How Christians Can Demolish Atheism with a Word


I’ve been listening to Unbelievable, a British podcast that pits Christians and atheists against each other on popular topics. Often, the battle is purely head-to-head, with no other topic than why atheism or why Christianity is true or not.

Here in the States, we had a slow news cycle leading up to the Olympics, so the Ken Ham and Bill Nye debate took on a life of its own, with even the secular press touting the “event.”


I say this because all this logic and carefully worded argumentation misses the point. While I can see atheists not understanding how the point is lost, that Christians can’t see beyond is most troubling and says much about the state of the Church in the West.

What Christians forget is what places the Christian Church above all other religious groups and systems, including atheism. Christians believe God put His Spirit into each believer, which both empowers and grants the ability to experience true relationship with God through Jesus.

No Spirit, no Church. End of story.

And yet Christians almost never go to the Spirit when confronting atheism.

Paul preaching at the Areopagus (Mars Hill)All the reasoned logic in the world is unlikely to sway modern skeptics. We can appeal to Paul’s example at the Areopagus, but what was new to the ears of the Stoics and Epicureans in Paul’s day has had nearly 2,000 years to accumulate rebuttals. Reason alone cannot be our primary weapon.

While the Bible is God’s special revelation to mankind and contains what we need to know to have faith and to live the Christian life, many do not acknowledge it as such. To any who saw the Ham and Nye debate, Ham’s repeated returns to Scripture fell on Nye’s deaf ears. This is NOT to say the Bible as God’s Word is inadequate in some way, only that many have inoculated themselves against it when it is used alone.

But there is a word that can stop an atheist argument in its tracks. Why Christians today don’t use it is one of the great losses of our generation.

That word? The word of knowledge.

Yes, the charismatic gift.

A Christian and an atheist arguing presuppositions about the origin of matter can dispense with all the bilateral systematic dismantling if the Christian would simply say, “Your mother told you when you were 13 that she wished she had never conceived you , and you struggle daily to recover from rejection, don’t you?” Or how about “God revealed to me that you’ve been cheating on your spouse for the last two years”?

Any Christian out there wonder if that would change the direction of the debate?

If we’re talking whether God exists or not, connecting with the supernatural is the natural course of argument. A spoken word of knowledge immediately dismantles all opposition. Immediately. People who claim God does not exist must now explain that word of knowledge. Let them try. They won’t succeed. NOW who is on the defensive?

See, God intended us to be more than a Word Church. He intended us to be a Word + Power Church.

In the sidebar of this blog is an ad for Gospel for Asia. When you read the testimonies of the missionaries involved in that organization, nearly all came from non-Christian homes, and nearly all had some power encounter because of a missionary coming into their homes and bringing a miracle of some kind. Supernatural healing, deliverance, words of knowledge, words of wisdom, whatever—the Word was accompanied by a Spirit-filled believer operating in supernatural Power. The result was faith.

You see, the arguments against the Lord went dead in the face of God working through His people in power.

Is it any wonder why atheism has revived in the age of a Western Church that more likely than not DENIES the operation of the charismata? And is it any wonder that the Church is moving forward in leaps and bounds in those places where Christians place no such restrictions on the Spirit moving through charismatic gifts?

American Church, are you listening?

Get the gifts moving again and see the arguments against God crumble. Because they will.

And one more thing…

We always like to say that Christianity is not a religion but a relationship. Why then do we Christians never press the relationship reality when we debate atheists? Why is it always a battle of logic? If knowing Christ is eternal life and relationship with Him is the cornerstone of our Faith, why do Christians never bring up this living relationship with Christ when talking with atheists? Ravi Zacharias is about the only apologist I ever hear who gets to the heart of relationship with Christ when discussing the uniqueness of Christianity and its superiority. More of us need to talk about our vital relationship with Christ with our atheist friends.

For too long the discussion has been from our heads. It’s time to take it back to relationship with Christ and to Word + Power. Because that’s what makes Christianity the only true answer.

When a Church Is Filled with Judges, Busybodies, and Advice-Givers


A great verse for today:

“…they will learn to be lazy and will spend their time gossiping from house to house, meddling in other people’s business and talking about things they shouldn’t.”
—1 Timothy 5:13b (NLT)

If you stand up in the bathroom at church, you’ve probably been to a men’s prayer meeting. Men share prayer requests and look for other men to call down God’s help for their situation.

Well, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. In actuality, when men share prayer requests in an hour-long prayer meeting, they give each other advice for whatever the problems might be and spend a grand total of 57½ seconds praying about those requests—no matter how many requests were made in total.

