Category: Jesus

Apologetics is the Answer to Abortion and Euthanasia and other Life Issues

Apologetics ministries tend to focus on issues such as God’s existence or the fact of the resurrection or the Bible’s reliability. These are all very important. Indeed, they bear directly on the issues at hand- for if there is no God, it obviously follows that we cannot be made by him in his image. Further, Jesus suffering, death, and resurrection on behalf of a fallen human race is an emphatic testament to how much God himself values each human life. Dispense with these, and there are ripples down the line.

There, however, is where I wish to make the point: there are ripples down the line.

Somewhere I read once that in the 1700s they went after God. In the 1800s, they went after Jesus. In the 1900s, they went after Man. The sequence is logical, rational, and predictable. One would like to think that they can dispense with God without there being practical effect, but the 1900s have shown otherwise.

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Blind Faith is not Christian Faith

Richard Dawkins, among many others, have contended that ‘faith’ is believing what you know isn’t true. Less severe, but equally inaccurate, is the view that faith is a thing completely apart from evidence, or even in spite of the evidence. This view isn’t restricted to atheists. Unfortunately, many Christians themselves take that view. It is unfortunate because it is not true, it is not how the Scriptures actually present it, and it takes Christians out of discussions they should be involved in.

The simplest way to put it that would be accurate would be to understand ‘faith’ as including, front and center, the idea of ‘trust.’

Christian faith is not merely the confident belief that certain propositions are true. It isn’t even the confident belief that a God exists. The Scriptures forbid such a narrow understanding: “So you believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” James 2:19

Another passage puts it in better context: “…without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he awards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Real Christian faith includes and transcends beliefs in propositions and speaks to the trust that we have in God and our reliance on his nature (ie, most prominently, his goodness).

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ACM’s January Literary Journal Edition Released

This ministry’s literary journal January edition has been released and is ready for reading online or download.  A Kindle edition is also available. A synopsis is below.  Go right on ahead to read the whole thing here:  http://literaryapologetics.com/ To download the January edition of Literary Apologetics.Mag in the format you prefer, please visit:  http://literaryapologetics.com/download-january-2011-edition/204.html ———————————— […]

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Tips that Atheists can use for Understanding the Bible

When I was a high school religion teacher I ran into a bit of trouble because, for the final exam, I expected the students to be able to recall facts from the Bible that we had covered that semester. Yes, I know. If it had been chemistry class, recalling chemistry facts covered in the semester would have been an obvious thing to have on the exam. I think the reason there was resistance to requiring that students know biblical facts is because a lot of people- even parents of kids in Christian schools- don’t actually think the Bible is true. To them, ‘religion class’ is absurd; the only thing one needs to know is that God loves you and accepts you for who you are.

That is essentially ‘Sunday School’ religion, and basically why so many people today are falling away from the faith. After all, it isn’t like its true or anything, right?

So, my title is meant to poke atheists (and get some web traffic 😉 ) but what follows can be useful to anyone, Christians included, who wish to actually understand the Bible. Unfortunately, many people don’t. This is largely because they don’t grasp the over-aching framework of the Scriptures. This is then coupled with the fact that what they do know consists largely of Sunday School versions of popular Bible stories at best or Disney re-tellings of those stories at worst. However, even people who buckle down to read the Bible straight through will likely fail to understand it if they don’t keep some important principles in mind. So, note: if you are an atheist whose knowledge of the Bible stems from nothing more than Sunday School from 1st grade to 8th grade… pay attention.

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Why Christians Should Donate Money

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth… But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt 6:19-21)

How many times have you heard someone complain that their congregation talks about money way too much? You may have said the same. Your complaint may very well be valid, and yet the congregation’s need is probably genuine. Probably, in most churches, the leadership would much rather not lodge any requests at all. Ideally, people would be ‘Gospel motivated.’ When it becomes difficult- or impossible- to meet the payroll or pay building expenses, the leadership has to bite the bullet and issue the plea(s).

What is really going on is a lack of familiarity with what the Scriptures say about money and a lack of courage or foresight within the leadership to teach about money. Actually, a lot of it is that some folks don’t even care what the Scriptures say on the issue. Their views on money, like so many other views, are born of one’s own ‘natural reasoning.’ This post is not about them. This post is about folks who do care. Let me share some of my experiences leading a ministry that relies a great deal on donations. But first, let me state plainly what I hope this post will accomplish:

The reader will open up their Bibles for themselves and study what it has to say about money (time, talent, and treasure) from beginning to end.

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Distinguishing between the Organic Church and the Organizational Church

A pastor in Nevada chastises me, “The little old ladies in our congregation are extraordinary in their faithfulness. They do everything in the church. They run the committees, their generosity pays the bills, they tend to the facilities. My congregation is 95% filled with these little old ladies who are lions in the faith.”

No doubt, they are the lions in the faith. Yet in under 10 years they will all be dead from simple old age. 10 years from now, when they have all passed to be with Jesus in his glory, and there are just 10 people left in the congregation, might we stop to wonder if the reason for this is not because the church is being faithful to its principles, but because it is not?

How can we call it faithful if the youngest person in the congregation is 40 years old? Does that really sound consistent with the Scriptural vision for believers? Seriously?

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Three words Christians abuse: church, worship, love

The title of this post does not do the matter justice.  The word ‘abuse’ is too mild, and it might be even more accurate to say that in actual fact the sweeping trend within Christendom is that there is outright plain ignorance on what these terms mean.  The charge only matters at all to those […]

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Violence is never the answer: Except when it is…

The platitude is dangerous. On the one hand, when we transmit it, we transmit something we know is not actually true. That’s bad policy right there. On the other hand, it shuts down an important area of human experience that requires extensive critical thinking. In a world filled with evil and malignant men, every good person must be prepared in their mind for what they should do given certain eventualities… because we know from the newspaper and history book that these things do happen. Another danger to the platitude is that it sets people up for guilt after they perform a violent- but righteous- act. Finally, if someone has never actually thought about the matter before and all they’ve been fed is the platitude, they might freeze up and do nothing, or flee when they should fight.

