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Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Josh McDowell Ministry?
- Who is Josh?
- What does Josh do?
- What has Josh got that can help me?
- Where is Josh?
- Can Josh speak at my event?
- Can Josh write a foreword for my book?
- How can I receive complimentary resources from Josh McDowell Ministry?
- How does Josh define “truth”?
- I would like to work for or volunteer with Josh McDowell Ministry, where do I go?
- I need to contact someone for help, where do I go?
- Why should I donate to JMM?
- Do you have a list of recommended resources?
- What does Josh say about Baptism?
- How can I start over after I’ve become sexually involved?
- What about “grey area” areas where the Bible is not specific?
- What is Josh’s strategy for ministering to youth?
- What are the Messianic prophecies?
- How can I help someone having suicidal thoughts or dealing with a friend’s death?
- Are you related to Sean McDowell?
- The Barna Group found that two out of three Christian teens will not return. Can you explain this?
- Is there hope and healing for me if I have been sexually abused?
- Is there a significance behind Josh wearing a red (or yellow) button on his shirts
- Josh is supported staff with Cru – what does that mean?
Josh McDowell Ministry exists to serve and equip the Body of Christ in raising generations of purpose-driven Christians who know what they believe, why it is true, and how to live out their Christian faith.
Through the production of live events, ministry resources, electronic media and training, Josh McDowell Ministry seeks to share the essentials of the Christian faith in everyday language so that the global Body of Christ and individuals of all ages within the Church are equipped for the life of faith and the work of ministry.
As an agnostic college student, Josh McDowell believed that Christianity was worthless. But a group of Christians challenged him to examine the claims of Christianity on an intellectual basis. Instead of succeeding in discrediting the truth of Christianity, Josh discovered compelling historical evidence for the reliability of the Christian faith. As a result, Josh accepted Christ as his personal Savior and Lord, and he found his life changed through God’s love and grace.
Soon after this life-transforming experience, Josh joined the staff of Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ, Int’l.) and established the Josh McDowell Ministry. Josh McDowell Ministry is devoted to offering evidence for the God “who is passionate about a personal relationship with each person.” To read more about Josh, visit his bio page.
Josh wants people to know that Jesus Christ is passionate about having a relationship with us. For more than 50 years, Josh has shared the essentials of the Christian faith in everyday language through his talks and a variety of resources so that youth, churches, leaders and individuals of all ages are prepared for the life of faith through a vital relationship with Jesus Christ and to live out that faith in practical ways.
Josh McDowell Ministry works in partnership with churches, pastors, parents, and others through live events, global publishing of books and ministry resources, literature distribution, and community connections through media. Let us help you find help.
You can find Josh McDowell on the Internet at Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, iTunes, and Blogspot. Also, check Josh’s event schedule to see when he will be near you. Keep in touch with us through e-newsletters.
Josh often gets requests to speak at local churches, schools and camps. Please forward your request to firstname.lastname@example.org to check Josh’s availability.
Please forward your request to email@example.com. Thank you.
Our goal at Josh McDowell Ministry is to provide as much free information to you as possible. You will most likely find the information that you’re looking for in video, audio or downloadable format here on our website. If you have a special request, please contact us.
Pilate was not just discussing the truth in his Jerusalem palace the day he met Jesus; he was literally looking at it. Truth was standing before him, clothed in human flesh! Jesus Christ, “who came from the Father, full of grace and truth,” is the very embodiment and essence of absolute moral and spiritual truth itself (John 1:14, NIV).
You see, moral and spiritual truth isn’t so much a concept as it is a person. It isn’t so much something we believe as it is someone we relate to. Moral and spiritual truth has flesh. Truth is a person. And, thus, truth is not just conceptual; it is intrinsically relational.
Beyond Belief to Convictions. Josh McDowell & Bob Hostetler. Tyndale, 2002. P. 53
Please visit our Serve with Josh page for available positions, an online form and contact information.
There is a tremendous need for Josh’s books world-wide, as we regularly receive requests from foreign countries for his resources. It is only through the generous donations of others that we are able to provide these much-requested resources to truth-seeking people all over the world.
