Conversations – Part 2



Norman and David Geisler suggest the use of questions.  They can clarify where there are areas of confusion.  Practice here with asking a question to some famous people who have had things to say about faith.  Below are quotes and a space following the Q for you to think of a good question to ask.



  1. “In other words, our form of government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith, and I don’t care what it is.” – Dwight Eisenhower: Address at the Freedoms Foundation, Waldorf-Astoria, New York, NY, 12/22/52



  1. “There never was a good war or a bad peace.” -Benjamin Franklin (from Humble Libertarian website)



  1. Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time. — Richard Dawkins,  from Brainy Quote (



  1. The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.” ― Carl Sagan, Cosmos




  1. All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives. — Dalai Lama- from Brainy Quote


Conversations – part 1

geislerI am using “Conversational Evangelism: how to listen and speak so you can be heard” by Norman and David Geisler in the adult class.  The first class was on the importance of listening.  I developed this worksheet from their book.  Take the quiz!

The authors say that we need to develop skills of listening.  They indicate that  there are four kinds of contradictions in what people say.

  • Belief & Heart: Their beliefs contradict their heart’s desire. (H)
  • Belief & Behavior: Their beliefs contradict their behavior. (B)
  • Belief & Mind: They hold contractor beliefs (M)
  • Belief & Logic: They believe something illogical. (L)

Indicate below by the letters (H, B, M or L) what kind of sour note is involved below.

___ “There is no absolute truth; everything is relative.”

___  “I long to achieve Nirvana, where I will lose all my identity.”

___   “I believe in survival of the fittest, but I try to life a good life.”

___  “Always avoid making absolute statements.”

___   A car with a Darwin Fish and a “World Peace” bumper sticker.

___ “I believe in Jesus and I hope I will go to heaven.”

___ The law does not allow the idea of “tradition” to define marriage.

___ “Dogma causes war; we should all accept each other.”

___ “I worship at this image of Gaia, because she created us.”

___ “Community is really important to me.  I have to skip church to make snacks for the packer game.”

___ “I believe in academic freedom, but no Religious groups should be allowed on campus.”

___ “All people are basically good, but our economic system is filled with greed from top to bottom.”

___ “The bible is God’s word, but some parts, like Paul talking about women, are just wrong.”

___ “I am a Marxist and I also believe we cannot follow the teachings of  dead white men.”

___ A car with these bumper stickers:  Keep your Laws off my body; Outlaw Sugar.

Romans Road

logo.nolineThe sermon in Acts 2 was to people who already believed in God and the scriptures.  They needed to get the part about Jesus.  So if you are sharing the gospel with someone who has a background similar to that – they believe in God and have a regard for the Bible, then this is one way to share the gospel.

Acts 2 by the Numbers

CalculatorI am studying the speech is in Acts.  The first is a gospel presentation on the Day of Pentecost.  It is by Peter given to an audience of Jews and some Gentile “God-fearers” in the Holy City on a Holy Day.

The speech from Acts 2:14-26; 38-39 contains 518 words in the ESV.  Of those 215 words are direct citations from the scriptures. v. 17-21 is Joel 2:28-32; v. 25-28 is Psalm 16:8-11 and v. 35-36 is Psalm 110:1  If we add to that number the introductory formulas before each citation we get an additional 26 words.

There are 241 words out of 574 that are scriptural citations.  That means that 42% of the sermon is taken up with scripture.

This shows that Peter was speaking to a specific Audience – Believers in the God of Abraham who were assembled in the City of David, to celebrate the feast of Pentecost from the books of Moses.

This is a people of the book!

How will Peter and later Paul speak to others?  We will check this out when Peter visits Cornelius and when Paul speaks to philosophers and polytheists.

Walking Worthy – an exercize in definition

WalkingIt is tempting to go only to the dictionary to define terms.  When you do that you find a number of definitions for most words, and the more used the word, the greater number of definitions.  How do you decide which is the meaning intended?  Context.

So I applied that to Ephesians 4:1-6

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

What is meant by walking in a manner worthy of the calling?  Well you have consider where these words are found.  Ephesians is largely about the people of God (the church) and what we are called to be in the world.  There are themes of election and unity along with attitudes of accepting and serving.

As I looked at this passage, it seemed to me that “a manner worthy” is at least partially defined with verses 2 and 3.  Here are attitudes that we need to have in the church: humility and gentleness, bearing and loving, unity and peace.  The walk worthy of the church is to live in harmonious unity as a community.

What then is the calling?  I think this is where the “ones” come in from verses 4-6.  We are called to one body, which exists by the work of God the Holy Spirit, and called to one hope, faith and baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus.  All this is at the call and direction of God the Father.

I went to a concordance and found within Ephesians this many references to the various “ones” in verses 4-6: Body (8); Spirit (15); Hope (3); Lord (26); Faith (10); Baptism (1); God (33); Father (10).  These words have enough uses in the context of Ephesians to give a clear indication of which definition and what application Paul has in mind.  

In short we are called to the great commandments:

  • Love God and
  • love others (especially as the church in the world)
  • by living in a manner characterized by humility and patience.