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PHIL: Well, welcome to our Q&A. These are always my favorite parts, but it’s always where I get in trouble too, so I’m going to try to stay out of trouble this time. And I want to say, Ken, I don’t think anyone objected that you went a little bit overtime. The only thing that disappointed me was that you used the day-age theory to justify it.

KEN: Well no, because I was being consistent. You see, because I compromised my time, I had to use a compromising argument.

PHIL: OK, we’ll accept that, we’ll accept that. Well the only person I haven’t introduced here yet is Mike, Mike Riccardi, who is my fellow pastor; we jointly pastor a group at Grace Community Church. So he’s on the pastoral staff at Grace Church, one of the younger guys on staff there, and I will introduce him better and more extensively than that before he speaks.

But I just wanted to point out that all three of you, all three of you began in ministry at a very young age and reached a level of success at a young age. Ken, tell us: How old were you when you first began in public ministry of any kind? I don’t know if it was open-air preaching, tract ministry, or if you began preaching in churches. How did your ministry begin, and when was it?

KEN: Well actually I gave my first talk on creation apologetics in 1975, so I would have been about six or seven back then. OK.

PHIL: We using the day-age theory again?

KEN: So but 1975 I actually became a teacher in the public school in Australia in a little country town, so I was 24 years old, actually. And the church had what they called an exchange weekend, where they exchanged with a city church and exchanged their youth groups. And so the youth group of the church we were at went to that church; and I was the leader, so I spoke, and I spoke on creation apologetics. And I gave the same talk in our church as well. And it’s interesting that one of the things that happened after I gave that talk was so many people came up to me in the church and said, “We didn’t know you could believe Genesis; we thought you had to believe in evolution.” And you know, the Lord used that as a part of really bringing me into the ministry today.

PHIL: I’m glad He did. All right. Well our theme in this conference is “Recovering a Christian Worldview.” And Ken used the word worldview and defined it, I think, pretty well with a simple thumbnail definition: that our worldview is how we see and understand the world around us. Would you say that’s a fair definition?

KEN: Yes, it is your way of thinking that you use to understand everything around you. And I explain to people it’s like putting on a pair of glasses. And we’ve got to make sure we’ve got on biblical glasses so we have the right foundation, the right way of thinking, so you’re seeing everything in terms of biblical history and the foundation that God has given us.

PHIL: You agree with that, John? Is that a good definition of worldview?

JOHN: Yeah. I think David said, “I’ve set the Lord always before me.” He viewed the world through his theology, through the revelation of God.

PHIL: You hear a lot of talk these days about Christian worldview. But unfortunately, I think a lot of people who talk about it have something different in mind; they’re trying to blend theology with Christian themes or theological ideas. That’s not a Christian worldview though, right, if I understand what you’re saying?

JOHN: Well look, a truly Christian worldview demands an accurate interpretation of Scripture at every point. You can’t say, “I don’t exactly know what Genesis means; maybe we can’t know that,” call yourself a theologian. You can’t be unclear about any doctrine. You can’t be unclear about the gospel. You can’t be unclear, as Ken pointed out, in all the matters of Genesis. You can’t have a Christian worldview if you can’t handle the Scripture accurately. So the worldview rises from a true interpretation of Scripture.

KEN: You know, one of the problems, too, I see out there—and here’s a test you can do—but if you check children’s books, most of the Christian children’s books that we use actually are indoctrinating our kids in the wrong way of thinking through many of the illustrations.

For instance, I just spoke at a homeschool conference that we had here. I used some examples from kids’ books where they said, “God made this beautiful world we live in.” Well there’s a big problem, because this is not a beautiful world. There’s beauty, but there’s ugliness because it’s a fallen world. And what the atheists do—and I’ve seen it so many times, “Your church told you, your parents told you, that God made this world. Well then, what about all the death and suffering and disease we see?” So they need to understand it was once all beautiful, but now it’s fallen.

And then you see in many other things, you know, there’s the bathtub box instead of having Noah’s ark look like it really was, as the dimensions are given the Bible. Or often you’ll see, most likely when they have an illustration of the Garden of Eden, they’ll have domestic animals that we have today in there. But you see, God made the original kinds. Those animals have developed since the Flood, the different species from the kinds that were taken on the ark.

Why is this important? Because the evolutionists, over and over again, you’ll see them say, “Oh, speciation is evolution. You were taught by your parents that God made all the animals we see today, but these have developed in the last few hundred years these different species”; and they can capture their minds, and they say, “See, evolution is true,” because we haven’t taught them the right way. So we need to make sure we’re teaching a biblical worldview in every area, and make sure that even the books we’re using really are accurate in regard to biblical worldview.

PHIL: Yeah, that’s a great point because it is, I think, a common approach to teaching children spiritual truth to simplify it as much as possible, make it as positive as possible, and almost treat it like fantasy; and kids grow up with that idea.

KEN: Well you know, I know there’s a lot of churches—I hope I’m not insulting your church, whoever you’re; I don’t know most of you, so that’s good—but a lot of churches I go to have Noah’s ark as a bathtub ark on the kindergarten walls, or they have a model of a bathtub ark. And as I say, it’s cute, but it’s dangerous because again, the secularists use that to say Noah couldn’t get all the animals on the ark, and you have giraffes sticking out the chimney, about to sink at any moment, an overloaded ark. That’s one of the reasons we have an exhibit against that, there in the Ark on the second deck.

PHIL: Yeah. And the other point you made about worldview is that Scripture is the foundation. I mean, your illustration even showed that. What do we need to believe about Scripture in order to have a proper worldview—because there are lots of false churches, as we’ve pointed out, and most of them would say they believe the Bible at some level. Even the people you quoted, they would all claim to have some kind of fidelity to the Bible. What precisely do we have to believe about the Bible in order to have the right start in forming a Christian worldview?

KEN: Doesn’t Dr. MacArthur teach on that every Sunday? Haven’t you been to some of his services?

JOHN: The conversation always comes back to the authority of Scripture. So you have to believe that it is an inerrant, divinely inspired revelation from God; and that is what Scripture attests. This is not a human book. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God; it is, God breathed out the revelation. Every word of God is perfect. The Word of God is pure like a silver refined seven times in a furnace. So you have to start with an inerrant, original autograph, and understand that God not only gave it that way, but He protected it so that what we have is essentially a reflection of the original. So if you have any weakness in your conviction about biblical authority, then you’re subject to anything and everything else.

