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APOLOGETICS AND THE “IF: GATHERING” WITH CEDRIC FISHER (PART ONE)

Berean Call Radio 

Tom: Today I’ll be talking with Cedric Fisher. He writes for Lighthouse Trails Publishers, and his apologetics website is truthkeepers.com. Now, today and next week, the Lord willing, we’ll be discussing two of his booklets that we co-publish with Lighthouse Trails.

Cedric, thanks for joining me on Search the Scriptures 24/7.

Cedric: Thank you for inviting me.

Tom: Now, before we get to our topic for the first part of our discussion, Cedric, I’d like you to tell us what motivated you to get into apologetics. For our listeners that aren’t familiar with that term (they probably are), it’s really just the defense of the Christian faith. So what motivated you?

Cedric: Well, first I’d like to make it clear I’m not a trained apologist but just a guy who began defending God’s truth several decades ago. I think it began after I had several debates with friends who had gotten into the word of faith movement, and it just escalated from there when I kept running into people that would say things I knew didn’t agree with God’s Word. I think the John Ankerberg Showwas the main inspiration in my early years, and other ones that were defending the truth, and it was just an eye-opening experience for me when I first saw that, and I sat and watched, mesmerized by the way that they could handle all these very difficult and sometimes complex questions. And, of course, later on I read books – The Seduction of Christianity by one of your – maybe your main mentor and friend, Dave Hunt – and other things, until, really, I just felt like that’s what God wanted me to do, along with my pastoring, was to defend His truth.

And so about 1993, I put up a website, began to write articles, and then I really, really found out about debates! But I found out that you develop a confidence, you develop a deep peace in you, when you study God’s Word and you know what it means, you understand what it means, and you can apply it perfectly in the light of these heresies – in the dark of these heresies, actually – and help people to understand what the truth really is.

Tom: Yeah. That’s certainly – much of what you said is on our heart with what we do here at The Berean Call. But, Cedric, your experience as a pastor, why do you think – and maybe I’m missing the boat here – but why do you think that many churches are reluctant to get involved in apologetics? And especially those churches that would consider themselves to be Bible-based?

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When Mountains Fall

They shall say to the mountains, “Cover us!” And to the hills, “Fall on us!” – Hosea 10:8
 
Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’ – Luke 23:30
 
And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” – Revelation 6:16

I can sense the stark terror in these verses as people are wishing from the core of their beings to be buried underneath a mountain. The reason is that they fear the very One who loved them so much that He sacrificed His life to be falsely arrested, convicted, sentenced, beaten nearly to death, humiliated, and tortured by crucifixion until he died. But the Lover is coming as an Avenger in flaming fire to punish the wicked for their rebellion. The wicked will know it beyond all doubt and cry out to be buried underneath tons of rock and dirt.

I’ve always had a phobia of driving under new bridge construction. After the bridge is built it does not bother me as much. However, when I drive under those large, exposed, steel beams, I feel a dread in my spirit. I feel the same way when I go underground. I once ventured with my family 1,120 feet underground to view Ruby Falls, All the time I was under Lookout Mountain I had to push out of my mind the thought of it crashing down on me. However, I do not dread the coming of Christ and will stand confident in His shed blood and grace to greet Him with unspeakable joy.
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Is “Discernment Ministry” a Valid God-Ordained Office?

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.” – Ephesians 5:11-13

I put “Discernment Ministry” in quotations marks because I am not convinced that it is the proper term for what I (and many other ones) am doing. The first time someone called me a “Discernment Minister” I corrected him. I replied that every Christian should have discernment and that I was merely a Christian attempting to obey God’s word and calling (see the above verse).

“Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.’ – Titus 2:15

If we wish to consider a more biblical term it might be “watchman” or perhaps “prophet.” However, the majority of Christians are paranoid about the title “prophet.” They will accept most of the titles in Ephesians 4:11 except “prophet” and “apostle.” They elevate “prophet” to such a highly venerated position that no one can fill the office without being mass pilloried. It is considered presumptuous and self-aggrandizing for one to claim he or she can predict the future. The sneering rejection of one accepting that title is nearly unanimous except among the heretics and their deluded followers.

The truth is that the prophet was much more engaged in warning people than in predicting future events. In fact, when Israel became apostate and refused to hear any other voice, God always sent the prophets with blunt and bold warnings. So whether people like it or not, or whether or not they accept the title, God has sent prophets during these last days. We can hang whatever term we wish upon them, but they will speak as prophets have always spoken.

By the way, a true prophet is not concerned with what you call him and does not seek honor or accolades. His office, by the nature of his efforts, is a difficult and lonely one. No one in his or her right mind should desire to be in that office. “Prophet” is no more a special title than “pastor,” and one that wears it is not an elite, supersaint,nor anything more than a servant of God. So I advise people to cease romanticizing or title-worshipping the term “prophet” and just accept the ministry God sends.

Furthermore, God has sent watchmen. Like the prophet, they are mostly rejected, considered obsessed with “doom and gloom,” and exceptionally negative individuals that do nothing more than warn people of dreadful events. The primary difference in the callings is that the prophet, according to the Didache, is also a teacher. My reference to the Didacheis solely for understanding what the Early Church thought about the prophet.

“And every prophet who teaches the truth, if he do not what he teaches, is a false prophet.” – Didache 11:10
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