Monday, December 11, 2017

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Worldview and Apologetics in the News

Donald Trump's Christmas Statement Shows How Little He Understands About Christianity

Christian baker vs. the state of Colorado: Most anticipated Supreme Court case begins oral arguments

Ravi Zacharias Responds to Sexting Allegations, Credentials Critique 1  Ravi's statement is here.



Friday, December 08, 2017

East Meets West - Mark Mittelberg


Recently, I read Mark Mittelberg's "expert contribution" from Nabeel Qureshi's best selling book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.  It reinforces Qureshi's assessment that generally speaking, Eastern Islamic cultures assess truth through lines of authority as opposed to individual reasoning.  I think this is a very important point to consider when discussing one's faith with someone coming from this background.  

You can also find the contribution on the RZIM website.  

Mark Mittelberg is bestselling author and primary creator of the course Becoming a Contagious Christian, which has trained 1.5 million people worldwide and has been translated into more than twenty languages. He served as evangelism director with the Willow Creek Association for more than a decade.
“It is important for you to know that Allah is the one and only God, and that Muhammad, peace be upon him, was his true prophet. God is not divided, and He does not have a son. And Jesus, peace be upon him, was not the Son of God. He was a true prophet, like Muhammad, and we are to honor him, but we must never worship him. We worship Allah and Allah alone.” These bold words, spoken by the imam—a man dressed in white who stood in front of our group and was clearly in charge of the mosque that day—were communicated in a manner that delivered more than just theological content. They were conveyed with an authority that made clear that the message was something we were expected to accept, rather than test. It was not that the imam wasn’t willing to entertain a few questions. Rather, he apparently saw this as a chance to challenge the thinking of an entire group of Christians at one time. So after a short period of teaching, he opened the floor to whatever issues we wanted to raise. But even then, he responded with an emphatic tone, one that relayed his belief that he had the truth and we were there to learn it.
This assuredness was borne out when I finally raised my own question. I asked the imam why he and other Muslims denied that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross, and that He rose from the dead three days later. As politely as I knew how, I explained that I, and the others from my church who were visiting the mosque that day, believed these things on the basis of the testimonies of Jesus’ own disciples. They were the ones who walked and talked with Him for three years and who heard Him make repeated claims to be the Son of God. They saw Him die on the cross and met, talked with, and even ate with Him after His resurrection. And they were the ones who made sure it was all written down in the New Testament gospels. “What I’m curious about,” I said, concluding my question, “is whether you have any historical or logical reasons why we should accept your Muslim point of view over and against what we understand to be the actual historical record?”
The imam looked at me intently and then declared resolutely, “I choose to believe the prophet!” With that, our time for questions was over. East meets West, indeed! I walked away that day with a fresh awareness that we do not all approach questions about truth in the same way. In fact, years later, I wrote about what I believe is a characteristically Eastern versus a characteristically Western approach to gaining knowledge.3
In the East, and for Islam in particular, what is accepted as true is generally what the authorities tell you—and you are expected to embrace what they teach. That is why I call this approach the Authoritarian Faith Path. In fact, the original meaning of the Arabic word Islam “submission.” It seems fair to say that the prevailing tenor of the Muslim faith is one of submitting to—not questioning—what the religion teaches.

This squares with my friend Nabeel Qureshi’s assessment in this part 2 of his book “People from Eastern Islamic cultures generally assess truth through lines of authority, not individual reasoning. Of course, individuals do engage in critical reasoning in the East, but on average it is relatively less valued and far less prevalent than in the West. Leaders have done the critical reasoning, and leaders know best.” As Nabeel indicates, this contrasts sharply with the more typical approach in the West, which I refer to as the Evidential Faith Path. This approach decides what should be accepted as true based not on the word of authorities but rather on logic and experience, including experiences recorded in trustworthy historical records like the ones I cited in my interactions with the imam. Of course, both sides can have their pitfalls. Westerners in the evidential mindset often need to be reminded to be lovers of truth (2 Thess. 2:10) who are willing to rigorously apply reason and the study of evidence, and then follow them wherever they lead. Too often, people in Western culture fall into an approach that limits possible causes to naturalistic ones, and they won’t even consider supernatural causes. This prejudices the outcome and, in fact, makes scientific and historical inquiry atheistic by definition. But if we can help people reopen their minds to the full gamut of possible explanations, then I’m confident that logic and evidence (along with the inner workings of the Holy Spirit) will lead them back not only to a belief in God but also to the Christian faith.


God Bless,

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Book Preview: Lies Pastors Believe by Dayton Hartman

About the Author

Dayton Hartman is lead pastor at Redeemer Church in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. He has a PhD in church and dogma history from North-West University (South Africa), and serves as an adjunct professor at both Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Columbia International University. He is the author of Church History for Modern Ministry: Why Our Past Matters for Everything We Do (Our review is here).

You can learn more about Pastor Hartman and his ministry here.




About the Book


All of us are tempted to believe lies about ourselves.

For many pastors, the lies we’re tempted to believe have to do with our identity: that God has called us to lead a movement, that we must sacrifice our home life for our ministry life, or that our image as holy is more important than our actual pursuit of holiness.

In Lies Pastors Believe, pastor and professor Dayton Hartman takes aim at these and other lies he has faced in his own ministry and seen other pastors struggle with. With a winsome and engaging style, Hartman shows current and future pastors why these lies are so tempting, the damage they can do, and how they can be resisted by believing and applying the truth of the gospel.

You can get your copy here.

Our review of this work is forthcoming!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Related Posts

Pastor Stephen J. Bedard on Apologetics in the Pulpit

Dayton Hartman on Pastors and Apologetics

Article: Why Pastors Ought to Be Apologists by J. Warner Wallace

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Theologian R.C. Sproul on Christmas

"I can’t think of anything more pleasing to Christ than the church celebrating His birthday every year. Keep in mind that the whole principle of annual festival and celebration is deeply rooted in ancient Jewish tradition. In the Old Testament, for example, there were times when God emphatically commanded the people to remember certain events with annual celebrations. While the New Testament doesn’t require that we celebrate Christmas every year, I certainly see nothing wrong with the church’s entering into this joyous time of celebrating the Incarnation, which is the dividing point of all human history. Originally, it was intended to honor, not Mithras or any of the other mystery religion cults, but the birth of our King."1

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. R.C. Sproul, "Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday?", Dec. 23th, 2016.

Related Posts

Christmas Resources from GotQuestions.org

A Christmas Testimony by Chad Vaughn 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Is Christmas Pagan?

Around this time of year, it is very common to hear the oft-repeated claim that Christmas is a pagan holiday and that Christians ought not celebrate it.  Below, I have assembled resources that address some of the common concerns both Christian and non-Christians have around this time of year.

Articles

Is Christmas Pagan?

Is Christmas Pagan? by Greg Koukl

Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday by R.C. Sproul

Is Christmas Purely a Pagan Holiday? by "The John Ankerberg Show"

No, Christmas is Not Based on a Pagan Holiday by Lenny Esposito

Were Christmas and Easter Based on Pagan Myths? by Timothy Paul Jones

5 Questions Every Christian Should Learn to Answer about Christmas by Alisa Childers

The Christian and Christmas: Is Christmas a Christian Holiday? by Hank Hanegraaff

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? by Christian Research Institute 

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? by Bible.org

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? by John Piper

Problems with the Pagan Origin of Christmas Argument

How December 25 Became Christmas by Andrew McGowan

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? by gotQuestions.org 

Do Some Christian Traditions Have Pagan Origins? by gotQuestions.org

4 Christmas Myths We've All Totally Bought by Tyler Huckabee

Christmas: Christian or Pagan Holiday? by Joel Furches

Are Christmas Trees Pagan?

Should We Have a Christmas Tree? by gotQuestions.org

Pagan Christmas Trees and the Burden of Proof by Lenny Esposito

No, Christmas Trees are Not Based on a Pagan Holiday by Lenny Esposito

Why Do We Have Christmas Trees? by Edwin and Jennifer Woodruff Tait

Should Christians have Christmas Trees? by John MacArthur

Does Jeremiah 10:1-5 show that we should not have a Christmas tree in celebration of Christmas? by bible.org

What Does the Bible Say about Christmas Trees? by Bibleinfo.com

Does Jeremiah 10 forbid Christmas trees? by Matthew Slick

Videos


Is the Christmas Tree a Pagan Symbol? by Bobby Conway

Is Christmas Pagan? by Brett Kunkle

Is Christmas Pagan? by Marie Wood (Funny!)

Is Christmas a Pagan Festival? by Bobby Conway

Inspiring Philosophy - "Christmas is Not Pagan"  Pt. 1 (Scripture)   Pt. 2 (History)

What Should We Do With Christmas?

You can answers to other common questions here.

As for me, in regard to Christians and Christmas, I believe what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 14:5- "One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike.  Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind" (ESV).

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Related Posts

11 Christmas Books Everyone Should Read

Parents and Santa Claus

I Still Believe in Santa, and God Too

Monday, December 04, 2017

How You Can Reveal the Glory of Christ to Others (and Why You Need To)

In the subject post, Amy Hall of Stand to Reason writes that "the biggest divide between Christians and non-Christians is not whether or not they think Christianity is true but whether or not they think Christianity is beautiful—and specifically, whether or not they think Jesus is beautiful." She also quotes John Piper and writes how this impacts apologetics.

You can read the full post here.

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Sunday, December 03, 2017