Here is what donors’ giving has accomplished in the past: Josh McDowell has authored and co-authored more than 107 titles, with over 50,000,000 books printed globally since 1989. More than 23 million books have been printed in the United States and Canada, and more than 26 million books have been printed in more than 120 different languages and distributed in more than 150 countries worldwide.
But. . . . the need is still great. For 2008, Josh McDowell Ministry has received over 3.5 million requests for books in more than 42 languages.
Yes, you can visit our Recommended Resources page.
The following is Josh’s response to those who believe that baptism is necessary for salvation:
The Scriptures teach that water baptism is an important privilege for every believer. In the Greek language of the New Testament, the word “baptize” simply means to “identify with.” Water baptism identifies us with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection; it identifies the believer as a member of God’s family; and it is a way to affirm to the world and ourselves that we are God’s.
While baptism is a God-given way of testifying to one’s faith, it is not a condition for being saved from our sins. Like the thief on the cross, you can go to heaven without being baptized. Several verses are used by those who require baptism for salvation. Acts 22:16 seems to say that baptism washed away Paul’s sins.
When the verse is examined by the laws of Greek grammar, however, it clearly does not teach salvation through baptism. The verse contains two Greek verbs (be baptized and wash) and two Greek participles (having arisen and having called). The key to understanding the verse is how, according to Greek grammar, these verbs and participles pair off. Basically, they pair off in the following manner:
Arise — Having been baptized
Wash away your sins — Having called on the Lord
In other words, the washing away of sins and baptism are not connected as cause and effect. The arising is due to baptism having occurred, and the washing away of sins is due to having called on the Lord’s name. Forgiveness of sin is always due to faith in Christ and His work on the cross, not “faith plus baptism.”
Acts 2:38 is also frequently used to teach baptism as a requirement for salvation. However, the Greek preposition in the verse may be translated “because” rather than translated “for.” Using “because” the verse would read “be baptized because of the remission of sins,” rather than “be baptized for the remissions of sins.” In other words, the preposition “because” indicates the basis for baptism (forgiven sin) rather than the result or purpose of baptism.
Anything added to the condition of faith becomes a work attached to the grace of God. The Bible is clear that no work of man is sufficient to save. Only faith in Christ alone is sufficient to save.
As strange as it may seem, Christians may still struggle in the area of self-control. Sex involves the total person–physically, emotionally and spiritually. Therefore, when a Christian man and woman enter into a close personal relationship, they begin with a common spiritual bond. If their personalities integrate easily, there will be a natural tendency to progress into the physical. Unless they realize this, it can be very difficult to control.
It’s not too late. God will forgive you and help you begin a new relationship that is pleasing in His sight. No matter what you’ve done–no matter how many times you’ve done it, Jesus has the capacity to heal, to cleanse and to purify. Without knowing the reality of God’s forgiveness and restoration, many people assume that because of their past, the future is already lost. We need to understand that one crime does not doom a person to the life of a criminal. It’s never too late to start saying “no.”
Therefore, we must begin with forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a license for sexual permissiveness, but rather an opportunity to make a fresh start. With God we can have a new beginning. We don’t have to feel trapped into continuing down a particular wrong way path. Through forgiveness, God makes it possible to choose a path in which we can walk according to His principles. The reason you can have a new start is because Jesus Christ died for you on the cross. He took your sin upon Himself (Hebrews 10:11, 12).
The first step in forgiveness is confession. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The second step is practical. We can begin to experience forgiveness in our lives as the Holy Spirit applies that forgiveness Christ made available to us through the cross.
Finally, I would say, don’t venture to the edge of your sexual control–you’ll probably find you are not as strong as you thought. Avoid compromising situations like being alone together in isolated places. Take advantage of double dating or group dating.
See “How can I know God personally?” for more information.
