In 1937 Max Planck, a German physicist said, “Faith in miracles must yield ground, step by step, before the steady and firm advance of the forces of science, and its total defeat is indubitably a mere matter of time.”
In our time, atheist Richard Dawkins has said, “The virgin birth, the resurrection, the raising of Lazarus, even the Old Testament miracles, all are freely used for religious propaganda, and they are very effective with an audience of unsophisticates and children.”
Really? Are those statements true? – that the report of miracles in the Bible is just propaganda promoted by ignorant people and believed by other ignorant people? And that faith in miracles will eventually yield to scientific advance?
Today I present Part 4 of Tough Questions for Today’s Christian where we tackle the question, “Do Miracles Contradict Science – Part 1 of 2”. Because of technical difficulties I was not able to upload the MP3. However, I have uploaded the PDF for you to read and consider. – Jonathan Williams, Word of God, Speak!
Why Does God Allow Evil and Suffering – Part 3
The great Russian novelist, historian, and short story writer, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, may have said it best when he spoke of the problem of believing in a good, all-powerful God while we live in a world of suffering and evil.
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
Here’s Part 3 in our series Tough Questions for Today’s Christian on our program Word of God, Speak! where we finish our message exploring the problem of God and the existence of suffering and evil – Jonathan Williams
People have proposed three options to the problem of the existence of God, evil, and suffering.
First, evil and suffering show that God does not exist.
Second, some type of God may exist, but he probably is not a good God because he does not care.
Third, if there is a God who cares, he is not all-powerful because he does not have enough power to stop the evil and suffering.
This bring us back to our original question, if God is good and all-powerful, why do suffering and evil exist?
Here’s Part 2 of our series Tough Questions for Today’s Christian on our program Word of God, Speak! where we continue to explore the problem of God and the existence of suffering and evil – Jonathan Williams
This is the first of eight tough questions that I address in my new teaching series, “Tough Questions for Today’s Christian.” I hope that you will listen to Part 1 of this series today. Before you listen, let me list all eight tough questions.
- If God is a loving, all powerful God, why does he allow evil and suffering to exist?
- Miracles contradict science; therefore, they cannot be true and the Bible’s report of miracles must be false.
- Evolution explains the origin of life, so, why do we need to talk about God creating all things?
- Why did God command the slaughter of innocent children in the Old Testament?
- How can you claim that Jesus is the only way to eternal life?
- How could a loving God send people to Hell?
- Church history is filled with experiences of oppression and violence. How can you then say Christianity is from God?
- It is not possible to live without doubt, so how can anyone be a Christian?
Based on Lee Strobel’s book, The Case for Faith, I examine each of these questions to provide answers that will build up your faith and provide you with answers for the questions people ask.
Be blessed as you listen to Part 1 of “Why Does God Allow Evil and Suffering in the World” in my program, “Word of God, Speak!” – Jonathan Williams
Last September, Kathy and I set up a table with our resources at the International Orality Network conference (ION). A man from Africa came by and I said, “Let me guess where you are from . . . Ethiopia!” He said, “How did you know?” A few hours later, we saw him sitting by himself, and we asked him to join us. Then, we had lunch together. God was putting on my heart to spend time with this man and learn about him.
He was born into an Ethiopian Orthodox family, and as he grew up, he was groomed for significant leadership in that Church. Then, he met the living Christ, began boldly proclaiming the Gospel, and was thrown out of his house by his family!
Undaunted, he continued proclaiming Christ, founded a church, and now, 25 years later is the founder and president of Church Multiplication Gospel Mission (CMGM) which is taking the Gospel to every part of Ethiopia, including unreached tribal people.
During the ION conference, we had a private mini-conference. We shared with him about teaching the Bible as a story, using the 6 Cs – Creation, Catastrophe, Covenants, Christ, Church/Commission, and Consummation. We showed him our video, The Renewal of All Things, and God worked deeply in his heart.
