Answers In Action
Home  :  Calendar  :  Contribute  :  Past Polls  :  Web Resources  

Old Testament History & the Story of Redemption -- Join Professor Gretchen Passantino Coburn for a graduate level seminary class that provides an exciting, in-depth exploration of the events, ideas, theology, culture, & revelations that brought God's story of redemption alive through the history of the Jews, the Semitic people who grew from a single family more than 4,000 years ago following their patriarch Abarahm to a nation called Israel that brought forth the Messiah to reconcile the world to God 2,000 years ago.

Whether you have advanced Bible or theological education or not; whether you are seeking an accredited graduate degree or simply desire to know God's Word better; whether you have studied the Bible before or not; your spiritual life & your understanding of the Bible will be changed by this exciting course of study under one of the most knowledgeable Christian apologists today.

OT 6143 -- Old Testament History (& the Preparation for the Unfolding of the Redemption Story) will begin on Friday, September 19 & will continue on Friday nights at 7:00 PM through December 19. This class is administered by Answers In Action & is equivalent to 4 graduate credit hours (M.Div. or D.Min. level) seminary class. Accredited credit is available at additional charge for those students pursuing a graduate degree through Faith Evangelical Lutheran Seminary.

This class will provide: Academic rigor coupled with spiritual depth; Conservative, inerrant approach to scripture as the infallible Word of God; Current historical, archaeological, & theological researched lectures, handouts, & publications; Challenging but achievable written, oral, & group assignments & projects; Spiritually stimulating theological application; Clear historical background & memorable historical paradigms.

Prof. Passantino's more than 3 decades of in-depth biblical study & commitment to personal mentoring toward individual study goal attainment succeeds in this small class format that facilitates interaction & tailors the subject matter to the particular interests & needs of students. This class will satisfy you if you have always struggled to understand the Old Testament; Don't know how the theology of the Old Testament relates to the New Testament; Confuse ancient centuries, cultures, events, societies, & acts of God; Desire to see how God's eternal plan of redemption is predicted & pre-figured in the Old Testament; Think you're missing the main value of the Old Testament in your daily Christian living; Frustrate yourself trying to understand how the New Testament uses the Old Testament; Commit yourself to letting the Holy Spirit speak in & through the Old Testament text in transforming you in Christ.

The tuition cost is $250 for audit; $400 for credit; & TBA for Faith Seminary credit toward an accredited degree from Faith Seminary. Textbook cost not included. No pre-requisites required.

Enrollment is strictly limited to facilitate close student-teacher-student interaction. Reserve your place early to ensure acceptance. Call Prof. Passantino (949.290.2819) for questions or further information.

Oprah spirituality or Jesus redemption?

Christian newspaper publishers have joined to publish a critique of popular TV entertainment queen Oprah & well-respected cult apologist Richard Abanes has published an outstanding critique of Oprah's spiritual "guru," Ekhart Tolle. As Answers In Action director Gretchen Passantino explained in a radio interview on Wednesday, July 16, 2008, "Oprah points people to themselves for fulfillment. Jesus points people to the cross for salavtion."

Oprah's Gospel, written by Christian journalist Steve Rabey & published by Keener Communications Group (May 2008), summarizes Oprah's "media mission," reviews the most prominent spiritual leaders Oprah has hosted on her television talk show, provides cogent Christian responses to their spiritual claims, & warns Christians that with Oprah's great media power, people are extremely susceptible to her "gospel." In Passantino's interview on Lutheran Public Radio's Issues Etc., Passantino noted, "At one time, most people received their spiritual influence from their parents, their pastor, & their local congregations. Today people are much more apt to adopt the religion of celebrity."

In A New Earth, An Old Deception, Richard Abanes carefully & respectfully untangles the real spiritual needs & longings people experience from the false answers & solutions promoted by Oprah's #1 spiritual "guru," religious mystic Ekhart Tolle, whose book A New Earth has sold more than 4 million copies just since Oprah chose it as her book of the month in January 2008. Abanes, who has authored nearly 20 books on various apologetics issues, carefully & fully explains & then critiques all of Tolle's major spiritual beliefs, & presents a clear, persuasive case for the biblical gospel centered on Jesus Christ & his redemption for us. On Issues Etc. Passantino recommended the Abanes book as the best antidote to Tolle's book, remarking, "Abanes' book is deadly in its rational critique, but incredibly healing in its affirmation of the transforming power of the true gospel of Jesus Christ."

An earlier in-depth analysis of "Oprah spirituality" was published in the Christian Research Journal from the Christian Research Institute. "Oprah Winfrey & Her Self-Help Saviors: Making the New Age Normal" by Kate Maver is a thorough & challenging critique with solid theological analysis & biblical doctrine. Passantino authored a special critique of another Oprah spiritual leader's book, The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, last year, that is also available on the Answers In Action website: Rhonda Byrne's The Secret Isn't the Answer to Life

Passantino's radio interview is available in a variety of media formats, including on the Internet at Issues Etc.

