Friday, July 31, 2015

Book Preview: The Atheist Who Didn't Exist by Andy Bannister

About the Author

Dr Andy Bannister is a popular author, speaker and broadcaster. He speaks and teaches regularly throughout Canada, the USA, Europe, and the wider world, addressing audiences of all faiths and none on issues of philosophy, belief, and scepticism.  He is also the Canadian Director of RZIM.

He holds a 
doctorate in Islamic studies and enjoys mountaineering, juggling, and cats (although not simultaneously). He tweets frequently at@andygbannister.


About the Book

In the last decade, atheism has leapt from obscurity to the front pages: producing best-selling books, making movies, and plastering adverts on the side of buses. There's an energy and a confidence to contemporary atheism: many people now assume that a godless scepticism is the default position, indeed the only position for anybody wishing to appear educated, contemporary and urbane. Atheism is hip, religion is boring.

Yet when one pokes at popular atheism, many of the arguments used to prop it up quickly unravel.The Atheist Who Didn't Exist is designed to expose some of the loose threads on the cardigan of atheism, tug a little, and see what happens. Blending humour with serious thought, Andy Bannister helps the reader question everything, assume nothing and, above all, recognise lazy scepticism and bad arguments. Be an atheist by all means: but do be a thought-through one.

You can download Chapter 1 here for free!

To learn more about this new book or purchase it, go here,

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Apologetics Catechism Questions

As part of our family worship time at home, my wife and I catechize our kids.  If you are looking for a good catechism to start with, I would recommend this one.

As a Dad who is raising future Christian Case Makers, I long for my kids to understand what they believe and why they believe it.  Catechism is a great place to begin preparing your kids to be able to give an answer for the hope they have, but the catechisms I have seen, including the one I recommend above, do not include explicit apologetics arguments for the existence of God.

A few weeks ago I was reading an article by Stand to Reason's Greg Koukl entitled Making Apologetics Understandable and in the beginning of the piece Koukl briefly summarizes three of the main arguments for God's existence.  I realized these argument summaries would make great catechism questions for my girls!  

Please feel free to let me know what you think and if you like them, please feel free to use them with your own children.

1. What is the Cosmological Argument?

Answer: The argument for God based on the existence of the Cosmos.

2. What is the Teleological Argument?

Answer: The argument for God based on the design of the Cosmos.

3. What is the Moral Argument?

Answer: If there is no God, there is no anchor for objective morality.

4. What is the sum of the Cosmological Argument?

Answer: The Big Bang needs a Banger.

5. What is the sum of the Teleological Argument?

Answer: Every design has a designer.

6. What is the sum of the Moral Argument?

Answer: The moral law requires a Moral Law Giver.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Faith and the Whole Picture

