Jehovah’s Witnesses – Charlie Campbell

2017-01-18-jehovahswitnessesThe newest Charlie Campbell movie I’ve watched focuses on Jehovah’s Witnesses, and describes the origin of the cult, its history since its founding, differences between it and Protestant churches and how to evangelize to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

This video does a very good job of creating a detailed — yet digestible — survey of the odd church’s origins, and sheds a lot of light on core differences between it and mainstream denominations.

Some of the oddest things I learned from the video is that apparently Jehovah’s Witnesses (today!) believe that Heaven apparently “filled up” back in 1935, and that Jesus came back to Earth (to reign!) in 1914. But he did so invisibly, of course. I also didn’t know that the Watch Tower Society is the largest religious publisher in the world, and sends out tens of millions of the strange magazine (viewed as written by God) each and every month. Oh, and it’s very odd how they are so focused on blood transfusions and basic medical care, which have led to many member deaths.

I also found Charlie’s advice regarding how to spread the Word to Jehovah’s Witnesses to be very intelligent and wise — basically, if they show up, hear them out, and then say you have a few questions (that will challenge their beliefs, such as Jesus and Satan being brothers, how things were added to their translation of the Bible, etc.) … and then invite them back to discuss things further. I would recommend this video to all, and the presentation is well made and interesting.

Mormonism – Charlie Campbell

2017-01-08-mormonismIn this video Charlie Campbell takes a close look at Mormonism (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and exposes its ungodly origin, beliefs and how to witness to its millions of members.

I enjoyed the way Charlie used PowerPoint slides — combined with his teaching — to better illustrate the many oddities about the Salt Lake City-based cult. And, just like it is clearly shown in the video, Mormonism is indeed a cult — distorting the truth of the Old and New Testaments by adding additional books and calling those the only inspired works. The Bible, while recognized, in their eyes is a poorly translated and not entirely accurate account of what God wanted to convey to humanity.

In fact, as Charlie shows — the God of the Book of Mormon is not really God at all! He’s just a regular person, who attained God-like status at some point in the distant past. Not only that, but any given human can achieve the same status as well, provided they are the best Mormon possible. This, as explained in the video, means getting married at a very young age, taking part in door-to-door missions as a young adult and making your life revolve around the ever-growing organization that calls Utah home.

This video is an excellent primer on Mormon thought and application, and everything from the adding of bizarre works like “The Pearl of Great Price” to the golden-plates-that-no-one-can-verify-existed to the thousands of edits/contradictions/inconsistencies “fixed” over time in the Book of Mormon shows — without a doubt — that the entire religion is a hoax. And what’s really sad, for those born into the religion … it’s even harder for them to escape the anti-Christian cult without potentially losing contact with everyone they love.

Answers to Atheists’ Attacks on Jesus

2016-12-22-answers-to-atheistsThis first video in a new, long apologetics series I will be covering is from Christian preacher/apologist Charlie Campbell, entitled “Answers to Atheists’ Attacks on Jesus.”

What I find interesting about this particular sermon/presentation is that Charlie covers a number of things not normally brought up in discussions like this — I was expecting the topics to be things like “If God is real, why does evil exist?!” and “If Genesis was true, how did Noah get all those animals on the Ark?!” These questions, I feel, require a lengthy discussion, so that people can understand the question fully and the context of Biblical events.

Instead, Charlie does a great job of covering simple and easily verifiable things, such as “Did Jesus even exist?” and “How do we know when the Gospels were written?” and “How do you explain scientific contradictions regarding Jesus?” He uses just a few minutes of discussion and data points for each — enough to show that these questions can indeed be answered accurately and succinctly — perfect for atheists who often have extremely short attention spans.

The film also reminds me of one of Chuck Missler’s videos, in which he uses a standard shot of himself and then uses slideshows and nice visuals to aid with whatever topic he is talking about. He’s also animated and shows a positive, upbeat attitude toward the Bible (and not defensive, frustrated or angry).

I would recommend checking out this video from AlwaysBeReady.com, and for the best value, pick up Always Be Ready’s USB Video Library, which has 30+ videos on it for $99.

Coming In 2017…

2016-12-16-derekprinceselfstudybiblecourseWith the end of 2016 almost here, I want to wish everyone who has stopped by a very Merry Christmas and remind them that at this time of year, it is our Lord Jesus Christ — who died on the cross for our sins — who needs to be remembered and thanked.

I also wanted to speak a bit about my studies over the past year, and what can be expected in 2017. Regarding my studies over the past 10 months or so, I would just like to say how awesome it feels to have completed the Bronze Medallion course from the Koinonia House. Those first four classes had a lot of content in them, and I learned a lot (even though I know I just skimmed the surface, especially across Old and New Testament studies).