The ladies, on the other hand, suffer from the same problem, except in a far worse form. Amplified YammeringMen tend to keep their mouths shut unless asked for advice. Women, though, sometimes go barging into other people’s lives with their “godly wisdom,” whether it is asked for or not. To their credit, women do a better job with prayer requests, bumping up the men’s 57½ seconds of total prayer time for requests to at least a minute and a half.  😉

Life is hard enough as it is, but to have judges, busybodies, and advice-givers deluging us with their man-made wisdom isn’t helping anyone. If anything, all it accomplishes is either to upset recipients or lead them down dead-end paths that eventually have those recipients questioning God’s direction  (when they should have been questioning the advice-giver’s qualifications to speak).

I believe God offers us the best way:

1. If we are prone to be an advice giver, whether prompted or not, we should stop. No one needs our man-made advice. Undoubtedly, wisdom that comes from the minds of humans will fail. God says it will, so that pretty much settles it. In short, we’re not as smart as we think we are.

2. Chances are, we don’t know enough of what is happening behind closed doors to say anything about another person’s situation. Only God knows what a person truly needs. Instead, just listen and withhold judgment and advice (then consider #5 below).

3. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” applies to judgments and advice. Would we want to hear what we are about to share? Probably not. Then best keep quiet, especially if our advice is unsolicited.

4. In contrast to failed human wisdom, God provides perfect solutions through the spiritual gifts of word of knowledge and word of wisdom. My experience is that they are rare, but they are the only type of “advice” that is truly godly. If we are not given such a word, then we should keep still. If we are, we should not be afraid to share it gently and with tact. And also remember: Chances are, you and I were not the ones chosen to deliver that message. If we were, then we need to be humble about it.

5. Most people don’t want our judgments and advice. What they do want is us and our time. It is one thing to tell someone they need to do such and such. It is far different to actually help them do it. (Personally, I have no respect for people who tell others what they should be doing yet will not lift a hand to help them do it.) If we are not willing to help see our advice through, then we should not be giving it. All the advice in the world is nothing when compared to being there in person for someone else. Talk is cheap; walk is priceless.

In the end, talk less, listen more, and walk beside people who need help. That is the way of the Christian.

More on Charismatic Gifts


Several people have asked questions about my post on praying in tongues from earlier this week, so I thought I’d post a few more thoughts.

My reference texts:

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
—1 Corinthians 12:4-11

And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
—1 Corinthians 12:28-31

In a nutshell, here’s what I believe about the charismatic gifts:

  • The gifts are still for today.
  • Some of the gifts are more rare than what we see expressed.
  • Not all people will have all gifts.
  • A person who lacks a particular gift is not a lesser Christian for that lack because he or she may possess other “compensatory” God-given talents and anointings.
  • We should always ask God for empowering through the gifts yet be satisfied should He elect not give us a particular gift on our timetable.
  • Sometimes there is a long delay between asking for and receiving a gift.
  • As the Lord sees fit, some gifts may only be given for a time or season.
  • Because the Lord gives to us according to our measure of faith, He will not give charismatic gifts to people who don’t believe that they are still in operation.
  • While a person may appear to have a gift, it may indeed be nothing more than a well-developed talent and lack the full nature of a genuine charismatic gift.
  • As with all spiritual abilities, as we grow in the Lord we better understand how to use the charismatic gifts He has given us.
  • The Lord may remove gifts from people who fail to properly use them.
  • Yes, sadly, some people fake gifts.
  • People who fake gifts should be exposed immediately and not tolerated.
  • Yes, the Enemy does mimic some gifts and empower deceived people with ungodly versions.
  • All gifts must be tested.
  • Churches that support the gifts must do a better job policing those who use them in public.
  • Church leaders are responsible for encouraging and discouraging the use of the gifts by their congregants.
  • We are a poorer Church if we fail to use the gifts.

A convenient way to break down the gifts is into three categories of three gifts each:

Gifts of Discernment:

Word of knowledge

Word of wisdom

Discerning of spirits

Gifts of Power:




Gifts of Proclamation:



Interpreting tongues

Like tongues of fire...I feel strongly that one of our greatest failings in our churches is that our spiritual leaders are not calling out the gifts in people. By that I mean that too many churches rely on people self-identifying their own spiritual gifts rather than the leadership of the church doing it. Of course, this necessitates that the leaders of a church actually KNOW their people well and spend time helping each individual cultivate the gifts (and talents) God has given them. (Kind of precludes being an anonymous face in a megachurch, doesn’t it?)

Instead, too many churches have let their leadership off the hook by resorting to congregant self-identification of gifts, often through spiritual gift inventories—a recipe for disaster, if you ask me. Gift inventory checklists are responsible for myriad people being placed in the wrong positions within a church or trying to use gifts they don’t truly have, thus leading themselves and others astray. My experience has been that too many people identify wants rather than gifts through this inventory methodology. If I want to be a prophet and fancy myself one, how will I fill out my gift inventory? Sort of self-fulfilling, isn’t it? And that makes for enormous problems.

Now, what is your take on the charismata?