Thursday, June 26, 2008

Nineteen years ago today, my father went to be with the Lord. It seems like only yesterday. . . .

Here's a bit of insight from Walter Martin:

I once had a friend who was the most gifted philosophy student at New York University. He scored in the upper one percentile of all philosophy students in the United States—an inconceivably brilliant mind. He used to needle me ruthlessly every chance he got because I was a Theist; I believed in God. We’d go at it time and time again.

One night, we were sitting in the cafeteria drinking coffee. I hated coffee at the time, and I was only drinking it as a means of testifying to him. So I got a cup of coffee and a donut, and I sat there talking to him. I’ll never forget it, it’s as if it took place yesterday morning. His name was Kaye. We chatted back and forth for a couple of minutes, and he was needling me again. Finally, I said to him, “Kaye, tell me what you think of Jesus of Nazareth, honestly.”

He said, “Jesus of Nazareth was an extraordinary human being. He had fantastic insights into the minds of men and into their motives. I’ve read the New Testament and I’m very impressed with the person of Jesus.” This, from a Jewish philosophy student!

"Good!” I said, “Do you think Jesus was essentially a truthful person?”

“Oh, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that at all,” he replied.

“Would you say that Jesus was, perhaps, the greatest moralistic teacher you’ve ever read?”

“Oh, I don’t think I’d doubt that for a minute, either. I’ve read all of them.”

“I’m really glad to hear that,” I said, “Now if you were me, knowing you as I do: Hopping from bed to bed, boozing, swearing, telling dirty jokes, living just exactly the way you want to live; if you were me, would you listen to Jesus on the existence of God or you?”

He looked at me for a minute, put his coffee cup down, and said, “If you put it that way, I think I’d listen to Jesus.”

“There was never a moment of doubt,” I said.

A few weeks later we were in class, arguing vigorously again with the Professor refereeing back and forth. All of a sudden Kaye spouts off, “Now just a minute!”

I thought, Oh boy, now I’m going to get it! But this time he says, “Martin and I are poles apart. We know our differences of opinion here. But you know, he does have a valid argument. His valid argument is on the person of Jesus. I don’t hear anyone here saying they’re equal with Jesus. Anybody here think they are? No? Well, that’s Martin’s position—until you are, shut-up!”

Kaye and I became friends. We drank coffee regularly, and I gave it to him every chance I got. So you see, the Lord uses little things...even a cup of coffee.


Blogger Sarah said...

I discovered the works of Walter just a few years ago and now I listen to him almost every weekend. My fiance and I love hearing his debates with Mormons and atheists. My favorite is his debate with Van Hale. No matter how many times I've heard it, it never gets old. And whenever I feel discouraged in my walk, I always listen to Baptized in Boldness to help pick me up again. He was a great servant of the Lord, and he's motivated me, as well as my fiance, to stand up for the faith more than I ever have before. I would have loved to meet him while he was alive, but he died when I was two.

Mormons are so threatened by him that they're still attacking him today. This is the first time I've read your blog, but I think I will be reading it a lot more to support your efforts. It is a personal dream of mine to stand up against the cults just as your father did and just as you are doing. Please let me know if there's ever anything I can do to help. I'm pretty broke when it comes to money, but anything else and I'll do it lol.

In Christ,

3:11 PM  
Blogger saunch said...


I miss your dad. I worked at Creative Communications (CCA) years ago when we were taking the Bible Answer Man from KYMS and editing the programs for both half-hour and 15 minute programs and sending to radio stations across the country. Your dad was always a great encouragement whenever he came into our studios to record something. Even when he was facing death threats and other types of persecution, and you could tell from his face that he was burdened, he was always encouraging and full of wisdom from God's Word. Thank you Walter Martin.

3:14 PM  
Blogger JohnD said...

Only when we get to heaven will we realize the impact your Dad had / has / will have on humanity.

He showed me that truth is objective not subjective. That it can be defended. And therefore trusted.

It was only then that I took my faith and the study of scripture

No telling how many spiritual giants Walter Martin affected the way he affected a pip squeak like me.

9:10 PM  
Blogger JohnD said...

About seeming like yesterday, I am 47 now and I recall as though it were last night that night Gene Stinson (our pastor) told me my Dad had died. That will be 36 years ago this September.

Dad was a teacher until his death in 1972. His students came to our small farm town in Ohio from the Dayton suburb where he taught them (quite a ways in those days) to the funeral and were lined up around the block at the funeral home.

He made an impact as well.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Carlotta said...

I too miss your father. I used to listen to him when I lived in Los Angeles years ago. My most memorable time I remember listening to was the debate between him and Roy Masters.

His book on the cults was not only helpful in defending our faith against them, but my knowledge and faith grew as a result of the scriptures Dr. Martin gave. It was bible study while in the process of witnessing to the cults.

I thank your father for such a wonderful ministry that affected my life tremendously!

Nice to find this blog. Off I go to read more on it!

9:21 AM  
Blogger Allison said...

This seems to be your argument:

Premise 1: Jesus' lifestyle is superior to all other lifestyles

Premise 2: Your lifestyle is not as good as Jesus'

Therefore Jesus was right and you were wrong about everything you and Jesus disagree on including the nature and existence of the ineffable God.

Just because the character of Jesus as depicted in the Bible, our understanding of this character influenced by thousands of years of (imperfect) human interpretation, is considered by you to be morally superior to all other humans (not an inevitable conclusion for a person to come to, an alternative of which, for instance would be that Jesus' morality was one instance of an excellent human morality system, not the only one), does not make Jesus necessarily right about everything, including the nature or existence of God. In other words, Jesus' morally superior lifestyle does not imply his infallibility. Nor does the admiration of Jesus' ethics necessitate the belief in the inferiority of my ethics or someone else's. People may choose their system of ethics based on what makes the most sense to them based on their experiences and interactions with the world rather than on what the character Jesus says in the Bible.

I don't really believe that you convinced a brilliant philosopher with that argument. It seems like a story you made up to enforce the credibility of your over arching message, the ends justifying the means. Just like you drank coffee even though you didn't like it in order to witness to someone. Is it necessary to be inauthentic to yourself, doing things you do not like, to witness to others? Could you perhaps have had tea or just the donut instead of coffee? Do you have to make up false accounts to prove and explicate your faith? This seems more like manipulating people than witnessing. But you believe that you are manipulating them for their own good? Because the Jesus way really is the best way and it doesn't matter how you get people to see it so long as they do?

6:35 PM  
Blogger JohnD said...


CS Lewis, one of the greatest thinkers of our time, converted to Christ from atheism. He narrowed the claims of Jesus of Nazareth to three possible categories as to who he was.

He was either a


If he were the first two he would not have had such a profound effect on history (which even you admit he has been).

And His ministry and claims were not "improvised" by followers down through the centuries because they were all foretold in the Hebrew scriptures... and to this day the Hebrews are hostile towards Jesus so they would have no reason whatsoever to build him up.

So since he is in fact Lord, he has the ability to make the absolute statements Oprah and the rest of the New Age mob disagree with... for no other reason than they choose to disbelieve Him.

That's a pretty flimsy hook to hang your eternal destiny on, friend.

Better you should investigate this Jesus further than risk the unthinkable on the say so of mere people.

Jesus not only came back from the dead to tell about it, He is in fact the Creator of all things...

You should read what the Hebrew scriptures say and how Jesus fulfilled them.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Rowe said...

Masters v. Martin was a memorable debate indeed. I'm not a Christian and disagree with both of their theologies. Ultimately, I'd call it a wash. Martin had the weight of historic orthodox Christianity on his side; but as Masters noted, historic Christianity could be wrong.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Rowe said...

"He was either a


Those who have studied philosophy would note this to be a "false trichotomy."

No Jesus could have been just a man about whom later folks made up stuff, similar to when folks today claim "hey I saw Elvis at Burger King last week."

On a related note, what does "Lord" mean? Arians and Socinians agree with Trinitarians that Jesus was "Lord" but they reject that Jesus ever claimed to be an Incarnate God or second person in the Trinity. Roy Masters gives a good defense of "biblical unitarianism" in the debate.

10:04 PM  

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