Monthly Archives: March 2015



Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:11)

“Nephology” is the study of clouds. As a young boy between six and ten, I was quite the nephologist.  I could spend what seemed to be hours observing cloud formations in the blue Texas skies. Cloud types were of no great concern. I didn’t care if the clouds were cirrus, cumulus, cumulonimbus, or whatever; I searched for recognizable figures within the clouds: birds, dogs, giants, cars, etc.

I still study the clouds, but for a very different reason. In our passage above, Jesus had just spent His final 40 days on earth. Now He made His final declaration: “ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). And as He said these final words, “he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). What an incredible sight! It reminds me of watching my helium-filled balloon float away into the clouds as a boy. I stood there mouth gaping, staring after the vanishing orb until it became a dot and was finally swallowed up by the clouds. No matter how long I searched the skies, the balloon never reappeared. It was gone. Jesus’ disciples must have felt the same way. So consumed were they in their nephology that they failed to notice the newly arrived heavenly beings that now accompanied them. “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

I’m a nephologist not because I study clouds for weather patterns or even for the fanciful shapes my mind can conjure. I look to the clouds because Jesus ascended into the clouds and beyond, and the angels delivered His promise saying that He would return “in like manner.”

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, emphasis added)

After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither … (Revelation 4:1, emphasis added)

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8, emphasis added)

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:11-14, emphasis)

I practice nephology daily hoping that perhaps today, I will see Him coming in the clouds.


Filed under Christianity, End Times, Heaven, Religion, Resurrection, Salvation, Second Coming of Christ, Theology

Seeing to Believe

"My Lord and my God."

“My Lord and my God.”

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. (Zechariah 12:10)

My blog is titled “Ernie’s Musings” because I write about things that cross my mind – when I can remember them. So it was this last week as I was in the shower in an effort to wake up and start the day. These days I think a lot about the Lord’s return with great anticipation as well as some dread for loved ones that are not prepared for the event. As I thought about that great event, I recalled the Scripture passage above and imagined the scene described in Revelation 19:11-16:

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

God long ago selected Israel among all the other nations for a particular purpose:

For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 7:6-8, emphasis mine)

God chose Israel for the purpose of bringing Messiah into the world and identifying Him with an undeniable lineage so that He wouldn’t be missed (see Matthew 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-38). God also promised the land of Israel to Abraham as an eternal possession (see Genesis 13:14-15). “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:9, emphasis mine).

The history of Israel, from the time of the Exodus to the Babylonian captivity and beyond has been one of rebellion against God. Even now the majority of Israelis practice Judaism more out of tradition than out of a sincere devotion to God. Indeed, Israel is primarily a secular nation. Salvation for Israel has never been a “done deal.” God’s salvation is for individuals, not nations. John the Baptist made this point when a group of Pharisees and Sadducees came to him to be baptized: “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Matthew 3:9).  Salvation is not a national right for Israel. Israel exists as a sign to the world and to give testimony of God’s faithfulness. “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19) God, because of His mercy and faithfulness, will give Israel one final chance to repent, and when they see the Lord returning in the clouds, “they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10), but each individually, not as a nation.

As I mused on this, I recalled John’s account of Thomas, the apostle, following the resurrection of Christ. Jesus was crucified during Passover and placed in a tomb where He laid for three nights and three days (John 19:38-42). Then early on the first day of the week (Sunday), He reclaimed His life and rose from the grave (John 20:1). There He was seen by Mary Magdalene who clung to Him when she saw Him. “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17). Apparently, His absence was brief. Mary Magdalene gave Jesus’ message to the disciples who were holed up in the upper room “for fear of the Jews” (John 20:19). It was the same day in the evening (prior to 6 PM), when “came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you” (v. 19). Thomas was not in the group. When the others gave Thomas the news, “he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). The following Sunday, Jesus once again appeared to His disciples, and this time Thomas was with the group.

Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. (John 20:27-29, emphasis mine)

I see a parallel here between this account of Jesus’ resurrection and His return at the last days. The day of Jesus’ resurrection is the presentation of the Gospel which the Apostles received upon seeing Him. Thomas was not there to witness the risen Christ, but the message was presented to him, and he rejected it. The period between the Sunday of Christ’s resurrection and the following Sunday can be compared to the “Church Age” where the Gospel – the good news – is proclaimed but the only evidence is the testimony of the messengers. Those who believe must do so by faith and the credibility of the message. The following week, Christ returns and this time Thomas sees Him in the flesh. This can be compared to the end of this age when the Lord returns to set up His millennial kingdom (Revelation 20). At that time many of the Jews who rejected Him by faith shall look upon Him “whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10). And Jesus will say, “because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29, emphasis mine). Jesus will return very soon. Don’t wait to see Him in order to believe. It may be too late then.


