Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Useful Information from a "Useless" Source?


A gentlemen at church recently handed me a book entitled The Best Book of Useless Information Ever. Having never heard of the book, he said that "I would get a kick out of it."

Admittedly, I would not recommend the book due to some of the questionable content in it; however, I did find the following quote from John Adams worth the read and I wanted to share it:

"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."

Indeed. It's also important to remember that this statement is true for both the non-Christian and the follower of Christ.

So, apparently the book would have been more appropriately titled The Best Book of MOSTLY Useless Information.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Jesus: The Intellectual

As I mentioned last week, I had the opportunity to share a message at my home church this past Sunday.

The message, entitled Jesus: The Intellectual, is now available online here.

Feedback is welcomed; enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, July 24, 2009

Book Excerpt: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design by Jonathan Wells, Ph.D.


Nothing in Biology?

Dobzhansky claimed that "nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." Yet most of the fundamental disciplines in modern biology were pioneered by scientists who lived before Darwin was born. Those pioneers include the sixteenth-century anatomist Andreas Vesalius, the sixteenth-century physiologist William Harvey, and the seventeenth-century botanist John Ray. They include the seventeenth-century founders of microbiology, Robert Hooke and Anton van Leeuwenhoek; the eighteenth-century founder of systematics, Carolus Linnaeus; and the eighteenth-century founder of modern embryology, Caspar Friedrich Wolff. Even paleontology, which Darwinists now treat as theirs, was founded before Darwin's birth by Georges Cuvier.

Several great pioneers in biology who lived to see the publication of The Origin of Species explicitly rejected Darwin's theory. These include embryologist Earl Ernst van Baer, comparative biologist Richard Owen, zoologist Louis Agassiz, and geneticist Gregor Mendel.

One discipline deserves special mention: comparative biology. Darwinists sometimes claim that their theory helps us to understand what animals are most closely related to us and thus most likely to serve as models for human disease and drug testing. Such animals are identified on the basis of their genetic and biochemical similarities to us. This is just comparative biology at the level of genes and proteins. Linnaeus did comparative biology, yet he was a creationist who lived a century before Darwin; Owen and Agassiz did comparative biology, yet they rejected Darwin's theory. Mendel was no Darwinist, and Darwin was no biochemist. So comparative biology, like most other fields in biology, owes nothing to Darwinism.

In the final episode of PBS's television series, the narrator states that for decades after the 1925 Scopes trial "Darwin seemed to be locked out of America's public schools." When Soviets launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite, in 1957, according to the narrator, Darwin was restored to the curriculum and "long-neglected science programs were revived in America's classrooms." Yet during the supposedly benighted decades between 1925 and 1957, American schools produced more Nobel Prize winners than the rest of the world put together. And in physiology and medicine-the fields that should have been most stunted by a neglect of Darwinism-the U.S. produced fully twice as many Nobel laureates as all other countries combined. Obviously, biomedical science does just fine without Darwinism.

-p. 79-80

Friday, July 17, 2009

Scottish Theologian James Stewart on Jesus


He was the meekest and lowliest of all the sons of men, yet he spoke of coming on the clouds of heaven with the glory of God. He was so austere that evil spirits and demons cried out in terror at his coming, yet he was so genial and winsome and approachable that the children loved to play with him, and the little ones nestled in his arms. His presence at the innocent gaiety of a village wedding was like the presence of sunshine.

No one was half so compassionate to sinners, yet no one ever spoke such red hot scorching words about sin. A bruised reed he would not break, his whole life was love, yet on one occasion he demanded of the Pharisees how they ever expected to escape the damnation of hell. He was a dreamer of dreams and a seer of visions, yet for sheer stark realism He has all of our stark realists soundly beaten. He was a servant of all, washing the disciples feet, yet masterfully He strode into the temple, and the hucksters and moneychangers fell over one another to get away from the mad rush and the fire they saw blazing in His eyes.

He saved others, yet at the last Himself He did not save. There is nothing in history like the union of contrasts which confronts us in the gospels. The mystery of Jesus is the mystery of divine personality.

James Stewart, Scottish theologian

Excerpt originally found here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

For Your Information


Hello everyone; just wanted to let you know that I will be preaching this Sunday at my home church so I won't be posting to much this week. I have a few random articles, as well as a few other items, that I will be posting, but for the most part, I will be preparing for my sermon. Please pray for me! Hopefully, I will be able to post the message sometime next week!

I appreciate each of you and your readership!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Apologist Profile: Doug Groothuis

Doug Groothuis is a philosopher, author, speaker, and writer. He has authored 10 books, published numerous articles in academic journals, popular publications, and newspapers.

