Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ye Have No Definition of Faith?


Biologist and neo-atheist Richard Dawkins is brilliant when it comes to misrepresenting the Christian position. Dawkins many times presents the Christian worldview in a light that most likely is not even recognizable to the educated Christian.

One such case with Mr. Dawkins is his complete and utter failure to understand the meaning of Biblical faith.

Dawkins writes:

"Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence."(1)

Really? Perhaps if Mr. Dawkins were to actually investigate the matter, he would find that the Greek word for faith is pistis, which means "evidence" or "moral conviction." It is derived from the primary verb pietho, which means "to convince by argument" or "to assent to the evidence."
The Biblical concept of faith is that it is reasonable and rational. Biblical faith is and should be grounded in reality. It is open to discussion, objective inquiry, and critique.

Richard Dawkins and his zeal for preaching his atheism is to be admired. However, his knowledge of the Bible and it's history is not.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

Resource:

1. Richard Dawkins, Lecture from 'The Nullifidian' (Dec 94), http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/89.

Fear Not


I believe that many times, we as Christians do not engage in the battle for ideas because we are simply afraid. We are afraid an objection will come up that we can't answer. We are afraid we will be made to look foolish. Or perhaps we are afraid that a challenge will be presented that calls into question what we believe and everything that we hold dear.

The following quote from Christian author J.I. Packer exposes the fallacy of this type of thinking:

“The Evangelical is not afraid of facts, for he knows that all facts are God's facts; nor is he afraid of thinking, for he knows that all truth is God's truth, and right reason cannot endanger sound faith. He is called to love God with all his mind; and part of what this means is that, when confronted by those who, on professedly rational grounds, take exception to historic Christianity, he must set himself not merely to deplore or denounce them, but to out-think them. It is not his business to argue men into faith, for that cannot be done; but it is his business to demonstrate the intellectual adequacy of the biblical faith and the comparative inadequacy of its rivals, and to show the invalidity of the criticisms that are brought against it. This he seeks to do, not from any motive of intellectual self-justification, but for the glory of God and of His gospel. A confident intellectualism expressive of robust faith in God, whose Word is truth, is part of the historic evangelical tradition. If present-day Evangelicals fall short of this, they are false to their own principles and heritage.”

As the Bible says, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Tim. 1:7, KJV, Emphasis mine).

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

Resource:

1) J.I. Packer, quoted in Fundamentalism and the Word of God.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Who Am I? You Sure You Wanna Know?


As Spiderman: The Movie begins, we hear these now famous words from actor Tobey Maguire, who portrays Peter Parker aka The Amazing Spiderman. Mr. Parker goes on to tell us that the story of his life is not a happy little tale and that if someone told us otherwise, somebody lied.

There are many times that the skeptic claims that he really wants to know the truth. He claims that he wants to know if there is a God, but says the evidence is simply unsatisfactory. Some will even say there is no evidence! I can't help but wonder if God sometimes is thinking, in moments such as these: "Who am I? You sure you wanna know?"

The motive of the questioner must be considered by the apologist. I was once reading a popular atheist discussion board and the topic of discourse was the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As I read the comments, I was frankly astonished by the falsehoods and ignorance that being put forth. Finally, as I couldn't take it anymore, I decided to get involved in the exchange. Upon my entry, the main topic for discussion was whether or not Jesus Christ even existed! For those versed in New Testament Scholarship, you realize the absurdity of such a notion. Naively thinking that the members of the discussion board actually wanted answers, I provided them with the following link from the website of Dr. Gary Habermas:

This link reports the results of a massive study conducted by Dr. Habermas, reporting what scholars-skeptical and non-skeptical-believe about the historicity of the New Testament and the life of Jesus Christ. Imagine my surprise, after providing the post and a short explanation of it's contents, when one member replied to me simply saying:

"Could you please explain the article to us? You can't actually expect us to go and read the entire article."

I quickly learned that what was being sought by these particular individuals was not scholarly evidence, but an intellectual sparing session. Please do not misunderstand me. There is a time and place for debate, however, when one claims to want evidence, but then will not take the time to consider it when provided, it's obvious that they are not seriously seeking answers.

