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The Triune Controversy


Garnering Proof
Jill Carattini

In his book A Case against Christianity, atheist philosopher Michael
Martin observes, "A person full of religious zeal may see what he or she
wants to see, not what is really there."(1) Ironically, this argument is
equally true for the atheist. But what if we were to look at that
statement in light of the first believers of Christianity--the men that
devotedly proclaimed the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Is it possible that they were seeing only what they wanted to see? Is it
possible that they simply created a story they wanted to believe?

Many who attack the documents of Scripture explain that these men, having
seen their leader brutally crucified and longing to believe that he was
still with them, merely experienced hallucinations of the resurrected
Christ. Others argue that the disciples purposely created the
resurrection story so that they could continue propagating the myth that
Jesus was the Messiah. There are many theories. But as Martin alludes,
one must sort thoroughly through the evidence before pronouncing the

And in fact, the claim for hallucination logically breaks itself down.
For by their very nature, hallucinations are individual, subjective
experiences of one person at one time. And this simply cannot explain the
multiple sightings of Christ, by multiple individuals at the same time. It
stands to reason, the disciples either knowingly fabricated the claim of
Christ's resurrection or they truly saw the resurrected Christ.

One thing is historically incontestable: the disciples went to their
deaths proclaiming the resurrected Christ. And it is here that it seems
we are left with common sense questions. For if the disciples agreed to
propagate a story, having even the slightest bit of intelligence, wouldn't
they have thought to conceive something less remarkable--perhaps a story
that would accommodate the arguments they would undoubtedly face? Why
wouldn't they have come up with something unfalsifiable? If they would
have only claimed that Jesus had spiritually risen again, how would
the antagonists have proven them false? And in so doing, they would not
have to worry about hiding the body or about what would happen to them if
the body was ever discovered. Furthermore, if the disciples agreed to
propagate a story, when standing up for these falsified claims became a
matter of life and death wouldn't at least a few of them have buckled?

But the disciples did not say that Jesus spiritually rose from the dead,
and nor did they back down when the time came to stake their lives on it.
They took the dangerous road--indeed, the inconceivable road--and they not
only went to great lengths to proclaim that Jesus bodily rose from the
dead, but they went to their deaths proclaiming it was true. Now why
would they risk everything proclaiming the actual, physical resurrection
of Jesus Christ from the dead if they knew it was a lie?

Resurrection is difficult to imagine, but it is hard to deny the
circumstantial evidence is anything short of staggering. What do you do
with this? Perhaps we respond as one man facing the astounding reality of
Jesus Christ once responded, "Lord I believe, help my unbelief" (Mark
9:24). For it is logical to conclude the disciples did not take the
easier road because they were not trying to fabricate something.

The implications of the resurrection of Christ are both incredibly
far-reaching and immensely personal. If Jesus is alive, his words are
more than good ideas, his life more than moral teaching, his kingdom
greater than I realize, and his forgiveness a gift I cannot fathom. In
fact, he is a person I would wary of living without.

Jill Carattini is senior associate writer at Ravi Zacharias
International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Michael Martin, A Case against Christianity (Philadelphia:
Temple Press, 1991), 75.

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)
"A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words of
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Evasive Maneuvers
by Matt Kaufman
It’s safe to say no one likes to deal with sin in his own life. We all know what it’s like to feel guilty. Sometimes we try to hide what we’ve done from others and, in fits of denial, from ourselves. Other times, we may excuse or defend the offense: In fact, the guiltier we feel, the more fervently we may defend it.

But as a recent letter reminded me, we often have another problem in dealing with sin, and we may have a harder time recognizing this one: Our reluctance to see and confront sin in our loved one’s lives.

The letter came in response to my last column, which looked at the reasons abortion-rights supporters were horrified by the prospect that Roe v. Wade could be overturned. The bottom-line reason, I argued: Many (men and women alike) have been involved in abortions themselves, and only by declaring abortion an unassailable “right” — sanctified by the U.S. Constitution and the civil religion of “choice”— can they attempt (however inadequately) to refute the accusations of other people and, ultimately, of their own conscience.

My correspondent (Ron) wasn’t offended by my analysis: He was pro-life himself. But Ron had a different problem: He hates to play the role of the accuser. “I don’t want to call my friends criminals and murderers,” he said. “How do I talk to my friends about it? I do not want to be judgmental.”

Ron wasn’t really asking a question. Judging by the bulk of his letter, he was a mature Christian, and he knew the mature Christian answers: Love the sinner and hate the sin, speak the truth in love. Ron didn’t need a tutor so much as he needed a sounding board and a friend. He was wrestling with putting the answers into practice — “seeking help in sorting this out,” he said — and he just wanted to talk to someone who’d understand how hard it was.