Groothuis's primary passion is to make Christian truth known in contemporary culture and in the church. To that end, he speaks at many colleges and universities on apologetics and ethical themes. He is married to author and editor Rebecca Merrill Groothuis. [1]

You can check out Rebecca's site here. Moreover, Doug's blog, The Constructive Curmudgeon, can be viewed here.


Educational Background

Douglas R. Groothuis (pronunciation: grote-hice) received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Oregon. He is Professor of Philosophy at Denver Seminary, where he has served since 1993. [2]

Download Doug's Curriculum Vitae



Publications


On Jesus (Wadsworth Philosophers Series)

On Pascal (Wadsworth Philosophers Series)

Truth Decay: Defending Christianity against the Challenges of Postmodernism

Dictionary of Contemporary Religion in the Western World

Deceived by Light

To view a complete list of Doug's publications, see here.

Articles

Apologetics

Christian Apologetics Manifesto 2003: Sixteen Theses
[Please read this]

Out thinking the World for Christ

Staying True to the Truth

Six Enemies of Apologetic Engagement
[Highly Recommended]

Apologetics, Truth, and Humility

To view other articles by Doug on apologetics, see here.

Ethics

The Ethics of Eternity


Some Problems with Pragmatism

Confronting the Challenge of Ethical Relativism


Why Matter Matters: The Challenge of Cyberspace to Christian Doctrine and Ethics

To view other articles by Doug on ethics, see here.

Philosophy

Nietzsche's Evaluation of Christian Ethics

Intelligent Design and the State University: Accepting the Challenge

The Jesus We Never Knew

Questioning Hume's Theory of Meaning


To view Doug's other articles on philosophy, see here.

Miscellaneous

A Call for Discretion on the Internet


How to Write a Letter to the Editor

Evidence for Easter


The Gnostic Gospels: Are they Authentic?

To view a complete list of Doug's articles that include book reviews, topic bibliographies, social commentary, and more, see here.

To anyone interested in cutting edge apologetics, I cannot recommend Doug Groothuis's works more.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Resources

1. Doug Groothuis, Biography, http://www.ivpress.com/groothuis/doug/biography.php
2. Ibid., http://www.ivpress.com/groothuis/doug/biography.php

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Favorite Quote on Truth

The following is a quote I wanted to share that I have always found helpful:

"To explain truth to him who loves it not is to give more plentiful material for misinterpretation."

- Author George MacDonald, Scottish novelist and peer to C.S. Lewis

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, July 10, 2009

Featured Defense: Selfless Defense


Selfless Defense
is the apologetics ministry of Doug Powell. Doug holds a masters degree in Apologetics from Biola University. Interestingly, Doug is also a recording artist who has released 7 solo albums.

Powell's site offers some very valuable resources such as:

  • Videos
  • Articles
  • Blog
  • Books
  • and more!

I would encourage readers and team members to explore Doug Powell at Selfless Defense.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Practical Wisdom from the Bible

To often, the Bible gets attacked and misquoted, all the while never being read. Since I have been a follower of Jesus Christ, I have found the Bible to contain numerous practical, helpful, and transformational truths.

Perhaps the skeptic would do well to read it a fresh...

"So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Gary Habermas: The Case for Christ's Resurrection


Dr. Gary Habermas, philosopher and resurrection expert, has made available Chapter 11 of the book To Everyone an Answer entitled The Case for Christ's Resurrection via his website.

The thrust of this essay focuses on the fact that the disciples truly believed they encountered the risen Christ, but also covers some of Habermas' other well-known "minimal facts."

Check it out here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Monday, July 06, 2009

Apologist Profile: Glenn M. Miller


If you are seeking in-depth, thorough treatments of the toughest questions thrown at the Christian faith, Glenn Miller's A Christian Thinktank is the place for you on the web.

I believe Miller expresses this best when he writes:

"It would be easy to attack the 'fortress' of the Christian case on many, many small-medium points, BUT TO CONSTRUCT AN ALTERNATIVE SYSTEM that would be able to withstand the same caliber of intellectual examination on as many fronts, I put well beyond the practical realm of feasibility.

Thirty+ years of questioning and study and increasing honesty with the data (good, bad, and ugly) later, I have a worldview that has been confirmed in so many ways--intellectual, experiential, spiritual. I have so MANY MORE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS NOW than I did then, but I have had SO MANY "Tough Ones" answered already, that I have a "justified belief" that my core worldview (although very corrigible) is nonetheless basically on track.