Romans 14 is an excellent chapter for study in regard to making decisions concerning various issues not addressed in the Bible. Since most of what we do affects our relationships with others, study of this passage may help you reach a Christ-like decision that is best for you in your walk with the Lord, as well as your relationships with others.
Often it is easy to fall into the practice of passing judgment on those whose thinking does not line up with our own regarding a particular issue. Rather than pass judgment, we are to accept one another (Romans 14:1). Matters of the conscience–those not strictly addressed in the Bible–must be settled in relationship to God (14:4, 7-8, 12, 22). Our actions should not bring condemnation on us. We should be completely convinced in our own mind concerning our convictions. If we have heard God correctly, we will have a clear conscience. Pleasing God is the determining factor for a clear conscience, not the opinions of others. We are not to do anything without believing that it is right. Everything that does not proceed from faith is sin (verse 23).
We are, however, to guard our influence. Verses 13, 20, 21 say not to do anything that makes your brother stumble. Others are watching our walk as a Christian, therefore, it is important to keep in mind the higher law of love. The welfare of my brother is more important than my rights. Verse 16, 17 say, “Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” The kingdom of God requires real righteousness, personal integrity, loving relationships with others, and a moral influence.
How do we resolve the conflict that may arise when we feel released by the Lord to exercise our freedom to participate in an activity while others feel just as strongly that such participation is unChristlike? How do we accept others and refrain from passing judgment, yet still guard our influence and not cause another to stumble? The answer is by imitating Christ. What did Christ do? Obviously, we will encounter situations in today’s society which Christ did not encounter, yet we can always look to Him as our example for every decision. Look at the first few verses of Romans 15. Jesus glorified the Father (15:5-7). He accepted others (15:7). He became a servant of others on behalf of God’s truth (15:8-12). When our life in relationship to others is in conflict, imitate Christ.
A good motto to follow is, “In essentials unity, in nonessentials liberty, in all things charity.” In Psalm 32:8, the Lord says that He will lead you and guide you in the way that you should go. You can be confident that He will make His will clear to you in this matter if you are diligently seeking Him. It is your responsibility to follow the leading of the Lord. Susannah Wesley said, “If anything hinders your relationship with God, for you it is sin.”
Our place is to listen to what God says and not worry whether God is dealing more or less strictly with a brother or sister in the Lord. Our job is to hear and obey, not to judge.
Josh’s ministry to youth has two basic elements: 1) his talks and 2) his resources for youth, parents and pastors. Discipleship of young people who come to the Lord is the responsibility of the family and the church working together, although the primary responsibility falls to parents who are responsible before God for training children in the way they should go—that is, knowing and responding to the needs of each individual child and training them as unique individuals before God.
In his talks to youth, Josh wants to approach them as a dad sitting down and talking to his kids rather than as a youth evangelist giving a talk. He will come out on the stage and say, “I just want to talk to you as your dad.” The response is instantaneous with kids calling out to him, “Hi, Dad!” He lets them know that he loves them and cares about them. That is the missing element in the lives of so many young people whose dads are distant, busy, uninvolved or absent.
He knows that parents reach their kids when they teach and model truth, build relationships, are authentic, and ask for forgiveness when they’re wrong. Josh teaches that “rules without relationship lead to rebellion,” so he emphasizes the need for parents to spend time with their kids.
Since Josh is transparent, kids know they can trust him. When he says, “You can fool a fool, but you can’t kid a kid,” he is right on target. Kids see through parents whose walk does not match their talk. Many kids express that Josh comes across as the kind of parent they would like to have. That enables him to get their attention, even though he claims to be the oldest youth evangelist in the country!
Ministry resources are intended for three groups–youth, parents and church leaders—and serve to complement one another. Today’s youth who desire to grow in Christlikeness may encounter many hurdles along the way. The resources offered by Josh can help make the journey easier, as youth, parents and the church work together towards a common goal–focusing on Christ and His ability to transform lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Visit www.shalach.org/PropheciesTable/prophecieslst1.htm for more information.
If you need immediate help for someone considering suicide, you can find a counselor in your area through this link
If you are an adult helping a teen struggling with thoughts of suicide or with a friend’s death from suicide, you may be interested in the following resource:
- Josh’s McDowell’s Handbook on Counseling Youth, Chapter 9—“Suicide Thoughts, Tendencies and Threats.”
If you are a teen dealing with these issues, you may want to check out:
- my friend is struggling with. . . Thoughts of Suicide, Josh McDowell and Ed Stewart–Project 911 Collection (Free Download)
Some question whether a person who has committed suicide will go to heaven or if it is the unforgivable sin. Lloyd and Gwendolyn Carr address this in their book, The Fierce Goodbye:
“Nowhere in the Bible, either Old Testament or New Testament, is the act or attempt of suicide explicitly condemned. There are several suicides recorded in Scripture and without exception they are treated just as any other death. The victim is given a normal burial, mourning, at least for some of them, is recorded, and there is no stigma attached to the act itself.” (p. 95)
Some of the suicides recorded in the Bible are Samson, who killed himself along with all the Philistines in the temple of Dagon, King Saul who fell on his own sword, and Ahithophel, a counselor of King David. Because the sanctity of human life is affirmed in Scripture, these suicides were not the Lord’s answer, but neither were they the unforgivable sin. See quotes below:
“The evidence, then, is that there is neither valid biblical nor natural grounds for the church’s condemnation of suicide as an unforgivable sin. It is an act which we do not want to condone or encourage, yet there is no evidence that it brings eternal damnation to its successful practitioners.” (p. 97)
You would need to read the entire book to become familiar with all the guidance given for those who worry about the eternal fate of loved ones who have committed suicide.
Baker and Nester, authors of Depression: Finding Hope and Meaning in Life’s Darkest Shadow, said the following about suicide:
Many feel that suicide is the ultimate sin for which there is no forgiveness. . . This is obviously a misunderstanding of the gospel of God’s grace. The only sin that truly keeps one from God’s presence is the sin of unbelief—of not trusting the work of Christ personally. The inability to confess suicide as a sin is not a real issue.
If salvation depended upon confessing every sin committed as a believers, no one would qualify! The unfortunate and sad ending of an individual’s life of his own hand does not nullify the effect of the grace of God in his life. Suicide victims who are children of God are redeemed souls in the presence of their Heavenly Father.
This is just a glimpse of some statements about the issue from a variety of sources. For further understanding, you may wish to pursue this further with one or more of the books mentioned.
Most certainly Sean McDowell is related to me! He is my son, and I am proud to say that he loves the Lord and has committed his life to serve Him. Sean acts as head of the Bible department of a Christian school on the West Coast where he lives with his wife, Stephanie, and two children. He has authored or co-authored several books on apologetics, intelligent design, ethics and youth ministry. Sean has been a speaker at many youth gatherings all over the country, encouraging young people to take a stand for the Lord in today’s culture. I have greatly enjoyed spending time with Sean on writing projects and sharing speaking engagements with him and look forward to future times of ministry work together.
21. The Barna Group found that two out of three Christian teens will not return. Can you explain this?
There is a book by George Barna, Third Millennium Teens, 1999, which states on pp 56, 57 that about one out of three teens is likely to actually attend a Christian church after they leave home. This is based on the fact that only 2 out of 5 teens said it was “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that they would attend church on a regular basis after leaving home.
Barna states that questions of this type typically produce an overestimate of future behavior. Applying a “correction factor,” he arrived with a figure that two-thirds of teens will be drop-outs. This is not to say that many, at some point in the future, may not return. Barna did not say that two-thirds will not return, but that two-thirds will drop out. It is not possible to give a figure on what the return rate may be.
People deal with sexual abuse in different ways. One common method is denial or complete forgetfulness. The memories of the past are so traumatic or painful that a person can only continue to function by blocking the memories from the mind. Unfortunately, even though they’re blocked out, they’re really not gone. These memories must be dealt with in order for the person to be healed.
