Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Role of Apologetics in Pastoral Ministry by George P. Wood

In this featured article, executive editor of Enrichment Journal George P. Wood discusses the role of apologetics in pastoral ministry.

Wood deals with:

  • Truth and Spiritual Maturity
  • The Pastor as Lead Apologist
  • The Three Ways Pastors become Apologists-  prayer, books and dialogue
  • A Skeptic-Friendly Community
  • An Answer-Ready Church
You can read the entire article here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Movie Preview: God's Not Dead


You can read the synopsis here.

In theaters Spring 2014

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Common Objection #20- "Jesus Never Said, 'I Am God, Worship Me!'"

This is a claim most often made by Muslims.  In their article, Is Jesus the Only Way?, authors Mark Pickering and Peter Saunders concisely deal with this claim:

"...nowhere does Jesus assert his divinity in these exact words. It should also be noted, however, that nowhere does he state the converse: 'I'm not God - don't worship me!' even though this was the response even of an angel when John mistakenly worshiped him.

Yet having said this, the divinity of Jesus is in fact directly stated in at least eight passages of the NT. For example, 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God'  and also, 'Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!''  Further to this, his deity is strongly implied in several other passages. 

The fact is that Jesus was far too sophisticated a teacher to wander round shouting 'I am God!' This would have got him nowhere and been totally alien to the cultural context of his day. Instead he made his claims in ways that were deeply rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures and therefore unmistakable to his Jewish listeners. For instance, he said and did things that in Scripture only God said and did:
  1. He called himself 'I Am'; bridegroom; shepherd; the first and the last
  2. Others called him Lord (Hebrew = YHWH, Greek = Kyrios)
  3. He accepted worship 
  4. He created the world
  5. He existed before his birth
  6. He forgave sins 
  7. He said he would judge the world
Perhaps his most provocative title was his favorite, the 'Son of Man', mentioned over 80 times in the Gospels.  Far from merely emphasizing his humanity, this is an unmistakable reference to Daniel 7:13,14 where we are shown a supernatural figure who is 'given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him.' Jesus identified himself as this divine-human Messiah figure and accepted the title from others." [1]

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad 

Footnote:

1.  Mark Pickering and Peter Saunders, Is Jesus the Only Way?.  References can be found in the original article.

 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Quote: J.C. Ryle on Godly Living

“Do nothing that you would not like God to see. Say nothing you would not like God to hear. Write nothing you would not like God to read. Go no place where you would not like God to find you. Read no book of which you would not like God to say, 'Show it to Me.' Never spend your time in such a way that you would not like to have God say, 'What are you doing?'"  

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

HT: Apologetics315

Saturday, October 26, 2013

How We Got the Bible: Ancient Versions: The New Testament

In chapter six of the book, Lightfoot examines the early versions, or translations, of the New Testament. These ancient versions open to us an entirely independent line of evidence on the New Testament text. There are three versions:

1. Syriac Versions:  Syriac was the main language in the Syria and Mesopotamia regions and one of the earliest translations to be made. There are three forms of this translation:

  • The Diatessaron:  This Greek term means "through four" and is thus a version of the Four Gospels. It is perhaps the earliest form and was complied by Tatian around A.D. 170. No copy of it remains and it must be constructed from secondary sources.
  • The Old Syraic:  This form may predate the Diatessaron, but this is not the general consensus. There a two chief manuscripts:  the Curetonian and the Sinaitic. Both are copies of the Gospels and both date to the fifth century. The Sinaitic possibly the fourth.
  • The Peshitta:  Peshitta means "simple" and this form is a revision of the Old Syriac form. 
2. The Coptic Versions: Coptic was a development of the ancient Egyptian language and ended up be written in Greek characters. There are two noteworthy translations:
  • The Sahidic Version:  This form is written in the Upper Egypt dialect and dates to the third and fourth centuries.
  • The Bohairic Version:  This form is written in the Lower Egypt dialect and dates to the fourth and fifth centuries.
3. The Latin Versions:  The first translation of the English Bible was made from these versions.
  • The Old Latin:  In A.D. 180 the church in Numidia of North Africa was persecuted. Christians in a small town named Scilium were arrested, put on trial and decapitated in Carthage. The record of the trial indicates that an individual named Speratus had "Books and letters of Paul a just man" in his possession. These were certainly Latin translations as it is not likely that the people in Scilium knew Greek. Other Latin manuscripts were in use in a similar way in other areas of the Roman Empire.
  • The Latin Vulgate: Produced by Jerome. It is  the drawing together of the various Old Latin translations into one edition. The Latin term vulgata means "common" or "commonly accepted" and thus it displaced the Old Latin by the sixth and seventh centuries.
Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Friday, October 25, 2013

Special Event: Practical Truth for Life's Questions Conference at Mt. Airy Bible Church

Mark your calendar for an upcoming area conference on November 22-23. This conference will feature cutting edge Christian thought leaders Brett KunkleJim Wallace, Alan Shlemon, Doug Powell and Nathan Hansen. Come hear 5 engaging sessions that are geared to equip you with answers to some of life’s toughest questions. 

Location: 

Mount Airy Bible Church
16700 Old Frederick Rd
Mount Airy, MD 21771

Cost: $10 (Yes, you read that correctly!  That includes lunch friends!)

Friday evening (11/22)

5:30 Check-in/Registration

6:30 Welcome/Worship

7:00 Session 1: “Why I became a Christian”:  Understanding Truth (Brett Kunkle)

8:00 Break

8:20 Session 2: “Cold Case Christianity”:  Understanding the facts of Christianity (Jim Wallace)

9:20 Closing Comments

9:30 Dismiss




Saturday Morning/Afternoon
(11/23)

9:00 Welcome/Worship

9:30 Session 3: “Truth & Compassion”:  What you need to know about homosexuality. (Alan Shlemon)

10:30 Break

10:50 Session 4: “Jewish Zombie risen from the dead?”:  There’s an app for that! (Doug Powell)

11:50 Lunch Break
(box lunch provided by Chic-fil-A)
1:00 Session 5: “How To Become an Apolojedi”:  Using Practical Apologetics (Nathan Hansen)

2:00 Closing Comments & Worship

2:15 Dismiss

* Conference sessions subject to change
To pre-register, click here.
Hope to see you there!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Resource: Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus

Here you will find an outstanding collection of resources that deal with common Jewish objections to Jesus.

Thinkapologetics.com is an outstanding resource that I encourage our readers to checkout!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Video: Alvin Plantinga- Science & Religion: Where the Conflict Really Lies


This lecture was hosted by Biola for a special philosophy lecture and Q&A that was opened to all. For those unfamiliar with Plantinga's work, "he has authored or edited over a dozen books in philosophy, and several dozen more in top-tiered philosophy publications in the U.S. and in the U.K."

He is most well-known for his work on the ontological argument for the existence of God and his evolutionary argument against naturalism.

Finally, Plantinga's book Warranted Christian Belief is available online for free here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Family Breakdown



The Wintery Knight blog discusses a post from the UK Daily News regarding a study of the breakdown of the family. Here is an excerpt from the study:

The percentage of marriages ending in divorce has actually fallen since 2005 to 42 percent. For all marriages lasting over ten years, the divorce rate has barely changed since the 1960s.‘It is the declining rates of marriage which provide the only conceivable explanation of the doubling of family breakdown since the 1980s.

The Wintery Knight post can be found here.

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Praise: “Let Me Rediscover You” by Downhere




Sometimes a video doesn’t quite match the message of the song.  This is one of those instances, so I’ve included the lyrics for you to follow as you listen.

Your spirit hovers over my waters
Your love burns longer than the sun
The skies of thunder echo Your wonder
Your praises can't be oversung

The whole Universe is witness
To only a part of what You've done
So let me rediscover You
And breathe in me Your life anew
Tell me of the God I never knew
Oh, let me rediscover You

You see my weakness, my pride, my blindness
You wield your power through them all
Of all the mysteries, still, the greatest to me 
Is that You're faithful when I fall

How can I say I know You
When what I know is still so small?
Let me rediscover You and breathe in me your life anew
Tell me of the God I never knew
Oh, let me rediscover You

Let me cry "Holy, Holy, Holy"
Let me awaken to Your majesty
And see a glimmer of Your glory
Let me abide in You

Let me rediscover You
And by Your grace I'll follow through
Reveal to me the God I thought I knew

Let me rediscover You
And breathe in me Your life anew
Tell me of the God I never knew
And let me rediscover You

Oh, let me rediscover You
Tell me of the God I never knew
Jesus, let me rediscover You.

