Category : Other

Laurel or Yanny: The Truth

Laurel or Yanny

There is an auditory phenomenon sweeping the internet right now. Similar to the dress photo from a couple of years ago that sent everyone into a frenzy. This year it is not an optical illusion but an auditory…illusion (for lack of a better word).

What do you hear when the word “laurel” is played audibly? Some hear the word “laurel” as you would expect; but others hear “yanny.” I have listened to the word “laurel” at varying frequencies and heard both words. But does that mean that both are true? My daughter and I debated this on the way to school the other day. Her conclusion was insightful when she said, “dad it doesn’t matter what you hear the word is laurel!”

While this is really fascinating to me; it makes me wonder about how we “hear” truth. Is what we perceive or experience more important than what we know as truth?

Our culture has taught us that you can have your truth and I can have mine. Is that really accurate? Does that work in the “real” world? Can you imagine trying that with the police officer the next time you get pulled over for speeding? Give it a try and see how far “your truth” will get you.

Think about this, we are often confronted with competing “truths” when it comes to spiritual things. So, should we trust our experience or perception? Or should we dig deeper past our emotions to discover the answer to the burning question: what is truth? Pontius Pilate famously asked Jesus this same question moments before condemning Jesus to the cross(John 18:38). It seems today that Pilate’s question remains a difficult one. Truth is defined as that which corresponds or is in accordance with reality. In other words, is the concept, idea or thing in question verifiable? Does truth exist or do we live in a post-truth world? We don’t live in a post-truth world. Oprah, at the Gold Globes, said that “your truth is the most powerful tool we all have” Uh, no! Oprah is wrong. There’s no such thing as your truth; just like there’s no such thing as my truth. Truth is absolute and is not affected by our thoughts, experiences, feelings, or anything else. Truth is unchanging. Truth is discovered not decided. Truth is the same today as it was thousands of years ago and will be thousands of years from now. The reality of the world we live in proves to us each day that our perception or experience, although powerful and often convincing, is not a clear indicator of the truthfulness of something. The equation 2+2=4 is a true expression. It will always be true even if I feel or think that it is not true; and even if I did think the equation was false I would be wrong not the equation.

Have you ever disagreed with someone? You can feel like you’re right but that doesn’t make you right. In Romans 1:19-20, Paul clearly writes that God’s existence is clearly seen in the world we live in yet many people disagree.

Think about it from another aspect. Many of my Mormon friends tell me about an experience they have had answering the challenge in Moroni 10:4 of praying and asking God for a sign the Book of Mormon is true. While their experience was certainly real; does it make the experience true? Just because we experience or perceive something to be true, does that make it true? So, we are left with the burning question:

What is truth?

Jesus identified that the Word of God is truth (John 17:7). How can we know if God’s Word really is truth? It goes back to our definition of truth: does it correspond with reality? Let’s consider this for a moment.

  • Scientific evidence points towards the universe coming from nothing – the Bible says God created ex nihlo (out of nothing)
  • History has confirmed the events recorded in Scripture.
  • Archeology has consistently confirmed the Bible.
  • Nearly 6,000 Greek New Testament manuscripts has allowed scholars to confirm all but 40 lines of the New Testament.
  • Fulfilled prophecy throughout the Bible shows the trustworthiness.
  • The list could go on but I think you get the point. While none of these points singularly make the case, the cumulative case is overwhelming – the Bible passes the test.

How can we use this latest hot topic to teach our children? Ask your children: “Is there an objective truth in the laurel/yanny debate?” How can we know which word it is? In this case it is quite simple; but what about the areas of life that really matter? What about God’s existence? What about the trustworthiness of the Bible? How can we determine what is truth? Use this to challenge your children to dig deeper to find the real, unchanging and absolute truth. I have found the unchanging Word of God to be truth, just as Jesus proclaimed; but don’t take my word for it – discover it for yourself.

Brady Blevins is the senior apologist at Watchman Fellowship and assistant dean of the Graduate Theology School at Arlington Baptist University. Follow him on Twitter: @bradyblevins

My Interview with a Branch Davidian (plus 2 Free Books)

WACO, TEXAS — 25-years ago 4 ATF agents were tragically killed in the line of duty and over 80 Branch Davidians along with their prophet, David Koresh died in a horrific fire. Our ministry was able to help the family of one Branch Davidian, Robert Scott, escape from Koresh before the fire. Watch my interview with Robert, who is now a Christian. We also are offering two free books plus a bonus video.