There is no complacency herein...I still agonize over some issues, and 'fret' about others and analyze scores more...but I have learned that it is the God of Truth himself who drives me into the questions and who 'stokes the fire' in my pursuit of truth." [1]

Miller explains elsewhere the primary purpose of his ministry:

"I try to help people find answers to tough questions that shred their souls." [2]

To read more about Glenn and his personal story, see here.

Educational Background (as made available via his website)

  • BS, MS in Computer Science
  • BA, ThM in theology
  • One year toward a Ph.D. in philosophy
Articles

The Christian Worldview

A presentation, explanation, and mini-argument for the faith

Relevance of the Christian Worldview


Thumbnails...Small explanations of Christian Understandings
(Great to use in conversation!)

Biblical Evidences/Questions

Did the NT authors invent the stories in the gospels?

Wasn't the process for deciding what books where to be included in the bible BOGUS?!

How the Old Testament was Written

Does God condone slavery in the Bible?

Existence of God

What makes you convinced God exists?

Is God cruel, schizoid, or psychotic?


Historical Jesus

Extra biblical, Non-Christian Witnesses to Jesus before 200 a.d.

Is the Sermon on the Mount actually an ancient Essene prayer dating to hundreds of years before Christ?!

Was Jesus Christ just a Copycat Savior Myth? (Part's A & B)

Was Jesus a failure as a Messiah?


The Christian Experience

The First-step toward God


Faith is simpler than it looks...


What is a Christian?


Theology

Why can't God just forgive sin, instead of demanding justice?

Was God so 'needy' that He had to create the universe?

Why isn't the God of the Bible showing Himself to me?

Other Helpful Resources

Audio/Video Lectures Page

Topic Index
- Master index of Subjects and Questions from A-Z

Hallway of Questions- Answers to "Tough Questions"

Common Objections- Reasons some people give for not approaching Jesus Christ for a personal relationship

Recommended Books


Links

I encourage our readers and team members to set aside some time to explore Mr. Miller's massive website. If you have an objection or tough question you are struggling with, chances are this is the place you will find the answer.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Resources:

1. Glenn M. Miller, http://www.christian-thinktank.com/oxymore.html
2. Ibid., http://www.christian-thinktank.com/webbio.html

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Can you "provide evidence for atheism, or evidence of absence?"


Reasonable Faith is the website of Dr. William Lane Craig. One of the features of the website is a Q and A section where a reader is able to send Dr. Craig a question and he responds to them in some detail.

You can find the archive of past Q & A's here.

This week's question deals with the debate Dr. Craig had with Christopher Hitchens on the topic of "Does God Exist?" The question, submitted by Steven, is as follows:

Dear Dr. Craig,

I really loved the debate between you and [Christopher Hitchens] and I was impressed at your organization. One thing, however, that I find unfair is that you asked Hitchens to provide evidence for atheism, or evidence of absence. I've thought long about what kind of evidence of absence could possibly be produced, not just for God but for Santa Claus or tooth fairies. I'm not saying that he can ignore the evidences for a God, but I believe that his only job should have been to knock down your arguments.

In short, can you please give me examples of the kind of convincing evidence of absence of a God or other beings?

Thanks!

Steven

Sometimes Dr. Craig will pass-off the question to a Reasonable Faith volunteer or intern, which was the case with this question. I found Shaun's answer to be very interesting.

Check it out here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Can you be 'Sort of' Pro-life?

My wife was having a discussion with a friend regarding the abortion issue and her friend stated the following:

"I am for the life of the baby, but I believe that others should be given a choice."

Admittedly, this statement baffles me. If you look at the statement again, this person is basically saying:

"I am for the life of the baby, but I believe that others should have the right to kill their baby."

There is no middle ground. The question then arises, "Can someone be personally "for the life of the baby," but then claim that others should have the choice to kill it? Clearly, the answer is no. You are either for the life of a child or you are not. You are either pro-life or pro-death.

Please do not misunderstand the purpose behind this post. I concede that there was a time when one could have gotten away with claiming that the abortion issue was merely a “religious issue,” however, that is no longer the case. Modern science, as indicated here, has proven that life does indeed begin at conception.

Further, philosophers such as Doug Groothuis, provide sound, non-religious arguments in-favor of the pro-life position that can be seen here.