The Bible says, "And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13, KJV). Or, in other words, "Who am I? You sure you wanna know?"

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Does Richard Dawkins have a Selective Memory?

First off, I want to start off this post by thanking everyone for their prayers and encouragement. We greatly appreciate it and ask that you continue to pray for us and this ministry. We are honored to be stewards of it for however long God allows!

Second, here is a great article written by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach that originally appeared in The Jeruslalem Post, regarding a debate that Richard Dawkins participated in that he (Dawkins) claims never happened!

Shmuley writes:

"Our debate, which took place at St. Catherine's College, Oxford on October 23, 1996, attracted hundreds of students and featured, on the atheist side, Prof. Dawkins and chemistry Prof. Peter Atkins, and on the religion side, me and Prof. Keith Ward, Oxford's Regius Professor of Divinity. Student president Josh Wine was in the chair. In a vote at the end of the debate as to how many students had changed their minds after hearing the arguments, Dawkin's side was defeated and religion prevailed, which might account for his selective memory." [1]

The full article can be read here: http://www.shmuley.com/articles.php?id=627

To his credit, Shmuley also writes:

"Whatever the reason, no doubt a man as honorable as Dawkins will correct the error about the debate he alleges never took place and apologize." [2]

Time will tell I suppose.

This article also provides a great example of why believers need to get engaged in the debate that is continuing between theists and atheists, in a respectful manner.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

Resources:

1) Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, The Debate Richard Dawkins chose to Forget, http://www.shmuley.com/articles.php?id=627, April 13, 2008.
2) Ibid.

* My thanks to Ben Witherington for drawing attention to this story on his blog.

An additional article in regard to Boteach and Dawkins; a possible debate in the mix?

See here:
http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=63454

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"New Earth" Research Center

Updated 5-30-08

For those who haven't heard, Oprah Winfrey has been preaching New Age doctrines for quite sometime. In the past, she has openly denied that Jesus Christ is the only way to God and endorsed such books as Rhonda Byrne's The Secret.

*See our treatment of that book here: http://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2007/10/critical-book-review-it-is-no-secret.html

Her latest book endorsement, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, has become a New Age sensation. Sadly, both Christians and non-Christians are flocking to their local bookstore to pick-up a copy.

For those who are unfamiliar with the book and it's teachings, please take a few moments and view the following video clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW4LLwkgmqA

Here at Truthbomb Apologetics, it is our desire to provide followers of Christ with resources to engage those who are being deceived by the many false doctrines set forth in this book.

In the next months, we will be providing resources via this blog for those with questions or for those who may know someone who may be deceived by Tolle and Oprah's false teachings.

We will also be providing a review and discussing the main points of the book in our May (at the latest June) Newsletter.

Research Links

1) http://www.christianity.ca/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=5593&srcid=1520- Does Eckhart have It Right? by Jonathan Buck.

2) http://www.probe.org/cults-and-world-religions/oprahs-spirituality-exploring-a-new-earth.html- Steve Cable of Probe Ministries provides a sound critique here. This is possibly the best article on the topic I have found.

3) http://potandtorch.wordpress.com/2008/04/09/oprah-and-eckhart-tolles-new-religion/- You'll find a great critique of the above video here by a fellow blogger.

4) http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/08/tolle.htm- Blending East/West Mysticism into A New Earth Spirituality by Berit Kjos

5) http://www.crosswalk.com/news/commentary/11572018/- What's Bothering Oprah, Eckhart Tolle and Today’s New Age Thinkers by Frank Pastore

6) http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/index.php?p=1040&more=1&c=1- The Great Heretical Idea: Oprah and Eckhart Do the New Age Shift (4 parts) by Warren Smith (added 4-16-08)

7) http://www.alwaysbeready.com/index.php- Troubling Quotes from Eckhart Tolle's book The New Earth, by Charlie H. Campbell of Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministries. (added 4-23-08)