SPECIAL OFFER: Two Free Books and Bonus Video

Robert’s parents, Ken and Alice Scott, never gave up on rescuing their son from the dangerous influence of David Koresh. My staff worked countess hours with Robert’s family helping them to understand the beliefs of the Branch Davidians and the incredible control David Koresh exerted over his followers. Fortunately, the Lord blessed and Robert broke free. His messiah is now the Lord Jesus Christ not David Koresh.

Alice Scott made a decision to publish everything she had learned through this experience and use it as a blessing. She told their story in her book, The Incredible Power of Cults, specifically to help others whose children or loved ones were trapped by spiritual abuse in a false religion. Last year, Robert Scott also wrote his autobiography, A Branch on Fire, including his life experiences and the critical lessons he learned in Waco at the Branch Davidian compound under David Koresh. I would like you to have both books for free!

I would like to mail you a free copy of The Incredible Power of Cults by Alice Scott (currently $30 on Amazon.com) and send you a link to read the digital edition of Robert Scott’s book. Both books are free. All we ask is a donation of at least $3.84 to help with postage.1 Any tax-deductible donation above that will be greatly appreciated. We can really use your support and I hope you will be as generous as possible. The bottom line, however, is that I don’t want finances to keep you from owning these books. That’s why we are giving them away. Just click here to request your two books and bonus video: www.watchman.org/waco.

BONUS VIDEO: My Interview with a Current Branch Davidian

Did you know that there are still Branch Davidians who believe David Koresh is their Messiah who will soon return to earth? With your books, I would like to include a link to watch a bonus video. I was able to interview a surviving Branch Davidian and burn victim, Clive Doyle, while in Waco last month at the Branch Davidian chapel.

Mr. Doyle was one of the few Davidians who managed to escape the burning building 25 years ago. Although his daughter was killed and he was badly burned that day, he still believes that David Koresh was sent by God and will physically return to earth along with all the Davidians who died in the fire. I conducted a lengthy interview with Mr. Doyle to find out his version of what really happened 25 years ago. I wanted to know after all that, how he can still believe in Koresh.

I will include a link for you to watch my interview with Clive Doyle in its entirety. Just request both books and the bonus interview using the enclosed reply form or online at www.watchman.org/waco.

After checkout, please check your email for instant access to the bonus video and both books in digital format. Then, allow 10 to 14 days for shipping to receive your paperback copy of The Incredible Power of Cults.

Thank you for your prayer and financial support! Your gift helps us to share the true gospel of Jesus Christ with those of other faiths!

1 Due to postage and customs restrictions, the paperback book, The Incredible Power of Cults, is shipped to US residents only. International donors will only receive instant access to the digital editions of both books plus a link to watch the bonus video. This offer ends May 30, 2018.

Seeking God at The Shack

Seeking God at The Shack

I’ve had a crazy response from the email I sent offering our 4-page Profile on The Shack. Over 1,000 people have already downloaded our Profile and I’ve had tons of feedback and shares. With this much buzz, I thought it would be helpful to offer another free resource — this sermon I preached on the book, The Shack.

All Roads Lead Where? Seeking God at The Shack

I shared this message live at Colonial Baptist Church in Cary, NC for my friend Pastor Stephen Davey. It was carried worldwide on the Wisdom for the Heart radio network. Feel free to listen to this sermon and share it with others. We have included the PowerPoint that you may watch along with the audio.

We also added some eye-opening video. Please play close attention when watching the two video clips we included from CBC TV’s The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos interviewing The Shack author William P. Young. Once you watch the interview, I think you will understand the source of much of the controversy.

Get the full message for free here: www.watchman.org/shack.htm

In case you missed my email, The Shack movie just opened last weekend in theaters worldwide. It is based on the controversial book, self-published in 2007, by a heretofore unknown author, William P. Young. The book, which had been rejected by traditional Christian publishers, shocked the publishing world by jumping to #1 on the NY Times bestsellers list in 2008. The movie is being heavily promoted now in many Christian churches. The movie is poised to be a blockbuster but you will want to know that there are some serious theological problems.

I want you to be prepared. That’s why I sent our 4-page Profile on the book, The Shack. If you didn’t get it yet, you may still download that 4-page Profile for FREE here: www.watchman.org/Shack.pdf.

If the movie previews are any indicator, the film will be repeating some of the same doctrinal errors promoted in the book. Among other problems, The Shack misidentifies the Persons of the Trinity, hinting at the heresy of Modalism and promotes a form of Universalism (everyone eventually goes to heaven) called Universal Reconciliation. Dr. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said:

This book includes undiluted heresy. … It is a deeply troubling book. … It is intended, undoubtedly, as a way of trying to bring about some kind of redefinition or new understanding of the Christian faith. … The main character says at one point that he now understands that everything he learned at seminary was basically all wrong.

Please read the Profile to get a better idea of what is at stake. Also, I want you to feel free to share this with others either by emailing the link or printing copies.

Thank You for your Prayers and support!

We are an evangelical Christian apologetics ministry focusing on reaching people of other faiths and religions with the true gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ. Thank you for enabling us to continue through your prayers and financial support.

“The Atheist Delusion:” Free DVD if you know an Atheist!

The Atheist Delusion

Do you know an atheist, agnostic or skeptic? If so, I would like to send you a free copy of the 62-minute DVD, The Atheist Delusion. I was so impressed with this video, I purchase one thousand DVDs from our friends at Living Water Films! I’d like to give you one. All I ask is a donation of at least $3.71 to help cover shipping.1

Of course, if you can donate more than $3.71 it would be greatly appreciated but I don’t want the cost to keep you from owning this exciting resource. Watch this 85-second preview or claim your DVD here: www.watchman.org/AtheistDelusion.

Instant Access: Watch this DVD now on your Phone?

When you order your DVD, you get instant access to a link and password to watch the entire video by web streaming. It works great on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. At checkout, you automatically get a link (online and by email) to register your DVD. Once registered, you can immediately access the full 62-minute video to stream on any device. Then, please allow about 14 business days for your DVD to ship.

You’ll be riveted as you witness atheist students on university campuses being interviewed about powerful proofs for the existence of God. Watch Christian apologist Ray Comfort discussing evidences for a Creator with Lawrence Krauss, renown atheist and author of the bestsellers, A Universe from Nothing and Why There Is No God.

You will want to first watch this video yourself to learn some simple yet effective techniques for engaging in conversations with atheists. The DVD also makes a great gift to give to any atheist, agnostic or skeptic. Ask them if they would be willing to watch and critique it. They may be very open to give you their opinion of the video from an atheist perspective.

I really believe you are going to love this DVD. It is a great tool and will be a valuable addition to your “defend the faith” toolbox (1 Peter 3:15). Watch the 85-second preview or request your free DVD here: www.watchman.org/AtheistDelusion.

I greatly appreciate your prayers and support. Your partnership makes possible our ministry of apologetics including research, writing, publishing, mission trips, evangelistic outreach, and training Christians to defend their faith. On behalf of our staff and their families, I wish to thank you for standing with us as we help hurting people and share the Good News of the grace of Christ.

1NOTE: This DVD offer ends at midnight March 31, 2017 and is valid in the USA only. International donors will receive video streaming access only.

Free Book: A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey

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You will love this free book! As a former Mormon myself, I rarely discover a book that more clearly lays out the differences between Mormonism and biblical faith. At the same time, here is a book that goes beyond the facts to tell a story of personal transformation. As I read it I was vividly reminded of every feeling and emotion that I experienced during my own transition from Mormonism to Christianity.

Carma Naylor strikes that perfect balance as she invites her readers along for an incredibly personal journey through the crisis of losing her religion and the unexpected joy of finding the grace of Christ. I know you will want this book and I would like to give you a free copy.

Why Am I Giving You This Book?

I am very thankful for each of you who support the ministry of Watchman Fellowship either financially or through your prayers. To express my appreciation, I would like to give you and a free copy of A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey. All I ask is that you make a donation of at least $3.81 to help me cover the postage.

If you can afford to donate more than the postage, please know that our staff and their families are exceptionally grateful. Your generous support is much-needed and greatly appreciate at this time. But if all you can do right now is cover is the postage, please don’t hesitate to claim your copy. I don’t want the cost to prevent you from enjoying your own copy of this valuable resource.