I can think of no better example then the story that emerged out of the Virginia Tech massacre of Liviu Librescu. Here is a survivor of the holocaust, gunned down through the door that he refused to open for the gunman.

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They Hyper-Defense of God: Reprise

God has chosen to operate through people and tangible, physical stuff like sound waves (the Word), water (baptism), and bread and wine (the Eucharist). (Some will object to baptism and the Eucharist, but at least people and the Word should be conceded). To attack such things in the name of spirituality is to attack that which the Spirit is actually using. In fact, this line of attack sounds an awful lot like Gnosticism, which considers matter inherently corrupted and only the spiritual things pure.

As a quick, pointed example, the accusation that the Christian community abhors all things concerning sex isn’t an entirely fabricated. There are indeed Christians who will talk about sex as though it were some base, physical act that only serves to get in the way of spiritual pursuits. But God made us as sexual beings, and marriage was God’s way of creating godly children (Mal. 2). One gets the idea for some Christians that God permits people to have sex, but only reluctantly- so we should try very hard not to enjoy it and participate in it only as duty requires. Yea, compare and contrast that with the Song of Solomon, why don’t you!

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Antony Flew Goes to Heaven: A Parable

Readers of this blog know that I have an interest in Antony Flew, having even had the honor of corresponded with him.   Click here for a list of posts I’ve written regarding Dr. Flew.  The short story below may be understood better by some if you read this particular post of mine where I discuss […]

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Essay published on Apologetics315.com on Christianity and the nature of Judaism

Apologetics315 is publishing an essay series on the veracity of Christianity. I was asked to contribute an essay. That essay was published today. You should take some time to check out the other essays, too.

Much ink has been spilled in defense of the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus, and I myself have spilled my fair share. Similarly, the stunning explosion of the Christian Church within the Roman Empire has been raised as a phenomenon that requires explanation and a dead man rising from the dead is the best one. These efforts are valid, but their weight cannot be appreciated without first knowing the context behind the arguments. We must understand the Jewish people, their history and religion.

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Comparing Apples to Oranges Without Even Knowing it

To begin with, Mr. Pulliam, the blogger, says, “even if the gospels do record eyewitness testimony, that is no guarantee of their accuracy.” Responding to a book on the subject, Mr. Pulliam says, “Bauckham maintains that the gospels are reliable history because the accounts contained in them are either from eyewitness testimonies or very close to eyewitness testimonies.”

If Bauckham really presents his argument in this fashion it will be the first that I’ve heard it that way. I would think that it is pretty foolish to infer that simply because the gospels are (or are derived from) eyewitness testimonies that makes them reliable. That would be pretty dumb. Eyewitness testimony needs to be checked out, just like we need to check out the information that comes to us by any other epistemological method.

Who has suggested otherwise? Bauckham? On Mr. Pulliam’s telling… but given the weakness of eyewitness testimony which Mr. Pulliam putatively has proven- Mr. Pulliam’s recounting of Bauckham’s position cannot be simply trusted since this recounting is, of course, eyewitness testimony: Mr. Pulliam’s.

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Why Christians are against Universal Health Care

“the “right” within the church attempt to leverage the gov. to legislate morality. The “left” within the church attempt to leverage the gov. to legislate compassion. Both approaches fail miserably and are an abdication of our responsibility to be the voice, hands and feet of Jesus in this world.” – spoken by a friend.

Someone slid this article across my desk that inquires as to why evangelical Christians are against universal health care. Now, strictly speaking, I’m not an evangelical. Also, I don’t think that all Christians oppose universal health care, and I will not presume that Christians who do will share all my reasons. I hope this caveat spares me the litany of comments accusing me of ‘generalizing.’

I will take the article as my foil as it is one of the finest expressions of liberal hubris and arrogance that I’ve seen in a while. The author begins by indicating he seriously wanted to know why Christians who are supposed to be all about love would oppose health care. The end includes a long screed:

(p.s. this opinion is reserved for those Christians who have not actually thought about the consequences, and decided that more people are harmed than helped by the new law. They are being consistent with their beliefs. That being said, if you think you are in that camp of people excluded, you probably aren’t. You probably are just being geedy, selfish and jerkish, but convincing yourself that this is why you oppose it, while the truth remains you just dont want taxed, or adhere to some abstract notion of how this bill is UnGodly).

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Messiah Claimants Throughout History

A long time ago I engaged in some online debates attempting to demonstrate that Jesus was the Messiah. My opponents were atheists and a Noachide- in other words, I was fighting off both sides. Sad to say, I had to turn my attention elsewhere and the thread dropped. Here is the original conversation.

I mention this for two reasons. First of all, I wanted to attack the prevailing sentiment that Messiahs are a dime a dozen and that religions derived from them are plentiful- thus, Christianity is nothing special. The truth, however, is that 99% of all messianic movements were brutally crushed… even Jesus was crushed, and yet he, and only he, gave rise to an entirely new religion with billions of followers. Odd. It requires explanation.

The second thing that I wanted to demonstrate was that there was at the time of Jesus an intense expectation for a Messiah. There had to be a reason for this. The reason I propose as the best explanation is that the first century Jews interpreted the Old Testament in such a way as to believe that the Messiah was to be expected ‘soon.’ Jews today reject these interpretations today, but surely what matters is what they believed then?

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