Ron, I think, has a pretty good handle on the situation. But a lot of us don’t when we’re dealing with family and friends. And not just in cases involving abortion: We’re often loath to confront any number of sins in their lives.

The chief reason is that we’re afraid to damage our relationships. Imagine your sister is living with her boyfriend. (For many of you, that doesn’t take any imagination.) You’re not happy about it; you may even be heartbroken about it. But you don’t want tension with her, and you really don’t want to take such a strong stand that you strain the relationship to the breaking point.

In a situation like this, you know the stand you should take. But, again, it’s hard — and you’re scared of what could happen if you push it too far. So you don’t say much. Or you say something, but you water it down. (You don’t tell her she’s doing something wrong; you ask questions that won’t threaten her autonomy, like “Are you sure you want this?”) Or you say nothing at all.

We’re also reluctant to take a strong stand for another reason: We want to think the best of the people we love.

Say your brother announces that he’s gay. You’ve always thought homosexuality was wrong, but it’s always been an abstract issue for you in practice; it’s never had much to do with your life. Your brother, on the other hand, is a huge part of your life. You love him dearly and you can’t bring yourself to think what he’s doing is actually wicked, especially when he’s not trying to be malicious — or as the culture around you would put it, “he’s not hurting anybody.” (The culture has a very narrow concept of harm.)

In this case, you may face a temptation beyond the desire not to make waves. You may find yourself trying to define homosexuality as good (or at least not all that bad) precisely because it’s your loved one who’s involved, and he insists he’s “happy” in his lifestyle. Instead of loving the sinner and hating the sin, you’re tempted to love the sin because you love the sinner.

It should be pretty clear what’s wrong with these approaches. But it’s no mystery why they can ensnare us anyway. They can be so emotionally charged that we just don’t think straight. And some cases are even more so. Parents whose son “comes out” — telling them, in the process, how he’s suffered over his secret and dreaded their reaction — are apt to feel heartsick, protective and guilty — either that they’ve caused him pain with their attitudes or that they caused his homosexuality itself. Then, to top it off, he tells them, “This is who I am and you have to accept it. If you reject it, you reject me.” This amounts to emotional blackmail, whether or not it was intended to be, and it’s liable to work. Again, we can see why: It would take a heart of stone not to sympathize with a parent’s longing to make peace with a child at all costs.

And yet, that’s the point: Some costs are too high — and no cost is higher than a soul. Which brings me to my experience with Becky, more than a decade ago.

Becky (not her real name) was a single mom of a toddler and a professing Christian: She had, I thought, repudiated the lifestyle that led her to become a single mom in the first place. But some months after I met her, she moved in with a guy, and months later they became engaged. I’d moved to another town, but the next time I saw her I tried to convince her to move out, to live apart and chastely before they got married. She didn’t — in part, I think, because she had it in her head that living together was all right if it led to marriage and a stepfather for her son. Ultimately they did marry, and I’m pretty sure she considered that result to be validation for her choice.

After some more months passed, though, Becky wrote me and asked why a distance had grown between us. So I wrote back and told her. I said I knew why she did what she’d done, and how I believed she’d made it OK in her own mind. “But if I am to speak to you in truthfulness and love,” I told her, “I can only tell you: It wasn’t OK.” I went on:

Whatever the world today may try to say, God is very clear on this: A sexual relationship is meant as the blessing of a lasting commitment — marriage — between a man and a woman. To take it out of the marital context is to demean it, and you; to make it, and yourselves, so much less than you were meant to be. It hurt both of you; it hurt those of us who care about you; and most of all, it hurt the Father who loves you and wants so much more of you.

I stressed to Becky that I wasn’t saying this to hurt her, but to help her. I talked about why, even though she’d since married, it wasn’t enough to say “that’s in the past, and it all worked out in the end;” why it was still vital for both her and her husband to repent, for their own spiritual well-being and for a truly God-pleasing marriage, as opposed to the worldly idea of simply “making it legal.” (I neglected to say something I should have added: That if they hoped to raise her son to be chaste, the example they’d set flew in the face of that teaching.)

And I talked about how I wished I didn’t have to write this letter at all — how tempted I was to delete the whole thing (which I’d been struggling with writing for the past five hours) and simply promise to write more often, as if nothing was really wrong. “But that,” I was compelled to admit, “would be self-indulgent on my part, placing my short-term comfort, and yours, ahead of your spiritual welfare. If I didn’t care about you, that’s what I’d do, Because I do care, I can’t.”