What is the catch? We do ask for a donation of at least enough to help cover the postage. We do have a limit of one per family while our supply lasts. This offer is valid in the USA only* and the offer ends Monday, Oct. 31, 2016 at midnight.

A Great Witnessing Resource

Not only will you enjoy reading Carma’s story, her book also makes a great gift to share with a Latter-day Saint to help introduce them to the biblical gospel of grace.

  • Do you know any Mormons — a coworker, neighbor, or family member?
  • Have you ever had the Mormon Missionaries knock at your door?

If you answered yes, you will want to be prepared to be a witness when the Lord give you an opportunity. This book is a great way to be “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) to a Mormon friend.

Once again, thank you for your prayers and support. Our staff and their families depend on the generous gifts from friends like you to stay on the forefront of apologetics, evangelism, and missions. Thank you for helping to make this ministry possible!

A Video Message from James Walker

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Good afternoon . Please allow me to share this very brief video message with you. Click here to watch (3.5 min.):

CLICK TO WATCH

I want you to know that we are very thankful for your prayer and financial support in 2015 that has helped to keep us on the mission field. Watchman Fellowship is an evangelical Christian ministry focusing on apologetics (defending the faith), evangelism, and research. Our main mission is sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with people of other faiths by “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Your donation also helps our staff engage this important task.

Stay tuned, as early next year I will announce plans for upcoming mission trips to Utah and Africa. We have some new Profiles in the works on timely topics. You won’t want to miss any.

We are also in early discussions about the possibility of another Islam debate in 2016 where I hope to be able to debate a prominent Muslim leader.

Are you enjoying our bimonthly Profiles? Remember, your tax-deductible donation in December of any amount will help us to continue to research, write, and publish these 4-page Profiles.

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? Free Profile

 

pumpkins

Should Christians celebrate Halloween? Who could object to trick-or-treating, bobbing for apples, and other fun activities?

In our free Profile on Halloween, Rick Branch and James Walker look at the occult roots of the celebration, its history in America, and provide a Christian response. They conclude:

Because of its Occult history and symbolism, many informed Christians avoid any activity that would appear to support, promote or celebrate Halloween. Other Christians attempt to minimize the glorification of Halloween’s Occult roots by refusing to directly participate in costuming or activities where witchcraft, Satan, or demonic themes are prevalent. They feel that participation in Halloween and even trick-or-treating is acceptable if alternative costumes and themes are substituted or gospel tracts are given at the door. There is not total agreement among believers and churches concerning appropriate Christian responses to this pagan holiday. Knowledgeable Christians; at the very least will certainly want to avoid Halloween’s more obvious glamorization of the Occult. The Bible is replete with warnings and examples of involvement with the Occult.

You can learn more about the roots of Halloween, and receive suggestions for Christian alternatives, in our free Profile. You can also keep up-to-date on cults and new religious movements by getting your free subscription to future Watchman Fellowship Profiles.

Christian Perspectives on the News

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Have you read the latest posts to our Facebook or Twitter streams? Each weekday we provide a link to a recent news story about a cult or new religious movement, and we’ve recently mentioned:

Subscribing to one of our social media streams will help you keep up-to-date on developments in new religions around the world.

We also provide more than mere links to news stories — in our Profiles we also provide the background and Christian perspective you need to understand and respond to these religions. For example, you can read our free Profiles on:

Order your free subscription to the Watchman Fellowship Profile so you can increase your evangelism and keep up-to-date on new religions!

Shi’a Islam Profile

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We have just added to our website our Profile of Shi’a Islam. In this free Profile, Mike Edens looks at the history of the religion, as well as its philosophy and application, and provides a biblical response.

You can also subscribe to our free newsletter to receive the latest information and resources from Watchman Fellowship.

Photo of the Imam Hussein Shrine in Karbala, Iraq

Reiki Therapy Profile

mikaousui

We have just added to our website our Profile of reiki therapy. In this free Profile, Jeremy E. Scarbrough looks at the history of the practice, as well as its philosophy and application, and provides a biblical response.

You can also subscribe to our free newsletter to receive the latest information and resources from Watchman Fellowship.

Photo of Mikao Usui