May this be our daily prayer as we walk with our Lord Jesus.

In the wisdom and knowledge of Him,
Roger

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Why Hate Shouldn't Be a Crime

In this article from the July/August 2004 edition of Solid Ground, Greg Koukl discusses reasons to be opposed to hate crime and opposed to hate crime legislation.

The article can be found here.

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Friday, October 18, 2013

Article: Undesigned Coincidences- Part 4 by Tim McGrew

Here is Pt 4 of Tim McGrew's excellent series on undesigned coincidences found in Scripture.

Part I is here

Part II is here

Part III is here

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Article: Archaeology and the Reliablity of the New Testament by Peter S. Williams

In this featured article, Peter S. Williams demonstrates how archaelogical discovers can help establish the historicity and reliablity of the New Testament.



You can check it out here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What Lawrence Krauss Could Learn from a Children's Book


Recently, Dr. William Lane Craig and Dr. Lawrence Krauss engaged in a series of talks entitled Life, the Universe and Nothing.  The dialogues were put on by City Bible Forum.

During the dialogues both Dr. Craig and Dr. Krauss had a 15 minute opening statement.  During Dr. Krauss's opening statement in the third dialogue, he featured a picture of Dr. Craig reading a book from his new series for children entitled, "What is God Like?"  Now, Krauss used this as a springboard to attack Dr. Craig's position on the slaughter of Canaanites in the Old Testament; however, the purpose of this post is not to deal with that particular narrative and for those sincerely interested in understanding Craig's position, he has explained it here and here.

I own the first two books in the "What is God Like?' series and my two girls enjoy them when I read to them. [Richard Dawkins would say this is child abuse!]  So I had to smile when Dr. Krauss, during his opening speech at the third dialogue, referred to God as "an old man in the sky."  Why?  Simply because Craig deals with this type of poor characterization in his book written for elementary aged children.  In the book, the character "Papa" explains to his children what God is like and says the following:

"You can't touch God because God doesn't have a body.  Sometimes people think of God like old man with a long, white beard.  But that's not true.  He is only spirit.  That is why I said, 'God is like a person without a body.'"

So, it's seems clear here that Krauss was doing nothing more than attacking a straw-man and that he could benefit from reading Dr. Craig's children book series!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Note: I have featured the 3rd dialogue above because I felt it was the best of the 3.   

Reasons: 1. substantive dialogue 2. best moderator 3. You really get a sense of what separates the two.

Further, kudos to Krauss for admitting that Jesus was most likely a historical figure and not buying into the "Christ-myth" nonsense.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Some Fallacies of Argumentation by Tektonics.org

Here is a great resource offered by Tektonics.org on logical fallacies in argumentation.  This article is a great place to learn about fallacies for the first time or refresh what you already know.  It is a very user friendly resource.

You can check it out here.

This article is part of Tektonics.org's "Reader's Choice" articles which can be found here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Monday, October 14, 2013

Twelve Theses on Redefining Marriage

In this article in the Summer publication of The City, a publication of Houston Baptist University, Ryan T. Anderson, a William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religions and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, examines three crucial questions:  What is marriage, why does marriage matter for public policy, and what would be the consequences of redefining marriage to exclude sexual complementarity? Upon examination, he presents the following twelve theses:

1. Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces.
2. Marriage is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need a mother and a father.
3. Marriage as the union of man and woman is true across cultures, religions, and time. The government recognizes but does not create marriage.
4. Marriage has been weakened by a revisionist view of marriage that is more about adults' desires than children's needs.
5. Government recognizes marriage because it is an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does.
6. Marriage is society's least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. Marital breakdown weakens civil society and limited government.
7. Marital breakdown costs taxpayers.
8. Government can treat people equally-and leave them free to live and love as they choose-without redefining marriage.
9. We reap the civil society benefits of marriage only if policy gets marriage right.
10. Redefining marriage would further distance marriage from the needs of children and deny the importance of mothers and fathers.
11. Redefining marriage would put into the law the new principle that marriage is whatever emotional bond the government says it is, weakening the importance of monogamy and exclusivity.
12. Redefining marriage threatens religious liberty.