I’ve been trying to avoid using the word ‘faith’ recently. It just doesn’t get the message across. ‘Faith’ is a word that’s now misused and twisted. ‘Faith’ today is what you try to use when the reasons are stacking up against what you think you ought to believe. Greg Koukl sums up the popular view of faith, “It’s religious wishful thinking, in which one squeezes out spiritual hope by intense acts of sheer will. People of ‘faith’ believe the impossible. People of ‘faith’ believe that which is contrary to fact. People of ‘faith’ believe that which is contrary to evidence. People of ‘faith’ ignore reality.” It shouldn’t therefore come as a great surprise to us, that people raise their eyebrows when ‘faith’ in Christ is mentioned. Is it strange that they seem to prefer what seems like reason over insanity?
It’s interesting that the Bible doesn’t overemphasize the individual elements of the whole picture of faith, like we so often do. But what does the Bible say about faith? Is it what Simon Peter demonstrates when he climbs out of the boat and walks over the water towards Jesus? Or is it what Thomas has after he has put his hand in Jesus’s side? Interestingly, biblical faith isn’t believing against the evidence. Instead, faith is a kind of knowing that results in action. The clearest definition comes from Hebrews 11:1. This verse says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” In fact, when the New Testament talks about faith positively it only uses words derived from the Greek root [pistis], which means ‘to be persuaded.’ In those verses from Hebrews, we find the words, “hope,” “assurance,” “conviction” that is, confidence. Now, what gives us this confidence?
Christian faith is not belief in the absence of evidence. It is the proper response to the evidence. Koukl explains that, “Christian faith cares about the evidence…the facts matter. You can’t have assurance for something you don’t know you’re going to get. You can only hope for it. This is why the resurrection of Jesus is so important. It gives assurance to the hope. Because of a Christian view of faith, Paul is able to say in 1 Corinthians 15 that when it comes to the resurrection, if we have only hope, but no assurance—if Jesus didn’t indeed rise from the dead in time/space history—then we are of most men to be pitied. This confidence Paul is talking about is not a confidence in a mere ‘faith’ resurrection, a mythical resurrection, a story-telling resurrection. Instead, it’s a belief in a real resurrection. If the real resurrection didn’t happen, then we’re in trouble. The Bible knows nothing of a bold leap-in-the-dark faith, a hope-against-hope faith, a faith with no evidence. Rather, if the evidence doesn’t correspond to the hope, then the faith is in vain, as even Paul has said.”
So in conclusion, faith is not a kind of religious hoping that you do in spite of the facts. In fact, faith is a kind of knowing that results in doing, a knowing that is so passionately and intelligently faithful to Jesus Christ that it will not submit to fideism, scientism, nor any other secularist attempt to divert and cauterize the human soul by hijacking knowledge.
Tom Price is an academic tutor at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Oxford, England.
Published on JuLY 23, 2015 in A Slice of Infinity.  “Our gift and invitation to you, that you might further examine your beliefs, your culture, and the unique message of Jesus Christ.”

"Helping the thinker believe, helping the believer think."  To learn more about Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, go here. http://www.rzim.org/

To receive A Slice of Infinity in your daily email, go here. http://www.rzim.org/a-slice-of-infinity/

Monday, July 27, 2015

Discrimination: The Most Hated People Group in America

Every American matters

In the subject series, Brian Fisher of Online for Life discusses how and why the preborn are the most hated people group in America.  Below is an excerpt from the series:

We Americans pride ourselves on being a just society. We want equal rights, fairness for all. We puff up our chests while reciting the Declaration of Independence and claiming we are the most civilized society on the planet.
 
And yet, we’ve killed over 57 million of our own citizens in just four decades, and we’ve chosen victims who have no ability to defend themselves. We are the most egregious of bullies, picking on an entire class of humans who can’t fight back.
 
Civilized? Hardly.
 
We continue to discriminate against a class of humans for our own selfish benefit, creatively disguising the mass killings as our right.
 
Because we, as a country, hate the preborn.

You can read all three installments below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Stand firm in Christ and stand firm for the preborn,
Chase

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015

Was Jesus Born?- Understanding Colossians 1:15

Colossians 1:15 states:

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."

At first glance, this verse seems to be saying that Jesus was "born" and if this is the case, He cannot be an eternal being i.e. God as Christians claim.

However, as James Boccardo explains, this is clearly not the case:

"Another translation of this word for 'firstborn' could be 'ruler.'  One of the reasons it's translated 'firstborn' is because this word has to do with the inheritance rights of the firstborn in a family during biblical times.  Think Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob here.  It is being used here in Colossians to refer to Jesus as the one who has the rights over all creation.  It does not have to do with Him being created.

The best verse...here is Psalms 89:27.  It is talking about David:

"I also shall make him My firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth."

In this verse, the word for 'firstborn' is the same word that's used to describe Jesus in Colossians 1:15. What's the big deal?  David wasn't the firstborn in his family!  To make it even worse, David was the last born.  Clearly, this word means something different than being born first or created.  It means 'ruler' or 'one who has the rights to something.'" [1]

So, the next time a Mormon or Jehovah's Witness comes knocking on your door, you'll be ready!

But what about when when John writes "only begotten Son?"  See here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad


Footnote:
1. James Boccardo, Unsilenced: How to Voice the Gospel, p. 150-151.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Debate: Does God Exist? John Lennox vs. Michael Shermer


This debate between John Lennox and Michael Shermer took place in 2008 at the Wesley Conference Centre in Sydney, Austraila.