Our enemy, Satan, will use these things which are buried deep in a person’s mind to make him or her feel rejected, worthless, unloved, and hopeless. The first step in being healed is to recognize that you were a victim. In no way were you responsible for what happened to you, regardless of your age when you were abused, who was involved in your abuse, what the person told you, or the circumstances surrounding your abuse. When you accept the fact that in no way did you cause the abuse, then you can refuse to accept the condemnation Satan tries to hold over you.
The second step is to acknowledge that God did not want this abuse to occur. Although He could have stepped in and prevented it, He did not, because He gave each person a free will to choose righteousness or to choose sin. When a person chooses sin, innocent people suffer. God grieves over man’s sin and His heart is compassionate toward the hurting. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
We have mentioned how some people deal with the memories by suppression. At some point in a person’s life these memories surface. This is God’s way of saying, “Now is the time I have ordained for you to deal with your past.” Trying to suppress these memories will only make the healing process more difficult and take longer. God wants us to experience the abundant life that Jesus promises in John 10:10.
Some people are more aware of their emotional wounds than others, but all who have been victims of sexual abuse suffer to some degree. God sees our emotional wounds just as much as He sees our physical wounds. Like a splinter which must be dug out in order to prevent infection, so abuse must be dealt with in order for healing to take place. Physical pain is involved in digging out the splinter, just as emotional pain is involved in dealing with abuse, and dealing with it God’s way ultimately brings healing.
God has many ways He can heal—through His Word, Christian books and music, prayer, praise, Scripture meditation, and even tears. He may lead you to share your memories with someone–either a professional Christian counselor or another trusted Christian friend, mentor, pastor or teacher. As much as you may want to be healed of your memories, recognize that Jesus wants it even more. He said that He came to bind up those who are bruised (Luke 4:18).
I hope you’re spending time each day reading your Bible and praying. Doing these things can draw you close to the Lord, causing you to trust and love Him more as you understand His ways. The Word of God is powerful in bringing about changes in our lives. Psalm 107:20 says that God sent forth His Word and healed them. The written Word is the Bible, and the living Word is Jesus. As you spend time each day reading the Bible and praying, you are drawing upon a very real source of strength, both the written and living Word.
Forgiveness is a very important principle in the Christian walk. Carrying unforgiveness can cause a real blockage in your relationship with the Lord. Do you feel that you have forgiven the person or persons who caused your pain? Forgiveness is not easy, but it is possible in the Lord’s strength. We forgive, not because we feel like it, but because it is commanded in the Bible. If we do not forgive others of their sins, then God does not forgive us of ours, according to Matthew 6:15. Ask the Lord to give you His strength and grace to forgive those whom He places on your heart, and be obedient to follow His leading.
You can walk in confidence with God. You can lead a full and victorious life, emotionally whole and healthy. Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came to give us an abundant life. The power of God is greater than the power of the enemy (1 John 4:4). God is able to do more than you could possibly imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Trust in and lean on His Word. The Lord loves you very, very much, and He is able!
If you have prayed and feel led of the Lord to seek professional Christian counseling, we encourage you to seek someone who has experience in dealing with victims of sexual abuse. If you do not know of a Christian counselor in your area, you may want to find a name through the following link for the American Association of Christian Counselors. Please know that we are not personally familiar with these counselors, so we cannot give personal recommendations for individual counselors. http://www.aacc.net
“You bet! I believe one person can make a significant difference. But, you need to be willing to be different. This BUTTON is different. Every time I put on a shirt and see the BUTTON it causes me to pray: ‘Lord Jesus, make me a difference for you in someone’s life today.’ When you wake up in the morning, don’t seek to be blessed by others but rather seek to be a blessing. Now, that makes for a marvelous day.” Josh D. McDowell, Sept, 2010.
Josh is a supported staff member of Cru, formerly Campus Crusade for Christ, which means he does not receive a salary from the ministry, but rather is responsible for raising 100% of his financial support from a team of supporters, based on Cru support-raising guidelines. After Josh wrote his first book, he signed over all royalties to Cru and has continued that policy to the present day. Josh receives no money from any of his books.