350 Attendees, 15 Nations, 1 Goal
On April 27, Mezgebu Tsemru, will officially launch CMGM, and I will be there to help him. This event will be attended by 350 Church, Ministry, and Denomination leaders from 15 African nations. He will share the vision for Ethiopia and beyond.
One key component for his vision is our video – The Renewal of All Things. He said, “Your video is powerful, dramatic, clear, and concise. It is a shortened version of the Jesus film. We can use it to bring many to Christ, quickly, in Ethiopia.” He will show the Amharic version on April 27, explain his vision to use it in his country, and encourage others to translate it for their nations.
Mezgebu has asked me to join him in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the official inauguration of CMGM and to meet ministry leaders from these countries. We will go, and we have also committed to help with the costs for this great event. Many of those coming are poor, and there is much expense for their travel, food, lodging, and materials.
Will you join me in prayer for this event on April 27 and ask God is he would have you share a financial gift? WGS has committed to raise half the expenses for that evening – about $5000 – which will ensure a successful night of vision casting for all who attend. This night will accelerate the spread of the Gospel in Ethiopia and beyond.
You can mail a gift to WGS – PO Box 90047 – San Antonio, TX 78209. Be sure to mark your check for Ethiopia. You can also give online at www.WGSministries.org/product/partner-with-wgs-ministries/. When you check out, in the Notes box, indicate that your gift is for Ethiopia. We need your help!
A Happy Ending
There is a happy ending to this story. Even though Mezgebu was thrown out of his house, he continued to love his father and mother. Today, with his wife and three children, they live together! God is the God of healing and reconciliation.
We are grateful for this opportunity to help this man who is well-connected with leaders from around the world, and especially African countries. He is committed to and part of the Disciple Making Movement and the Church Planting Movement. Our desire is to assist him as he works with his evangelistic and church planting teams to see such movements take hold in his country and beyond.
Thank you for your prayers and sharing that will help us reach the people of Ethiopia and other countries.
Jonathan Williams – President, WGS Ministries
Most have heard of the daily protests across Iran. The people are demonstrating against the government as they feel hopeless and that life will not get better. This is a key time for Iran and the Gospel.
Demonstrations have erupted in nearly every province and the main cause for
these demonstrations is economic pain and desperation. Last Fall, Kathy and I had dinner with Dr. Hormoz Shariat and his wife Donnell. He shared with us how God is using his ministry in amazing ways in that country. Out of 36 channels broadcast in Iran – secular and spiritual – his is the #6 channel viewed by millions.
Dr. Shariat shared that in the past six months, about 30 percent of the incoming prayer requests have been related to the economic situation. One viewer said that she and her husband are so financially desperate they were considering selling their 3-month-old baby to traffickers!
Here are some of the reasons for the rioting.
- Basic goods such as milk, cheese, and eggs are unaffordable.
- More than 85% of the economy is controlled by the clergy and the Iranian Guard. Those in power live in luxury. More Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Maserati’s travel the streets in Tehran than Beverly Hills.
- Unemployment is 25% and among young adults is as high as 40%. The highly educated have no jobs and struggle to find menial labor. Many must live with parents.
- Addiction is rampant.
- The Islamic government spends millions each month to support revolution in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.
During this unrest, Dr. Shariat has broadcast every evening to the people. He has shared:
- God knows their pain and cares about what they are going through.
- God has a plan for Iran and wants the people to know his mind and heart for them.
- This plan is found in Isa al-Masih, Jesus the Messiah.
The people are crying out in pain and looking for answers. On January 25, I will be on the live, prime-time program. This will be noon to 1pm CST but in the evening in Iran. Later that afternoon, I will record a half-hour program to be viewed later.
Thank you for praying for these programs, for praying for Dr. Shariat’s ministry, and for the country of Iran.
– Jonathan Williams
WGS Ministries focuses on connecting mankind with the true story of the true God. Your tax-deductible donations help us tell the story of Jesus and the stories he told to the world in our program Stories of the Master, in our video The Renewal of All Things (now in 22 languages), and in our teaching programs The Heaven & Home Hour and Word of God, Speak. Thank you for your help! Use this link to give now.
I’m sure by now you have heard of the record smashing sale of the painting by Leonardo da Vinci that took place last month.
Before last month, the highest price for a painting was $179 million for “The Women of Algiers” by Picasso. The price paid for da Vinci’s was $450 million, more than doubling the record!
Da Vinci’s masterpiece has an interesting history. It was painted around 1500. It was owned by King Charles 1 of England who reigned from 1625 to 1649. It disappeared until 1900 when it was acquired by a British collector. It sold in 1958 and then was acquired in 2005, badly damaged and partly painted over, by a consortium of art dealers for less than $10,000! The dealers restored the painting, sold it to a Russian billionaire in 2013 for $127 million who then sold it last month for $450 million.
Less than $10,000 to $450 million!
There is a lesson in this, especially when we consider the subject of the painting. It is called “Salvator Mundi” which is Latin for “Savior of the world.” It is a painting of Jesus Christ!
The history of this painting presents a parable of the world’s reaction to Jesus of Nazareth. To some, he is the most venerated person on earth – the subject of a masterpiece by one of the great artists – Leonardo da Vinci.
To others, he is relative junk. He bounces from place to place. People deface him. They paint over him. They try to change the image. He is not valued, but he is there, waiting for his precious value to be discovered. Then, one day he emerges and people realize the precious possession they have and others will do anything to gain him once they realize how valuable he is.
What is Jesus to you? Not the painting but the real person. Is he a curious artifact of history that has little relative value, or the most expensive, the most precious object in the world?
What would you pay for Jesus?
Last night, my wife and I watched The Miracle Worker, the 1962 movie about the nearly blind Anne Sullivan working with Helen Keller to bring her out of the darkness of her deafness and blindness.
In one of many memorable scenes, Anne and Helen have a knock-down, drag-out wrestling match during dinner. Anne is determined to teach her manners and respect. Helen is completely spoiled and as stubborn as a mule. The battle goes on and on, but Anne prevails with a small victory. She teaches Helen to fold her napkin.
Then, when Helen leaves, Anne is left wondering this. “How can I bring this child out of her darkness? How can I awaken her soul to want to learn?” She reads about how people persevere to rescue a person who has fallen into a pit with mounds of rubble on top of them. But seldom do people persevere to rescue a child’s soul who remains in a pit of blindness and deafness.
As the story goes on, Anne breaks through, Helen begins learning, and realizes that she is loved. She becomes the famous Helen Keller whose story has inspired millions.
This morning when I awakened, I thought again of the movie and of Ephesians 5:14 – “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead and the Lord will shine upon you.”
God calls us to awaken the “Helen Keller’s” of the world – to persevere with people and to draw them out so that they will want to learn about the Savior’s love for them and embrace him.
The picture on this post shows Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft who won Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress, respectively, for this inspiring film.
While we were praying and trusting God on our end, others were praying and trusting God on theirs. Peter Lamberti, CEO of Lion Mountain Media, a South African wildlife and family television production company, came to the NRB with his colleagues praying, “Holy Spirit, lead us to someone with an idea we can turn into a television series that will bring in a large harvest of souls around the world.” On the first day of the convention he walked up to our exhibit and told us his vision. Then, we told him ours and our hearts were united. God had done what was impossible for us, but easy for him! He connected us with people who had the heart and the expertise to answer our prayer.
- A replica of Nazareth in the time in which Jesus lived
- A higher education and trade school specializing in film industry disciplines
- A television studio to produce the epic television series, Stories of the Master, and other Christian based dramas and documentaries that will bring the truth of God’s Story into the world dramatically, accurately, thoroughly, and excellently
- Partnership with The Africa Vision Foundation to train Africans in the Gospel and in building sustainable communities
- Please Share this with others for their prayer.
- Send me a quick email to let me know you are praying with us. – jonathan@WGSministries.org
- If you have questions about this project, please email me and I will be happy to provide you with more information.