The article can be found in its entirety here.

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Praise: "Holy (Wedding Day)" by The City Harmonic (Featuring J.J. Heller)


Hallelujah-because our Lord God, the Almighty, has begun to reign! Let us be glad, rejoice, and give Him glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself. - Revelation 19:6, 7

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Dennis Prager's "Thorny Question" Regarding the Bible and Morality

In his book The Real Face of Atheism, Dr. Ravi Zacharias recounts when well-known social critic Dennis Prager was debating the Oxford atheistic philosopher Jonathan Glover.  When the discussion turned to the Bible and morality, Prager challenged Glover with the following "thorny" question:

"If you, Professor Glover, were stranded at the midnight hour in a desolate Los Angeles street and if, as you stepped out of your car with fear and trembling, you were suddenly to hear the weight of pounding footsteps behind you, and you saw ten burly young men who had just stepped out of a dwelling coming toward you, would it or would it not make a difference to you to know that they were coming from a Bible study?" [1]

Glover admitted that it would make a difference.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad 

Footnotes:

1. The Real Face of Atheism by Ravi Zacharias, p. 135.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Would President Obama bomb the Canannites?

In this blog post, Tim Kimberley shares his thoughts regarding God's command to slaughter the Canaanites. 

This blog post is courtesy of Credo House Minisitries.



 
God Bless,

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dr. Stephen Meyer discusses "Darwin's Doubt" on the Hugh Hewitt Show

Taken from here:

"On this episode of ID the Future, Dr. Stephen Meyer is a guest on the Hugh Hewitt show. Meyer and Hewitt discuss Meyer's recent New York Times Bestselling book Darwin's Doubt. Meyer walks listeners through the main points of the book, along with other evidence for the theory of intelligent design. Meyer also dispels the myth that there is a scientific consensus on Darwinian evolution. Meyer's eloquent handling of this complex scientific topic makes the nuances of the debate accessible to the general public."

You can hear the entire podcast here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Is Christianity Arrogant?

“I know for sure that I am going to heaven…I’m better than you, I’m so much better than you that God Himself is eagerly awaiting my arrival in heaven.”  Is that what Christians claim when we talk about absolute truth and that a relationship with Christ is the only way to God?  Is it arrogant to proclaim that Christianity is true and all other religions are false?  Or is it possible that the Christian claim is actually more profound and quite possibly ultimately humbling?  Michael Ramsden, with his wisdom and British wit, addresses this topic on Let My People Think from March 24, 2012.  Check out the episode here.
In Him who is able to keep you from falling,

Roger

Col 3:23

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Monday, October 07, 2013

Cruel Christianity?

The Christian claim is simply this:  every person stands guilty before God in some measure. Good deeds cannot atone for bad deeds because one already owes God obedient, righteous, moral behavior. Instead, we must seek forgiveness, and since God is the one offended, we must seek forgiveness on His terms.

The New Testament teaching is that God’s terms involve Jesus, and a rejection of Jesus is a rejection of God’s forgiveness. One who rejects forgiveness is still in his sin; he’s still under judgment.

Here’s a simple way of putting it. One day every single one of us, the morally great and small alike, will stand before God to be judged for his or her crimes, such as they are – some more, some less. Either we pay for them ourselves, or we let Jesus pay for them for us. That’s it. If we refuse forgiveness through Jesus, then we stand alone to endure God’s penalty.

That’s the New Testament teaching. There’s nothing bizarre, unfair, outlandish or cruel about it. The only cruelty is knowing this information and withholding it.