Filed under Bible, Christianity, Easter, End Times, Evangelism, Gospel, Religion, Resurrection, Salvation, Second Coming of Christ, Theology

It’s Settled!

For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. (Psalm 119:89)

My dad went to be with the Lord a little more than six months ago. He taught me many things as I was growing up and even into my adult life, but one of the most valuable lessons he taught me was to trust God’s Word in all matters. Even when I can’t make sense of it, God’s Word is true. To the skeptic this may sound as circular reasoning.

Why do you believe in the Bible?

Because it’s true; it’s God’s Word.

How do you know it’s true?

Because it’s the Word of God.

On its face, it may seem like circular reasoning, but it’s really not when one considers the source. Of essence, one must first believe in the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient God and that requires a certain amount of faith however small. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

God is the Creator of all that exists, therefore all of creation is subject to Him. God created by His spoken Word. “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light … And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters … and it was so … And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so” (Genesis 1:3, 6-7, 9), etc. Everything that exists came about by the spoken Word of God.

After God created man, He placed him in a special garden and gave him only one rule: “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17). Man was free to eat the fruit of every tree in the garden except for this one. One would think that such a simple command should have been easy enough to obey considering the abundance of other choices they were given, but remarkably this was the very part of God’s Word that was challenged. “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? … Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1, 4-5). Just in case you weren’t paying attention, Satan, the serpent, first called God’s Word into question. Next he claimed God’s Word was a lie, and finally he claimed that God was keeping the couple from something better. From creation to the present, Satan’s strategy remains the same.

The Bible that we currently have was canonized around the fourth century AD, many of the source texts, especially the Old Testament texts, go back thousands of years. For that reason, the skeptics charge that the originals have been corrupted, and since we do not possess the original autographs, we cannot trust our modern Bibles. “Has God really said?” Next they deny the historical and scientific accuracy of the Bible. “God did not create anything; it all started from a Big Bang and after billions of years life emerged from random chemical reactions that evolved over millions of years and eventually resulted in our existence. It was all due to natural processes.” The skeptics can say what they want, but the Bible has NEVER been proven wrong. Finally, following the teachings of the Bible will keep you from being all that you want to be, and from doing whatever you want to do. “What! You don’t want to live your life as a monk (or nun) do you?”

The Bible has withstood all the challenges of the skeptics for centuries. One of the earliest criticisms of the Bible was that it mentioned the nation of the Hittites for which there was no historical record. Then late in the 19th century archeological discoveries revealed that not only did the Hittites exist, but they were a powerful empire. Archeologists continue to discover evidences that confirm the veracity of the Bible. Within the last century, the oldest Hebrew and Greek manuscripts found hidden in the caves of Qumran validate the accuracy of scriptural transmission when compared to the manuscripts previously known. This fact alone testifies to the imperishability of the Word of God: “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isaiah 40:8).

Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 25:35). He went further to say, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18). What He was saying was that neither the smallest letter nor even the smallest distinguishing nuance of a letter will be lost until all is fulfilled. That is a remarkable claim for any author to make about his book, but Jesus made that claim about His Word. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

So, if God is who He claims to be, then His Word can be trusted completely because He, the Author, says so. I believe the Bible – all of it – because it is God’s Word; and because it is God’s Word, it is true. There is no question. It is settled forever!


Filed under Apologetics, Bible, Christianity, Gospel, Theology

Bibi for President! – Wayne Allyn Root – Page full

Bibi for President! – Wayne Allyn Root – Page full.

I have often said that I wished Benyamin Netanyahu were our President rather than what we currently have. Here is an excellent commentary on Netanyahu’s speech before the joint houses of Congress.


Filed under Current Events, Politics

What You Don’t Know


And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? (Mark 12:24)

Jesus faced His crucifixion just days away. Jerusalem was already in full Passover mode as Jews descended on the capital city from all over the Roman world. This was one of three holy convocations where Jews were to gather to celebrate the Feasts of the Lord (Leviticus 23). The Jewish religious leaders were already plotting to have Jesus killed, but because of His popularity, they couldn’t just kill Him. They had to bring up charges against Him that would warrant execution, so they tried to trip Him up with questions regarding their Jewish laws and traditions.