Starting in 2017, however, I will be shifting my studying to trying something new — self study via a book-based Bible Course. Now, this isn’t one where I send answers off by mail or anything like that — no, this one is where I simply pay $20 for the book, and then spend a few months working my way through it. The book (which I just bought today, but had been eyeing for months now) has 20 lessons in it, and my goal is to do one lesson per week, starting January 1st.

I want to try a variety of learning approaches, and also want to see what kind of value can be had from a very inexpensive book like this. I hope everyone has a safe and happy Christmas and New Year, and I look forward to sharing my progress regarding the Derek Prince Self-Study Bible Course!

Koinonia House: Bronze Medal

2016-12-12-bronzemedalWell, it’s been awhile since I last did an update regarding my studies at Koinonia House, and I thought I’d report that I have now officially completed all of the requirements for the Bronze Medallion!

This particular medal’s requirements stated that four classes had to be completed and in late October I finished up the last one (Intro to Prophecy) … and then after that, my Bronze Medallion arrived in the mail, along with a very nice letter detailing the accomplishment I had just made in my studies.

The medallion is much larger than I expected, and is presented in an awesome wooden plaque (about the size of a normal sheet of paper), with a recessed area made specifically for the medal to sit in, so it can be put on display.

While I know that this is just a material thing, and works will not undo any sinful things you’ve done (only asking Jesus for forgiveness and repenting will), I am very proud of it. Next year, when my house is more in order (hopefully) and I have a dedicated area for things like this, I hope to put it up on display (just for myself). This medallion is something I was working towards in my studies as a student at Koinonia House and I am thrilled to have finally earned it!

Introduction to Bible Prophecy Course Completed!

2016-11-01-pro501Today I finished up my fourth (full-length) course from Koinonia Institute: “PRO501: Introduction to Bible Prophecy.”

It was designed to be something that covered the major aspects of Bible prophecy, in a condensed format. Some of the things I enjoyed from this class were:

  • The class was very short, with just four sessions, and covered a lot of material
  • The helpful focus on prophecy in regards to past, future and present scenarios
  • I liked how it felt like a good summary class, vs. overly long and complex

I also contributed to weekly forum discussions, took 4 weekly quizzes and then an 80 question final exam also. I did well on the weekly quizzes … and my final grade for the class was 89.6%.

What was my favorite part of the course?

I enjoyed the fact that the class seemed purposefully designed to give students a good overview of end-time prophecy (in a general sense) throughout the Bible. The structure kept the material interesting, and provided enough context for viewers to wrap their head around (for the most part) what was being discussed.

What am I thankful for?

I’m thankful that the other classes from this Bronze Medal track (particular the New Testament course) provided the proper foundation of knowledge for me to understand the topics in this class more. I would highly recommend you take this class after the Old and New Testament courses from Koinonia House.

What could use some work?

The first session is pretty forgettable, because the material it covers is so similar to what you’ve already heard, if you have already taken some Koinonia House classes. I also feel like on its own, some of the material here would go over someone’s head if they didn’t have more fleshed-out knowledge of prophecy, from other sources.

Survey of the Old Testament Course Completed!

Today I finished up my third (full-length) course from Koinonia Institute: “BIB501-1: Survey of the Old Testament.”

It’s a great compliment to the previous survey class I had, which focused on the New Testament exclusively. Some of the things I enjoyed from this class were:

  • The focus on the first five books of the Bible, and how they are especially important to Jewish people
  • The explanation of many Jewish traditions, customs, cultural/legal proceedings, buildings, the tribes, etc.
  • A focus on the many prophets from the Old Testament, and how they varied from one another.

I also contributed to weekly forum discussions, took 12 weekly quizzes and then a 100 question final exam also. I did well on the weekly quizzes … and on the final test I got a 90% on it (that exam took me over 6 hours of studying/research to complete, over several days!).

What was my favorite part of the course?

I really enjoyed the detailed look at Jewish origins and traditions, as so much about Jewish life is unknown to me. I find it fascinating that Jewish people — despite their obvious flaws throughout history and rejection of Jesus Christ — still love and revere the God of Abraham, and want to keep Him happy in the way they think is appropriate, based on tradition. The other thing I really enjoyed was the focus on all of the prophets — especially the minor ones, because I try to put myself in their shoes and wonder what their lives must have been like (communicating with God, and then trying to be a man doing His will — all while being a sinner).

What am I thankful for?

I think this class is an excellent introduction to the Old Testament, and covers the content with just enough depth to whet your appetite for more. Dr. Missler’s no-nonsense and thorough teaching style leaves the student feeling like every minute was worth listening to, and the visuals/charts really helped as well.

What could use some work?

Some of the books, people and events described in the Old Testament are only briefly touched on, while others seem to get more than their fair share of coverage. I understand that some books may be more interesting story-wise than others, but it would have been nice to have an extra hour or so at the end of the series to flesh out later/lesser books more, or to cover key Old Testament topics that often come up in a general-sense.