Category: literary apologetics

Reflections on culture, evangelism, and apologetics

I’ve been thinking about the culture wars lately. I have a real problem with Christians who seem to be driving for a change in the culture just for the sake of having a ‘holy’ culture. I think we’d have to call that a legalistic culture. I believe that the Christian church should be about something more than creating white-washed tombs.

On the other hand, the nature of ‘culture’ is that it perpetuates itself, feeds itself, fuels itself. The culture is the air we breathe and the water in which we swim. It has the ability to mold us into its image, and once so molded, we mold others in that same image. Resistance isn’t exactly futile, but it is difficult. Conformity to the culture is the path of least resistance. It would behoove us, therefore, to ensure that the culture is not toxic. If the culture is healthy, the path of least resistance will more likely result in healthy beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.

You all will have experienced this. I remember when I worked construction for awhile. After just a month or so, I found myself talking like those guys.

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Announcing: Online Literary Apologetics Conference

I am proud to announce that Athanatos Christian Ministries will be hosting its first annual online apologetics conference this May.

http://onlineapologeticsconference.com/

The theme for the conference is ‘literary apologetics.’ Potentially, future conferences will tackle some other brand of communicating or defending the Gospel through the arts. ‘Literary apologetics’ is, obviously, using the written word to carry out that endeavor. Notable examples are C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, and Dorothy Sayers, to name a few.

The purpose of the conference is to issue a call to Christians in the arts to express their faith through them and issue a call to the Christian Church to help them in a more deliberate fashion.

The conference is taking registrations now. The cost is $35 for the two day event, but discounts are available for students and there is an early bird special in place before March 15th.

Speakers:

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Unpublished Answers to Interview with An Apologist

Not too long ago, FallenandFlawed blog interviewed me about my apologetics ministry and some of my activities. As tends to happen with me, I got a little long and only a portion of the interview could be posted. With permission, here are the remaining questions and answers:

Q. In 2009 ACM launched a Christian Writing Contest, which was an outgrowth of ACM’s desire to develop a genre of fiction called “literary apologetics.” Forgive me, but immediately books like C. S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce and The Chronicles of Narnia come to mind. Is that what you’re looking for? What kind of material did you receive?

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In search of a systematic theology of love

I am therefore in a deliberate search for materials that speak specifically to a Christian understanding of love. This search has been ongoing for more than a decade and I must confess I have to this point been disappointed.

So, I hereby issue a request for help: is anyone aware of any systematic theology books anywhere, in any Christian denomination, that has a section devoted to the topic of Biblical love? Is anyone aware of any book that systematically and comprehensively presents a doctrine of love?

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Media Mention: Gilbert Magazine Quotes My Chesterton Defense

A reader of Gilbert Magazine has forwarded to me an article in their latest edition that cites yours truly! The article author stumbled upon my brief review of Chesterton’s Orthodoxy that I posted on the ChristianPost.com. In a discussion on the resurgence of all things Chesterton, the author quotes me saying,

[P]eople will instinctively dismiss the writings of a man that are a shade over 100 years old. The truth, however, is that nothing he confronted then has actually gone away. He confronted the materialistic view of Man in his own life, determining finally that Christianity offered the truest account. He stood against the Darwinists, the eugenicists, the relativists, and the liberal theologians. All these are still here and with us. The only difference is that they have been re-packaged and re-presented.

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2010 Christian Writing Contest Taking Submissions

Athanatos Christian Ministry’s 2010 Christian writing contest is taking submissions. Over $2,000 in awards will be disbursed in two different age categories in short story fiction and a poetry category that is new this year.

Last year’s winning stories were published in an anthology which is available on Amazon.com, here. You can also read them online at the writing contest home page.

The purpose of the contest is to encourage Christians to promote their beliefs through fiction.

Short story fiction requirements:

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Voyage of the Dawn Treader is Back On

Apparently, Disney is set to film Voyage of the Dawn Treader after having previously indicated the movie was off. In a previous post, I discussed my feelings about this. Essentially, I was unhappy with the embellishments in the movie and believe that the drop in revenue was associated with Lewis fans showing their displeasure. I reviewed Prince Caspian. The title was: A Review of Prince Caspian- One Disappointed Christian.

From my readings in the blogosphere, it looks like we may be in for more with the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. This is unfortunate, as this is one of my favorite of all of them.

