Saturday, January 31, 2015

Solving the "Who Made God?" Problem

One popular argument for the existence of God is the cosmological argument and it goes like this:

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore the universe has a cause.

As Peter S. Williams points out here, many atheists attack a straw-man version of this argument that goes something like this:

1. Everything has a cause.
2. The universe is a thing.
3. Therefore the universe has a cause.

As you can see, the cosmological argument doesn't claim that "everything has a cause."  When presented correctly, it states that "everything that begins to exist has a cause."  However, this doesn't stop the atheist from many times asking the oft-repeated question, "If everything has a cause, then what caused God?"

Williams offers a solution to this problem.  He suggests offering a version of the cosmological argument that goes like this:

1. Every dependent thing needs something to depend on.
2. The universe is a dependent thing.
3. Therefore the universe needs something to depend on (God). [1]

Williams explains:

"This argument avoids the 'Who made God?' problem by replacing ‘every thing needs a cause’ with ‘every dependent thing needs something to depend upon’. Once this is done, we can answer the 'Who made God?"'question by saying that God simply exists without having a cause, because God is not a dependent thing. God is an independent thing.

In other words, the answer to the 'Who made God?' question is: 'No one made God, because God isn’t the sort of being that needs to be made.'

The existence of an un-made maker (God) answers the question: 'What made the universe?' The cosmological argument shows that to avoid accepting this answer, atheists must show that denying the premise ‘the universe is a dependent thing’ is at least as reasonable as affirming it." [2]

Courage and Godspeed,

Chad

Footnotes:
1. Peter S. Williams, "Who Made God?", 2005.
2. Ibid.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Was Hitler a Christian?

I am currently reading through Frank Turek's new book Stealing from God and in it he addresses the often made claim that Adolf Hitler was a Christian.

Turek writes:

"...please don't tell me Hitler was a Christian.  David Silverman suggested that in our debate, and it's completely contrary to the facts.  Hitler may have used religious language for political gain.  But does anyone really think that Hitler was sincerely and consistently worshiping a Jew whose guiding principle was to love God and your neighbor as yourself?  Whatever Hitler believed, it wasn't orthodox Christianity...Hitler called Christianity one of the great 'scourges' in history and wanted Germans to be the 'only people immunized against this disease.'" [1]   For more on what Hitler thought of Christianity, see here.

Turek later makes a vital point:

"Hitler's words and actions couldn't be more different than the words and actions of Christ.  As Ravi Zacharias has observed, the Crusades and the Inquisition were the illogical outworking of Christianity.  They went against everything Christ taught.  And you don't judge a religion or philosophy by its abuse, but by its truths." [2]

You can checkout Turek's new book here and keep watching the blog for our review!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnotes:
1. Frank Turek, Stealing from God, p. 119.
2. Ibid., p. 120.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Video: The Applicability of Mathematics by William Lane Craig



What best explains the uncanny applicability of mathematics to the physical world?  William Lane Craig argues as follows:

1. If God does not exist, the uncanny applicability of mathematics would be a happy coincidence.

2. The applicability of mathematics is not a happy coincidence.

3. Therefore, God exists.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The One Minute Apologist Interviews Ted Wright on the Exodus




Checkout this great article by Ted Wright on the Exodus and the Conquest.

You can checkout Wright's review of the new "Patterns of Evidence: Exodus" film here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Counterpoints: Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens vs. Frank Turek

Richard Dawkins: "Religion makes specific claims about the universe which need to be substantiated and need to be challenged and, if necessary, need to be ridiculed with contempt." [1]

Christopher Hitchens: "I think religion should be treated with ridicule, hatred, and contempt, and I claim that right." [2]

Frank Turek: "...why resort to ridicule, hatred, and contempt when atheists claim that reason soundly refutes what a religious person believes?  Could it be that atheists arguments don't succeed?  Could it be that since they don't succeed, atheists often resort to emotion in order to cover their deficiency in reason?

If atheists declare themselves about reason, then they should use it.  They should present their arguments without ridicule, hatred, or contempt, and then we can evaluate them on the merits.  After all, don't they believe their own press releases-the ones where they bestow on themselves flattering nicknames such as 'brights' and 'freethinkers'?" [3]

To checkout our entire "Counterpoints" series, see here.

