Category: theology

2009 Apologetics Academy Session Begins in May

May 1. Basic New Testament Greek Part 1
May 10. Reliability of the New Testament Documents
May 11. Hitler and Christianity [FREE!]
May 13. Christ Promised in the Old Testament
May 18. Study in Alleged Bible Contradictions
May 18. The Problem of Pain and Suffering
May 25. Basic New Testament Greek Part 2
June 1. The Historical Jesus: A Survey

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Episcopal Priest Told She Can’t be Muslim And Christian

The Christian Post this morning has a bit about an Episcopal priest who claimed to be ‘100% Christian and 100% Muslim’ being ‘defrocked.’

A brief quote from the article:

Convinced that her new Muslim faith did not contradict her beliefs as a Christ follower, Redding declared she was both a Muslim and a Christian.

None of these things surprise me. This is all par for the course in today’s relativistic climate and typical in liberal Christianity. What surprises me? What surprises me is that the Episcopal denomination cared at all. I mean, aren’t they a little past being concerned about truth, the Bible, and firm stands over what the Scriptures clearly say?

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A Devotional Minute for Atheists and Sick People Everywhere

“Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” GK Chesterton

I was thinking to myself how hard it is to be ‘good’ and how easy it is to be ‘bad.’ For the introspective nonChristian, especially in today’s day and age where great pains are expended to eliminate both concepts, that nagging voice of conscience is still quite audible. Have you ever actually tried to follow through on everything your own conscience demands? Never mind the words of an old book or the collective pronouncements of a bunch of religious wingnuts, what about your own conscience? Try to be entirely good, even by your own standards, for just a day. I think you will discover that it is extraordinarily difficult. But not living up to your standard is easy. So easy. Doesn’t this require an explanation that covers all the facts?

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Christianity and UFOs and Space Aliens, an Apologist’s Perpective

What I really wanted to address was the ramifications and implications of discovering conclusive proof of an extraterrestial intelligent agent relative to Christian theism.

Already you should be chuckling, because if the atheists are to be believed, it is not scientifically possible to reliably detect intelligent agency. Intelligent Design, we are assured, is pseudoscience at best and closet creationism at worst. On this view I suppose space aliens could land in Richard Dawkins lap at which time they begin wheeling out some of their rumored probes, and Mr. Dawkins would be unable to recognize that something out of the ordinary was happening. Anyway, as funny and as fun as that thought is, I have no doubt that hard core philosophical naturalists will have little trouble ‘reliably detecting intelligent design’ when the chips are down.

I think this is because they will expect these little green critters with big skulls to support them in their atheistic worldview. But I think that will be the atheist’s undoing. They would have been safer denying that a sentient being is conversing with them because what that sentient being actually says might compromise the atheist’s philosophical foundations.

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Catholic Hospitals SHOULD close if FOCA is passed

Closing the hospitals would show that the RCC has some real backbone. It would be great if other Christian hospitals followed suit, though this is clearly less likely.

This may seem harsh but I think it would simply be strong medicine. Once swallowed, the medicine would do its work and FOCA would come under pressure. Additionally, Catholics in America would get the idea that their higher ups mean business. What with all the challenges the RCC has had in America (the priest scandal, the requirement in some states that the RCC adopt children to homosexual couples, the communing of American politicians who probably aren’t Christian at all, let alone Catholic (Kerry, Pelosi, etc), etc), that is a message that needs to be communicated. That is the opinion of someone who is not a Catholic so take it with a grain of salt, I guess.

Any way, the Obama administration is hell bent on promoting the most radical of pro-choice positions, and this is no time for any of us- Roman Catholics included and especially- to be considering compromise and half-measures… because that is precisely what Obama is counting on.

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Prelude to an Argument for Christianity: The Jewish People

It took a few years after my personal battle with atheism for me to realize the importance of Jesus’ Jewishness in understanding Christianity- and defending it. The character of the Jewish people at that time is well documented by both the Old Testament and extra-biblical sources. Some things about Christianity, or perhaps more precisely, the New Testament, make no sense apart from the Jewish context that it arose in. The brief video presentation below is not an argument for Christianity but rather foundation laying for such an argument. Everyone loves a puzzle! Puzzle me this- how has the Jewish nation managed to remain intact over thousands of years in the face of immense hostility to the point where they were able to emerge in numbers enough to re-claim their ancient stomping grounds? When you’re done with that, how did a people whose devotion to “Hear Oh Israel, The Lord your God is ONE” managed to become the womb for a new world view where God became a man?

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Christianese and Shibboleths as Roadblocks to Faith and Brotherhood

Here is an excerpt of a blog entry I posted at the ChristianPost. It was probably a good time to poke the boys at Godisimaginary.com in the ribs, anyway. I know, cheap thrills.

In Judges 12, the Gileadites find a way to distinguish between friend and foe by compelling captured refugees to say the word ‘Shibboleth.’ Evidently, Ephraimites couldn’t pronounce it correctly, saying instead ‘Sibboleth.’ Those that said that latter were struck down while those who said the former were allowed to pass.

‘Shibboleths’ abound in society, including among Christians. Unfortunately, even among Christians, a Shibboleth isn’t simply a quick way to distinguish where a person stands in relation to you but is used in a manner akin to the Gileadite’s use, thankfully, of course, without the resulting slaughter.

In other words, Christianese is a Shibboleth in the ears of the nonBeliever. The moment you begin engaging in Christianese you are at risk of being dismissed or marginalized in the eyes of the person you are talking to.

The Internet is filled with skeptics and scoffers poking fun at various aspects of Christianity as though they were the substance of Christianity when in fact they are slogans and phrases that are more part and parcel of Christianese- how the things are communicated- rather than the actual substance of Christianity.

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Thomas Sowell’s Fatal Trajectory and Horvath’s End Times Ponderings

The trajectory of our course leads to a fate that would fully justify despair.

These are themes that I have been covering in my apologetics ministry. To counter the ignorance regarding Christianity my ministry launched an online apologetics academy. ‘Non-judgmental’ affectations are covered every week on this blog. As for the ‘poisonous propaganda’ my ministry’s Christian writing contest is geared specifically to spur on Christian authors so that they can help turn the tide from the midst of the very belly of the beast.

Sowell describes this trajectory, asserting with conviction that a few nuclear decimated American cities followed by a quick American surrender is along that path. Perhaps. Yet I perceive that the problem is that America has already had ‘bombs’ dropped on it and the surrender occurred long ago. The time for action was probably long ago. When Americans agreed to go with the whole ‘income tax’ thing, when they allowed the creation of the Federal Reserve, when they allowed the conditions that culminated in Roe vs Wade to persist. Today we reap the consequences of these and many other ‘bombs’ and act surprised, as though the trajectory could not be plotted and predicted.

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The Corporate Church in a Corporate Society

There is another way that the business mindset permeates the Christian churches. The idea that the health of the ‘corporation’ can be measured by the bottom line is rampant. For example, let’s say that a church is struggling financially. Something must change. The solution is to eliminate staff positions. The staff members are turned out into the wind, their livilhood stripped away. The bottom line improves. Conclusion: this is a healthy body.

But it is nonsense. It is nonsense because in the body of Christ, unlike in corporate America, you cannot have ‘health’ at the expense of the brothers and sisters. The bottom line is not the only measure. Indeed, in that it is a measure at all, what it measures is entirely different.

Now, financial realities are financial realities. The point here is not that you can’t have situations where you have to cut staff (or programs, whatever) the point is that you can’t just cut people loose and think that now you’ve improved the body or that you’ve ‘come through a rough patch.’ If the people who have been cut loose are forgotten by the congregation or body of believers and are abandoned by them, I assure you, you haven’t improved the health of the body. Done in this way, you will likely have created very bitter former staffers and in some cases drive them out of the church. But it is important to see that doing it this way is far from intentional. It is the natural consequence of thinking of the congregation’s ‘corporate’ nature as essentially like an American corporation’s nature.

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The End of America: Civilization is Skin Deep

I had an invigorating debate this evening with a gentleman who took issue with my analysis regarding the potential overthrow and occupation of the United States, per my book series, Birth Pangs. The blog entry the gent was replying to was my own critique of some Russian analyst arguing that the US is due to collapse in 2010. Apparently the vital flaw in my critique was that I didn’t reject outright the possibility that the US could disintegrate, ever. We are so big and mighty, goes the argument, that we will never be overcome by foreign foes. More likely in this gent’s view is that America descends into another civil war.

