Joseph Mattera has been in full-time ministry since 1980 and is currently the overseeing Bishop of Resurrection Church in New York.
Known as “a leader’s leader,” Joseph is also a virtuoso on the guitar. He has received formal education in Kingsborough Community College, Elohim Bible Institute, received ministerial training from The International Christian Center, and has received an honorary diploma from Zion Bible Institute. Joseph earned a Doctor of Divinity from the Christian Leadership Seminary, participated in BILD (Biblical Institute for Leadership Development), successfully completed a one-year certificate program with the Wilberforce Forum, and has earned a Doctor of Ministry from Bakke Graduate University, with a concentration in Biblical Worldview and Urban Ministry.Joseph and his wife Joyce founded Resurrection Church in 1984. A multi ethnic congregation of 40 nationalities, Resurrection Church has developed and sent out high-impact leadership and numerous non-profit corporations that have greatly impacted nations and the New York region, such as Children of the City (COC regularly ministers to more than 2,000 at-risk children with counseling, after school programs, tutoring, mentoring, and other holistic ministries) and The Ekklesia Leadership Institute (which held intensive monthly seminars and week-long summits with a focus of raising up the next generation of leadership with a Christian world and life view).Joseph also has hosted his own radio show “Light Your City” and a weekly cable television programs “The Ekklesia.” He is a regular contributor to Christian newspapers, and through the years has given numerous radio and television interviews and press conferences, including guest appearances on TBN. His first published book Ruling in the Gates was released in April 2003 and has already had international acclaim.
In recognition of his years of faithful service and significant influence, numerous local and national bishops and apostolic leaders consecrated Joseph to the Office of Bishop on April 29, 2006.
Joseph, his wife, Joyce and their five children live in Brooklyn, New York.
a. Apologia (Greek): a defense offered in a court of law in answer to an accusation.
i. Acts 26:2 (defense = apologia); 1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3; Titus 1:9
ii. Philosophical apologetics: evaluates objections to the faith from the natural sciences (biology, geology, astronomy, physics, chemistry); a comprehensive academic discipline which ties together and interprets all areas of human study in the arts, sciences, and culture.
2. Two Basic Approaches
i. To assume that one can judge between world views (including the biblical faith) is to assume that there is a criterion of judgment superior to the Bible itself by which all world views can be judged.
ii. Unbelievers and believers live in two different worlds of interpretation so that no fact leads to a change of interpretation.
iii. This challenges the myth of scientific objectivity and neutrality.
i. Believes there is a universal criterion of evidence and logic by which one can argue for truth in science and religion.
ii. Objections to Evidentialism:
1. Puts too much stock in the universal nature of empirical evidence.
2. Concepts require pre-theoretical commitments concerning the value of the empirical world.
3. There is no conclusion which cannot be avoided by simply denying the premises of the argument.
4. Sin affects the emotions, will, and mind, thus also affecting man’s ability to weigh evidence.
5. Begs the question.
3. The Ten Major Proofs Offered by Theists
a. Ontological argument
i. God is by definition perfect; therefore God exists because God is perfect (a necessary quality of any perfect entity is that it exists). If God did not exist then God would not be perfect; if perfection is prior to existence, then God exists.
ii. Problem with this argument: the word “exist”: God must first exist before He can be perfect.
b. Cosmological argument
i. Everything must have a cause.
ii. But if everything has a cause, then God must have had a cause. Also, if God didn’t need a cause, then something less than God (like the universe) must not have needed a cause.
c. Teleological argument
i. The argument from design.
ii. But if everything needed a designer then God also needed a designer.
d. The argument from life
i. Life could not come into existence from a random movement of atoms.
ii. No scientist would say that everything is random.
e. Biblical argument
i. This is obviously a circular argument because it assumes the existence of that which we are trying to prove.
f. The argument from miracles
i. Miracles do exist, therefore God must exist.
ii. But this is also begging the question because it assumes that which is to be proven.
g. The argument from moral values
i. Not all folks have the same moral values
ii. People have moral values because they were brought up with them.
h. Wish argument
i. Without the existence of God people would have no reason to live.
i. Faith argument
i. One can only believe in God by faith, not by facts or reasons.
ii. Because faith exists, God exists.
iii. Faith cannot be used to prove God’s existence because it often gives you answers that are opposed to what you are looking for.
iv. Faith is believing something because you want it to be so; it never gives valid answers from the universe.
j. Subjective argument
i. Many have claimed to have personal encounters with God.
ii. But this cannot be a valid argument because there is no way of objectively knowing whether your experience is true.
iii. Pascal’s Wager: you should believe in God because there is no downside to doing so; if atheism is true then it doesn’t matter what you believe because there is no afterlife, but if theism is true and you are an unbeliever, you will lose your soul.
1. Is only true if you were right about a god or a particular religion which you chose.
2. If some virtuous people would go to hell because they were atheists, then God is irrational because he punishes good people. Being irrational, He may then capriciously change His mind.
4. The Biblical View: Presuppositional Method
a. Our starting point: 2 Cor 10:3-5; Col 2:3; Prov 1:7; Col 2:9.
b. The state of the unbeliever: Psalm 14:1; Prov 1:7, 29, 26:5; Eph 4:17-18; 1 Cor 2:14; Rom 1:18-21, 28; Acts 17:27-28.
5. The Presuppositional Strategy
a. Point out your opponents’ arbitrary statements/beliefs.
b. Locate your opponents’ crucial presuppositions.
c. Criticize the autonomies that arise from your opponents’ failure to honor the creator/creature distinctions. (Show how antitheism presupposes theism; to reason at all he has to operate on assumptions that contradict his espoused presuppositions.)
d. Expose the internal and destructive philosophical tensions that attend autonomy.
e. Set forth the only viable alternative: biblical Christianity.
i. Transcendental argument.
ii. No neutrality (Hebrews 1:1-2).
6. Core Biblical Doctrine: Kerygma
a. One triune God.
i. Satisfies the reality of a universe which shows unity and diversity. Such a cosmos can only emanate out of the Christian belief in the triune God.
b. The sacrificial death of Christ.
i. Virgin birth of Christ.
ii. Jesus was able to satisfy the holiness of God and expiate the sins of man because of His incarnation as the God/man.
iii. In Him, the resurrection enables us to overcome the fear of death.
c. Salvation is by grace through faith, not of works.
d. The afterlife.
i. We choose our destiny.
ii. There is justice after this world.
7. Paul’s Presuppositional Example
a. Acts 17:22-33
Used with permission Joseph Mattera website