Seven basic doctrines believers should be ready to defend, and how others twist the Bible
1. The Judeo-Christian Bible
Written by various authors, it has a simple message – God is Holy, He is almighty, and He has wonderful plans for mankind. The Bible is an instruction for men and has been accepted by many researchers as a historical document.
It’s divided into two books, the Old (OT) and New Testament (NT). The highlight of the OT is the “Old Covenant” of God with Moses, where despite the disobedience of the “chosen people”, the guilt of sin is removed through animal sacrifice. The NT supersedes it when God gives his “New or Second Covenant of redemption” or the “Good news,” for everyone.
Ultimately, it has one author, God Himself. It is “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). The human authors wrote exactly what God wanted them to write, and the result was the perfect and Holy Word of God (Psalm 12:6; 2 Peter 1:21).
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How is it twisted?
Atheists describes the Bible as a narrative of folktales. They question the character of the authors although intellectual agnostics gives credence to its historicity. This is a lengthy discussion, but the list of growing skeptics who wanted to disprove the Bible have only proven it otherwise.
How was it compiled?
The Christian Holy Bible is a compilation of 40 different human authors, written over a period of about 1,500 years. The authors were kings, fishermen, priests, government officials, farmers, shepherds, and doctors. The OT was passed on through oral tradition as well as manuscript and historical records while the NT is also from written historical records and compilation of letters. It was compiled by the early church Fathers who were also Bible Scholars. (Wikipedia)
The modern Bible as we know now was deliberated at the Council of Nicaea by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325 who converted to Christianity. The issues of Jesus’ deity, the Holy Trinity, and promulgation of early canon law were settled. (Britannica)
It is classified as a non-fiction with estimated total sales of over 5 billion copies, the Bible is widely considered to be the best-selling book of all time.
Some of the stories in the Bible are difficult to accept, such as the creation in 6 days, Jonah swallowed by a whale, murders and endless wars that a loving God approves of. The seeming contradictions of God’s character and the resurrection of Jesus are heavily frowned upon by unbelievers. Biblical scholars, scientists, and teachers have managed to explain them, while the rest remains inconceivable (Deuteronomy 29:29).
The Biblical debate is classified into two schools of thoughts – creationist vs. naturalist. The most notable apologist and scientists of the 21st century are:
Hugo Anthony Meynell
R. C. Sproul
Timothy J. Keller
William Lane Craig
You can begin by studying the science behind the book of Genesis. For more information, please watch the introduction video of the Genesis Project.
2. Deity of Jesus
Debate never ends on whether Jesus is human, a prophet, or if He is both a man and God. The Scripture is clear and relates many Bible verses that say Jesus is God and creator of all things.
How is it twisted?
Not all religions who claim to be “Christians” support the idea that Jesus is both man and God. They twist scriptures by quoting only Biblical passages that refer to Him only as a man but ignores passages that prove otherwise.
Most of these religious group elevate the stature of their church (salvation is by church membership and by doing good works). Their leaders call themselves modern-day prophets, equal to Jesus who after all is just a man like them. Salvation is free because of Jesus, not by what we can do. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Important verses that points to Jesus as God
“The Father and I are one” (John 10:30 )
“No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” (John 1:18)
“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily. and in Christ, you have been brought to fullness. He is the head of every power and authority.” (Colossians 2:9-10)
Non-Biblical accounts that points to Jesus
Tacitus (56-120AD) –
Mara Bar-Serapion (70AD)
Pliny the Younger (61-113AD)
Lucian of Samosata: (115-200 A.D.)
Jewish Talmud (400-700AD)
(Compiled by Forensic Faith by Warner Wallace)
Baptism is a symbolism, a public declaration of one’s faith. Paul made a distinction between baptism and the gospel. He said, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 1:17). He then described the gospel as “the message of the cross,” which is “God’s power to save (verse 18).
Baptism and the gospel seem in opposition to each other when citing passages that describe how a person is saved. Is it by baptism alone or is it a combination of believing? Apostle Paul explained that “the gospel… is God’s power for salvation (Romans 1:16).
How is it twisted?
There are religions that make baptism a requirement in order to go to heaven. Their reference is Mark 16:16 that says “He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.” While the passage indicates that baptized believers are saved, it does not mean to say that believers who were not baptized will not go to heaven.
Other religions reasons that Mark says, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16) and Jesus told Nicodemus, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water [baptized] and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). However, the Bible is clear that there is no saving virtue or merit in the act of baptism itself. Jesus is our only Savior (John 3:16; Acts 4:12; 2 Corinthians 3:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
Bottomline, if you properly interpret the Bible in context and its entirety, baptism is not necessary for salvation in the sense that only Jesus can save us. The act of baptism, itself, does not save us. But this does not mean that baptism is not important. Baptism is a public declaration of surrendering our old self and being cleansed and renewed in Jesus. (Source: Got Questions)
4. The Holy Trinity
In a nutshell, the Holy Trinity of God is “three persons in one-God.” God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20). The three parts are separate personalities. And yet together, they form one being – God.
The Scripture is full of reference to the triune nature of God (Mathew 3:16-17, Luke 1:35, John 15:26) but you need to understand it in its entire context. More than 60 NT verses mention the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the same verse. These members of the Godhead are co-existent and co-equal one in essence and yet three in person.
How is it twisted?
Oneness Pentecostals appeal to this verses (Mathew 3:16-17, Luke 1:35, John 15:26) along with Acts 8:16, 19:5, and Matthew 28:19 as support. In doing so they embrace modalism, an anti-Trinitarian heresy that was condemned by the Synod of Smyrna in AD 200. The Nicene and Athanasian creeds also condemn modalism. (Source: CSB The Apologetics Study Bible, 2017)
Likewise, nontrinitarianism , a form of Christianity that rejects the mainstream Christian doctrine of the Trinity, believes that God is three distinct persons who are coeternal, coequal, and indivisibly united in one being or essence. Thus, their interpretation means that there are three God-persons in one essence, not three persons in one-God.
Nontrinitarian also differ in the nature of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. They cite that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is not present in the other major Abrahamic religions.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons but one-God
The doctrine of the Trinity means that there is one God who eternally exists as three distinct Persons — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Stated differently, God is one in essence and three in person. These definitions express three crucial truths: (1) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons, (2) each Person is fully God, (3) there is only one God.
The Bible speaks of the Father as God (Philippians 1:2), Jesus as God (Titus 2:13), and the Holy Spirit as God (Acts 5:3–4). Are these just three different ways of looking at God, or simply ways of referring to three different roles that God plays? The answer must be no because the Bible also indicates that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons. (Read more: Desiring God)
5. The Resurrection of Jesus
Skeptics have attempted to disprove the resurrection. Josh McDowell was one who of the skeptics who researched the evidence for the resurrection but instead of proving that it did not happen, he discovered the truth that Jesus did resurrect. He later wrote a classic book on the resurrection of Jesus.
The book of John is an important document that proves it happened. John Piper in his blog explains the main reasons that prove Jesus rose from the dead and became alive again, proving as well that Jesus is God and has the power over death.
How is it twisted?
The Roman authority did all they can to disprove the resurrection because they know it can inspire a revolution. The resurrection gives proof that Jesus had powers further supporting his diety which the authorities didn’t want to proliferate. Those against the Apostles inspired and conspired conspiracies and rumors to show that the apostles stole and hid the body.
8-Reasons that prove the resurrection
1. 1. Jesus himself testified to his coming resurrection from the dead.
2. The tomb was empty on Easter.
3. The disciples were almost immediately transformed from men who were hopeless and fearful after the crucifixion.
4. Paul claimed that not only had he seen the risen Christ, but that 500 others had seen him also.
5. The sheer existence of a thriving, empire-conquering early Christian church supports the truth of the resurrection claim.
6. The Apostle Paul’s conversion supports the truth of the resurrection.
7. The New Testament witnesses do not bear the stamp of dupes or deceivers.
8. There is a self-authenticating glory in the gospel of Christ’s death and resurrection as narrated by the biblical witnesses.
One of the most dramatic conversions from being an atheist to a follower of Jesus, was that of Lee Strobel. He was a skeptic turned believer. He strongly opposed what the Bible says, because it has so much contradiction.
Millions of people have read award-winning journalist Lee Strobel’s account of his journey from atheism to faith — now adapted for a major motion picture. The movie edition of his book includes fresh archaeological evidence and an entire chapter devoted to questions and answers.
WATCH TRAILER:”The Case for Christ”
How will I be saved and go to heaven? Salvation according to the Scriptures is through what Jesus did on the cross. He alone has the power and authority to save us. The well-quoted verse in John 3:6 says that “belief” is the essence of salvation. If you belong to Jesus, you no longer face condemnation for the sins you committed in the past, present, or future. (Hebrews 10:11-12,14; Ephesians 1:4–5)
At the cross, one of the thief “believed” who Jesus is and what He offers (salvation). Jesus replied by saying “today you shall be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). His death on the cross has paid the penalty for all times. (Hebrews 9:26)
How is it twisted?
Salvation for others is a combination of what Jesus did on the cross and by doing good works. Other religion subtly teaches that earning favor from God makes us worthy of eternal life. The Apostles had the same problems in the early church because there were groups trying to confuse the gospel by introducing false teachings.
Five important truths in the Bible
“Grace” is the free and unmerited favor of God. While a “gift” is something we do not need to pay for or payback. The fruits of a true Christian is doing good works, being loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, full of goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Being good is the result of one’s love and obedience to God (Ephesians 2:8-9).
1. We are justified by grace alone through faith alone apart from works. (Ephesians 2:8–9; Romans 3:28)
2. Those who are justified will certainly be glorified. (Romans 8:30)
3. But no one will be glorified or finally saved who does not continue in the faith. (1 Corinthians 15:1–2; Colossians 1:21–23; Matthew 10:22)
4. God himself will keep his children from finally falling away. (Philippians 1:6; 1 Corinthians 1:8–9)
5. God keeps his children by means of his children. (Hebrews 3:13–14)
The following Bible verses say that we are saved because of the grace of God, through Jesus, not by our own merit or good things we do. Most importantly, its not by church membership because Jesus did not come to make a religion, but to have a personal relationship with those who come to Him.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the GIFT of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
But the free GIFT is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the GIFT by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.
For the wages of sin is death, but the FREE GIFT of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him FREELY GIVE us all things?
2 Corinthians 9:15
Thanks be to God for His indescribable GIFT!
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that NOT of yourselves, it is the GIFT of God; not by works so that no man can boast.
7. The Second Coming and the Rapture
There are many movies about the “end times and rapture” and it usually ends with man’s salvation of some sort. The Bible tells us of a similar story, a prophecy that differs because there is an assurance of hope and a new earth for God’s children. All things will be new. (Revelation 21:5)
The most profound verse is in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “For the Lord Himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. “
This verse is the central tenants of the Christian faith – The dead will be raised once again. The verse is often associated with the Rapture, where God gathers His children to Himself before the final battle. This verse also upholds the idea that that the faithful will be literally taken up into the clouds to join the Lord.