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2009 Christian Writing Contest Results

I’ve been remiss. I’ve been announcing the winners of the Athanatos Christian Ministry’s Christian writing contest but failed to do so right here on ACM’s very own blog.   Oops. Over $2,000 in awards are being disbursed (in fact, checks are in the mail) and the winner’s entries can all be read online. The 2010 contest […]

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Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge and PZ Myers

Here is a short story I wrote inspired by the comments in this thread on PZ Myer’s blog. Enjoy!

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Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge of Knowledge

“I got here as fast as I could!” gasped the old man. He put one hand on the hood of the squad car and bent over as he tried to catch his breath.

The annoyed chief stared at the man waiting for him to explain who he was because the chief didn’t recognize him at all. At last, the balding and sweating gentlemen stood erect and stared back at the chief expecting some word of thanks or gratitude from him. But the chief was silent.

“Well, don’t you want my help?” the old man snapped.

“I don’t know who you are,” the chief grumped back.

“Don’t you know who you’ve got up there?” the old man gestured in the direction of the top of a seven story building that was the object of all the attention.

The chief shrugged, irritated, “Two people threatening to jump?”

The old man scowled.

“This is what I’ve been trying to tell you, chief,” said a police officer standing nearby.

“What? Just tell me already!” the chief cried out, slapping his hand on the hood of the car.

“That’s Adam and Eve,” the old man snarled, “and I’m Dr. Stein Franken.”

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Atheist Response to The Toy Story Gospel

A while back I posted a blog on the ‘Gospel according to Toy Story.’ It has generated an atheist response.

I am afraid to say the blogger needs to go back to the drawing board. He was greatly confused about what I actually said and so much of his reply just doesn’t fit what I was saying.

For example, he said that I presented Toy Story as a Christian allegory. I did no such thing. I said that it had theological themes. There is a big difference there. So, the blogger kept thinking I was trying to interpret the whole movie as some sort of intentional Christian metanarrative. This just isn’t the case. I detected one particular theme… and recognized that it was theological in nature.

This alone would shave about 8 paragraphs off his response. 🙂

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My book, Spero, reviewed favorably by an atheist friend

Thanks go out to my friend Dannyboy whom I have known through forum debate for I think 15 years now. Danny also graciously hosted me on a trip to England where he and I tipped back a pint (or two) at the Oxford inns where the Inklings (Lewis, Tolkien, etc) would meet. Here are some pics from that affair. WIthout further ado here is his review:

“Spero” – Book II of the Birthpangs series by AR Horvath.

‘Spero’ (Hope) is one of those Latin words that you sort of know, even if you were lucky enough to attend a school which didn’t obstinately prioritise fluency in dead languages. It is incorporated in quite a few modern English words, most obviously ‘desperate’, or ‘de – sperate’, meaning literally ‘without hope’. Fortunately, although the times that AR Horvath is writing about may indeed be desperate, the quality of the writing itself is far from it.

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Literary Apologetics: Missionary Work in the Language of the Masses

America is increasingly a mission field in its own right. Just as missionaries have to learn the language of the natives before they can present the Gospel effectively, so too do we need to do the same in America. This does not mean (per some trends in apologetics today) adopting the ‘language’ and methodologies wholesale. For example, some aspects of post-modernism provide legitimate insights into the nature of reality. However, much of post-modernism needs to be rejected as rubbish. Nonetheless, if we want to communicate with a Pomo person, we have to be able to speak their language, presenting truth in their context, without necessarily accepting as truth that context.

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The Gospel According to the Movie Toy Story: YOU. ARE. A. TOY!

That the movies end with the toys coming to terms with the fact that they are toys and finding immense satisfaction in their created purpose is one of those wholesome lessons that proves that however much Hollywood and secular humanists try, theological messages resonate. (See also Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty)

So, are we toys?

We don’t like to think so. We would like to think that if we merely declared that we were completely independent and autonomous from any creator it would be so. We would like to think that assigning ourselves whatever value we like means that we really have that value. There is the theory and then there is the reality.

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Careers in Apologetics: Not in the Church!

I wonder if any one has checked the ‘want ads’ for apologetics openings. I have. There aren’t any. There aren’t any because there aren’t apologetics positions. So the scoop is that there are many determined men and women willing to commit to the time of study required to handle the deepest objections to the Christian faith but there isn’t any place for them in the Church. Not if they want to support their families of course, or make use of the Scriptural principle “The worker is worth his wages” or “Don’t muzzle the ox…”

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