Mars Hill Clubhas been reborn in Lakewood, California. Long-time Answers In Action volunteer & Mars Hill Club moderator Don Stoner hosts a discussion group in the spirit & heritage of the late Bob Passantino's unique Mars Hill Club.

Although this is not an official Answers In Action event, Don Stoner's Mars Hill Club is an exciting opportunity for the philosophically committed to discuss deep issues of faith, philosophy, theology, & science in a cordial but intellectually demanding atmosphere of intellectual stimulation.

For full information, check our Calendar & get the upcoming topics, dates, & address for the meetings.

The Book of Romans: A Community Bible Study & Worship Event held weekly in Costa Mesa, CA led by Answers In Action director & co-founder Gretchen Passantino & her husband, Pat Coburn. Sponsored by Christ Our King Community Lutheran Church, a new church plant that combines tradtional Lutheran heritage with rich Christian relationship & fellowship.

Using the stimulating & faith-nurturing insights of pastor & New Testament scholar Dr. N. T. (Tom) Wright, the Bible study follows Wright's Paul for Everyone (Romans). Also included is material from Wright's fascinating lecture series Romans in a Week, Gretchen & Pat encourage a community of Christian believers bound together by the Holy Spirit in fellowship & study of God's Word as given by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans.

In addition to the stimulating Bible study, our community of believers enjoys traditional, confessional worship as we join together in prayer, hymn singing, & the confession of our faith. This is not merely an academic exercise, nor even a simple fellowship time, but by joining yourself to others who are committed Christians living in fellowship with other Christians, you will experience worship, siritual growth, & biblical insight.

Between 6:00 & 8:00 PM, the community Bible study provides for faith building application as well as solid, contextual teaching from this pivotal New Testament book. This is not dry, academically obtuse lecture. This is not vacuous, subjective pseudo-piety. It is a deep immersion in the world of the early church, under the vision of the "apostle to the Gentiles." The New Testament comes alive as we bridge the centuries, cultures, and experiences between the first century Jewish-Gentile Christians of the Roman Empire & the 21st century Evangelical Christians of the United States.

Gretchen Passantino has been teaching the Word of God for more than 35 years. She first taught the Book of Romans with her late husband & co-founder of Answers In Action, Bob Passantino, in 1974 & has hardly stopped teaching it since. An adjunct professor with Faith Evangelical Lutheran Seminary, Passantino taught Romans for the seminary several years ago, enjoying the life-transforming power of that book with her students in a rigorous academic study. Those who have studied with her over the years, whether in a formal, challenging academic setting, or in the intimacy of a small group Bible study fellowship, agree that she brings vivid realism, sound doctrine, historical insight, contextual sense, & spiritual application to every class. Pat Coburn, a Faith Seminary student, is an experienced professional painter by trade, a long-time Christian by the grace of God. He does not consider himself an expert in biblical study, but he knows that he loves God, he loves God's people, & he loves God's Word. Together he and Gretchen focus the study of Romans on God's power to transform a collection of individuals into a fellowship community of brothers & sisters in Christ who support, encourage, & love each other.

If you are looking for both a deep study of God's Word that goes beyond the mental exercise to spiritual transformation, & a spiritual exerience of worship & fellowship, please join us. If you are tired of "church-hopping" & want a community of Christians who are committed to each other, you will find a family here. Whether you have been a Christian for years or are still standing on the sidelines, this experience will bring you closer to God. Whether you have an enormous amount of knowlege of the Bible or aren't even sure how to find the book of Romans, you will gain a depth of insight that will change you forever.

The Book of Romans: A Community Bible Study & Worship Event meets every Sunday evening from 6:00 - 8:00 PM in Costa Mesa, CA. Check our Calendar for the location & other information.

The Secret Exposed! A Christian Response to the Motivational Phenomenon Promoted by Oprah Winfrey & others!

Rhonda Byrne's The Secret Isn't the Answer to Life is Gretchen Passantino's review & critique of the book, DVD, CD, & motivational program that is sweeping the country. This is not just a media hype or Hollywood fad, it is even invading the Christian church -- being adapted & promoted through Sunday morning messages, Bible studies, & fellowship groups. What is the Secret? How does it masquerade as the gospel? How can you answer its claims?

This new Answers In Action article will equip you to respond to this challenge to Christianity. You can depend on Answers In Action to provide reliable reporting, cogent analysis, & biblical fidelity.

WEEKLY PRAYER MEETING with Answers In Action Director Gretchen Passantino and her husband, Pat Coburn, Wednesdays in Costa Mesa, CA. Sponsored by Christ Our King Community Lutheran Church, a new church plant combining traditional Lutheran heritage with warm spiritual fellowship among committed Christians.

"Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective" (James 5:16).

Prayer is not the useless time waster that you do when there's nothing else to do. Prayer is empowered by God to establish and extend His kingdom "on earth, as it is in heaven." Prayer benefits the one who prays, because it brings us into the presence of God in humility and service. Prayer benefits the one for whom we pray, because God touches that person's life with His Spirit. Prayer exalts God because it is commanded and it is worship.