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

James Boccardo on Sharing the Gospel

"I hear professional athletes say they still get nervous before playing in a big game.  I hear musicians say the same thing about concerts.  You know what's funny about it?  They still go out there and do it.  I still get nervous sometimes when I share the gospel with people, but I'm going to play through it.  It's no different than what an athlete or a musician would do.  Shouldn't we be just as brave as they are?

So, if you want to share the gospel, you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.  I still misjudge situations and say the wrong things.  I still feel awkward sometimes when someone says something harsh back to me.  Just the other day, someone walked away from me.  He didn't even say anything!  We started talking, and he just walked away.  I know that he wasn't rejecting me, but it felt that way.  One the flip side of being nervous, feeling awkward, and getting rejected, you might see people put their faith in Jesus.  Sometimes the reward can be much bigger than the feeling of nervousness or any rejection you might face.

All the people I've ever known who started sharing the gospel had to be uncomfortable for the first few times.  After that, they always end up telling me that it wasn't that hard.  After they get over their initial fear, they're excited and ready to try it again.  They would all tell you that you're missing out if you're not sharing your faith." [1]

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

1. James Boccardo, Unsilenced: How to Voice the Gospel, p. 48-49.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Article: Killing the Canaanites- A Response to the New Atheism’s “Divine Genocide” Claims by Clay Jones

In this featured article, Clay Jones looks at God's ordering of the destruction of the Canaanite cities in the Old Testament.

Jones writes:

"Richard Dawkins and other new atheists herald God’s ordering of the destruction of Canaanite cities to be divine 'ethnic cleansing' and 'genocides.'  
With righteous indignation, Dawkins opines that the God of the Old Testament is 'the most unpleasant character in all of fiction.' But was the killing of the Canaanites an example of divine genocide? If you think the Canaanites deserved to die because of their own wickedness, Dawkins will zealously compare you to acting like the Taliban.  A closer look at several key facts will help explain God’s reason for the destruction of the Canaanites and reveal how our own sinfulness demonstrates our incapacity to judge rightly."

You can read the article here and be prepared the next time someone tries to claim God is a "moral monster."

Courage and Godspeed,

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Importance of Studying Apologetics



In this video, Alan Shlemon talks about the value that apologetics brings to everyday conversations.

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

C.S. Lewis on Rationality and Materialism

"One absolutely central inconsistency ruins [the popular scientific philosophy].  The whole picture professes too depend on inferences from observed facts.  Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears...unless reason is an absolute, all is in ruins.  Yet those who ask me to believe this world picture also ask me to believe that Reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of it's endless and aimless becoming.  Here is a flat contradiction.  They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based." [1]

In God in the Dock, Lewis also argued:

"If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too.  If so, then all our thought processes are mere accidents-the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms.  And this holds for the materialists' and astronomers; as well as for anyone else's.  But if their thoughts are merely accidental by-products...why should we believe them to be true?  I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give a correct account of all the other accidents." [2]

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Resources:
1. C.S. Lewis,
Theology Poetry.
2. C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock, p. 52-53.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Video: Latest Scientific Evidence for God's Existence by Hugh Ross


In this video, Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe examines the modern day scientific evidence for the case for the Christian faith.

This talk was given at Real Life Church on January 18, 2014.

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Do Christians Pick and Choose Which Rules in the Bible to Obey?

Are Christians guilty of picking and choosing which rules in the Bible to obey?  

As Pastor Tim Keller explains, the charge often sounds like this:

"Christians ignore lots of Old Testament texts—about not eating raw meat or pork or shellfish, not executing people for breaking the Sabbath, not wearing garments woven with two kinds of material and so on. Then they condemn homosexuality. Aren’t you just picking and choosing what you want to believe from the Bible?” 

In this featured article, Keller explains the relationship between the Old and New Testament and why some of the things mentioned in the Old Testament are no longer practiced by Christians.

You can read the entire article here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Should Men Be Able to Back Out of Pregnancy?

In this blog post, Clinton Wilcox of the Life Training Institute, responds to the pro-abortion meme to the right he has seen floating around social media.