Whenever I used to get on television and debate people, secular people, it was always a question of authority: “What’s your authority?” I debated Gavin Newsom, the governor of California; and he had just signed a law for homosexual marriage in San Francisco. And he was advocating homosexual marriage, and he made the comment to me, “Well, I’m also a Christian, I’m also a Christian.” So I said, “Really? Well that’s good to know. Then you must believe the Bible is the Word of God. Would that be true?” to which he replied, “Uh, uh, uh,” because he knew he couldn’t say yes.

PHIL: That’s his reply to a lot of hard questions.

JOHN: It is. I think I helped him develop that reply. But it’s always authority. And any of those discussions, “What’s your authority? Why would I believe you? Why would I believe you?”

Why would I believe scientists when they weren’t there? Creation is not explained scientifically, in the first case, because it’s not normal, observable science; it was a miracle. A six-day creation has no scientific explanation, no more than a resurrection, no more than an axe head floating on water, no more than walking over it. There is no scientific explanation for the most massive miracle in history, and that was the creation in six days.

Science has nothing to say about creation. And why would they, when it’s impossible to observe something that you can’t see and couldn’t see, and especially when you have an eyewitness account from the Creator Himself? Why call that into question?

PHIL: Now you used the word inerrancy several times, and that’s where most of the debate of the past fifty years has been, with regard to the authority of Scripture. It’s a lengthy debate about biblical inerrancy. And I think all four of us would affirm unequivocally that Scripture is inerrant in every part. There are no errors of any kind in it—neither scientific, nor geographical, nor historical, nor factual errors. No errors in Scripture. We would all affirm that, right?

MIKE: Yes.

KEN: Said the guy with the tie.

MIKE: I’m working my way in here.

PHIL: All right, good. I’m glad, I’m glad. We need to hear more from you.

MIKE: No, that’s all I got.

KEN: I was wondering why he hadn’t asked you a question. I realize this: because you’re wearing a tie. We’re not wearing a tie.

MIKE: You guys are trying to appeal to the younger generation with no ties.

KEN: In Judges doesn’t it say, “If you tie me up I will become weak”? I might have misquoted slightly.

PHIL: I have questions for him, but I know from experience that when you ask him a question he filibusters, so I’m saving it for the end.

MIKE: Those are Q&As that I do with Phil.

PHIL: That’s right.

MIKE: Not when John MacArthur and Ken Ham are on the stage.

PHIL: So one of the big battles over biblical inerrancy took place in the 1970s and ’80s, and I remember actually, John, one of the first times I ever had a lot of face-to-face interaction with you was at this massive convention with the Council on Biblical Inerrancy in San Diego. And one of the decisions that was made at that meeting in San Diego—and I’m guessing, Ken, you would disagree vehemently with this—they decided, the council decided, that you can hold to biblical inerrancy and believe that the Earth is ages old. They wanted to juggle both positions. In my opinion, even then I thought, “That’s a mistake.” Would you agree with that?

KEN: Absolutely. See, one of the things I mentioned in the presentation I gave, we have to understand that the idea of millions of years came out of naturalism. And really the naturalism of the 1800s, that’s really what has been the key to understand why so many have walked away from biblical inerrancy, and it’s the age-of-the-Earth issue. It’s interesting; I find many, many pastors, Christian leaders who’ll even be adamant on Adam and Eve, but when it comes to the age of the Earth, that’s where they waver, or the days of creation, because of the age-of-the-Earth issue.

And for many of them—I don’t know what it is, but I think some of it is even academic pride, and they’ll be mocked at and scoffed at if you believe in six literal days and a young earth. And they haven’t thought through the issue of death and disease before sin, because every time I’ve challenged some of these theologians on that issue, they sort of shrug their shoulders or won’t answer about, “How can you have diseases like cancer before sin? How do you justify that?” But they don’t have an answer, they just don’t.

But they think that the overwhelming evidence is millions of years. But you see all dating methods based on fallible assumptions—and there’s hundreds and hundreds of dating methods. There’s only one infallible dating method, and that’s God Word; and that’s the point.

And you know, as we were talking about this issue before, and you mentioned about some of those people I quoted and how they compromise Genesis and so on; to me, what I look for, the key I look for is, Are they bringing something into Scripture from the outside, or are they studying from Scripture? I guess we could say, “Is it eisegesis or exegesis?” because what you find is, whenever you talk to these people, “Where’d you get the millions of years from? Where’d you get it?” it’s always outside of Scripture.

I know there are people that might argue over issues of eschatology or baptism or some of those issues; primarily they argue from Scripture. Obviously not all are right, but they do primarily argue from Scripture. When it comes to Genesis, the reason there’s all these different interpretations, they always start outside of Scripture; and that’s what I look for.

PHIL: Yeah, I know John has said the same thing. That is the problem with all of the attempts to accommodate an old age to the earth. But that’s pretty deeply engrained even in evangelical history. Spurgeon, for example, believed in the gap theory.

KEN: Yeah, I find many of the greats of the past were gap theorists. You know, Spurgeon talked about millions of years in two sermons in particular. Even Martyn Lloyd-Jones—he’s one of my favorite preachers of the past.

PHIL: It would have been OK. It’s one of John’s favorite preachers, too.

KEN: Martyn Lloyd-Jones toyed with the gap theory in a couple of his sermons, but you could tell he was struggling with it and didn’t really want to accept it. But a lot of those great men of the past were gap theorists. And you know, I don’t look on them—many of them were great preachers and loved the Lord and His Word, and I look at many of them, I think if they knew what we knew today, they’d realize, “Wow, you can’t do that.” I don’t think they’d thought through the issue of disease in the fossil record because—well it wasn’t documented at that stage anyway. And I don’t think they really understood what was going on for a lot of them. So for them, it was easy; just throw in a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Of course, it gets in the Scofield Reference Bible and gets in the notes; and as my father always taught me, “Remember the notes are not inspired like the text, and the text should be used as the commentary on the notes and not the other way around.”

PHIL: It is not in The MacArthur Study Bible though, is it?

JOHN: No. I want to just gild the lily a little bit here and say I’m often asked—The Master’s University is 95 years old, and it has never wavered in its commitment to the absolute authority of Scripture, an inerrant texts and the sufficient text. And when people ask me, “How has this university stayed true for 95 years?” my answer has always been the same: It is because of our convictions about the veracity of Genesis 1 to 11.

You saw an illustration of that right here. Every single issue that causes the church to cave in to the world is already settled in Genesis. And we’ve lived a hundred years of that history. Every faculty member, every staff member—I don’t care whatever their discipline might be—signs, annually, a document affirming, from the heart, the veracity of the account in Genesis 1 to 11 because this is the foundation of absolutely everything in the Word of God; and also it is the most assaulted portion of Scripture because it’s where science gets away with the most anti-God effort. And holding that will hold everything, and it’s done it for almost a century.

PHIL: Yeah. I know you would agree with Ken’s assessment, too, about the importance of Genesis 1 through 11. You preached last night from Isaiah 53. That’s one of the few passages in the Old Testament that you’ve actually preached verse by verse through a lengthy text; and of the others is Genesis 1 through 11, which you preached through. So you’d agree with his assessment that that’s foundational in every way. I know I’ve heard you talk about this.

JOHN: Oh, no question. Yeah.

KEN: Phil, it’s Isaiah.

PHIL: I didn’t hear that.

KEN: It’s Isaiah.

JOHN: Oh, he’s trying to get you to pronounce it right.

PHIL: Isaiah.

KEN: The “I” is more in the middle.

PHIL: Yes, I’m sorry. I don’t speak Australian.

KEN: That’s OK. I’m just trying to teach you English.

PHIL: All right.

KEN: So shouldn’t he say yes again?

MIKE: Yes.

PHIL: How do you pronounce “Isaiah”?

MIKE: I say it like you: “Isaiah.”

PHIL: All right. I’ll work on that though. “Isaiah.”

MIKE: I think one thing to say is that you can’t come to this issue and think that you have these scientists and these, you know, theoreticians who are just these neutral servants who want to bring to the issue, “I’m just concerned to follow the evidence,” right? Romans 1 tells us that those upon whom the wrath of God comes, they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” And so there is an unrighteous motive for finding an alternative to the origin of creation, the origin of man, that God Himself gives us in His Word; and it’s, “If I can figure out a way to undermine the veracity of this account in this Scripture, then I don’t need to deal with a holy God who disapproves of me and my sin. Let me sin in peace. Well I can’t do that consistently or with any peace unless I can attack those foundations.” And so these alternative theories are not sort of neutral presentations of the facts; they are agenda-driven, worldview-driven, with a specific agenda to undercut the God of the Bible.

KEN: You know, that’s a really important point. And the number of times that I’ve spoken to Christian leaders—and like one Christian leader, he said to me, “But surely the Earth must be millions of years old. I mean, the majority of scientists believe this.” He said, “Surely the majority couldn’t be so wrong,” and I said, “Well, Pastor,” I said, “the Bible says, ‘Men love darkness rather than light.’” He said, “But surely the majority couldn’t be so wrong, the majority—it’s millions of years old.” And I said, “Well the Bible says there’s more on the broad way than the narrow way.” And he says, “Surely the majority couldn’t be so wrong,” and I said, “Look, the majority didn’t survive the Flood either.”

And to be honest, when it comes to the origins issue, if the majority believes something, I’m immediately suspicious because of the heart of man—immediately suspicious rather than like William Lane Craig, “But the majority—” you know. We should be appealing to God’s Word, not man’s word.

PHIL: Yeah. I was going to save this question till later, but let me ask it now, because it seems to me that the COVID crisis has really sort of helped to debunk the widespread notion that the scientific consensus is always right, because now we see it’s fluid; it changes all the time. I mean, masks do no good; and then they’re essential; and no, you should wear two masks; and now we’re mandated to wear masks. And science supposedly is telling us all of this, but it shifts constantly. Talk about that.

KEN: It’s your turn.

PHIL: Yeah, Ken, you first, you first.

JOHN: Right. So I think the foundational thing—and Mike hits on it, and obviously Ken as well—it is not rational to believe nobody times nothing equals everything. It is not rational to believe you have this massive cause—massive effect of the universe with no cause. We talk about chance—“This happened by chance, and then this happened by chance”—and literally, chance is not a power; it is only a way to observe something that you can’t make an obvious connection with. So chance has no power; and yet the assumption is, “No one, nothing, and chance creates a universe.” That’s insane.

You have to have a cause. I mean, it goes back to those basic arguments: “You can’t have a watch without a watchmaker,” blah-blah and so forth. So I think insanity has to accommodate some other reason. If you’re going to live in reprobate mind, you’ve got to have something to motivate you to be that insane; and I think it’s the love of sin, and I think it’s the desire to avoid existential and eternal consequences for your sin, than have to face a God who is the Judge.

If you ever read—you can get a little bit of this if you read The Intellectuals by Paul Johnson, where he looks at all the intellectuals—the Renaissance, Enlightenment intellectuals. And their lives would make a black mark on a piece of coal. They were the most wretched, immoral, godless, atheistic people, looking for a way to survive in a universe that had no God, that had no righteous law, that had no consequence with regard of what they did in their behavior. Rousseau is a classic illustration of a wretched human being to the very core. He was as fallen maybe as a human being could be. And these guys were philosophizing a world without God so they could survive the angst of their own guilt. The only thing that would make you as irrational is to say nobody times nothing equals everything was something more compelling than reality; and you get into a terrible philosophical dishonesty at that point, in which everything becomes a way to escape any accountability before a holy God with your sin.

KEN: You know, understanding that word science—and I only mention it very briefly, but it’s very, very important—when I debated Bill Nye in 2014 at the Creation Museum; and the first thing I did when I got up—because he was saying it’s science versus the Bible—and the first thing I did was I said, “We need to understand our terms and define our terms. And what does the word science really mean? The word science means knowledge, and there’s different ways of gaining knowledge.”

But I also went on to talk about the fact that—and I mentioned in the talk before, historical science’s beliefs about the past is very different to using your five senses in the present. But all scientists have the same evidence. The evidence is always the same; the evidence is no different. You interpret the evidence in a particular way, and your bias very much determines that. You know, the Scripture makes it clear, you’re either for Christ or against. You’re working in light or darkness. There’s no neutrality. That’s what you were saying before: There’s no neutral position.

I think for much of the church, a lot of people misunderstand science, and they misunderstand that people can be neutral; they’ve got this idea scientists can be neutral. I think it’s one of the reasons why we even allow the Freedom From Religion Foundation, that group of atheists from Wisconsin, in getting their way and bullying schools and so on, because we’ve got this idea, “Oh, wait a minute. If you have crosses and nativity scenes, that’s Christian and that’s religion. You get rid of crosses and nativity scenes and the Bible and prayer out of schools, now it’s neutral.” But it’s not neutral; now it’s anti-God—and that’s the whole point. So secular means anti-God. A lot of people think secular means neutral.

And I think we’ve got some fundamental problems with understanding those sorts of things, which is why they get so led astray by people who claim to be scientists, you know. And scientists can make mistakes, and scientists are fallible, and we shouldn’t look on scientists as neutral people all searching for truth or anything like that because of the nature of man, just what’s being said here: Man is against God; our heart is, we don’t want God, so we’re against God. So we would rather believe that which is wrong [than] that which is right. They will look for explanations that will go against God because of their very nature.

MIKE: Yeah. And one of the things, one of the mantras we’ve heard over the last two plus years is, “The science is settled.” And really, all that is is a powerplay. Everything comes back to authority, as Pastor John always says. Everything is a matter of epistemology. How do you know what you know? What are your first principles? What is that set of presuppositions that are inviolable? And when you throw out the only viable set of presuppositions that can give you a consistent worldview—namely God’s own Word on these things, on life, on reality—you have to replace it with something. And when you reject special revelation here, what you replace it with is an authoritative group of so-called experts that everybody feels themselves too inadequate to say, “Look, trust the experts, but what’s your doctorate in? Why don’t you just pipe down and let the experts speak. Sorry, are you a scientist?” We’ve had all of that over the last two and a half years on a huge scale. But there’s a difference between science and what we now are calling scientism—the “ism” sort of tacked on there to show that it really is a worldview. It’s a way of interpreting reality, not just observing reality.

KEN: It’s really a worship of man.

MIKE: Yeah.

PHIL: So it’s a surrogate religion actually, right?

MIKE: Exactly. And what you see is, “I don’t want to be questioned. Don’t bother me with the evidence. The science is settled, and you, rube, you pipe down.” And so what do you get? Well what is real science? You can observe testable and repeatable phenomena and demonstrate, form hypotheses, test them, and come to conclusions. Well you obviously can’t do observational science on the age of the Earth. And so what comes in response to that is, “Oh, just trust us. It can’t be that a God has done this, so we will infer millions of years.”

And so now we’re told, right, that the baby in the womb is a baby if the mother wants it and a knot—it’s just a clump of cells—if the mother doesn’t want it. Is that scientific? Is the science settled there? We’re told that a man can become a woman and a woman can become a man if they feel like it. We just create reality around our opinions and then declare, “The science is settled; and if you disagree with this, you’re just some sort of troglodyte who doesn’t understand education—you need to educate yourself,” right? And I think that’s what we saw in the last several years.

KEN: And you know, we’ve had generations of kids—85-90 percent of kids from church homes have gone through the secular education system, and they’ve been indoctrinated to believe evolution is science, millions of years is science. “Oh, you believe the Bible? That’s OK, that’s religion; that’s sort of a storybook over here; that’s religion.” And so generations of kids have really been indoctrinated: “Just trust us.” Like you said, “We’re the experts, we’re the scientists; just trust us.”

And so the Bible is sort of being relegated to a book of, “It’s just stories, fairy tales, whatever—religion.” And then it’s being pitted as religion versus science. And even—I’ve found many Christian leaders have this sort of idea that “We’ve got to trust the scientists; we’re religious people.” They don’t understand it’s religion versus religion; that’s what it really is.

PHIL: Yeah. One of my points about the changes in scientific consensus just through the COVID crisis is that scientific dogma never really is settled, is it? I mean, if you read the history of science, it is a constantly changing set of theories and ideas. Is there any scientific dogma that really is settled?

JOHN: Well I would say I think there are some scientists who are more honest than others. The honest scientists, you don’t see in politics. What you get is guys who have been politicized, who are in it for the money and the power. That’s what we’ve been subject to. I mean, Anthony Fauci would be a classic illustration of a guy no one should trust.

PHIL: Ken, would you describe what you do as mostly apologetics as opposed to theology? Would you call your ministry apologetics ministry?

KEN: Well we are an apologetics ministry, but we’ve always been a biblical-authority ministry. What I would say is our ministry is one of biblical authority, but we have specialized in a particular type of apologetics because of the attacks on God’s Word in the era we live in. And so we have developed a lot of tools for people to have and to be able to deal with those attacks. Those attacks are on the authority of the Word of God.

So our ministry is a biblical-authority ministry. We’re an evangelistic ministry that helps people. We come alongside the church, alongside of parents, to help them in providing tools to them, because God’s raised up lots of experts that we have in our ministry. We have some great scientists who love the Lord, and they recognize the limitations of science. But we’ve produced some great tools because those tools aren’t necessarily available everywhere. I believe that God’s raised us up to provide those specialist tools for today’s world. And even with the attractions, the Ark and the Creation Museum, my burden for these has always been, How do you reach the people out there? If we can do something that’s like the quality of Disney or better than Disney—I don’t even like comparing ourselves to Disney these days, you know—

PHIL: Yeah, these days especially.

KEN: —but Disney was always looked on as quality. “But if you do something like that”—people told me even from the church, “If you are bold about God’s Word, you’re overt about God’s Word and the gospel, you’re not going to get people to come; they’re not going to come to that.” We are very bold, we’re very overt about what we do and evangelistic—and you’ll see that as you go through the exhibits, presentation of the gospel. And people come here. And you’ll get people—30 percent of those who come here are non-Christian. And I’ve been here on days, I’ve seen Sikhs, I’ve seen Buddhists, Catholic nuns, priests, lots of Amish and Mennonites, even Baptists come here, and Presbyterians occasionally. But you’ll see a mix of people here you won’t necessarily see in the church.

But the idea is, bring them in and challenge them and equip them. Let the exhibits do the teaching. Don’t hit them on the head, let the exhibits do the teaching. Present them boldly with God’s Word and the gospel, and I find many, many people that then take this back to their churches, their area; non-Christians are challenged, and so on. And so it’s sort of a ministry to proclaim God’s Word and the gospel in a different way to help the church across the world.

JOHN: You know, Phil, I think it’d be good, Mike, to explain to the people the difference between a presuppositional apologetic and a non-presuppositional apologetic, and how those relate.

