I've recently been preparing for speaking to the youth at our church about the book of Revelation. I had asked them previously for topic ideas to focus on. One of the students mentioned that they have a hard time reading Revelation.
One resource that I have found very helpful in my own understanding of Revelation and other books of the Bible is the Bible Project. They provide brief videos with interesting diagrams that break down the book to give the reader a high level overview of what it's about.
Below are two videos for Revelation that can be accessed via YouTube. You can also download "posters" as supplemental resources when studying the Bible.
You can learn more about the editors and the contributors here. About the Book
The debate about biological origins continues to be hotly contested within the Christian church. Prominent organizations such as Biologos (USA) and Faraday Institute (UK) insist that Christians must yield to an unassailable scientific consensus in favor of contemporary evolutionary theory and modify traditional biblical ideas about the creation of life accordingly. They promote a view known as “theistic evolution” or “evolutionary creation.” They argue that God used—albeit in an undetectable way—evolutionary mechanisms to produce all forms of life. This book contests this proposal. Featuring two dozen highly credentialed scientists, philosophers, and theologians from Europe and North America, this volume provides the most comprehensive critique of theistic evolution yet produced. It documents evidential, logical, and theological problems with theistic evolution, opening the door to scientific and theological alternatives—making the book essential reading for understanding this worldview-shaping issue.
Today's featured article is from Mark Perez, a retired deputy chief from the Los Angeles Police Department who holds a master’s in philosophy of science from California State University-Los Angeles, a CSU certificate in critical thinking, and a master’s in public administration from American Military University.
Mr. Perez's piece offers a Christ-centered and practical response to this tragic and heart-wrenching issue. He writes:
"The recent string of mass shootings in the US and worldwide has understandably rattled people’s nerves. Many wonder what they can do to protect themselves and, more importantly, what they can do to make sense of such acts of terror. I spent 36 years in law enforcement, retiring last year from the Los Angeles Police Department as a deputy chief of police. I am also a Christian. As a police officer, I’ve been trained to engage in direct combat in the event of such attacks, and I’ve worked with experts in how mass-murderers think and operate. In light of my background, I want to offer eight tips on how Christians can be both shrewd and compassionate in our response to terrorism."
Checkout the entire article here. Many thanks to philosopher Ken Samples for sharing this helpful piece.
"The greatest delusion of modernity is that the laws of nature explain the universe for us. The laws of nature describe the universe, they describe the regularities. But they explain nothing."1 Courage and Godspeed, Chad
Footnote: 1. As quoted by John Lennox in his presentation, "Atheism Can't Account for This!." You can find it here.
In Socratic Logic, Peter Kreeft writes the following:
An enthymeme is a syllogism with one of its three propositions implied but not stated.
He then quotes Parker & Veatch, Logic as a Human Instrument:
The search for the tacit premise is excellent intellectual training . . . [for] most arguments are enthymemes, because almost all arguments entail unexpressed premises or assumptions. And in this broader sense the habit of searching for the tacit assumptions which are the silent determinants of one's htoughts takes on an extremely important aspect; it should be consciously cultivated.1
Stand firm in Christ, Chase
Footnotes: 1. Kreeft, Peter, Socratic Logic (South Bend, ID, St. Augustine's Press: 2014), p. 264.
When Natasha Crain started a blog in 2011, she was just hoping to meet "like-minded parents and exchange ideas about raising faithful kids" [p. 22]. However, as the popularity of her blog continued to grow, something unexpected began to happen. She started receiving comments from skeptics of the Christian faith. And these skeptics were asking questions that Crain, a lifelong Christian, found herself unequipped to answer. Then, the realization came. She realized that her kids were going to be facing these very same questions. As a result, she committed herself to the study of apologetics and became a Christian case maker.
Like Mrs. Crain, I believe most Christian parents possess a genuine desire to talk with their kids about their Christian faith, but many are afraid to do so for various reasons. Some are afraid to wrestle with the questions themselves. Others simply feel ill-equipped to deal with many of the objections leveled at the faith. However, we as parents must realize that we are the most important teacher in our children's lives and it is our high calling to teach them how to make a case for what they believe and how to defend it. As the author herself contends, parents are:
"...called to the all-important role of leading our kids to know Jesus, we can't afford to just 'give it our best shot' and see what happens, with a possible do-over next spring. Too much is at stake, and good intentions are not enough. We have to know what we're doing"[p. 20]
Crain's book is divided into five parts. Part I deals with questions pertaining to the existence of God. Part II addresses the topic of science and God. Part III bears upon questions about God's nature. Part IV answers questions on pluralism and Christian living. Finally, Part V tackles questions germane to the meaning of life, evil and biblical hope.
Each chapter begins by addressing a question about Christianity or some other worldview. This reviewer was very pleased to see the questions addressed by the author in this work. The questions are not simply current atheist "meme-like" claims like 'I just believe in one less God than you do," but substantive questions such as "Do science and religion contradict each other?" or "Why does God seem so harsh in parts of the Old Testament?" By discussing these issues, with Natasha Crain as their able guide, parents and children will not only be prepared to make a case for what they believe, but they will also better understand their own convictions. The truths learned and acquired therein will ground both the parent and children's faith with an evidential confidence. As a result, their convictions will be grounded in what they have good reason to believe is true.
The question section of the chapter is followed by a "Conversation Guide" that has three sections: "Open the Conversation," "Advance the Conversation," and "Apply the Conversation" [p. 24].
Crain's explanation of each section offers an outstanding example of how helpful this work can be and how thoughtful her writing is throughout:
"In 'Open the Conversation,' you'll find one or two questions intended to get your kids thinking about the subject. Resist the temptation to dump a chapter's worth of knowledge on them at this point. Instead, listen to your kids' answers and ask follow-up questions to learn more about their thoughts. In 'Advance the Conversation,' you'll find two or more questions to help you probe the key ideas from the chapter. These questions will not cover every detail you read. They'll give you the opportunity to highlight the most important points, then it will be up to you to decide how deep to take the conversation. Discussion tips are offered with most of these questions. In 'Apply the Conversation,' you'll find a quote from a skeptic of Christianity that pertains to the subject. Most are taken from conversations between Christians and skeptics online. They're the kinds of comments your kids are most likely to run into on their own eventually. After reading the quote together, ask them to respond to it based on what they learned from the chapter. Don't shy away from doing this, no matter how old your kids are. If you help your kids apply their learning by responding to these quotes, I have no doubt you'll find this activity to be one of the most valuable parts of this book" [p. 24-25].
The statistics are clear. As Mrs. Crain reports, "Research has shown repeatedly that at least 60 percent of kids from Christian homes turn away from faith by their early twenties" [p. 21]. Various authors and thinkers have offered reasons why they believe this "exodus" from the church is occurring. I believe Natasha Crain is absolutely right- we parents need discipline and direction so that we can be confident when discussing the truth of the Christian faith with our children. The answer to the so-called "youth exodus problem" begins with parents training their kids in the Christian home. We will never be perfect; however, we are called to be faithful. And Crain has done much of the preparation for you. She has provided the tools. Now it is up to us to wield them.