8) http://www.gotquestions.org/questweek.html- The folks at gotquestions.org answer a question regarding Oprah, Tolle, and The New Earth's Teachings. (added 4-29-08)

9) http://www.breakpoint.org/listingarticle.asp?ID=7792- Chuck Colson shares his thoughts regarding A New Earth. (added 5-9-08)

10) http://www.christiananswersforthenewage.org/Articles_NewEarth.html- A New Earth, Ancient deception: An evaluation of Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose By Marcia Montenegro. (added 5-16-08; Highly Recommended)

11) http://www.bpnews.net/BPFirstPerson.asp?ID=28150- Oprah and a Jealous God, written by pastor and professor of apologetics, Mark Coppenger, exposes Oprah's false understanding of a "jealous" God.

Please keep checking back for updates!

Courage and Godspeed,
Dj Spidey Spinster










Wednesday, April 09, 2008

An Opened Letter to Dinesh D'Souza

Dear Mr. D'Souza,

First off, let me say that enjoyed your current book, What's So Great about Christianity, and your debates with both Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett. I appreciate your willingness to stand on the side of theism and challenge the many unfounded arguments presented by the so-called New Atheist Camp.

The purpose for writing you is to present a challenge. In reading your book and your current article, The Failure of Intelligent Design, I must say that I was and am surprised by the "hand wave" nature in which you simply brush-off the arguments put forth by those in the Intelligent Design(ID) Camp.

Please do not misunderstand my intent. I am not insisting that you must believe that the world was created in 6 literal, 24 hour periods to be a Christian. I am, however, challenging you to provide some evidence for some of the blanket statements you have written in reference to the ID camp and to the theory of evolution. If you simply dismiss me as an ID'er or "bible-thumping" creationist, you only serve to prove my point. I don't care who is presenting the evidence for or against the positions, I want to examine the evidence itself.

For example, in your latest article, The Failure of Intelligent Design, you make the bold comparison between Darwinian evolution and Einstein's theories of general and special relativity, implying that both are "supported by a wide body of data." [1] However, as usual the case, we are not given any of the "data," but only assured its there. Isn't this the same type of argument that you would mock Mr. Hitchens for?

Now, you may reply, "it seems improbable that the small group of intelligent design advocates is right and the entire community of biologists is wrong." [2] Maybe so, however, I need evidence and a group of unnamed persons does not provide that. I could easily point out the growing list of scientists whom question the theory of evolution found at http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/, but what will I have proved? Nothing. I have only served to prove that it is not universally accepted, however, the question still remains, "What is the evidence?"

Simple put, I would encourage you to write your next book on the Intelligent Design vs. Evolution debate and actually critique and challenge the arguments from both camps. I believe that you will be challenged and surprised by what you find.

From the statements made in your book and article, it's clear that you have only examined the debate at a surface level. If ID isn't science, tell us why. Why isn't the Cambrian Explosion better explained by a sudden creation? What about the holes in the fossil record you refer to? It's simply not enough to say, "Well, there may be problems, but since most folks believe it, so do I." Yikes! I'm glad that the 12 disciples didn't think that way! They didn't go by a majority vote, they went by what they KNEW to be true!

To simply brush aside the credible arguments and objections put forth by the ID camp appears to be more of a political maneuver than a scholarly one. Perhaps following the example of former atheist Anthony Flew would do you well: "I just followed the evidence wherever it lead."

Respectfully,
Chad A. Gross

Resources:

1) Dinesh D'Souza, The Failure of "Intelligent Design," http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/DineshDSouza/2008/04/07/the_failure_of_intelligent_design, April 7,2008.
2) Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great about Christianity, p. 146.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Our Reassurance In and Through Suffering

In my February 27, 2008 post I mentioned that I had preach a sermon dealing with the topic of suffering. Here is a podcast of that message:

http://fcfpodcasts.com/2008/03/08/suffering-by-chad-gross.aspx

Be sure to checkout the messages preached by Faith Christian Fellowship's Senior Pastor, David Vance.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross


  • Correction: The gentlemen I refer to in the sermon was not the valedictorian of my senior class, but the class president. I apologize for the error.