Archive for August, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 11.45.35 AMBumper Sticker Worldviews at Canon Fodder – Michael J. Kruger, professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary examines bumper stickers and their worldview.  Real fun read. A short excerpt:

The other day I pulled up behind a car that contained a litany of bumper stickers expressing their view about all sorts of things.  They were not hiding their worldview (or at least parts of it).

But, as might be expected, this individual apparently took very little time to consider whether the content of these stickers made sense or even agreed with one another. So, I decided it would be interesting to evaluate this person’s “bumper sticker worldview.”  Below is a photo of the bumper (forgive the fuzziness, it was not an easy shot!) and I will analyze each sticker one at a time.

This article will make the commute to and from work a little more intellectually stimulating.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 9.50.48 PMRelational vs. Rational Apologetics at ThinkingApologetics – Excerpting from Loving God with Your Mind: Essays in Honor of J. P. Moreland this page provides some insight on the rational apologetics in contrast with relational apologetics.  In short, there are four reasons to engage in rational apologetics:

1. It is a biblical command (Jude 3; 1 Peter 3:15) for which we have pristine examples in the ministries of Jesus and Paul. 2. Apologetics serves to remove impediments to faith 3. It strengthens believers 4. Apologetics contributes to health in the culture at large.

The book is a series of essays written to honor J. P. Moreland.  The backcover describe the book:

Over the past twenty-five years, no one has done more than J. P. Moreland to equip Christians to love God with their minds.  In his work as a Christian philosopher, scholar, and apologist, he has influenced thousands of students, written groundbreaking books, and taught multitudes of Christians to defend their faith. 

In honor of Moreland’s quarter of a century of ministry, general editors Paul M. Gould and Richard Brian Davis have assembled a team of friends and colleagues to celebrate his work.  In three major parts devoted to philosophy, apologetics, and spiritual formation, scholars such as Stewart Goetz, Paul Copan,  Douglas Groothuis, Scott Rae, and Klaus Issler interact with Moreland’s thought and make their own contributions to these important subjects.  Moreland concludes the volume with his own essay, “Reflections on the Journey Ahead.”

Video with J. P. Moreland: “Real Answers to Tough Questions, A Talk with J. P. Moreland”  The above book of essays are in honor of J. P. Moreland.  Below is an excellent video of Dr. Moreland answering tough questions from the audience and Jessup University.

arguingI have heard it said that you can’t argue someone into the kingdom of God.  I always found that as an interesting argument (hopefully you can see in the irony in that statement).  Why can’t you argue someone into the kingdom of God?  1 Peter 3:15 states “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”  The word “defend” in that passage is where the word “apologetics” comes from.  It is the Greek world apologia which we get our word “apologetics”, which means to give a defense or vindication. Apologetics is providing evidence, reasons, and justification for ones position.  It appears eight times in the New Testament (Acts 22:1; 25:16; 1 Cor 9:3; 2 Cor 7:11; Phil 1:7, 16; 2 Tim 4:16; and 1 Pet 3:15).  In fact, Plato’s dialogue in the Apology is not Socrates apologizing for his gadfly antics in ancient Athens, but a defense of his position in the Athenian court.  In short, we are commanded to give an argument for our faith.

Don’t confuse the word “argument” with “argumentative.”  We are not to be argumentative as in to bicker or quarrel.  The later portion of 1 Peter 3:15 says to give a reason with gentleness and respect.  That is not quarreling or fighting.  We are to give a justification for the truth claims of Christianity. 

But, the idea that you can’t argue someone with reasons and evidence into believing that Christianity is true that leads to a conversion is still prominently accepted.  Let me ask the following question: why can’t good reasons, arguments, evidence, and a clear justification of Christianity lead someone to the Kingdom of God?  Is your God too small and unable to use evidence and arguments?  Why put God in a box.  If he wants to use arguments, evidence, and reason (which he command us to do in 1 Peter) then that is God’s prerogative.

Below are several examples of people who were “argued” into the Kingdom of God:

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“Five Atheists Who Lost Faith in Atheism”

You can include the following as well:

Josh McDowell – The famous apologist was challenged to examine the evidence for Christianity when he was an atheist.  Upon examination, he converted, and the rest is history: More Than a Carpenter and Evidence That Demands a Verdict

Lee Strobel – Strobel was convinced his newly converted wife was brainwashed and used his investigative journalism skills to debunk Christianity.  The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith was the result.  Also here.

Philip Vander Elst – A freelance writer and lecturer who has spent nearly 30 years in politics and journalism describes his journey from atheism to Christianity via the apologetics works of C.S. Lewis.

Rosaria Butterfield – Former lesbian militant feminist describes her dramatic conversion in The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.

Guillaume Bignon – French atheist becomes a Christian theologian.

Peter Byrom – Former atheist talks about how reason brought him back to Christ.

Jordan Monge – A Harvard University student explains how evidence changed her mind about God.

Nabeel Qureshi – Former Muslim who interacted with the apologetist David Wood in college.  Nabeel tells his story in his book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

 So go ahead.  Argue someone into the Kingdom of God.  Do it with gentleness and respect.
The following are some great books of Christian philosophers and scholars in which reason and evidence played a role in the spiritual journey to faith:
Philosopher’s Who Believe ed. Kelly James Clark
God and the Philosophers ed. Thomas Morris
Professors Who Believe ed. by Paul M. Anderson
In this following video William Lane Craig quotes J. P. Moreland saying “that you can argue someone into the Christian faith, I’ve done it.”  The whole video is worth watching but the relevant clip is from 6:27 to the end of the video.


Bible study that hits the spot Theology that hits the spot

Here’s my attempt, then we’ll see an expert do it.

I hope that everyone who reads my blog is passionate about the gospel and understands it enough to explain it to others. It is so practical, you can see the need for it immediately when you talk to people in any detail. People are in rebellion against God. We want to seek our own happiness from rational constraints, moral constraints, judgments and feelings of shame. We want to not have to care what other people think of us (unless they agree), and this goes double for the God of the universe. This is literally infuriating to God, since he is the one who gives us so many blessings. It is proper for us to to recognize and respect him in our decision making – even if we find his greatness offensive to our pride. Instead of respecting God…

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