While I personally rejected the Russian analyst’s view, it is important to understand why: Igor failed to predict or specify a catalyst. This is what the gentleman who inspired this post himself overlooks: a ‘catalyst’ can happen at any time. We have no assurances for the future. Anything can happen tonight, tomorrow, next week, or next month. At that point, all bets are off. Yes, even for America, ‘big and mighty.’

My Birth Pangs series skips over the 50 to 100 years between now and then and sprinkles catalysts throughout but more importantly links actions and beliefs with consequences- consequences which a study of history and human nature render almost all but inevitable. Inevitable, that is, if nothing is done in the meantime, or when certain points of decision are reached, the ‘right’ decision is made. ‘Right’ decisions are predicated on there being people with the ‘right’ mindset. Ensuring that the ‘right’ mindset exists at that time requires groundwork be laid far earlier… say, now.

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Would an atheist be happy in hell? Cue the Twilight Zone Theme Song…

So you see, either way you go, either rejecting the existence of the Christian God or accepting it, the atheist possesses some sort of moral standard by which to measure the conduct of God and the terms he lays out. But I find this all very ironic. After all, the whole point of disgust has to do with people being eternally punished by God and how unfair and indecent that is but when it is pointed out that the Bible further describes this eternal punishment as an eternal separation from God (relationally), shut out from his presence forever, they are not satiated? I mean, isn’t that what they wanted? If God turns out to be real and they hate him so much don’t they actually want there to be something like ‘hell’ where God will leave them to their own devices?

Yes it is. Here you see one of those classic “there is no pleasing them” scenarios. Even if there is a God they don’t like him and would rather in that case spend eternity separate from him, but when that actual opportunity is presented to them from the same texts they reject God as being unloving and Christianity (and religion in general) as fear mongering. Dudes. You’re getting what you want. Why complain?

Of course, we Christians understand that getting what you want isn’t all it is cracked up to be.

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Online Presentation on the Demise of Christianity

Below I have the ‘video’ of my online presentation on the ‘death of Christianity.’ I have been developing a line of thought and the corresponding presentation for about a year. I adapted by presentation for the uniquness of this format. My adaptations reflected the fact that it was a virtual presentation, that it was predominantly a ‘professional’ church work Christian audience, and that it was predominantly a Lutheran Christian audience. Also, the outline of my presentation (unadapted) is about 45 mins, here I only had 30 mins to work with.

I am hosting the video on my ministry’s new Christian file sharing service, emphasizing apologetics videos. The site is www.apologeticsvideos.net. At this time, I am allowing anyone to post apologetics related videos so if you have got them feel free to upload them. (The chief advantage is that there is no time limit on a video. There is, however, a 100mb file size limit)

With no further ado, here is the video of the presentation:

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Human Rights Without God?

Atheists and secular humanists quite obviously argue that we humans are all alone and that humans themselves determine their worth, their value, their ‘intrinsic’ dignity. The problems with this ought to be self-evident but atheists are crafty folks. History reveals clearly that humans can change their minds about the ‘worth,’ ‘value,’ and ‘rights’ of humans (usually other humans). For example, the Nazis depersonalized the Jews with consequences I need not expand on. Atheistic communist regimes depersonalized dissidents and capitalists with consequences I need not expand on. The atheistic apologetic on the point is that actually this goes to show the dangers of ‘religion.’ For, you see, anyone who ever does anything nasty, no matter what their ideology, is, by definition, acting religiously. In this way, atheists can always keep their hands clean.

However, it misses the point. The fundamental point has to do with our basis for decrying what the Nazis and communists did. If humans themselves are the sole and final arbiters for determining and dictating human value then no one can complain about what humans decide. Oh sure, the do complain. But in doing so they betray the inconsistency of their position.

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On Embryos and Babies and Octuplets

My blog is racking up some nice numbers lately and much of that can be credited to a recent post about the California Octuplets. I’d like to make some clarifications.

In the first place, I stand by my general assessment that as Christians and pro-lifers, since we believe embryos are real persons, the Octuplet outcome is much better than the alternative, which of course is death.

While it is true that the mother in this case probably doesn’t deserve charity, again, as pro-lifers our concern isn’t exclusively for the mother, but also for the children. It is difficult to understand why they don’t deserve charity. They are in this world and so we should care for them. Let the secularists say, “They cost the state 1.3 million dollars, so screw them!” That option is not available to us.

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