As Groothuis rightly puts it:

"...who are we to say just what qualities make for membership in the moral community of persons? The stakes are very high in this question. If we are wrong in our identification of what qualities are sufficient for personhood and we allow a person to be killed, we have allowed the wrongful killing of nothing less than a person. Therefore, I argue that the best ontology is to regard personhood as a substance or essence that is given at conception. Even if one is not sure when personhood kicks in, one should err on the side of being conservative simply because so much is at stake." [1]

Further, where does the right to choose end? Meaning, if someone believes that they should be able to kill an 8 month old child (late-term abortion), as our current president does, how does one then turn around and say it’s wrong to kill a one-year old child? On what grounds can you say one is right and the other is wrong?

In Greg Koukl's newest book, Tactics, he writes of a conversation he once had with a lady, who was a Wiccan, who believed, "women should have a choice..." It went as follows:

Koukl: "So you're Wiccan?"

Lady(nodding): "It's an Earth religion, like the Native Americans. We respect all life."

Koukl: "If you respect all life, then I suppose you're pro-life."

Lady: "No, actually I'm not. I'm pro-choice."

Koukl: "Isn't that an unusual position for someone in Wicca to take, I mean, since you're committed to respecting all life?"

Lady: "You're right. It is odd. I know that I could never do that. I mean, I could never kill a baby."

Koukl: "Well, maybe you wouldn't do anything to hurt a baby, but other people would. Shouldn't we do something to stop them from killing babies?"

Lady: "I think women should have a choice."

Koukl: "Do you mean women should have the choice to kill their own babies?"

Lady: "Well...I think all things should be taken into consideration on this question."

Koukl: "Okay, tell me: What kind of considerations would make it all right to kill a baby?"

Lady: "Incest."

Koukl: "Hmm. Let me see if I understand. Let's just say I had a two-year-old child standing next to me who had been conceived as a result of incest. On your view, it seems, I should have the liberty to kill her. Is that right?"

Lady: "I'd have mixed feelings about that." [2]

As Koukl goes on to say, "I hope so!"

Conclusion

Many have concluded that being personally opposed to abortion, while believing others have the right to choose it, is some kind of compromise between the pro-abortion and pro-life positions.
It isn't. There exists no difference between one that is pro-choice and one that is pro-abortion. To the baby who dies it makes no difference whether those who refused to protect her were pro-abortion or "merely" pro-choice about abortion. [3]

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Resources:

1. Doug Groothuis, Why I am Pro-life: A Short, nonsectarian Argument, http://theconstructivecurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2009/03/why-i-am-pro-life-short-nonsectarian.html, March 2009, Emphasis Mine.
2. Greg Koukl, Tactics: A Game Plan for discussing your Christian Convictions, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), p. 25-26.
3. Randy Alcorn, Why Pro-Life?, p. 94-95.

Featured Article: It Does Not Matter What the Bible Means to You by C Michael Patton

C Michael Patton, of Parchment and Pen, provides a helpful article dealing with proper biblical interpretation entitled, It Does Not Matter what the Bible Means to You.

Check it out here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Pre-Release Strike: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown


As some of you may know, pseudo-historian and author Dan Brown is releasing another book on September 15, 2009 entitled, The Lost Symbol. Apparently, Brown is keeping the storyline under lock and key, but has confirmed that it's a sequel to the much celebrate The Da Vinci Code.

Brown has proven in his past fictional novels, such as Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code, that he is not about to let little things like facts get in the way of telling a good story. This, of course, would be of no concern if it weren't for the fact that Brown likes to present his material as based on "historic fact."

The following post is a kind of preliminary strike before the release of Brown's forthcoming book. My hope is to provide resources that help to separate the facts from the fiction found in Dan Brown's novels. Undoubtedly, the release of this book will once again raise long answered questions.

Angels and Demons

'Angels and Demons' critic sorts out 'lies' from fiction by Josh Kimball, Christian Post

The Truth about Angels and Demons

The Da Vinci Code


Apologetics against the Da Vinci Code by Doug Groothuis

Crash goes The Da Vinci Code by Dr. Ron Rhodes

Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code: A Critique


Da Vinci Code by Matthew Slick

Debunking Da Vinci

Decoding The Da Vinci Code
by N.T. Wright

Dismantling The Da Vinci Code by Sandra Miesel

Exploring The Da Vinci Code with Mike Licona

Josh McDowell Answers Questions about the New Testament

Mary, Mary Extraordinary by Dr. Ben Witherington III

Probe Articles answering The Da Vinci Code, various authors

Was Jesus Married? by Darrell Bock, Ph. D.

The Lost Symbol

Dan Brown to publish long-awaited new novel, The Lost Symbol- here, you can get some of the few known details about the novel

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown: Dan Brown's New Nobel

More articles will be provided as they are made available.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad