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Jehovah’s Witnesses – NSU Course Video

We had a packed chapel of eager students for our 1-week session on Jehovah’s Witnesses on Sunday, January 4, 2015.  I will teach a course on Mormonism on January 11 that you can still join us for.  We are making the video available for those who want to learn more.

NSU - Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah’s Witnesses

History

  • Begun by Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916) in 1872.
  • His family was a part of a Presbyterian church in Pittsburgh.
  • Russell had difficulty accepting the doctrine of an eternal hell.
  • This prompted him to deny eternal punishment, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
  • In order to get out his controversial teachings, he began to publish what we now know as the Watchtower magazine.
  • The Watchtower printed 6,000 copies the first month. Its Brooklyn headquarters now prints 100,000 books and 800,000 copies of magazines daily.
  • Russell claimed that the Bible could only be understood based upon his own interpretations written within the Watchtower magazine.
  • After Russell’s death, Joseph Franklin Rutherford took over presidency of the Watch Tower Society.
  • In 1931, he officially changed the name of the organization to “The Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
  • They currently have over 4 million members worldwide.
  • 200,000 members join each year.
  • It takes 740 house calls to recruit 1 new member.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses have several studies each week that train them in their doctrine.
  • The average Jehovah’s Witness is constantly indoctrinated with teaching and can easily confuse or convince the average Christian who is unprepared to defend his or her beliefs.

Beliefs

  • There is one God, Jehovah.
  • Jehovah’s first and only creation was Michael the archangel who would later turn into Jesus.
  • Jesus did not die on a cross and he did not rise physically.
  • There is no hell.
  • Good works are necessary for salvation.
  • Only 144,000 will get to enter heaven.
  • They forbid blood transfusion.
  • They refuse certain national and religious customs.

Jehovah's Witnesses.001

If you are interested in reading more, you can visit the blog as I write about Jehovah’s Witnesses.

NSU January 2015

North Side University is a group of courses designed to help you further understand, apply, and teach the Bible.  We have four courses beginning in January 2015.  Registration is available at the bottom of this page.

We made a few adjustments to these courses.  Here are some items to know:

  • We moved the Sunday night courses to 6 PM which provides childcare for those wishing to attend.
  • Some of these courses have limited capacity due to their nature, so reserve your spot ASAP.
  • The Intro to Cults course will only be 2 weeks, so you can take that course and also another course which will start up the following week.

REGISTER FOR NSU

Introduction to Cults

Cults are religious groups that claim association with Christianity but diverge at critical theological points. This course will equip participants to engage primarily with Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons.

  • Class will begin Sunday, January 4th and will meet at 6pm
  • Class will meet for 2 weeks
  • Class leader is Travis Agnew
  • There is no cost for this course
  • The course will be offered online

Basic Christian Doctrine

This course is a practical version of systematic theology. It is a must for any Christian that desires to learn the basic doctrines of the Christian faith and what Scripture tells us about those doctrines. It supplies a great foundation for one’s faith.

  • Class will begin on Sunday, January 18th and will meet at 6pm
  • Class will meet for 11 weeks
  • Maximum number of people who can take the class:  10
  • Class leader is Dick Williams
  • Cost for materials is $12
  • This course will NOT be offered online

Biblical Interpretation and Communication (Preaching)

This is a two-part course. The first six weeks will deal with Biblical Interpretation. The last six weeks, for those who choose to do part 2, will deal with Biblical Preaching. You can take part 1 of the course without taking part 2.

  • Part 1 of the course (Biblical Interpretation)  will begin on Sunday, January 18thand will meet at 6pm and will meet for 6 weeks
  • Part 2 of the course (Biblical Communication (Preaching)) will begin on Sunday, March 1st and will meet at 6pm
  • Duration of part 2 of the course (Biblical Communication (Preaching)) will be determined based on how many sign-up for the course
  • There is no limit for how many individuals can take part 1 of the course, but there is a 12 person limit for part 2 of the course.  Only men are eligible to take part 2 of the course because it is a preaching class (1 Timothy 3:1-7).
  • Class leader is Jeff Lethco
  • There is no charge for the class.
  • This course will NOT be offered online

Discipleship 101

This is a 11 week study that examines the basic aspects of disciple making, among other things. The study will examine the definition of discipleship, the presentation of the Gospel, the growth cycle of the disciple, and how to help develop believers through stages of spiritual growth.

  • Class will begin on Wednesday, January 21st and will meet at 6pm
  • Class will meet for 11 weeks
  • Class leader is Dick Williams
  • There is no charge for this class
  • This class will NOT be offered online

Register for any of these courses here.

Interested in Learning More About World Religions?

The Complex Spiritual Nature of Our World

His name was Yohei. It was the year 2000 in Tokyo, Japan. He told our mission team that Jesus, Allah, or anybody else who claimed to be God was probably correct. They all led to the same place, and we had everything inside of us that we needed to reach God. Upon questioning him gently (1 Pt. 3:15) concerning Jesus, Yohei claimed that He was one of the greatest teachers who ever walked on earth.

Agreeing with him, I stated that since He is a great teacher, then His teachings must be true. So I asked Yohei what did Jesus mean by “no one comes to the Father except through Me”? Yohei’s reply? “Jesus only meant part of that verse.”

The world says that Christians are intolerant. It is expected that we respect what anyone believes without issuing judgment. We must accept all religions as truth.

Let me ask you this: are we being respectful if we know the truth, but we refuse to share it for the sake of being tolerant?

In Acts 17, Paul got provoked as he watched the people of Athens follow false gods (17:16). Paul didn’t rush in to condemn the people of Athens, but he did address this “Unknown God.” He explained Him to them. His name is Jesus.

But the world says as long as you are religious, you are fine. “All roads lead to the same spot anyway. A truly, loving God wouldn’t allow anyone to go to hell.” The Athenians were very religious, but Paul thought it was necessary to tell them that their religion wasn’t enough to save them, it had to be Jesus alone.

Jesus said that He was the only way. If He only meant “part of that verse,” how do we know if He really meant anything He ever said?

Many will read this and think this is a problem reserved for Japan or Athens, but it is here as well.

His name was David. It was the year 2003 in Greenwood, South Carolina. He was of the Bahá’í faith, and he told me that Jesus, Allah, and Bahá’u’lláh were all different manifestations of the same god. He said that Christians, Muslims, or anyone who is religious are all following the same god.

Upon questioning him gently about the Qu’ran, the Muslim holy book, David did admit that Muhammad wrote “kill the infidels” which meant kill anyone who was not Muslim. I asked if that presented a problem to him. He said it did and left me to go and get a flier.

I then asked if John 14:6 posed a problem. He got me a flier.

Then I asked him why Jesus had to die on the cross for our sins if any god would do. He told me he had no idea.

These are questions that we must address! Is Jesus the only way? Can any religion lead to God? How do you dialogue with believers of other religions?

Interested in Learning More?

Starting on September 7th, I get the privilege to teach a World Religions class here at North Side. For 12 weeks, we will gather on Sunday nights at 5PM in the Family Life Center and discuss how to interact with those of other religions.

We will study the major world religions and focus on the question: “Is Jesus really the only way?”

If you have ever had an interest in knowing more about other religions for curiosity’s sake or for missions training, I would love for you to join me. We will meet for 12 weeks in the Fall on Sunday nights from 5-6 starting on September 7th.

Cost will be $15 which will cover book and materials.

Register Here >

 

Noah and the Ark is Not a Children’s Story

I’m teaching the Old Testament at Lander University and I am also teaching it at our church this Fall.  As I prepare, I am noticing many things about the Old Testament that are misunderstood.  One of them is that Noah and the Ark is not a children’s story.  It’s a story for all of us. It’s deeper than rain and animals.  It has to do with the fact that God takes sin seriously.

Adam and Eve sinned and were banished from the Garden.  Their son, Cain, killed their other son, Abel.  After this event, God blesses them with another son.  When Eve births another son, Seth (Gen. 4:25), solemnity is slowing taking over. Seth’s birth gives a subtle indication of deeper things transpiring with Mankind.

While the first people were made in the image of God, Seth is curiously described as a son in Adam’s “own likeness, after his image” (Gen. 5:3). On the external level, this reveals that Seth’s appearance is similar to that of his father’s. This phrase possibly also acknowledges the fact that these following generations are more and more marred by the curse of sin first seen in the father Adam.

This sinful nature and Adamic likeness grows. Sin continues to pervert, distort, and destroy what is good in God’s creation. Evil increases greatly, and God becomes evermore grieved over Mankind. God begins to impose an age limit of 120 years (Gen. 6:3) except for a few unique exceptions (Abraham lives to 175, Gen. 25:7).

Further, God declares that he is going to destroy his Creation which was good before sin corrupted it. “‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD'” (Gen. 6:7-8). The fact that God feels “sorry” does not indicate that he is now aware of something he didn’t see coming and he wish he would have never done it in the first place. God foreknew all that had transpired and all that would transpire. The actualization of enduring Mankind’s sinfulness produces a different type of grief within God than previously described.

Noah is the exception here. Chosen by God for a specific task, Noah “was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God” (Gen. 6:9). God’s wrath was coming for earth ever so filled with violence and corruption (Gen. 6:11-12). To save himself, his family, and a remnant of animals, God instructed Noah to build an ark that could sustain the coming wrath of God (Gen. 6:14-22).

Noah and the Ark was never intended to be a mere children’s story.

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Learn How to Make Disciples

NSU - Course 1.001-002

I am thrilled that NSU is starting up this Sunday, Feb. 10th!

North Side University is a 2-year intensive training for those interested in growing as a disciple-maker.  The training is comprised of course information, practicum experiences, and intentional mentorship.  At the end of the 2 years, a completion of this program would equip a disciple-maker to effectively carry out the Great Commission within his or her specific context.

THE 2-YEAR PLAN consists of:
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