I certainly agree that religion can make people cruel. But that’s only because the religion itself is false and therefore does not reflect God’s morality, or because the religion is true, but its ethics are either misunderstood or misapplied. The latter happens frequently with Christianity. That’s not the fault of its founder, though, or its founding principles; it’s the fault of its followers.(1)

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Footnotes:

1. Koukl, Greg. Is Christianity Cruel? Clear Thinking. Volume 1 No. 1. Page 17.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

How We Got the Bible: Other New Testament Manuscripts

After discussing the Vatican, Sinaitic, and Alexandrian manuscripts, chapter five identifies two important fifth-century uncials:

  • The Codex of Ephraem:  Because of the difficulty in obtaining writing materials at times, the ink would be washed or scraped off of old parchments and the parchment reused. This kind of a manuscript is known as a palimpsest; a Greek term that literally means "scraped-again". This codex is a palimpsest and the top layer of writings are sermons of Ephraem of Syria, thus how the manuscript got its name. Tischendorf was able to decipher the Biblical text underneath these sermons. The codex is missing much of the Old Testament, however it contains 145 leaves from every book of the New Testament except 2 Thessalonians and 2 John. 
  • The Codex Bezae:  Named after Theodore Beza who presented the codex to the Cambridge University Library  in 1581. It contains the Four Gospels (with gaps), Acts, and a fragment of 3 John in Latin. It is the earliest example of a bilingual manuscript being written in both Greek and Latin. It often departs from the established text, however it has far more agreements with the Vatican and Sinaitic Manuscripts than disagreements.
The three types of manuscript text is also explained in this chapter. They are as follows:
  • Alexandrian:  Very early and regarded as the best form of the text. Connected with Alexandria in Egypt and represented astutely by the Vatican and the Sinaitic Manuscripts.
  • Byzantine:  Related to the Byzantine world of the Middle Ages and found in the vast majority of later manuscripts.
  • Western:  Characterized by fondness of paraphrase, textual expansions, and striking omissions.
The chapter ends with a brief discussion of lectionaries. These are manuscripts which contain selected passages of Scripture for the purpose of being read during public worship services. Typically of the Gospels, but some are of Acts and the Epistles. Because of their purpose, they were copied a little more carefully than ordinary manuscripts. These will be discussed in more detail later in the book.

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Friday, October 04, 2013

William Lane Craig on What Makes for a Good Argument

"...let’s get clear what makes for a “good” argument. An argument is a series of statements (called premises) leading to a conclusion. A sound argument must meet two conditions: (1) it is logically valid (i.e., its conclusion follows from the premises by the rules of logic), and (2) its premises are true. If an argument is sound, then the truth of the conclusion follows necessarily from the premises. But to be a good argument, it’s not enough that an argument be sound. We also need to have some reason to think that the premises are true. A logically valid argument that has, wholly unbeknownst to us, true premises isn’t a good argument for the conclusion. The premises have to have some degree of justification or warrant for us in order for a sound argument to be a good one. But how much warrant? The premises surely don’t need to be known to be true with certainty (we know almost nothing to be true with certainty!). Perhaps we should say that for an argument to be a good one the premises need to be probably true in light of the evidence. I think that’s fair, though sometimes probabilities are difficult to quantify. Another way of putting this is that a good argument is a sound argument in which the premises are more plausible in light of the evidence than their opposites. You should compare the premise and its negation and believe whichever one is more plausibly true in light of the evidence. A good argument will be a sound argument whose premises are more plausible than their negations." [1]

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnotes:

1. William Lane Craig, The New Atheism and Five Arguments for God, 2010.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Counterpoints: Alvin Plantinga and Michael Ruse on Morality

Michael Ruse: The position of the modern evolutionist . . . is that humans have an awareness of morality . . . because such an awareness is of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth . . . . Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says ‘Love they neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves . . . . Nevertheless, . . . such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory . . . . [1]

Alvin Plantinga: 
“It is extremely difficult to be a normal human being and not think that some actions are wrong and some are right.” [2]

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnotes:

1. Michael Ruse, “Evolutionary Theory and Christian Ethics,” in The Darwinian Paradigm (London: Routledge, 1989), pp. 262, 268-9.
2. 
Alvin Plantinga, Great Thinkers on Great Questions.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Article: Undesigned Coincidences: Part 3 by Tim McGrew

Here is the third blog post in a series by Tim McGrew on the undesigned coincidences found in the pages of scripture.

You can check it out here.

Part I is here and Part II is here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad