Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Video: The Problem of Evil and Suffering featuring William Lane Craig


In this talk, given at the On Guard Conference in 2012, philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig addresses the problem of evil and suffering.

It should be noted that the problem of suffering and evil is everybody's problem to deal with and the question that should be asked is, "Which worldview best explains and deals with the problem and reality of suffering and evil?"

Further, some have even argued that evil can be counted as evidence for God's existence.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Monday, April 29, 2013

Article: Science, Doubt and Miracles by Timothy McGrew

In this featured article, Tim McGrew discusses miracles and science.  Topics dealt with include:

a. David Hume's argument against miracles
b. Nature's laws and nature's limits
c. If you admit one miracle, don't you have to admit them all?
d. The difference between doubt and incredulity
e. The limits of science


Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Article: 36 Purposes of God in Our Suffering

This post was originally featured on Apologetics315 here.  Thanks to Brian Auten for permission to feature it on Truthbomb.

When difficulties, trials, and suffering come in our lives, often the first question we ask is, "why?" How could God allow this? Why does God allow suffering at all? Could there be any purpose in suffering?

Joni Eareckson Tada knows hardship firsthand and shares her experiences and reflections on suffering in many of her books. The following is an appendix from her book When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty.
  1. Suffering is used to increase our awareness of the sustaining power of God to whom we owe our sustenance (Ps 68:19).
  2. God uses suffering to refine, perfect, strengthen, and keep us from falling (Ps 66:8-9Heb 2:10).
  3. Suffering allows the life of Christ to be manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Cor 4:7-11).
  4. Suffering bankrupts us, making us dependent upon God (2 Cor 12:9).
  5. Suffering teaches us humility (2 Cor 12:7).
  6. Suffering imparts the mind of Christ (Phil 2:1-11).
  7. Suffering teaches us that God is more concerned about character than comfort (Rom 5:3-4Heb 12:10-11).
  8. Suffering teaches us that the greatest good of the Christian life is not absence of pain, but Christlikeness (2 Cor 4:8-10Rom 8:28-29).
  9. Suffering can be a chastisement from God for sin and rebellion (Ps 107:17).
  10. Obedience and self-control are from suffering (Heb 5:8Ps 119:67Rom 5:1-5;James 1:2-8Phil 3:10).
  11. Voluntary suffering is one way to demonstrate the love of God (2 Cor 8:1-29).
  12. Suffering is part of the struggle against sin (Heb 12:4-13).
  13. Suffering is part of the struggle against evil men (Ps 27:1237:14-15).
  14. Suffering is part of the struggle for the kingdom of God (2 Thess 1:5).
  15. Suffering is part of the struggle for the gospel (2 Tim 2:8-9).
  16. Suffering is part of the struggle against injustice (1 Pet 2:19).
  17. Suffering is part of the struggle for the name of Christ (Acts 5:411 Pet 4:14).
  18. Suffering indicates how the righteous become sharers in Christ’s suffering (2 Cor 1:51 Pet 4:12-13).
  19. Endurance of suffering is given as a cause for reward (2 Cor 4:172 Tim 2:12).
  20. Suffering forces community and the administration of the gifts for the common good (Phil 4:12-15).
  21. Suffering binds Christians together into a common or joint purpose (Rev 1:9).
  22. Suffering produces discernment, knowledge, and teaches us God’s statutes (Ps 119:66-6771).
  23. Through suffering God is able to obtain our broken and contrite spirit which He desires (Ps 51:16-17).
  24. Suffering causes us to discipline our minds by making us focus our hope on the grace to be revealed at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:613).
  25. God uses suffering to humble us so He can exalt us at the proper time (1 Pet 5:6-7).
  26. Suffering teaches us to number our days so we can present to God a heart of wisdom (Ps 90:7-12).
  27. Suffering is sometimes necessary to win the lost (2 Tim 2:8-104:5-6).
  28. Suffering strengthens and allows us to comfort others who are weak (2 Cor 1:3-11).
  29. Suffering is small compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ (Phil 3:8).
  30. God desires truth in our innermost being and one way He does it is through suffering (Ps 51:6119:17).
  31. The equity for suffering will be found in the next life (Ps 58:10-11).
  32. Suffering is always coupled with a greater source of grace (2 Tim 1:7-84:16-18).
  33. Suffering teaches us to give thanks in times of sorrow (1 Thess 5:172 Cor 1:11).
  34. Suffering increases faith (Jer 29:11).
  35. Suffering allows God to manifest His care (Ps 56:8).
  36. Suffering stretches our hope (Job 13:14-15).
Out of His deep love for us God is more interested in making His children like Christ than He is in making us comfortable. The glory He receives from redeeming depraved sinners like us and remaking us into His image will be the song that fills the halls of heaven for all eternity (Rev 5:9-10). Since that will be the case in the future, let us pursue joy in the Lord here in the present.


Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, April 26, 2013

"Why Won't God Heal Amputees?" Revisited Pt. 2

This post is in response to some reader comments offered here.
I appreciate everyone’s thoughtful remarks in regard to my post and just wanted to add a few thoughts.


First off, I was responding to the amputee question in the manner in which it has been posed to me in the past on more than one occasion.
Second, our "Common Objections" series is meant to offer quick and concise answers to popular objections. If one desires a more in-depth answer, they should look to the additional links provided at the end of the original post.
Third, while I agree that a healing of an amputee could certainly count as evidence for God’s existence, I do not in any way see that it is necessary evidence for God’s existence.  Nor do I find the objection at all troubling when one considers the cumulative reasons to believe in God.   My purpose here is not to defend each of these arguments[1], but simply list them in an effort to further explain my thinking.  Some of the cumulative reasons that I believe in the God of Christianity are as follows:


1. The argument from reason

So, when faced with a question like, “Why won't God heal amputees?,” I am able to reason from 
what I know about God from these arguments that I am on good grounds for trusting that if God has never healed an amputee, He has morally sufficient reasons for doing so.  Please notice that my reasoning here is based upon evidence that I have found convincing upon examination, not in spite of the lack of evidence.
It seems that the manner in which this argument is being put forth is as follows:
1. If God existed, we would have it on record that he has healed an amputee sometime in human history.
2. We do not have it on record that he healed an amputee sometime in human history.
3. Therefore, it is doubtful God exists.
It seems to me that for this argument to be valid (if I have characterized it correctly), one would have to give reasons why God healing an amputee is somehow required for us to conclude He probably exists. However, I don't see how this follows especially when one considers the above reasons that suggests that He does.
Finally, I believe these types of arguments that basically say, “If God would do X, I would believe,” are misguided at best because they shift the responsibility back to God to prove Himself to a person. Should we have good reasons to believe the Christian God exists, one should look to the Bible for guidance about how to seek Him instead of demanding that He prove Himself in a manner that pleases their own selfish desires.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad
Footnotes:

1. I have provided links for those who are interested in exploring these arguments more in-depth. 2.
I would argue that the resurrection of Christ provides excellent evidence that God has intervened supernaturally in the world and this event is historically testable for the sincere inquirer.

The Emotional Problem of Suffering and the Human Parenting Solution

The emotional problem of suffering can be very persuasive in leading people to the conclusion that God does not exist or, at the very least, that God stands aloof to the sufferings of mankind and is therefore not worthy of a relationship and worship. Essentially the problem is as follows:  How can a good and loving God permit suffering?

While thinking about this problem and the answers to it, I thought of another possible answer:  human parenting. God is typically seen as a parent and rightly so:  the kings of Israel were designated as God's son or firstborn in accordance with the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7:14); Jesus instructed us to pray to God as Father (Matthew 6:9) and consistently referred to Him as Father (Luke 2:49, John 10:30) and Paul did as well (Romans 8:15, Ephesians 4:6). There are analogies between God as Father and a human parent, however the analogy is limited. As William Lane Craig points out, "we and our children are equals; but God is our Creator and Sovereign."

The person struggling with the emotional problem of suffering more than likely views God as a bad parent. He is not stepping in to stop the suffering of His children. The question I pose in response is this:  How can a good and loving human parent permit suffering? Now they may say, "Wait a minute! God is all powerful and human parents are not! Of course they cannot stop their children from suffering!" Yes, this is true. However, there are instances in which human parents have a sufficient reason to allow their children to suffer. My son is nearly two and he is constantly running and climbing in the house and yard. So, naturally and frequently, he falls flat on his face after tripping over his own feet or he bumps his head on a wall or table because he is not paying attention to his surroundings. The majority of the time these instances are minor, so my wife and I do not step in and console his pain by holding him and kissing his boo boos because we want him to be able to learn how to internally handle pain and his emotions. We express our understanding of his pain and encourage and guide him to be careful and to be mindful of his surroundings as he plays. And we do not take this approach stoically. Everything within us wants to scoop him up and console him. I am sure the parents reading this can think of circumstances in which  they had allowed, are currently allowing, or plan on allowing a child of their own to suffer for something far more important than relieving temporary pain or discomfort. For example, I am thoroughly prepared to allow my future teenage son who does not make it home by curfew to sleep in the car in order to learn responsibility and respect for me and my wife and our house.

In conclusion, if it is reasonable for human parents, with finite knowledge and wisdom, to allow their children to suffer for a greater purpose; why is it not for God who has infinite knowledge and wisdom? 

Stand firm in Christ,

Chase

Footnotes:

1. http://www.reasonablefaith.org/why-we-raised-our-kids-to-believe-in-god#ixzz2RICcBaY

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Video: Jim Warner Wallace- God's Crime Scene


Jim Wallace's story is unique.  He is a cold-case homicide detective and a former atheist.  Wallace argues for the truth of Christianity using the methods of a detective and stories from actual cases he has worked.

In this video, Jim makes the case for the reliability of the scripture and deals with many possible objections.

This talk is a great overview of Jim's new book.

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

Greg Koukl on "Unbelievable Belief"


The skeptic says, “If Jesus would only show Himself to me—if God would just work one dramatic miracle—then I’d believe in Him.” This kind of person overestimates himself. Even miracles can be denied or dismissed.

During Jesus’ passion week in Jerusalem, he was called to nearby Bethany because his friend Lazarus was dying. By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus was gone. In a dramatic scene Jesus called him forth from the tomb alive, still wrapped in burial cloths.

This was a spectacular miracle performed in public for all to see. What was the response of the Jewish leaders? They plotted Jesus’ death. "This man is performing many signs. If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation." (John 11:47-48)

But Jesus wasn’t the only one they wanted to eliminate. They also had to get rid of another piece of evidence: "But the chief priests took council that they might put to death Lazarus also; because on account of him many of the Jews were going away, and were believing in Jesus." (John 12:10-11)

Incredible! Instead of falling to their knees in response to this obvious display of Messianic power, they conspire to kill the very man whose public resurrection was proof positive of their error.

This is unbelievable unbelief.

You think if God just did a miracle it would change your rebellious heart? Don’t count on it. Jesus said, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31).

As one wag put it, a skeptic with such an experience would not seek God, he’d seek a psychiatrist.

Oh so true. The sun melts butter…but it hardens clay. [1]


Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. Taken directly from: http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2010/03/unbelievable-unbelief.html


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Charlie Campbell on Following Jesus

"Jesus said that one of the ways to find out whether He was speaking the truth was by first choosing to do God's will. He said, "If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself" (John 7:17). One of the reasons some people aren't sure about the truthfulness of Jesus' words is because they're not concerned at all with pleasing God. They are living for themselves. If they were to purpose in their hearts to live a life pleasing to God and then pick up the New Testament and read it, I'm convinced many of them would come to the realization that Jesus spoke utter words of truth." [1]

You can learn more about Charlie Campbell's ministry here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. http://www.alwaysbeready.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=201&Itemid=138

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Common Objection #19- "Why Won't God Heal Amputees? Pt.1"

This argument is an internet sensation, but I find it utterly unconvincing for a few reasons:

1. This objection assumes that God has never healed an amputee.  However, how can one know that God has never healed any amputee ever in human history?

2. It is possible that God has morally sufficient reasons for not healing amputees.  Since this is at the very least possible, this objection fails.

As philosopher J.P. Moreland has pointed out, it is possible that:

"God maintains a delicate balance between keeping his existence sufficiently evident so people will know He's there and yet hiding His presence enough so that people who want to choose to ignore Him can do it. This way, their choice of destiny is really free." 

For more on this, please see Pt. 2 of this post entitled "Why Won't God Heal Amputees" Revisited.

3. Even if God has never healed an amputee at any moment in human history it still does not follow that He doesn't exist.  One still must deal with the positive evidence that suggests God does exist.

4. I believe the person making this objection is operating under a false assumption.  Let us imagine that an amputee prays to be healed and wakes up the next morning with their once missing limb fully in tact.  I could easily imagine those who would still search for a naturalistic explanation for how the limb returned in spite of the evidence that a miracle had occurred.  This objection assumes that the problem is intellectual.  However, it could be that the objector is suppressing the truth simply because they do not want to be accountable to God.  In other words, it could be that their problem with God is not an intellectual one, but a moral one.

You can read in-depth replies to this common objection hereherehere or see our follow-up post here.

Checkout our other responses to common objections here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, April 19, 2013

Debate Video: Richard Dawkins vs. John Lennox- "The God Delusion Debate"

Many thanks to those who came out tonight to watch "The God Delusion Debate" between Richard Dawkins and John Lennox.  Moreover, thank you for the lively discussion afterward!

For those who wanted to attend and could not make it, here is the full debate video:


Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Debate Video: Do Moral Truths Exist?- Greg Koukl vs. John Baker


Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason debates Prof. John Baker, a philosophy professor from the University of Calgary,  on the topic of "Do Moral Truths Exist?" 

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Special Event: John Lennox vs. Richard Dawkins- The God Delusion Debate

In 2006, "Darwin's Rottweiler" Richard Dawkins debated theologian and mathematician John Lennox.

We will be viewing this debate Friday, April 19th at Faith Christian Fellowship in Williamsport, MD from 7 to 9:30 pm.

Admittance is free and their will be a Q and A immediately following the debate.

We hope to see you there!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Monday, April 15, 2013

Article: The Religion of Baha'i by Lou Whitworth

Taken from bethinking.org:

This article provides an introduction to the Baha'i religion and how it compares to Christianity. If you want to dig deeper, links to further articles are given at the very bottom of the page. 


You can check out the article here.

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Proof That God Exists

Sye Ten Bruggencate, at his website Proof that God Exists, utilizes pre-suppositional apologetics in a very clever way.

What to see Sye's proof that God exists?  Go here.

For those not familiar with this approach, his site is a great introduction!  There is great value in being familiar with the various approaches to apologetics.  I believe each have something of value to offer!

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, April 12, 2013

Various Articles by J. Warner Wallace

A few months ago we had the pleasure of reviewing J. Warner Wallace's excellent book Cold-Case Christianity.  For those interested, you can see that review here.  If you haven't read this book yet, we highly recommend that you do!

Moreover, Wallace has been writing some great stuff on his website that I wanted to highlight:

The Apostles Wrote the Gospels as Eyewitness Accounts

Treating the Gospel like a Cookie Rather Than a Cure

I'm Not a Christian Because It Works for Me

How Do We Know that the Apostles Really Died as Martyrs?

The Post Resurrection Appearances of Jesus Eliminates the Possibility of an Imposter

Why the Hearsay Rule Shouldn't Apply to the Gospels

Did the Apostles Lie So They Could Die as Martyrs?

If you are interested in becoming a persuasive Christian case maker, Wallace's book and website are great places to start!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, April 05, 2013

Article: A Positive Case for the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth by Sam Dallas

In this featured article, Sam Dallas of Solid Reasons presents a positive case for the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.


Dallas does so using the "minimal facts" approach made popular by scholars Gary Habermas and Mike Licona.  This article is a great summary of the evidence for the following facts surrounding the historical Jesus and His resurrection from the dead:

1. Jesus died by crucifixion.
2. Jesus' disciples believed that he rose and appeared to them.
3. The church persecutor Paul was suddenly changed.
4. The skeptic of James, the brother of Jesus, was suddenly changed.
5. The tomb was empty.

You can check out the article here.

For those interested, Dallas also deals with some of the popular objections to Jesus' resurrection here.

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Essay- The Wise Man Seeks God by Brian Auten


This featured essay is by apologist Brian Auten of Apologetics315.

In the essay, Auten explains why the unbeliever, in a universe where God could exist, would be wise to search for God.

He writes:


"The purpose of this essay is to show that, given the data that is before us, in the absence of certainty that God does not exist, it is the wise man that will seek God. Furthermore, this essay will argue that one should seek the Christian God, for, if the Christian God truly exists, He can be found by those who seek Him on His terms."


I highly recommend this essay and you can
find it here.

This essay was a part of Apologetics315's
Is Christianity True? project which can be found here.

Courage and Godspeed,

Chad

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Failing to Read the Bible Related to Declining Morals in US Society?

One of my friends from my small group study recently shared this article with me regarding a study recently conducted that seemed to show that there is a correlation between the decline in Bible reading and morals in the United States.  Many followers of Christ would not see that as a surprise.  Here are some of the highlights of the article:


  • The Bible continues to dominate both mind space and book retail space as America’s undisputed best-seller.  
  • One in six people reported buying a copy of the Bible in the last year.
  • 80 percent of Americans identify the Bible as sacred.
  • Americans have plenty of copies at their fingertips—an average of 4.4 Bibles per household.
  • 56 percent of adults believe the Bible should have a greater role in U.S. society.
  • Actual Bible reading and perceptions about the Bible have become increasingly polarized, with 6 million new Bible antagonists in the last year alone.
  • More than half (57 percent) of those ages 18-28 report reading the Bible less than three times a year or never.
  • While those ages 18-28 are the least likely age group to read the Bible, they are the most interested in receiving input and wisdom from it on several topics including:
    • Parenting (42 percent, compared to 22 percent of all adults)
    • Family conflict (40 percent, compared to 24 percent of all adults)
    • Dating and relationships (35 percent, compared to 16 percent of all adults)
    • Romance and sexuality (30 percent, compared to 17 percent of all adults)
  • In a non-election year, an increasing number of adults believe the Bible and politics do not mix (54 percent, compared to 49 percent in 2012). However, 69 percent still say their faith influences their views on political issues.


  • Full findings and infographic of study highlights are available at TheStateoftheBible.com.