So it was in this case. First they approached Him with a question on paying taxes to Rome. They first tried to butter Him up with false flattery: “Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth” (Mark 12:14). They addressed Him as “Master,” i.e., “teacher,” yet they disregarded His teaching even though they stated that He “taught the way of God.” Their question failed to challenge Jesus. The answer was easy: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17).

The Sadducees, who “say there is no resurrection” (Mark 12:18), followed up with a question concerning the resurrection. Their question was well thought out – they thought. Seven brothers had the same wife, and they all died including the wife. In the resurrection, whose wife shall she be? Aha! Answer that one, Jesus! Jesus replied that there is no marriage in heaven, but before giving His answer, He chided them for their ignorance of Scripture and consequently the power of God (our verse above).

We do often err because we “do not know the Scriptures.” It’s no great challenge to find this ignorance working in a non-believing world, but it’s sad to find the same ignorance, albeit perhaps not as pronounced, among “believers.” One common example is the controversy over creation. Did God cause the Big Bang and then use millions of years of death and suffering to create life by means of evolution? Or did God create in six 24-hour days as clearly recorded in Genesis 1?

Those believers that support the Big Bang and evolution come in different varieties, but they all prefer “science falsely so called” (1 Timothy 6:20) over the clear teaching of Scripture. They hold the word of man in higher regard than the Word of God. They do err because they “know not the scriptures, neither the power of God.” The power of God! God says, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:10). “I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it” (Ezekiel 36:36). “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). If God cannot do what He clearly said He did in Genesis 1, then neither can He part the waters of the Red Sea, cause the Sun to stop, or turn back ten degrees, make an ax head float, cleans a leper’s spots, turn water into wine, walk on water or calm the raging sea. If God cannot create as He said He did in Genesis 1, neither can He raise the dead, much less raise Himself from the dead. You do err because you do not know the Scriptures, and because you do not know the Scriptures, you do not know the power of God. What you don’t know can lead you astray. Jesus said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).

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Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Creation, Easter, Evolution, Gospel, Origins, Religion, Resurrection, Science, Theology

Building the Ark

Noah's Ark Model on display at the Institute for creation Research, Dallas, Texas

Noah’s Ark Model on display at the Institute for Creation Research, Dallas, Texas

 Make thee an ark of gopher wood. (Genesis 6:14)

About five years ago, March 2010, God woke me in the middle of the night and gave me a vision to build a scale model of Noah’s Ark. At the time, I was in the middle of working on my M.C.Ed degree in Biblical apologetics from the School of Biblical Apologetics (SOBA) at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), and I needed a Master’s project or a thesis in order to fulfill the requirements for the degree. The Noah’s Ark model would fulfill that requirement.

As with Noah, God gave me a “big picture” vision of all the details that would need to go on the model. Part of that vision included donating the completed model to ICR. In the end, I was unable to complete the model in time for graduation, so I fulfilled my requirements by writing a thesis. However, that did not squelch my determination to complete the model and make good on my promise. So the work continued a few hours every night after work and on weekends. My only limitation was my own “wimpyness.” My garage, where I built the Ark, is not climate controlled, so in the summer temperatures were unbearably hot, and in the winter temperatures were numbingly cold. The five-year timeframe was due to those limitations, but in that time, I spent 1379 hours to complete the task.

The importance of my God-given task results from what Peter wrote: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts” (2 Peter 3:3). Scoffers attack anything “Bible,” but one of their favorite targets is the book of Genesis and what it has to say about Creation, the Fall, and the Global Flood. They say stupid things like, “How could all those animals fit inside the Ark?” Sadly, too many Christians, rather than defend God’s Word, take the side of the scoffers. Therefore, this model serves to encourage Christians to trust God’s Word completely and bolster their faith in defending the Word of God.

Large animal pens. Note the dinosaurs.

Large animal pens. Note the dinosaurs.

God said to Noah, “Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark” (Genesis 6:14).  The Hebrew word translated “rooms” is qên and it literally means “nests.” That indicates that these would not be large pens where the animals could move around a lot. Noah, his family, and all the menagerie endured 371 days onboard the Ark.

Genesis 6_14(3)

Small animal cages

  That being the case, it is my opinion that God caused the animals to hibernate during that time, so large spaces were not required for the animals. Furthermore, since the average size the animals was about the size of a small cow, a good majority of the animals were small. In order to represent this, made small animal cages for the second deck.

I tried to represent a variety of “kinds” of animals: clean and unclean, mammals, reptiles (dinosaurs) and birds.

I tried to represent a variety of “kinds” of animals: clean and unclean, mammals, reptiles (dinosaurs) and birds.

Starboard Side of the Ark

Starboard Side of the Ark

God gave Noah the dimensions of the Ark as follows: “And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be Starboard Side of the Ark three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits” (Genesis 6:15). Based on an 18-inch cubit, that would make the Ark 450 feet long (the length of one and one half football fields), 75 feet wide, and 45 feet tall. My model is 1/60 scale making it 7.5 feet (90 inches) long, 15 inches wide, and 9 inches tall. (Those are inside dimensions.)

The tsôhar

The tsôhar

Noah was also instructed to make a “window” for the Ark. “A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above” (Genesis 6:16). The Hebrew word translated “window” is tsôhar and it literally means a “light” or “double light” as in midday or noon. Only in this passage is it translated “window,” so evidently it was some way to allow outside light into the Ark. Toward the end of the voyage we are told, “And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made” (Genesis 8:6, emphasis mine). In this case, the Hebrew word is challôn and this word does mean “window” and is so translated throughout the Old Testament.

The challôn

The challôn

This tells me that Noah had some leeway in the construction of the Ark and not every detail was strictly dictated by God. This fact gives me confidence in using my “sanctified imagination” in creating the detail for the model not specified in Scripture.  The roof, therefore, features an opening beneath the eave of the main roof extending the length of the Ark on both sides as well as the vent opening above the main roof. These two sets of “windows” would allow for air circulation and ventilation.

The finished roof with “window”

The one and only door

Noah’s instructions also included “the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof” (Genesis 6:16). Unlike the blasphemous “Noah” movie, the Ark had only a single door.

God also specified three “stories” or decks for the Ark: “with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it” (Genesis 6:16). 

God also specified three “stories” or decks for the Ark: “with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it” (Genesis 6:16).

First story - large animals; Second story - "clean" and small animals; Third story - aviary and storage

First story – large animals; Second story – “clean” and small animals; Third story – aviary and storage

Grain storage (silo)

Grain storage (silo)

Noah was also instructed to carry provisions for his family and for all the animals. “And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them” (Genesis 6:21). All of these things came to mind in building the model as I attempted to represent, to a limited extent, what would have been carried on the Ark.

Lots of hay

Lots of hay

Family gathering area and work spaces

Family gathering area and work spaces

Aviaries, food stores and fill ports for the forward grain silo

Aviaries, food stores and fill ports for the forward grain silo

Family living quarters, aft aviaries and storage

Family living quarters, aft aviaries and storage

Detail showing stone oven, forward starboard side aviary and storage

Detail showing stone oven, forward starboard side aviary and storage

One of six cisterns for water storage - two on each deck, fore and aft

One of six cisterns for water storage – two on each deck, fore and aft

Cistern detail showing baffle for dampening "slosh"

Cistern detail showing baffle for dampening “slosh”

Cistern detail showing water

Cistern detail showing water

The Noah’s Ark model visually represents the Gospel message in the Ark as a “type” of Christ. The Bible tells us that the world had become so corrupt “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart … The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” (Genesis 6:6, 11). Things have not changed in all the years since that time. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). In His holiness must judge and punish sin, “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Just as God is holy, He is also merciful. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8) and He provided a way of salvation. Noah had 120 years to build the Ark. During that time the Bible tells us that Noah was “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5) pleading for all to repent of their sin and find refuge in the Ark for God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The Ark had only one door by which men could enter. Jesus said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9). God had complete control of the door to Noah’s Ark. When the fountains of the deep burst open and the deluge descended upon the earth, “And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in” (Genesis 7:16). There is still only one way obtain salvation. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). The way of salvation in Noah’s day was the wooden Ark with its single door. Today, the way of salvation is through the wooden cross upon which Jesus died; it is the only way. Eight people were saved on the Ark out of the billions that lived on earth at that time. Jesus said, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14, emphasis mine). Today those that place their faith and trust on the cross of Jesus Christ will be saved from eternal death. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13). My prayer is that you have found your Ark in Jesus Christ.

See the article in the March 2015 issue of Acts & Facts:


Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Evangelism, Gospel, Religion, Salvation, Theology