MIKE: That’s for me?

JOHN: It’s for you.

MIKE: I get to teach apologetics at The Master’s Seminary, and so that’s something that I love to do. Presuppositional apologetics simply starts from the presupposition that—the reality that everybody reasons according to first principles, to foundational presuppositions, that form the rest of their understanding of reality. An illustration helps.

There was a story told of a man who was absolutely convinced that he was dead. He was unwell, and he’s concerned that he’s no longer living; he’s dead. And his family members are interacting with him and trying to convince him that he’s not dead, and he’s just not having any of it; and they’re really worried about, “How can we help this situation?” So they take him to a psychologist or whatever, and he’s trying to help him; nothing’s working.

He says, “OK let me ask you a question: Do dead people bleed?” And the man thinks for a moment and says, “No. Well, the heart’s not beating, there’s no blood running through their veins. No, dead men don’t bleed.” He says, “Give me your finger.” And he pricks him with the little needle, and he starts bleeding, and the man says, “Well what do you know; dead men do bleed.” He doesn’t say, “Look at the evidence that contracts my dearly held first principles that I am dead, and then let me change my assessment to say, ‘I’m not actually dead.’” He interprets the evidence according to the lens. And so what man doesn’t do is he doesn’t observe the world as a neutral observer, innocent. He’s got a set of principles that protect—in the natural man’s case, protect his sinfulness.

And so presuppositional apologetics says we challenge people at the level of presuppositions. You can present evidence to a blind man all day that the sun is bright, right? You can angle him toward the sun, hold his eyelids open and say, “Look, the sun is bright; there’s evidence.” And it’s not going to change his mind that the sun is bright until he has—what?—new eyes to evaluate the evidence as it is. And the only giver of new eyes is God Himself, right? Second Corinthians 4 says that the minds of the unbelieving are blinded, and that God shines in the heart “to give the Light of the knowledge the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

So we present evidence. We present demonstrations that an unbeliever’s worldview and presuppositions are faulty, but we don’t expect that evidence to quicken them, to grant spiritual life where man is only dead. We rely on the fact that God uses His own Word in the gospel to open blind eyes, whereby he can now reason properly.

Other methods of apologetics rely upon evidence and treat men as if they are neutral observers; and if we could only present excellent arguments and be convincing, “Well you know what their problem is? They need a better argument. They need some more presentations of the evidence. They need something intellectual. But Romans 1 tells us that man’s problem is not most fundamentally intellectual, it’s moral: He suppresses the truth in unrighteousness. And so how do you heal the unrighteousness? You have to aim the gospel directly at it.

KEN: If I can say, a good example to me is the intelligent design movement because the intelligent design movement—and they have Christians and non-Christians, and some of them believe all sorts of different things about Genesis. But they’re saying, “Look, the evidence shows that there’s a Creator, and so you need to be convinced by the evidence.” But if that’s the case, then the Creator must be an ogre, because look at all the death and suffering in the world. How would you ever know that this is a fallen world unless you understood Scripture?

And Scripture says, “Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of God.” It’s God’s Word that “will not return unto Him void.” It’s God’s Word that’s “sharper than any two-edged sword.” And so for us in our ministry, we’re not using apologetics to show the Bible is true, we’re using apologetics to help you have answers when people argue with you or try to create doubt in you or your kids. And sort of a—I don’t know, a way for me to explain our ministry would be like Jesus comes to the tomb of Lazarus, and He says, “Move the stone away.” Now Jesus could have moved the stone away with one thought, one word. But, “You can move the stone away; it’s your responsibility.”

To me, that’s sort of like us. We’re answering the questions, we’re moving the stone away, we’re giving you these answers. But then, what could man not do? Raise Lazarus from the dead. Only God can do that. So He said to Lazarus, “Come forth.” So we use apologetics to answer questions, but point people to the Word that saves.

MIKE: And just in Romans—I mean, they have all the evidence that they could possibly handle. People say, “What’s your evidence for God?” I say, “You’re breathing it.” Romans 1:20, “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.” You have no excuse to reject what is imprinted on your heart and revealed in the creation.

And so if—hey, if you’re going to say, “No, I really do have an excuse, and it really is about the evidence,” when God says, “You’ve got all the evidence you need,” what do you need to do? Well if the evidence comes through what has been made, say that it hasn’t been made at all, that it just came into being if there is no maker, and there goes your evidence.

KEN: And you know, in 2 Peter 3, when it’s talking about scoffers who reject creation, reject the Flood, reject the coming judgment, it says they are willingly ignorant, or deliberately reject. And so it’s a deliberate thing on their part to reject the evidence because of their nature, because of who they are.

PHIL: Now I think all of us would agree that the world is becoming more and more overtly hostile to the truth of Scripture and particularly some of the moral issues that arise out of Scripture. You see this with LGBTQ propaganda and the defenders of abortion, a whole host of things. And already there’s, in certain places, government pressure to silence the voice of any biblical testimony. We know at Grace to You that there are certain countries we broadcast in—and I think this is soon coming to America—where you cannot say, for example, that homosexuality is a sin, without being fined for hate speech or even taken off the air. And lately, there’s been an effort even by large corporations to silence the voice of biblical fidelity. You could get kicked off of Twitter for similar infractions and all of that.

So I want to start with John and come this way, and have each of you talk about, What do you see in the future for the church? Is this the biggest threat we face? And how will you respond to it when it becomes illegal to say certain things? Just talk about some of the challenges that brings.

JOHN: I think first, you have to understand that the history of the world since Christ, the two thousand years, has demonstrated the hostility toward Christianity pretty consistently worldwide. The Western civilization influenced by Christianity, and the American experiment even more influenced by Christianity, has created a bit of a bubble in the midst of the normal flow of hostile history; and we’re running out of gas right now. We had enough cultural Christianity, enough Judeo-Christian morality to mitigate some of the outright, outrageous anti-God kind of elements of culture. That is now taking over.

So I think for us to have survived for a couple hundred years is pretty unusual. But I think we’re just going back to the way it’s been for most of the world, for most of history, where there’s great hostility toward Christianity. And as I was trying to say this morning, what the church needs to do is not let the world seduce it so it loses its courageous confrontation of the sins of this world. The mandate, as I said, is to warn the world of coming judgment, is to warn sinners of eternal hell and eternal punishment, and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ; and the world provides no mechanism, no alliance, no partnership, which increases our ability to be successful at that. It’s all—as Mike said, it’s all the work of the Spirit of God. I mean, we give reasons for faith in order to eliminate the unnecessary, foolish arguments; to leave the sinner stripped bare. And in that bareness, the Spirit of God can open him to the Word of God.

But I think the church has to become the church in the world. At Grace Church we understood that COVID and all that stuff really provided an opportunity for hostile people to shut down the church. I don’t think for a minute that we weren’t an absolute target, along with every other faithful church, to be shut down. Well we refused to do that because we are the church; and the more danger there is in the world, the more we need to be the church.

So we saw it—we saw it as an assault, really covertly. to take down faithful churches. Sued by the state, the city, the county, the Health Department. And so we wanted to be the church. If ten percent of the people died, we’d have still been the church and done exactly what we did because that’s why we’re in the world. And the more desperate times become, the more faithful we need to be.

We didn’t expect anything from the world; we didn’t want to compromise with them; we weren’t asking them for anything. We were confronting the evil system. And most of you know, I confronted the evil rulership, the lies, the deception, all through those couple of years. So I think the church needs a massive dose of biblical fidelity and the courage of conviction to be the church, because this stuff is going to ramp up. There were critics of us who said, “You’re fighting the wrong battle. You don’t want to fight this battle.” We got hammered by some evangelical leaders: “You need to wait for a bigger battle than this.” And my response, as I said last night, was, “We fight every battle. You threaten the church, and we come out fighting for the honor of Christ and His church.”

So I don’t think it’s over. I think there’s going to be—there’s very little reason to believe that all of a sudden this nation is going to turn around and go toward the gospel. That’s not going to happen. Evil men are going to grow worse and worse. This is a prophetic thing that’s happening; and I think we’re looking for the coming of Christ, and we need to get out of here before this thing is completely gone.

So I think if you didn’t have courage in COVID, you may have to struggle to find courage at the next level because it’s going to get tougher. Persecution is going to increase. Canceling is going to be done. You’re going to be threatened. Just to give you one very obvious issue: You heard them say that two million people a month download sermons. Powers that control all of that could shut us down today because we access—we access all these people all over the planet through mechanisms that don’t belong to the kingdom of God; they belong to the kingdom of darkness. And we’re not under any illusion that they like us, we just don’t know when it’s going to come that all of a sudden we disappear. That inevitably is God’s plan down the road somewhere.

We’re not expecting good treatment from the world, we’re not trying to make an alliance with the world; we’re just trying to be faithful to the Word of God, proclaim His truth. And whatever we have to do, whatever the cost of doing that, they’re the costs we gladly make for the honor of Christ; and we will be faithful whatever may come. But there were so many people who fell by the wayside in COVID, I don’t know what’s going to happen when it gets worse. So we need to infuse some strength into the leaders of the evangelical church for sure.

PHIL: Amen. Ken, do you feel like the current drift poses a serious threat to the future of your ministry?

KEN: Well one of the things we’ve been doing lately—we’ve been doing a lot of things—is to actually make sure that we’re not on platforms that can be shut down, and we’re coming up with alternative ways of doing things. And we’ve had to be involved in a lot of different things. In fact, we’ve already been thrown off some platforms. For instance, even the company out of Texas—is it Indeed where you can post employment details? They told us we could no longer advertise there because people have to sign a statement of faith to work here, our statement of faith, which is very, very detailed. The interesting thing is, we could go through and show they had job offers from there, or opportunities from Planned Parenthood saying you had to believe in what they believe in to be able to work there, or Muslims saying you had to believe the Koran. But because we’re Christian, we weren’t allowed to say you had to sign a statement of faith.

Can I say, you know, as an Australian who doesn’t understand American politics—and I’ve lived here since 1987, and I still don’t understand it; it’s all weird.

PHIL: None of us really do; we pretend we do.

KEN: But I’ve asked lots of Americans to explain it to me, and none of them can.

So anyway, I sometimes wonder that a lot of people even at church think the solution is. See, to me, if you’re thinking presuppositionally—to me, I don’t think like this: “The solution is oh, just get the right people in government to change the laws.” But that’s not the solution, right?

Now I think it’s great when Christians are in government and to be salt and light. I think that’s great, and I encourage people to do that. But it’s people’s hearts that changes things. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” It’s the way you think that changes things. So we’ve got to reach people’s heart.

And I think of the Scripture when Jesus talked about the king who entrusted resources to his servants and went away, and then said, “Do business until I return.” We’re to do the business of the King until He returns, regardless. And for a lot of people today, I’ve heard them say, “Oh well, we’re in the last days; what’s the point of doing anything?” People said that to us.

I remember people said that to Dr. Henry Morris. He shared with me, he wrote the book—was the coauthor with Dr. Whitcomb—on The Genesis Flood, and he said people said to him, “What’s the point of doing this? Because Jesus is going to come soon, and there’s no point trying to challenge people in this area.” Well he wrote that book in the, what, early ’60s—’61 I think it was published—and look what has come out of that and its impact on people. And so I think we’ve got to do the business of the King until He returns. So regardless of where the culture’s at, we’ve got to faithfully proclaim God’s Word and the gospel, and do what we can.

And if I can also say—this is a four-point sermon, that’s two points; so I don’t think it’s biblical because only three-point sermons are biblical, right? But you know, the most-asked question we get asked here, the most-asked question at the Ark and the Creation Museum: “Do you know a church in our area that stands on God’s Word as you do? Because we can’t find one.” There’s a famine in the land, a famine of the preaching of the Word of God.

And the last thing I wanted to say was this: I believe today we’re having a major problem with many of our churches. There’s a big problem in the church. I see a church that by and large—not all, of course—but by and large is very lukewarm. And I’ve sort of got a bird’s eye view of the church; I’ve spoken in all 50 states, I’ve spoken in hundreds of churches in America, different denominations, had some interesting experiences. But I’ve done that across the world in many different countries as well, for 40 years. So you tend to get a bird’s eye view of the church. Can I give you a bird’s eye view of the church in America? Here’s what I see by and large.

I see many churches—they’re all the same, and they all do the same thing. They have a praise team out in the front. Don’t get me wrong, I love music, all right. We have a piano there, see. We have our own resident artists that sing here at the Ark, and can actually, and I even play with them at times. I love music, so don’t get me wrong on that. In fact, my philosophy of music is—for many churches I think their philosophy of music is the worst. Well my philosophy is “the best of the old and the best of the new.” A lot of churches is “none of the old and the worst of the new,” is what I see.

So what I find is they have this praise team out in the front. And you know, you stand, stand up for an hour and sing the five songs, four words each, a hundred times each, or whatever it is. And if you actually judge their theology against God’s Word, in a lot of instances you would not sing those songs. But they’re very performance-oriented, so it’s more entertainment, flashing lights. A lot of the songs you can’t sing. They’re not congregational songs; you can’t sing them as a congregation; they’re more performance-oriented. And then there’s shallow teaching. Bible is hardly mentioned. A lot of interesting stories at times, and they think that that’s going to get the people in in big numbers and keep the people.

Have a look; we’re losing the younger generations. It’s not working because they’re not dealing with what they should be doing, is teaching God’s Word faithfully, equipping them, and standing uncompromisingly on God’s Word. And so much of the church is not doing that, so they’ve become more entertainment. They’re more like the culture; they let the culture invade the church. And so they’re very lukewarm, so therefore they’re not impacting the culture like they should, and they’re not impacting hearts and minds like they should. And I think in a lot of these big churches, a lot of people there that think they’re a Christian—like Newsom—but they have no idea what Christianity is, no understanding.

PHIL: Yeah. You know, a couple of things about that. Amen to everything you just said. In our neighborhood somebody plants a new church about once a month; and they’ll create a flyer or put a little card on your door, and they always say, “This is not like any other church you’ve ever been to.” And I always think, “It’s exactly like every church I’ve ever been to.”

KEN: Music becomes the center and the focus, not the teaching of the Word. That’s what I’ve seen.

PHIL: And the other thing is, I would echo what you say. At Grace to You the most commonly asked question we get is from people who are looking for a church that’s faithful to the Word of God, and they can’t find one in their area.

Mike, let me ask you a slightly different question in the same vein. Some of you will have read the statement that Grace Church put out when we resumed worship after a brief hiatus with the COVID thing. Mike was the one who drafted that. It’s called “Christ, Not Caesar, Is the Head of the Church.” Talk a bit about that and how that plays into the increased pressure on churches to tailor our message to the culture and all of that. Just talk about that article.

MIKE: Sure. And I won’t let you get—I mean, Phil and I did a—you had a pretty big hand in that as well.

PHIL: You drafted it; I edited it.

MIKE: Polished it, OK.

PHIL: He’s the genius behind it.

MIKE: No. I think the big thing there was we were forced into a situation that many of us never had to be forced into, and that is, “What do you do when the government tells you you literally can’t be the church?” To be the church is to gather. Church means assembly. And so there’s no such thing as a non-assembling assembly. And a lot of people just kind of thought through it as, “Look, Romans 13 says you obey the government, you obey the authorities; unless they’re telling you to sin, unless they’re telling you to do something God forbids or they’re telling you not to do something God commands, well then, you obey.” And of course, gathering is something that God commands, and so it moves it into that realm.

But even deeper than that, one of the things that we kind of all began to dig deeper into was “every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God; therefore, whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God, and those who oppose will receive condemnation upon themselves.” And so a lot of critics asked, “How can you just say no that way?” And of course we recognize that there are exceptions to that; and we go to Acts chapter 4, and we see the prohibition to speak in Christ’s name, and the apostles disregard that. We go to Acts 5, and we see the same: “We must obey God rather than men.”

But we also go to places like Acts 16, where Paul’s in jail in Philippi, and he’s been mistreated; because he’s a citizen of Rome, and when the authorities find out about it they say, “Ooh, you know, we messed up here. Go get him out.” And the magistrate sends the officers, and the officers say, “OK, time for you to go; and go in peace.” And Paul says, “No, indeed.” What sin would Paul have been committing had he left the jail at that very time, like the authorities told him to? He wouldn’t have been committing any sin.

And so like there is an exception for doing what God forbids or not doing what God commands, there’s also an exception in the sense that there is unlawful authority. There is authority that is being attempted to be exercised that is actually illegitimate. There is no authority except which is from God, but that doesn’t mean that anybody can say to do anything and therefore I’m from God. If I flag a car down here on the highway, and I say, “Sorry, sir, you’ve been speeding. You need to pay your fine, and that’ll be $150. You can make your check payable to Mike Riccardi,” right? Just because I set myself up, put a badge on myself and say, “I’m an authority,” doesn’t mean that that authority is from God, because no authority is established except by God. It means that people can attempt to exert—undo, unlawful authority.

And so you say, “OK, what’s unlawful, what’s undue?” And you go further in Romans 13, and you see the kinds of things that Paul is saying you ought to render to the government. Verse 7, right, “Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” And even that phrase, “render to whom what is due,” recalls Matthew 22:21, where Jesus Himself says, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”

And what he’s telling us there is that there are spheres of authority. There is the ecclesiastical sphere, the church sphere; the spiritual sphere, that’s the things that are God’s; and then there’s the civil sphere, the governmental sphere. And when the government, when Caesar attempts to exercise authority outside of his sphere, outside of the authority given to him by God to exert authority in civil matters; and he usurps and inserts himself into ecclesiastical matters, what he is doing as the head of the state is intending or attempting to become the head of the church—and that is unlawful authority. That authority doesn’t exist because God has never given Caesar the authority to be head of the church; He’s given Christ the authority to be head of the church, Christ alone.

And so what we were concerned to establish or reaffirm is that we are not going to submit to an authority that is illegitimate; we’re going to see that Christ has His headship through and through.

PHIL: Amen. John, last question for you. I think someday when the definitive John MacArthur biography is written, a major chapter in that book will chronicle your leadership at Grace Church during the COVID crisis. You talked about this a bit last night. Just give us a summary. What did you learn, and what did Grace Church gain from all of the conflict that surrounded us during the COVID crisis?

JOHN: Well I don’t want to drag it out; but initially, we were basically told what everybody was told: “Stay home. You can’t go anywhere. You can’t meet as a church because this plague has arrived, and people are going to die.” And our initial reaction was, “Well we don’t want to kill anybody; so OK, we’ll do livestream.” And I went Sunday, and I preached to an empty church. And a few weeks went by, and it became apparent to me, and to pretty much a lot of us, that they were lying about the death threat. And when we began to see in California, for example, the statistics were somewhere around 99 percent survival, we knew we weren’t going to kill people. So without making a public announcement, we just said, “If you want to come to church, come to church.”

There were people who were afraid. They said, “Well you could meet outside.” So we let people meet outside if they were comfortable. We put up a tent with the sides open if they felt better there. We didn’t make any restrictions; we didn’t say, “Don’t wear a mask; wear a mask. Distance; don’t distance.” We didn’t say anything about it because, look, all we have is the truth; and that, of course, is biblical truth primarily. But we have to be truth-tellers all the time. And so we have to know what’s going on around us. We can’t be like the Pharisees, who could tell the weather but didn’t know what time it was in the kingdom.

So we began to let people come back, and they came back on their own. We told them it was nothing to be afraid of; and little by little, people kept coming. And they were our people to start with, and then they were coming from everywhere. There were so many people on our campus on a Sunday, filled up the auditorium; fill up one tent, put up another tent; fill up outside, put them in Sunday School rooms. They’re all over the place from everywhere.

Every week the Health Department held me in contempt of court, which had a jail sentence and a fine, and the county did that. The Health Department gave us a ticket, which was some kind of fee we had to pay. Kept accumulating and accumulating; and we just kept growing and growing and expanding. The Health Department was very frustrated. They would send their spies to mingle around. They made false accusations about us, and eventually had to put on the Health Department website, “There is no outbreak of COVID at Grace Community Church.” We had 5,000 people milling around every Sunday with no regard for any distancing, and we never had an outbreak of COVID.

PHIL: There was so many people there, it was impossible to practice any kind of social distancing.

JOHN: Well of course. But the point was God designed us to share our germs, and Grace Church became the safest place to be, because everybody had natural immunity. And people started coming from everywhere and everywhere. And I think you guys have followed it. We probably have 85 to 100 people join our church every month for the last two years. It just exploded. And they found that this was a church that was open, and then they found that this was a church like no other church.

And I remember, the Sunday which was most memorable was the Sunday early on when we said, “We want to bring the kids back. There’s nothing to be afraid of.” And to show you how fearless the parents were, 1,000 elementary kids came on that Sunday to our church. We had lollipops this big, we had balloons all over the campus; and they’ve been there ever since. And in the middle of all that, we had a Vacation Bible School with 1,300 little kids for a week. And we continued to be the church, and we continued to live in the reality that we were being lied to, we were being lied to. And our people, because we weren’t afraid, they weren’t afraid.

And the document that Mike and Phil worked on, and our elders affirmed, was very important in establishing a theological foundation of that. And then it became apparent to everybody that this was a healthy place to be. And so we had the most explosive growth in the history of Grace Community Church. And interviewing that many people every month for new membership is really a formidable thing, and especially when they’re not coming from the normal churches that come to our church. They’re coming from Lutheran churches and Episcopal churches and who knows whatever and whatever. So we’re getting people.

Normally our church grows: People get converted to Christ through the influence of our people, or they come from another Bible-teaching church to ours. But now all of a sudden we’re getting all these people from any kind of church. And we had a marvelous time baptizing lots and lots of people and bringing them into membership. And Grace became the very island of sanity in the midst of the chaos of the city of Los Angeles.

And we had twelve court hearings established when they were going to try to shut us down. The judge in our case for each of those was a man married to a man, so he was not favorable to us, obviously. But he happened to be a constitutionalist, and he would never let the city shut us down because he said, “Until you get past the First Amendment, you can’t litigate this particular case.” We got tired of the constant hearings that were postponed.

So to end the little tale, our attorneys said, “We’re going to depose the health officials in a legal deposition”—the three top health officials in Los Angeles. We announced to them that we were going to depose them. And in 24 hours they removed all contempt of court, all fines, all fees and everything, because the one thing they feared most was the truth; and the truth was 99 percent of the people survive this, and it was really an illness that took a toll on old people who had complications or comorbidities.

So when we said that, they dropped all charges; they tried to take away our parking lot, and the Jewish synagogue down the block said, “You can use our parking lot.” So we’re still parking in the Jewish synagogue on Sunday.

The Lord just was so faithful. And I think we gave courage to other churches to take a stand. There are always trials you have, but running up against the state and government, city government, county government, state of California, the hostility of the governor and all that, you really are in the Lord’s hands. And so it was a great opportunity to see the hand of God; and we saw that.

PHIL: Yeah, you seemed energized by the whole episode—not discouraged, but energized. I appreciated that. Thank you.

JOHN: The giving in our church just went over the top. People love the church. They came, they’ve given so generously, because we’re being the church. And they feel safe, they feel cared for, they feel loved, and they feel like they’re being served by the pastors.

PHIL: Well thank you for your boldness and example; all of us appreciate it.

MIKE: Yeah. I mean, I was going to say a personal word that way. To be there that whole time and really have a front-row seat to all this unfolding, with all the uncertainties, and the reality that everybody’s going—you know, friend and enemy alike is going to question, “Why are you doing this? Is this reasonable?” Really to witness the unflinching resolve, the concern for nothing but the supremacy of the truth, fearlessness, I mean, it’s remarkable. I mean, just to be there in person and watch Pastor John live everything you’ve heard him say in the times of the most pressure, the greatest crucible; it makes a mark on those around you. And I mean, I will never forget it.

Whatever it is that the Lord has for me in ministry, as somebody’s who’s in my mid-30s, these last two years in watching that resolve, you know, it’s been indelible. And I would say to those of us who—for those of you who haven’t had as of a front-row seat, who haven’t been as close to it, you’ve still seen it. You’ve still watched faithfulness from afar, in the midst of the most trying circumstances.

And kind of back to what you were talking about before, Phil, you know, “Is it going to get worse? Is there going to be current threats?” Just especially to the young men in the audience: That isn’t just an example, that’s a stewardship that’s entrusted to each and every one of us, to continue in the decades to come. And if we can steward that faithfully, then the gates of hell will do what they will, but they won’t prevail against Christ’s church.

JOHN: Amen.

PHIL: Well our time is gone. Let me close in prayer, and then we will see you this evening for the next session. Let’s pray.

Father, Your Word tells us, “Marvel not if the world hates you; it hated Christ.” And we pray, Lord, as the storm clouds seem to gather on our current situation today, we pray, Lord, that You would give us the strength to be faithful. And may we rejoice to be counted worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake, we pray in His name. Amen.

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