Archive for May, 2015

Here are some books on Apologetics to be watching for that will be released this summer:

1.  On Guard for Students: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision by William Lane Craig (Cook Publishing)

Slated for release onon guard June 1, 2015 this book is written by one of the world’s leading Christian apologists, William Lane Craig.  This student edition of the popular book On Guard addresses the toughest questions young people have, such as: Is Jesus the only way to God? How could a good God be in charge of such a messed-up world? Does it really matter if God exists? On Guard Student Edition is full of helpful visuals, thought-provoking reflection questions, and understandable answers to big theological issues. This faith manual helps young readers understand more about what they believe and why, and gives them the tolls they need to defend their faith.

2. God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe by J. Warner Wallace (David C. Cook)

god's crime sceneComing out in August of 2015, J. Warner Wallace, a cold-case detective and author of Cold-Case Christianity, releases his second full book concentrating on the existence of God.  With the expertise of a cold-case detective, J. Warner examines eight critical pieces of evidence in the “crime scene” of the universe to determine if they point to a Divine Intruder. If you have ever wondered if something (or someone) outside the natural realm created the universe and everything in it, this is the case for you.

If you know of any other worthwhile books on apologetics coming out soon, add it to the comments below.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 12.22.49 PMThe actor Stephen Fry’s youtube video on God has gone viral garnering over 6 million views.  He states that, “the God who made this universe, if it was created by God, is quite clearly a maniac.”  I am not sure why people are interested in actor’s opinions about such issues, as if they are experts on these topics, but Fry clearly appeals to the emotions on the problem of evil without making any argument against God’s existence.  One thing to learn from this video is the need to understand the difference between the emotional problem of evil and the intellectual problem of evil.  William Lane Craig provides a podcast response to Fry’s interview which helps make the distinction between the emotional and intellectual problem’s of evil clear.  It is definitely worth listening to after viewing Fry’s video. (more…)

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 1.26.48 PMSeveral weeks ago I posted about a debate on the source of morality hosted by New York Apologetics at the Stony Brook University between Frank Turek and Michael Shermer on April 16, 2015.  Apparently it is still making news.  In fact, the two debaters teamed up to counter a student group on campus about free speech.  Check it out here.

UPDATE (May 20, 2015): Here is Turek’s blog on this issue.  Frank Turek also discussed this issue on his radio show and podcast and had Michael Shermer on the air.

Mike Adams at Townhall.com posts a blog on this issue titled “A Queer Alliance Against Free Speech.

UPDATE (May 21, 2015): The Stream article.

building beliefBuilding Belief came out in 2006 and was reissued by Wipf and Stock in 2009.  It is a great gem of an apologetics books.  Definitely worth checking out.  He has since become a prolific author having edited, co-edited, and authored dozens of books such as The Cambridge Companion to the Problem of Evil, God and the Problem of Evil: Five Views, Debating Christian Theism, God and Evil: The Case of God in a World Filled with PainEvil: A Guide for the Perplexed, God is Great, God is Good: Why Believing in God is Reasonable and Responsible (which was the 2010 Christianity Today Book of the Year).  His first book though was:

Building Belief: Constructing Faith from the Ground Up.

By Chad V. Meister. Baker Books, 2006; 227 pages.

Chad Meister, director of the philosophy program at Bethel College in Indiana, is the former head of Defenders (now called Truthquest), an apologetics ministry at Willow Creek Community Church. These years of experience in ministry and academics prepared him for the development of this work. In this concise volume Meister provides not only a clear presentation of the truth of Christianity, but also an approach that, as the title suggests, builds belief from the ground up through what is called the “Apologetics Pyramid.”

Meister opens his presentation by recounting a sudden realization he had while preparing to meet with an atheist to discuss the merits of Christianity: “In preparation for our time together, I sketched out a diagram that was the culmination of several years of study and reflection as well as what I take to be a divine epiphany that afternoon. I call it the Apologetics Pyramid, and this book consists of that same basic structure . . . plus ten years of research and reflection on the topics of which it is composed” (p. 11). This “epiphany” lays out the framework of the book. Imagine an equilateral triangle divided into six parts horizontally from top to bottom. Each section, starting from the bottom, is to aid the reader in building belief. The reader begins the journey at the base and “through real-life stories, examples, and evidences, we will continue our journey until we reach the peak of the pyramid” (p. 14). Like Beatrice guiding Dante up through the levels of paradise, Meister guides the reader up each step of the pyramid.

apologetics_pyramid

The bottom of the pyramid begins with a discussion of “Truth”: that truth is absolute and not relative. Meister surveys three attempts to define truth: the correspondence, coherence, and pragmatic views, and he argues that the correspondence view is the one that can withstand scrutiny. A discussion of religious truth and pluralism wraps up the opening chapter. At the conclusion of this (and every other) chapter, Meister provides a list of works for further reading. Appreciatively, he not only lists works in favor of his position, but provides a list of works against his conclusions. This gives a real feel of honesty and openness to Meister’s presentation, and one cannot accuse him of only examining positions that favor his own. For example, at the conclusion of chapter one he provides references “For further reading in defense of absolute truth,” followed by references “For further reading in defense of relativism and pluralism” (p. 35-36). Questions for reflection are also suggested at the close of each chapter.

After examining what truth is in the first chapter, he turns to the question of what is the truth in the remaining of the book. Meister moves up the pyramid discussing worldviews in chapters two and three, the existence of God in chapters four through six, the reliability and divine inspiration of the Bible in chapter seven, the evidence of the Resurrection in chapter eight, and caps off the pyramid with a clear presentation of the gospel in chapter nine.

Building Belief does not provide any new apologetic information (such as a novel argument for the existence of God or an original critique of atheism), but Meister has supplied, as Lee Strobel aptly puts it in his recommendation of the work, a “concise, clear, and compelling” case for Christianity. The criteria of logical consistency and existential livability are employed to examine the viability of the worldviews of theism, atheism, and pantheism. The traditional arguments for God’s existence include the design, cosmological, and moral arguments. Both manuscript and archaeological evidence for the reliability of the Old and New Testaments is examined. Messianic prophecies establish the divine inspiration of the Bible. Meister inspects six historical truths supporting the bodily Resurrection of Jesus, followed by a critique of naturalistic explanations for the fate of Jesus. The famed trilemma of “liar, lunatic, or lord” rounds out the treatment of the Resurrection. Finally, the journey to the peak of the Apologetics Pyramid reaches the good news – the Gospel message.

Although Meister has not provided any new apologetic information, his clear prose and presentation was refreshing. The Apologetics Pyramid provides a needed format or template for presentation, and the list of works in favor as well as against his conclusions is an elevating touch to the many apologetic works in the market.

campus

Being, I suppose, a professional student and spending over fourteen years in undergraduate and graduate education and another seven years as a professor at the collegiate level, it is unbelievable the anti-Christian bias that is found on the college campus today.  Instances have ranged from prohibiting Christian clubs from require its leaders (not members), its leaders to be Christian, to being shouted down in class for endorsing Christian views, the rise of anti-Christian bias on campus is evident.  Granted, many of the instances listed here are no where comparable to what Christians are facing around the world, but an indicator of the rise of this attitude was a 2007 study to discover anti-Semitism on campus. In 2007, the Institute for Jewish and Community Research released a study on the political beliefs and attitudes of college professors. The study was commissioned in part because of concerns that anti-Semitism was rising on campus. Rather than finding anti-Semitism, the Institute discovered that 53% of college professors admitted to “unfavorable” feelings about evangelical Christians.  No other religious group (including Muslims) was even close to this number. Provided are some instances of this “unfavorable” feelings about Christians on college and university campuses today:

1)

“Stomp On Jesus Assignment at FAU” at Townhall – Assignments, not just diatribes by the professor, are part of the “unfavorable” attitudes against Christians.  If it was the name Muhammad, I believe there would have been a very different outcome.

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What if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead? – Great cartoon on what if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead.  Click on the picture below:

recant

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Dr. William Lane Craig summarizes key arguments for God’s existence at the 2014 Unbelievable? Conference in England.  The video provides some graphics making it visually interesting as well as intellectually stimulating.  It is well worth the 45 minutes to watch the presentation and then the 15 minutes of Q&A from the audience.   Craig covers seven different arguments for God’s existence in this video (two of which are original arguments):

  1. Contingency Argument
  2. Kalam Cosmological Argument
  3. The Applicability of Mathematics Argument
  4. Teleological Argument
  5. Intentional States of Consciousness Argument
  6. Moral Argument
  7. Ontological Argument

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Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 8.33.57 AM“Incarnation and Theodicy” by William Lane Craig at Reasonable Faith – Dr. Craig gets questions emailed to him and he chooses one and answers it.  This week he focuses on the coherency of the incarnation and the importance of properly understanding that Christian doctrine.

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