1 Peter 3:15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.
O'Reilly vs Maher - click here this past week, and he is to be commended for standing up for the cause of Christ. Although I admire O’Reilly’s courage for challenging Maher, I can’t say O’Reilly is even remotely qualified to debate the issue. O’Reilly’s responses to Maher were not Biblical and not well thought out.
The fact is that if there was no Noah and his ark, then our belief in Jesus is no more important than Maher's belief in Darwin, and the Bible is just another good book.
This conversation would be difficult for most Christians. The first question that comes to my mind is what should O’Reilly have done differently? Answer: not invited the argument in the first place. "answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes."
First of all, he should have done his homework. O’Reilly was in control of the conversation. He had the ability to review all of Maher’s past ignorant statements and challenge him on specifics. Instead he opened with a general question which allowed Maher to counter and take control by switching to Noah’s Ark questions and other difficult verses. Keep in mind, this is a short segment and even the greatest Biblical scholar would be challenged to debate the story of Noah's Ark in eight minutes. It is totally predictable that Maher would try to switch the conversation to Noah, Jonah, or creation. If O’Reilly was not prepared to go there, he should never have entered the discussion. His plan should have been to make a reasoned argument for faith in opposition to the false science Maher has accepted as his religion. Asking Maher a difficult question, such as; “how do you believe the world and men came to exist? Or, if there is no God, then what is the truth … would have been a good start? This would have put Maher on the defensive, and O’Reilly could have maintained control of the short discussion. The Bible is a Book for those who think about what they believe. We are better off not say anything rather than spout an off the cuff opinion based on meandering opinions. God responds to the comments of both men here: “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS”; and again, “THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS.” 1 Cor. 3:19-20
What else does the Bible say? God cannot error. The Bible is the word of God, therefore the Bible cannot error. “it is impossible for God to lie” Heb. 6:18; “God cannot lie” Tit. 1:2; “God is truth” Jn. 14:6; Jesus said; “your word is truth” Jn. 17:17; “the entirety of your word is truth” Ps. 119:160; “all scripture is God Breathed” 2 Tim. 3;16; and finally Jesus said; “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Mat. 5:17-18.
What should O’Reilly have said?
Here is how I would have replied in 10 minutes or less. Would you like me to explain why Christians believe what they do Bill?
Christians believe that the God is omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (all powerful), and omnipresent (always present). We believe that God created all things in the heavens and on earth and that all teachings to the contrary are untrue. God created man from the dust of the earth and woman from the rib of the man. Man was deceived by Satan the evil one and because of man’s sins of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, man lost fellowship with God and was sent out on his own. We also believe that Jesus Christ is one with God and the Holy Spirit from the beginning. Christians believe that God is truth and that He cannot lie and that the Bible is His revelation of the eternal Truth that has been revealed through men, and Jesus, God who came in the form of a man. The Bible includes Old Testament Laws, some that are eternal and some that were given for a time but have been replaced by new revelations. These revelations have a variety of purposes: some for a time, laws, wisdom, historical, scientific, prophetic, poetic, parables, some evangelical, some pastoral and some allegorical. Of all the peoples in the world God chose the Jews over all other people, and made a covenant with them declaring them a special people, a royal priesthood under His protection. God gave the Jews laws to follow which made clear the difference between right and wrong. When the Jews violated these laws, God provided a covenant for forgiveness of their sins, by the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb. The Jewish prophets foretold of a coming Messiah who would be the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. The Holy Spirit came upon the Virgin Mary who gave birth to Jesus the Christ, the promised Messiah who was God in the form of man, born of a virgin. He is the New Covenant replacing the old sacrifice. Jesus is an unblemished sinless lamb, who became the sacrifice once for all the sins of mankind. Jesus said; "You must be born again" Those who believe in Jesus Christ are born again, and are immediate heirs to His eternal priesthood, sons of the most high. Christians are forgiven, not because of their good deeds; but because Jesus died on the cross for us, and washed away our sins past, present, and future. Jesus turned water into wine; raised the dead; cast out demons, healed many lepers, those who were lame, and blind from birth; walked on water; stilled the violent storm; fed thousands with five loaves and two fish; and many, many more miracles. Jesus willingly died on the cross for our sins and victoriously rose from the dead after three days in a tomb. “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” Only a fool would pretend to have a logical human explanation for these miracles. And just like millions of other realities that are clearly true, but that men can’t explain, we accept these truths by faith.
So if we believe that all of these miracles are truth, why is it difficult to believe the story of Noah, even as incredible as it sounds? O’Reilly would be wise to read the Bible before he calls the Old Testament an allegory. Jesus spoke specifically about the days of Noah and the flood, not as an allegory but as a literal fact; “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:37-39. Standing on the truth of the story of Noah is not difficult when you are standing with Christ, combined with the testimony of all of these miracles ... is it?
Jesus will return and those who have trusted Him for their salvation will reign eternally with God in Heaven. Those who disregard God will suffer the consequences. ”For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Rom. 1:18-20
I believe that on numerous occasions God spoke to and through Moses. For centuries skeptics have tried to prove the Bible is filled with untruths but there is not a single example where they have succeeded, and that includes the story of Noah. Biblical Christians accept God’s word as truth. Inerrancy is a logical result of inspiration. Inerrancy means wholly true and without error. The fact that we don’t understand the truth does not change His truth. There are thousands of things we accept every day that we don’t understand but we accept them. I am convinced that most atheists have accepted men’s teachings and philosophies as truth. They believe whatever makes sense to them to be truth, but men’s ideas have been proven wrong over and over. And of course … if men are no better than animals, a mistake, with no meaning or purpose, as you suppose; how is it that their ideas are relevant or of value? Jesus is pleading with all of us to repent and receive Him as our Savior and Lord. I have believed in my heart that God’s Word is truth. God has provided evidence, revelation and the understanding in my heart the difference between truth and lie, good and evil. I stand humbly with the Creator, the living God, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, My Lord, and my Salvation.
Now Mr. Maher, a challenge: “If a Christian bets his life on God’s existence and His promise of eternity in bliss with Him ... and is wrong, he has only lost his life, which atheists claim is a meaningless delusion anyway. But if an atheist bets that there is no God, and thus no eternal judgment after death and is wrong, he will suffer his error for eternity.” You have said all Christians are ignorant. Would you kindly explain to me what you believe, and why you believe it? And then let’s take a few minutes to consider the validity and basis for your beliefs. Can you now see why O’Reilly’s; “I’m a simple man, here’s my simple answer does not represent Christ or the Bible well? We must “always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.”
often contradict the wisdom of the world. Since we have been programmed by the world ... we have come to accept these worldly ideas as truth ... but when we consider God’s perspective ... we come to understand ... "the Lord's ways are not our ways"
Don't just read these writings ... meditate and pray over God's Word ... Listen to the Holy Spirit ... and be transformed by renewing your mind. He who died on our behalf wants you to ... allow the love of Christ to control you ... so that you might become ... the righteousness of God in Him.
Be an Ambassador of Christ ... with a ministry of reconciliation. Share God's eternal Truth and Love ... with everyone He brings into your path.