If you are in Southern California and would like to join Gretchen and Pat for a brief time of prayer and supplication, we would love to have you. We meet every Wednesday night from 6 - 7 PM PDT in Costa Mesa, California. Check our Calendar for location.

Christian Response to Controversial Discovery Channel Special Purporting to Find the Tomb of Jesus & His Family

The Discovery Channel special that first aired Sunday, March 4, 2007, The Lost Tomb of Jesus, produced by award-winner James Cameron & Canadian archaeology documentarian Simcha Jacobovici, claims there is good probability that an obscure first century Jewish tomb & tomb boxes (ossuaries) found near Jerusalem in 1980 may belong to Jesus & his family. Such a supposition would mean that Jesus did not rise from the dead, fulfilled his life with a wife & at least one son instead of dying on the cross for our sins, & that his original apostles & disciples pulled off a tremendous lie without any successful opposition in the first century.

Long-time Answers In Action supporter & volunteer Chris Rosebrough has written a throughtful, well-argued analysis of some of the documentary's most important claims. His analysis, Archaeological Identity Theft: The Lost Tomb of Jesus Fails to Make the Grade, will equip you to help answer some of the challenges to Christian faith raised by this program.

In addition, respected scholar Dr. Paul L. Maier, professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University, has prepared a cogent 12 point rebuttal, Jesus' Bones Rediscovered?, that covers other inadequacies of the theory.

Be sure to pass this information on to others!

Two other important reponses are from world-respected scholar on the resurreciton Dr. Gary Habermas (The Lost Tomb of Jesus: A Rebuttal) and archaeologist Eric A. Powell (Titanic Find or Sinking Feeling).

Answers In Action's Director Endorses Orthodoxy of Controversial Christian Group -- Christian Research Institute's Hank Hanegraaff Concurs

"After 3 years of careful dialog, study, & evaluation, we have affirmed the orthodoxy of the core theology represented in the teachings of Watchman Nee & Witness Lee, published by Living Stream Ministry, & embraced by Christians in churches commonly known as the local churches," announced Gretchen Passantino, co-founder & director of Answers In Action. "It has been more than 20 years since we had examined these teachings, & we are grateful for the opportunity to reconsider our conclusions by a much lengthier, more comprehensive, & better informed lengthy study process. Direct interaction with leadership was an important aspect of the process."

Nee & Lee's teachings in China formed the basis for a distinctive move of Chinese Christians that began with Nee's ministry in 1922 & came to the United States with Lee in 1960. Although the American movement was largely unknown by Americans for the first decade it was in the United States, by the 1970s the local churches were attracting attention from many American Christians who became alarmed at some of the teachings & practices attributed to the group. This controversy resulted in numerous critical evaluations of the teachings & practices, including 2 small booklets by Bob & Gretchen Passantino & an appendix in the late Walter Martin's The New Cults. Those controversies continue among some today, although the local churches have gained a hearing and/or re-hearing among some Christian bodies, such as Fuller Theological Seminary, who have affirmed their essential orthodoxy.

For an introductory summary of Passantino & Hanegraaff's reconsideration & new affirmation of the local churches' orthodoxy, see Answers In Action's Apologetics Conclusions Reconsidered . . . . A Case in Point: The Local Churches & Living Stream Ministry. This article contains links to the Fuller Seminary statement, the statement of faith of the local churches, & other materials on the subject. Further articles on aspects of AIA's reconsideration are forthcoming & will be posted here. Christian Research Institute will also be publishing a theological review in a forthcoming Christian Research Journal.

"Although some of our colleagues will initially question the basis for our re-evaluation, & others will continue to disagree with us, I am proud for Answers In Action to stand with Hank Hanegraaff & Christian Research Institute in acknowledging as true brothers & sisters in Christ those involved with the local churches & Living Stream Ministry," Passantino announced. She concluded, "Hank & I both affirm that they are not a cult, their core theology is well within essential orthodox theology, & our fellowship with them in the wider Body of Christ is not hampered by secondary issues with which we or other Christians may disagree."

In essentials unity. In non-essentials liberty. In all things charity. -- St. Augustine

If Christianity should happen to be true -- that is to say, if its God is the real God of the universe -- then defending it may mean talking about anything and everything. Things can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is false, but nothing can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is true. All things not only may have something to do with the Christian God, but must have something to do with Him if He lives and reigns.

G. K. Chesterton (thanks to the Wilberforce Forum)
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

-- C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Answers In Action is a dynamic non-profit religious organization training Christians to adopt and promote a Christian world view in every area of their lives. Answers In Action was founded by award winning authors Bob and Gretchen Passantino. Our hope and prayer is that you find this web site useful and edifying. Answers In Action is supported entirely by private donations.

The Lord's Servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will give them a change of heart leading to a knowledge of the truth
II Timothy 2:24-26