Re: Descendants and Thomas Trap

John W Burgeson (
Fri, 27 Nov 1998 09:48:49 -0700

Glenn wrote:

"I like what you are saying here. But the belief just can't be in any ole
thing. Koresh's believers believed. They also burned. Jim Jones
believed. They also drank koolaid. Belief is simply not enough. Belief
must be in that which is true. And how do we know what is true? We
'believe' our way into that. We have to examine some evidence.

What you say still misses the purpose of an apologetic. If all an
apologetic is to accomplish is to say "Believe and you will see" then we
don't need apologetics."

Your question really boils down (I think) to this:

Given 3 choices (I know, there are more than 4):

1. Christianity as a belief/commitment to Jesus Christ as commonly
understood by most Christians at this point in history. C. S. Lewis's
MERE CHRISTIANITY will serve as a definition here. The Bible as a
foundational document.

2. Mormonism.

3. David Koresh's teachings. Or Jim Jones if you'd rather. (Pretty much
the same).

How does one chose between them?

The answer seems simple to me. Examine the data and claims of each one.
Choose the one which makes the most sense of what you know about yourself
and the world around you. Ask for God's spirit to guide you in this
examination. Make the assumption that God is both able and eager to
accomplish this.

When I was not yet a Christian, and for a time (at least four years)
after I became one, I did this type of examination. I remember visiting
EVERY religious booth at the NY World's fair -- of reading tracts from
every group I could get my hands on. Eventually I found C. S. Lewis's
MERE CHRISTIANITY, even with defects I thought were there, to be as good
an expression and definition of my new faith as I could find. In over 30
years since, that has not significantly changed.

I don't know what made some people turn to Koresh. Perhaps faulty
thinking; perhaps other factors. I looked at some cults along the way;
they seemed pitifully easy to understand and avoid.

Mormonism I'm not sure of. I've had a Mormon colleague, with whom I
worked closely. He would have liked to persuade me to be a Mormon, but
that was a minor part of our relationship. That the book of Mormon is
fraudulent seems evident (to me). But I do not exclude them from
Christianity, as some fundamentalist groups do. No more than I exclude
the guys at ICR. Can people be brought to a saving faith in Christ by
teachings and preachings which are non-factual? The answer seems to be
obviously "yes."

Someone said "The unexamined life is not worth living." That's what
started me on a spiritual quest at age 30. It continues to drive me



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