You can checkout Frank Turek's new book here and enter to win a copy here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad 

Footnotes:
1. Richard Dawkins, "Reason Rally" Speech, 2012, Transcript here.
2. Christopher Hitches from a speech in Toronto as quoted by Frank Turek in Stealing from God, p. 38.
3. Frank Turek, Stealing from God, p. 39.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Bad Company

It's important to understand that American abortion law is permissive in the extreme. While we often claim America as a bastion of human rights and equality, if you are an unborn child, this is one of the last countries on the planet in which you'd want to be conceived.

Only three other nations join the United States in giving mothers an unlimited right to end the young lives growing within them up to and including full-term birth. Only the communist regimes of China and North Korea, along with Canada, share with the United States an abortion culture that permits abortion for any reason after the child is viable outside the womb. Our law has the same disregard for the rights of the unborn as two of the most brutal and authoritarian regimes in the world.

The United States is one of just nine nations that have legalized abortion after fourteen weeks of gestation. Even secular Europe is much stricter than the United States when it comes to abortion, with seventeen of twenty-seven European nations limiting abortion to twelve weeks.1

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Footnote:
1. Fisher, Brian. Deliver Us from Abortion:  Awakening the Church to End the Killing of America's Children. Pages 13-14.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015

What is Biblical Faith?

So John Loftus claims that Christians don't get to define the word "faith" for atheists.  According to Loftus, atheists get to define the word however they want.  However it appears here that American Atheists get to dictate how atheism is defined.  The question that immediately follows from this is, "Why do atheists get to define atheism, but theists don't get to define what faith means?" Especially when one considers that the current popular definition of atheism[atheists simply "lack belief in a god"] contradicts the manner in which the word has been used historically!  That seems like a double-standard to me.  I don't suppose I should look forward to Loftus chastising his fellow atheists for insisting that the word atheism have only one meaning.  After all Mr. Loftus, "isn't how we define the word 'atheism'...part of the debate itself?"

Authors like Richard Dawkins have popularized the belief that "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]

Perhaps if Mr. Dawkins and Mr. Loftus were to actually investigate the matter they would discover that "the Greek word for "faith" in the NT is pistis.  As a noun, pistis is a word that was used as a technical rhetorical term for forensic proof." [2]   One example of this can be found in the NT in Acts 17:31:

"Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."

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.

For more on biblical faith, see J. Warner Wallace's excellent article "Is the Christian Faith Evidentially Reasonable?"

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. Richard Dawkins, Lecture from 'The Nullifidian' (Dec 94), http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/89.
2. J. P. Holding, What is Faith?



Friday, January 23, 2015

Dealing with Doubt Seminar featuring Gary Habermas

Richmond, Virginia

Doubt is rampant in the church and this course is designed to take a close look at what it means to have doubt and how to deal with the doubts of unbelievers and believers alike. Various species of doubt (such as factual, emotional, and volitional) will be examined together with their underlying causes. By means of readings and lectures, we will be challenged to explore our own hearts and souls in relation to areas of doubt and, by application of biblical principles, find resolution to this perennial and ubiquitous problem. The course is useful both for those who are working through uncertainty themselves and for those who are professionals assisting others in such a process.

February 27-28, 2015

Friday: 1:00pm – 10:00pm
Saturday: 9:00 am – 5:00pm

7250 Patterson Ave.
Richmond, VA 23229

Cost: $95

Registration is required.  You can register here.

To learn more about Dr. Habermas, go here.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Video: The Moral Argument- Good without God?


In this featured video by Reasonable Faith the Moral Argument is explained. This video is the third in a series.  You can find the first one on the Kalam cosmological argument here.  You can find the second one on Fine-Tuning argument here.

For more videos featuring Dr. Craig, go here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

HT: Apologetics315

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Video: Dr. Craig Evans Discusses a First Century Fragment of Mark


In this featured video New Testament scholar Dr. Craig Evans talks about a first century fragment of Mark that has been uncovered.

You can read about this find here.  Exciting stuff!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Article: Do Atheists Lack Belief in God? by Greg Koukl

These days it has become popular for atheists to claim they "lack belief in God" instead of the traditional view that an atheist is one who does not believe God exists.

Greg Koukl writes:

"Some atheists think they escape the burden of proof by claiming they lack belief rather than have a belief there is no God.  Yes, there is a difference between non-belief and unbelief, but there is no refuge here for the atheist." 

Checkout how Koukl deals with this common claim here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Monday, January 19, 2015

It Is Still the Central Question

Yesterday I had the opportunity to present the pro-life case at New Hope Alliance Church.  I am always grateful to God for being able to pass on to others the knowledge I have gained and glad to hear from them that it has encouraged them in their pro-life convictions and that they can tell me specific ways in which they will be able to apply what they have learned.

During the question and answer session, a lady from the church spoke of a conversation she had with another lady on the street who was objecting to the pro-life position on the grounds that making abortion legal decreases illegal activity. The legalization of marijuana was then provided as an example.

I pointed out that, yes, legalizing an activity does decrease illegal activity. The activity is no longer illegal! However, my colleague Chad Gross pointed out afterward that comparing legalizing the use of an herb to legalizing the killing of innocent human beings is totally disproportionate.

The question, "What is the unborn?", is still the central question.

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase   

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Problem of Evil by Dayton Hartman

Dayton Hartman has written a clear and concise 5 post response to what has been called the most powerful argument against God's existence- The Problem of Evil. 

He writes:


"Over the past few years, I have taught classes and delivered papers that deal with the problem of evil. I am going to attempt to summarize much of this material in a series of blog posts that I hope will be helpful."

Part I     Part II     Part III     Part IV     Part V

These posts are short and easy to read, but pack a powerful punch!  After you read them you will better understand the Problem of Evil and how to respond to it.


Enjoy!

I would also encourage our readers to checkout Dayton's book here and our interview with him here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Thursday, January 15, 2015

R.C. Sproul on the Task of Apologetics

"The task of apologetics is to show that the evidence that the New Testament calls people to commit their lives to is compelling evidence and worthy of our full commitment.  That often involves a lot of work for the apologist.  Sometimes we would rather duck the responsibility of doing our homework, of wrestling with the problems and answering the objections, and simply say to people, 'Oh, you just have to take it all in faith.' That’s the ultimate cop-out.  That doesn't honor Christ. We honor Christ by setting forth for people the cogency of the truth claims of Scripture, even as God himself does.  We must take the trouble to do our work before the Spirit does his work, because the Spirit does not ask people to put their trust and faith and affection in nonsense or absurdity." [1]

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. R.C. Sproul, An Introduction to Apologetics.
HT: The Poached Egg

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Most Popular Bible Verse

It used to be that John 3:16 was the most widely quoted Bible verse.  No longer.  It seems these days folks are very fond of quoting Jesus when He said, “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged” (Matt. 7:1).  Most often this verse in trotted out to put so-called “judgmental Christians” in their place. 

Interestingly, when someone says, “Do not judge” they are making a judgment!   Therefore, this statement is self-defeating.  They are doing the very thing they claim you ought not do.  However, this raises the question, “Did Jesus make a self-defeating statement?”  It is critical to examine Bible verses in their original context and when we do so here, we see that Jesus was not making a self-defeating statement.

Jesus said, “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged.  For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye?  Hypocrite!  First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1-5).

So what is Jesus saying here?  He is not saying that one should never judge (this is actually impossible), but He is saying how to judge.  He is teaching us not to judge hypocritically.  Moreover, in John 7:24, Jesus says, “Stop judging according to outward appearances; rather judge according to righteous (or right) judgment.”  So, in context, Jesus is actually telling us how to judge.

Finally, keep in mind that if you disagree with me and still believe one ought not judge, you have made a judgment that I am wrong.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

An Interview with Brian Auten of Apologetics315

Brian Auten, founder of Apologetics315, was kind enough to take some time out to answer a few of our questions about his ministry, how to start an apologetics website and how to get apologetics into the local church.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got interested in apologetics.


I’m an American living in Northern Ireland since 2008. I’m married with three children.

My interest in apologetics came about in two ways. First, from a sort of crisis in my own faith when I began to wonder why we actually trust the Bible as authoritative. This led to study about the origin of the scriptures, their reliability, and also biblical hermeneutics. This was so revitalizing to my Christian walk that it led to a great deal of evangelistic zeal on my part. And this leads to the second reason for interest in apologetics. I saw that anyone I spoke to about Christianity had questions about the existence of God, the Bible, the resurrection, and the problem of evil. Apologetics proved to be something that was essential to evangelism.

So through a personal crisis of faith, then through the need to have answers for others, I began studying apologetics. This became an area which I found fascinating and spiritually helpful. I began to collect a great deal of good apologetics content and started sharing it through the Apologetics 315 blog. Then came the pursuit of a Masters of Arts in apologetics, interviewing top apologists, reviewing books, starting a Reasonable Faith Chapter in Belfast, and doing my own apologetics talks.

Q: Apologetics315 is one of the top apologetics resources on the internet.  What advice do you have for budding apologists who may be considering starting an apologetics blog or website?

It would be great to see more apologetics related blogs and websites out there.  But I think budding apologists should first be mindful and aware of their level of expertise (or lack of expertise perhaps) and proceed accordingly. The best kinds of blogs for those who are not experts in a particular field that relates to apologetics is to help propagate and draw attention to the resources, video, articles, and audio by those who are the best defenders of the faith out there.

For those who have degrees in fields that relate to apologetics (theology, history, science, biology, religion, etc.) can start blogs based on their expertise and provide both an outlet for their area of training as well as contribute to high quality content that makes a positive and winsome case for Christianity.

For those who have technical skills related to web design, graphic design, video production, journalism, writing, research, administration, illustration, etc., you can assist ministries that are already established. This can be a tremendous help for those apologetics ministries that are needing support and seeking to grow.

Something anyone can do is hit “share” or “like” on resources, articles, and videos that are particularly impactful. If there’s already great resources out there, but no one reads them, watches them, or listens to them, then everyone should try to bring attention to them so they can have the greatest impact possible online.

Q: You have interviewed over 150 Christian Apologists and while I'm sure all of them were interesting, were any of them especially memorable?  If so, why?

Of all the interviews I’ve done, you’d think the most memorable ones would be with those who were the most brilliant thinkers, or the most knowledgeable in their areas. While that is partially true, for me the ones that have been the most memorable have been the ones where the person I interviewed was gracious, friendly, and Christlike. Some people just leave you feeling like they really care about you, they are your friend, they want to know more about your life, your work, your family… those are the ones that make a real impact personally.

And I can’t help but think there is a lesson in there for apologists in general. I think we underestimate the importance of relationship and character in doing apologetics. I think the most memorable interviews for me have been with people who have found a real balance between being really smart and really gracious and friendly.

Q: In 2010 you hosted an excellent 2 part essay series about how to get apologetics into the local church and I know that is one of your passions.  What are a few first steps someone can take if they are thinking about introducing apologetics to their church?

If you have a real passion for getting apologetics into your church, then you really need to read (or listen to) the Series 1 [here] and Series 2 [here] of the How to Get Apologetics Into Your Church essay series/podcast. There’s so much great information and insight from a score of people who are already doing it with good success. That’s the first step.

As for other pointers, here are a few. If you’re wanting to see apologetics implemented by others in your church, such as the pastor, then realize that you can’t force things to chance in that direction simply because you see the need so clearly. But don’t be surprised when you don’t see huge change. Other people will rarely listen to someone else’s vision and become so inspired that they take it on as their own and become the primary driver. The best you can do if you don’t want to be the primary driver is to take the approach of offering suggestions, making opportunities, and providing resources. But this probably won’t make the impact you are really hoping for.

I think the real impact happens when an apologist acquires the skill-set and training they need, they present their vision to church leadership, and they begins an apologetics study group or class that they become the driver for. If you’re starting an apologetics group, then you must assume that you will be the primary driver. Don’t wait around for someone else to make it happen—it won’t. No, you’re the person who is going to get out there and take the steps to see the vision move forward.

Get the training you need: Reasonable Faith chapter training, Biola certificate, Masters degree… whatever you possibly can to be equipped as best you can to handle teaching/sharing apologetics in a small group setting. Submit to your church leadership and cultivate good relationships within your church. Then take one step after another to move forward. And don’t forget that there are others out there who are doing the same thing—you can get support and insight from other chapter and small group directors.

Q: What projects can we look forward to in the future from Apologetics315?

Well, the interviews are back in full swing after a bit of a hiatus. I plan on doing another read-along project, more book give-aways, and a few more things that are still top secret!

I encourage our readers to checkout Apologetics315 and the wealth of resources it offers here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Monday, January 12, 2015

Ockham's Razor

The Q&A this week on Reasonable Faith provides a great summary of what Ockham's Razor is and how it relates to the kalam cosmological argument.

You can find the Q&A here.

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Video: What Do You Mean by Evolution? by Frank Turek


When sharing your convictions with others, asking questions is a great way to find out what they believe and why they believe it.  In this video Dr. Frank Turek is asked if he believes in evolution. Turek models the appropriate way to respond and demonstrates how to maneuver through some of the rhetoric commonly used by Darwinian evolutionists. 

For more from Frank Turek, see here.

Also, you can check out his new book here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, January 09, 2015

William Dembski on Apologetics

"...many Christians now take a dim view of apologetics, dismissing it as merely 'arguing people into faith.'  But this misses the point.  Arguments, in the sense of sustained reasoned reflection, can be vehicles for either helping bring about faith or destroying it.  Many young people, as they go off to school, lose their faith because they are presented with arguments declaring that Christianity is false. Sound arguments that show the reasonableness of Christianity can be of immense help to struggling students trying to determine whether their faith is true.  Yes, our salvation is ultimately  due to the grace of God.  But every act of divine grace presupposes the means of grace by which God makes His grace real to us.  Christian apologetics is one such means of grace." [1]

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. Dr. Rick Cornish, 5 Minute Apologist, Intro., p. 12.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

An Interview with Dayton Hartman

Dayton Hartman, author of Joseph Smith's Tritheism: The Prophets Theology in Historical Context Critiqued from a Nicene Perspective, took time out to answer a few of our questions about apologetics and his new book.

This week we are giving away a copy of Dayton's book.  Enter to win here!

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background in apologetics.

I have the great joy of being a husband and a father. I also have been blessed to pastor the church I planted in 2013. My first calling in life is to shepherd my family. My second is to shepherd my church family. If one can have three “callings” in life, my third great love is for defending the truth claims of Jesus. From the first time I picked up a Francis Schaeffer book thirteen years ago, through today, God has grown my desire to proclaim and defend a Christian worldview. Since my first foray into apologetic studies, a lot has happened. I earned an M.A. from Liberty University and a PhD in Church History and Dogma from North-West University. Since then, I have taught classes in world religions, history, and apologetics for a number of colleges over the last eight years. During that time, God has opened a variety of doors for publishing apologetic articles in various academic and popular level publications.

Q: Why did you decide to write a book that engages the theology of Joseph Smith?


Mormonism is an American phenomenon. Its appeal to the religiosity inherent to American culture is undeniable. Further, the LDS Church has made a concerted effort to engage evangelicalism in a way that diminishes the differences between LDS orthodoxy and historic Christian orthodoxy. My desire was to clearly demarcate what Joseph Smith claims about the nature of God from what the Scriptures teach and what Christian’s have always believed.


Q: What should readers expect to walk away with after reading your book?


few things. First, a greater understanding of the biblical basis of Trinitarianism. Second, a thorough understanding of the historical development of Trinitarian language in church history. Third, I carefully explain the religious context in which Joseph Smith developed his theology. Fourth, I demonstrate the theological, historical, and logical contradictions inherent to Smith’s theology.


Q: When I have the opportunity to discuss theology with Mormons I try to take a very evidential approach, but they usually seem reluctant to do so and commonly appeal to the "burning in the bosom" as evidence for the authenticity of Mormonism.  Has that been your experience as well?And if so, what is the best way to combat that?


It has been. I have made efforts to read and re-read the BOM annually. I have on a few occasions, in the presence of LDS missionaries, prayed that God would show me if Smith is a true prophet. I then invited them to return to see if I experienced the burning bosom. Of course, I did not. When I share that I have not felt this burning but instead further conviction that Smith is a false prophet, I have engaged them at the level of the subjective to which they appeal. I have yet to have a missionary explain what I did not experience the burning. They cannot say I failed to pray, because I did so in their presence. This always opens the door for me to then engage their worldview presuppositions and the evidences which the Holy Spirit has used to confirm in my heart that Smith is a false prophet.


Q: What is the most important thing readers should keep in mind when witnessing to a Mormon?


These are real people. These are valuable people made in the image of God. Our commission is to win their soul with the good news of the gospel, not to win an argument. Be humble, be gracious.


You can order Dayton's book here.

Checkout more of Dayton's work here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Video: Why Are So Many Young People Leaving the Church?


In this featured video, J. Warner Wallace gives 3 reasons why so many young people are leaving the church.

For more from J. Warner Wallace, see here.

For more from Bobby Conway, the One Minute Apologist, see here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Thinking about the Transgendered

CNN recently featured a very sad story about a boy named Josh Alcorn who decided he wanted to live as a girl.  When Josh shared his decision with his parents, they let him know thatbecause of religious convictions, they could not support his decision. However, his parents also shared that they loved him unconditionally.  Tragically, Josh recently decided to take his own life.  My heart breaks for this young man and his family.  I cannot imagine what his parents and siblings are feeling in their grief. [1]

Some have suggested that Alcorn's parents handled the situation poorly and are therefore partially or entirely to blame for Josh's death.  They suggest that the most loving thing Alcorn's parents could have done for their son was to accept his decision and allow him to live as a female. CNN's article reports that Josh's parents took him to therapy trying to get him help. Some would argue that nothing was wrong with Josh and that there was no need for therapy. However, Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist in chief at John Hopkins in The Wall Street Journal argues here that the current culture is doing those who identify as transgendered no service by embracing their confusion.

McHugh writes:


"[P]olicy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention. This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken—it does not correspond with physical reality. The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes.

The transgendered suffer a disorder of "assumption" like those in other disorders familiar to psychiatrists. With the transgendered, the disordered assumption is that the individual differs from what seems given in nature—namely one's maleness or femaleness. Other kinds of disordered assumptions are held by those who suffer from anorexia and bulimia nervosa, where the assumption that departs from physical reality is the belief by the dangerously thin that they are overweight….

Psychiatrists obviously must challenge the solipsistic concept that what is in the mind cannot be questioned. Disorders of consciousness, after all, represent psychiatry's domain; declaring them off-limits would eliminate the field….

We at Johns Hopkins University—which in the 1960s was the first American medical center to venture into "sex-reassignment surgery"—launched a study in the 1970s comparing the outcomes of transgendered people who had the surgery with the outcomes of those who did not. Most of the surgically treated patients described themselves as "satisfied" by the results, but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn't have the surgery. And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a "satisfied" but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs.

It now appears that our long-ago decision was a wise one. A 2011 study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden produced the most illuminating results yet regarding the transgendered, evidence that should give advocates pause. The long-term study—up to 30 years—followed 324 people who had sex-reassignment surgery. The study revealed that beginning about 10 years after having the surgery, the transgendered began to experience increasing mental difficulties. Most shockingly, their suicide mortality rose almost 20-fold above the comparable nontransgender population. This disturbing result has as yet no explanation but probably reflects the growing sense of isolation reported by the aging transgendered after surgery. The high suicide rate certainly challenges the surgery prescription….

At the heart of the problem is confusion over the nature of the transgendered. "Sex change" is biologically impossible. People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder." [2]


Josh Alcorn's story is a sad one. It is tragic that he decided take his own life. According to McHugh, the most loving thing we can do for the transgendered is to get them the help and care they need. These individuals need to be loved unconditionally and supported through their struggle. We must show them the love of Christ.  Allowing them to continue in or encourage their confusion appears to be the wrong way to proceed.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnotes:
1. My heart also breaks for the driver of the truck that Josh walked in front of.  
2. Paul McHugh, Transgender Surgery Isn't the Solution, The Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2014 as quoted by Amy Hall of Stand to Reason here.




Monday, January 05, 2015

HBU Podcast: Whither the Christian Blogger

In this podcast, Dr. Reynolds, Dr. Ordway and Cate MacDonald engage in a discussion about blogging with Joe Carter which will give the blogger some things to think about.

Enjoy!

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Book Giveaway: Joseph Smith's Tritheism by Dayton Hartman

Truthbomb is excited to announce our first book giveaway of 2015!  Starting today we will be offering a chance for our readers to win a copy of Dayton Hartman's book Joseph Smith's Tritheism: The Prophets Theology in Historical Context, Critiqued from a Nicene Perspective.  

An overview of Hartman's book is as follows:

"Few figures in North American religious history are quite as enigmatic as Joseph Smith. His unabashed adherence to tritheism gave birth to one of the most influential religious movements in American history. Many attempts have been made to engage his life and unorthodox theology. However, Joseph Smith's Tritheism is a unique text that blends church history, thoughtful theological exegesis, and evangelical apologetics in an attempt to engage Joseph Smith's theology anew."

The book has been endorsed by top apologists such as Paul Copan and Kenneth Samples.  If you want to checkout more of Dayton's work, see here.

Truthbomb is giving away a copy of Hartman's book and here is how you can enter the drawing.  

  • leave a comment on this post
  • follow this blog

We will announce the winner of the book here next Saturday, January 10, 2015.  

Good providence!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, January 02, 2015

Scholars Respond to Newsweek's Misrepresentation of the Bible

Newsweek magazine has done their yearly article that misrepresents the Bible and numerous scholars have thoughtfully responded.

The best response I have seen thus far comes from New Testament scholar Dan Wallace.  In the article, Wallace points out some of the numerous errors and misrepresentations committed by Newsweek.

You can find it here.  Amy Hall of Stand to Reason summarizes one of Wallace's key arguments nicely here.

Albert Mohler weighs in here.

Michael Kruger responds here and here.

Justin Taylor offers a response here.

I offer my scholarly thoughts here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad