, the way that Bono trolled Bush senior? Are you seeking genuine relationship with this opponent?

Or is it more important for you to win the argument. To just tell it like it is? Because, you know what… in your opinion, there’s a lot of snowflakes out there, a lot of idiots. And hey, the truth hurts to people like that! And so you’re thinking, “I just take the truth and shove it right down their throats… and how they react is on them, man!” Is that you?

Friends, I sincerely hope that you’re seeking genuine relationship with your opponents. That if you have non-believing friends, who are perhaps pro-abortion or pro-lgbt, or Mormon, or Jehovah’s Witness, I really hope you’re seeking relationship with these people. Not so you can soft-pedal the truth or avoid areas of disagreement altogether, but so that you can disagree in a manner that will cause your friends to really consider and take to heart what you say to them.

Because if you’re not doing that, if you’re “punching back twice as hard” because you think that’s the best way to get your message across to these people… then the Bible says you’re doing it wrong, ladies and gentlemen. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:19-20, “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law… that I might win those under the law.

Notice what Paul is NOT saying here: To the Jews I became a troll so that I could destroy Jews and win the argument! To the Greeks, you know what, I hit those snowflakes with a truth bomb — because I’m all about that Thug Life apologetics. No, friends. He said the exact opposite. And he said it for a reason.

Nobody is going to change their minds because you trolled them hard enough or slapped them with the perfect meme, or because your sarcasm was particularly biting, or because your laughter and mockery of them was particularly persuasive. All of those moves will simply entrench your opponent deeper into their own views. This is why the Bible says to make a defense “with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” This is why Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28).

And this is why we keep advocating to build relationship FIRST. And not because it’s a mere means to conversion… because that’s not genuine relationship. Genuine, authentic relationship can produce a change of heart for those who are initially opposed to our Christian worldview. I am speaking from personal experience. It has happened time and again with students in my classes; and it can happen for you as well. We just have to reject this very current 21st-century American, political mindset, that our opponents are idiots and snowflakes and they need to be slapped upside the head with truth.

I think the story of Bush and Bono show us that authentic relationship is the key to turning an opponent into an ally. And that only happens when you build trust and relationship first, and when you respect and affirm the person you’re talking to. These are the principles of First Date Evangelism, seek relationship with your opponents! Respect and affirm the person you’re talking to, and you will stand out from the crowd and be persuasive communicators of faith in today’s kind of culture.

Ep. 154: 6 Christians vs. 1 Secret Atheist

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On this episode:

Nate talks about how the story of President Bush and Bono becoming friends reflects effective evangelism and apologetics (:29)
Nate welcomes Gene & Logan (11:19)
The team gives quick reactions to “Stranger Things 3” (13:54)
Worldview Analysis: “Spiderman: Far From Home” (20:08)
6 Christians vs. 1 Secret Atheist (30:46)

Join Nate on our Facebook page this Thursday at 4 p.m. PST for another “Ask Nate Anything” episode. Send your questions to www.clearlens.org/ask

Sign up for our unique newsletter that contains material only for subscribers at (www.clearlens.org)!

To download this episode, right-click here.

“Day by Day” by Citizens is used with permission. Check out their website: wearecitizens.net

With Whom Do You Eat?

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Many Christians speak of being willing to talk to those who don’t share their faith. But is that grace equally extended in all directions?

I’ve been reading Luke recently, both with our home church and at home with my family. Jesus ate with a lot of people in the gospels, and I wasn’t surprised to read of his eating with tax collectors when Levi throws a party in chapter 5. But then something in chapter 7 caught my eye:

“One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table.”  (Luke 7:36)

The Universality of Jesus’s Approach

The Pharisees would rank high on a shortlist of the enemies of Jesus. Yet, when invited, Jesus went to the Pharisee’s home! He didn’t change his message – in fact, he soon reprimanded his host for self-righteousness – but the fact that he was willing to sit down with both the sinners and the self-righteous is significant. Do I sit down with both? 

We talk at A Clear Lens about evangelism in the context of relationship. Because everyone needs Jesus, it then follows that we ought to pursue opportunities for relationship with people on all sides. Our own prejudices often reveal themselves in whom we associate with. Do we pursue the devoted Mormon, but avoid the person struggling with addiction or sexual sin? Do we do the reverse?  That Jesus ate with all is undoubtedly significant in this way. 

The Consistency of His Gospel

Maybe we do talk to people in all walks of life, but we sensitize the message, or avoid the more uncomfortable parts. Jesus, though willing to interact socially with both Pharisees and more public sinners, didn’t shy away from important messages:

“Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.”  (Luke 7:44)

This isn’t to say that we never change our points of emphasis. There is a faithful way to shift our approach depending on the audience. But the key is that we do that in accordance with the needs of the audience, and with grace and compassion. The tendency to shy away from important issues by contrast is selfish, centered on my comfort. We need a combination of compassion, sensitivity, and concern for the other’s soul.

The Imago Dei

The underlying worldview here is that we have to see other people as fellow image-bearers.  We can’t see them as extra credit projects for church, or “my good work for the week” or anything else.  All are God’s children, and all should be treated with the dignity that confers. Eating socially is just one way Jesus expressed that.  So perhaps the questions more generally are “Do you love your neighbor?” and more to the point, “How do they know that you love them?”

Classic Episode: A Clear View of Mormonism with Craig Hazen

On this classic episode:

Nate gives some quick announcements (:29)
Classic Episode: A Clear View of Mormonism with Dr. Craig Hazen (2:58)

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To download this episode, right-click here.

“Day by Day” by Citizens is used with permission. Check out their website: wearecitizens.net

Does God Lead Us into Temptation?

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Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” So far so good.

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Also good.

Give us this day our daily bread.” Much needed.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Challenging, but good.

And lead us not into temptation.”

Come again?

For centuries Christians have prayed this version of the Lord’s Prayer and for many this phrase has been difficult to understand. Does God actually lead us into temptation? 

According the Pope, God would not be a good Father if He did such a thing. In fact, only Satan could actually lead someone into temptation. So the Pope approved the change for the Lord’s Prayer to now say this instead: 

“Do not let us fall into temptation.”

Is he right about this? 

Clarification: The Pope Didn’t Change the Lord’s Prayer

Before we get ahead of ourselves, I do think we need one clarification. I don’t think that the Pope actually changed the Lord’s Prayer, any more than a new English translation changed the Lord’s Prayer. 

It’s not like the Pope is advocating to change the original Greek of Matthew’s Gospel. In fact, here’s how some other English translations read:

Contemporary English Version: “Keep us from being tempted.”

God’s Word Translation: “Don’t allow us to be tempted.”

Good News Translation: “Do not bring us to hard testing.”

New American Bible (Revised Edition): “Do not subject us to the final test.”

New Living Translation: “And don’t let us yield to temptation.”

New Revised Standard Version: “And do not bring us to the time of trial.”

The Pope is advocating for a change in how the phrase has been traditionally translated. Now the question becomes, “What is the best way to translate the phrase?”

Opinion: The Traditional Translation is Best

The verb for “lead” is eispherō and means “to bring into or lead into.” It is used to speak of the men who bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus (Luke 5:18), when people would bring the disciples before the authorities to be punished (Luke 12:11), and when Paul says that “we brought nothing into the world” (1 Timothy 6:7). 

The word for “temptation” is peirasmos and can mean “temptation, trial, or experiment.” It is used when Jesus tells the disciples to pray that they “may not enter into temptation” (Matthew 26:41) and James says to be joyful when you come across many “trials” (James 1:2).

I think that the first word should be translated as “bring into or lead into.” However, I think the second word could be translated as “trial or testing” as opposed to temptation to sin. I find it perfectly acceptable to pray “Lead us not into trial” and pray this often myself. 

In my opinion, I still lean towards the better translation being “Lead us not into temptation.”

Truth: God Does Lead into Temptation

Augustine said, “It is one thing to be led into temptation, another to be tempted.” And this is precisely what we see in Matthew 4:1: 

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”

This comes just two chapters before the Lord’s Prayer and is quite clear to me. The Spirit did the leading, but Satan did the tempting. 

This at least shows that God has the prerogative to lead us to a place where Satan will eventually tempt us, but God is not on the hook for this. Satan is responsible for the temptation and we are responsible for how we react.

Instead of trying to change the translation, Charles Spurgeon tried to better understand the meaning of the phrase and take it at face value. Here’s how Spurgeon prayed this part of the Lord’s Prayer:

“O my Lord, but do not, I beseech You, lead me in Your providence where I shall be tempted, for I am so feeble, that perhaps the temptation may be too strong for me, therefore, this day make a straight path for my feet, and suffer me not to be assailed by the tempter.” 

In summary, I believe we should continue to pray the traditional wording of the Lord’s Prayer without hesitation, knowing that our Heavenly Father is leading us with love and grace.

Ask Nate Anything | July 3rd, 2019

In our “Ask Nate Anything” episodes, there are no scripts, no guests, just Nate and your questions (in the area of Theology, Apologetics, and Engaging the Culture for Christ)! If you would like Nate to answer your questions on the show, send them to www.clearlens.org/ask

On this episode, Nate answered these questions:

– Is there a right and wrong way to pray?
– How do I respond to those attacking me for my new Christian faith?
– How do I know that God loves me?
– What are some tactics to get an apatheist to start caring about the Gospel?
– Is Jeremiah 29:11 a promise for us today?
– Is Christian morality objective or relative?

Our “Ask Nate Anything” Episodes livestream to our Facebook Page every Thursday at 4 p.m. PST.

Ep. 152: Norman Geisler’s Influence and Ask Nate Anything

On this episode:

Nate talks about Dr. Norm Geisler’s influence on apologetics and how it connects to biblical discipleship (:29)
Ask Nate Anything | June 20th, 2019 (10:32)

On this episode, Nate answered these questions:

– What is your position on Old Earth vs. Young Earth?
– What would you do if someone asked you to pray for them to get a job at a cannabis store?
– Why was God more visible in the Old Testament, but not now?
– How would you respond if an atheist said, “Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was not really a sacrifice because He knew that He’d be in Heaven after it was over”?
– Which verses in the Bible show that the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity?
– Would you publicly debate a skeptic?

Our “Ask Nate Anything” Episodes livestream to our Facebook Page every Thursday at 4 p.m. PST.

Sign up for our unique newsletter that contains material only for subscribers at (www.clearlens.org)!

“Day by Day” by Citizens is used with permission. Check out their website: wearecitizens.netArtwork

Ask Nate Anything | June 27th, 2019

In our “Ask Nate Anything” episodes, there are no scripts, no guests, just Nate and your questions (in the area of Theology, Apologetics, and Engaging the Culture for Christ)! If you would like Nate to answer your questions on the show, send them to www.clearlens.org/ask

On this episode, Nate answered these questions:

– Do you think there are any credible arguments against Christianity?
– I’m interested in apologetics. What do I do?
– What is apologetics?
– How did you get 8 people from across the country to be a part of the team on A Clear Lens?
– Do I need to be an expert to be an apologist?
– A friend has heard all the arguments but they are still not interested. Am I doing something wrong?
– What does it mean to pray without ceasing?

Our “Ask Nate Anything” Episodes livestream to our Facebook Page every Thursday at 4 p.m. PST.

Ep. 151: Be Like the Teacher | Luke 6:40

On this episode:

Nate makes a couple quick announcements (:29)
Be Like the Teacher | Luke 6:40 (3:19)

Sign up for our unique newsletter that contains material only for subscribers at (www.clearlens.org)!

To download this episode, right-click here.

“Day by Day” by Citizens is used with permission. Check out their website: wearecitizens.net

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