Then I explained why, in an analogy I’ve since thought of many times when placed in similar situations:

Think of it this way: A doctor examines a patient and discovers she has a serious, even terminal, illness. The illness can be treated, and a full and happy life can be the result. But the treatment is difficult, and telling the patient about the illness would be emotionally traumatic to her. What would we think of a doctor who said, “I’m not going to tell her; I’ll let her live in blissful ignorance until it’s too late?” Would we say that doctor was being caring and compassionate? Or would we say he was guilty of flagrant malpractice?

Well, then, what about our spiritual health? Is that somehow less important (or less “real”) than our physical health, or is it (because it involves eternal life) far more important? Do we believe that any human doctor’s diagnosis of our physical state is more certain than Scripture’s diagnosis of our spiritual state? Do we believe the Bible is the Word of God, or don’t we? If we do, we have no choice but to give His diagnosis of our condition and His prescription for our treatment, however unwelcome it might be to face up to.

Becky never spoke to me again. I’ve always regretted that. But I’ve never regretted what I did. I can’t be responsible for whether she took the message to heart. I can only be responsible for trying.

I only regret the times I should have tried with other people, but didn’t. Sometimes I’ve had reason to hesitate: In deciding how to proceed, I had to think about things like how well I knew someone, what’s the right time and way to talk to them, and whether they profess to be a Christian (which makes a big difference in the kind of conversation we’d have). But in stopping to think about these things, I’ve sometimes awakened months or years later to realize that, instead of finding the right way to say something, I’ve said nothing at all. Other times, if truth be told, I’ve just let my own fears lead me to procrastinate.

But this I know: If you love someone, you must seek the welfare of their soul above any risks to your relationship with them.

And you can’t reach that goal by evasive maneuvers. You can only get there by going straight to the heart.
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* * * Four Important Things To KNOW: #1) For ALL (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) have sinned & fall short of the glory of God. #2) For the wages of above (see #1) are DEATH (Hell, eternal separation from God, & damnation) but the Gift (free & at no charge to you) of God (Creator, Jehovah, & Trinity) is Eternal Life (Heaven) through (in union with) Jesus Christ (God, Lord, 2nd Person of The Trinity, Messiah, Prince of Peace & Savior of the World). #3) For God so greatly loved & dearly prized the world (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) that He even gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, that whosoever (anyone, anywhere, anytime - while still living) believes (trust in, relies on, clings to, depends completely on) Him shall have eternal (everlasting) life (heaven). #4) Jesus said: "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, & THE LIFE. No one (male/female - American, Muslim, Jew, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Asian, Presbyterian, European, Baptist, Brazilian, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc. ) comes (arrives) to the Father (with GOD in Heaven) EXCEPT BY (through) ME (no other name). *** This wonderful loving GOD gives you the choice - - - (Rev. 3:20) {Please note that church membership, baptism, doing good things, etc. are not requirements for becoming a Christian - however they are great afterwards!!!} *** Jesus said, "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction (Hell, damnation, eternal punishment), and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life (Heaven, eternal happiness, forever with God), and only a few find it.

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But these are written so that you may
believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the
Son of God, and that by believing in
Him you will have life. Jn 20:31

Seek the Lord while He may be found;
call on Him while He is near. Let the
wicked forsake his way and the evil
man his thoughts. Let him turn to the
Lord, and He will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for He will freely
pardon. "For My thoughts are not
your thoughts, neither are your ways
My ways," declares the Lord. "As the
heavens are higher than the earth, so
are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down
from heaven, and do not return to it
without watering the earth and making
it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed
for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is My word that goes out from My
mouth: It will not return to Me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and
achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forth
in peace; the mountains and hills will
burst into song before you, and all the
trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the
pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle
will grow. This will be for the Lord's
renown, for an everlasting sign, which
will not be destroyed." Is 55

O Lord, you have searched me and you
know me. You know when I sit and when
I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying
down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know
it completely, O Lord. You hem me in -
behind and before; you have laid your
hand upon me. Such knowledge is too
wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where
can I flee from your presence? If I go up
to the heavens, you are there; if I make
my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide
me and the light become night around
me," even the darkness will not be dark
to you; the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. For you
created my inmost being; you knit me
together in my mother's womb. I praise
you because I am fearfully and wonderfully
made; your works are wonderful, I know
that full well. My frame was not hidden
from you when I was made in the secret
place. When I was woven together in the
depths of the earth, your eyes saw my
unformed body. All the days ordained
for me were written in your book before
one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts,
O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would
outnumber the grains of sand. When
I awake, I am still with you. Search me,
O God, and know my heart; test me
and know my anxious thoughts. See
if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Ps 139

But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up,
that I may show My power in you, and that My
Name may be declared in all the earth. Ex 9:16

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
- - Isaac Watts

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