I think he responds well. Especially his critical point that when a woman backs out of a pregnancy she ends the life of her child.

The main thought I had in response to this meme is that its argument attempts to completely divorce a woman from the maternal relationship and responsibility she has to the child conceived within her.  It makes the child seem like an intruder when he or she is not. The woman's body is doing what it naturally does when intercourse occurs - conceiving a new human life. Regardless of how the conception occurred, she is now the de facto guardian of the child.

What are your thought's on this meme? What about Wilcox's answer? And what about my additional thoughts?  Sound off in the comments section!

Stand firm in Christ
Chase


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Video: Who is Jesus According to Jehovah Witnesses?


In this video, Bobby Conway explains what Jehovah Witnesses believe about Jesus and offers a concise defense of Jesus's deity.

For more from the One Minute Apologist, go here.

For more resources dealing with the claims of Jehovah Witnesses, go here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, July 10, 2015

What Does It Mean to Judge?

As I have argued before, it seems John 3:16 is no longer the most popular Bible verse.  I believe Matthew 7:1 holds that title.

"Judge not, that you be not judged."

In his excellent article How Do I Love My Gay Friend?, Pastor J.D. Greear explains what "judging" actually means:

"'Don’t judge.' This is probably the non-Christian’s favorite Bible verse. It’s quoted as a way of saying that we shouldn’t ever tell people that what they’re up to is wrong. But as I’ve explained before, it can’t mean that. Jesus spent his entire life correcting error, and he commands us to do the same.

But here’s the catch: Even though Jesus was clear about what was right and wrong, he didn’t judge the world (John 3:17). How? By telling us the truth and then bringing us close. He made us—sinners—his friends. You judge someone not when you assess their position, but when you dismiss them as a person.

It’s not telling someone the truth that is judging them; it’s what you do after you tell them the truth. Judging, you see, assumes that you are righteous and they are guilty. Keep guilty them away from righteous you! But that’s not the gospel.

What this means for us practically is that even when someone disagrees with us, we don’t push them away. We draw them close. No, we don’t abandon our convictions. But our relationships with people can’t be contingent on their agreeing with us."

So, before you quote Matthew 7:1, please take the time to understand what it actually means to judge someone.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Free E-Book: Evidence for the Historical Jesus by Gary Habermas

Here you will find a free e-book from Dr. Gary Habermas entitled Evidence for the Historical Jesus: Is the Jesus of History the Christ of Faith?

Dr. Habermas is one of the foremost resurrection scholars in the world.

This book has been added to our "Free Apologetics E-book Library."

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

HT: Think Apologetics

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Video: Responding to Same-Sex Marriage


This is one of the best responses to same-sex marriage I have seen.  You can find the text of the video content here.

For more great resources, visit Stand to Reason.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Walter Martin on Mormonism

“With one ‘Special Revelation’ the Mormon Church expects its intended coverts to accept the totally unsupported testimony of a fifteen-year-old boy that nobody ever preached Jesus Christ’s gospel from the close of the apostolic age until the ‘Restoration’ through Joseph Smith, Jr., beginning in 1820!  We are asked to believe that the church fathers for the first five centuries did not proclaim the true gospel-that Origen, Justin, Iraneaus, Jerome, Eusebius, Athanasius, Chrysostom, and then later Thomas Aquinas, Huss, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Tyndale, Wycliffe, Knox, Wesley, Whitefield, and a vast army of faithful servants of Jesus Christ all failed where Joseph Smith, Jr., was to succeed!

With one dogmatic assertion, Joseph pronounced everybody wrong, all Christian theology an abomination, and all professing Christians corrupt-all in the name of God!  How strange for this to be presented as restored Christianity, when Jesus Christ specifically promised that ‘the gates of Hell’ would not prevail against the church (Matt. 16:18)!  In Mormonism we find God contradicting this statement in a vision to Joseph Smith, Jr., some eighteen centuries later!” [1]


Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:

1. Walter Martin as quoted by Josh McDowell, A Ready Defense, p. 344.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Acorns and Oaks

It's true, an acorn isn't an oak tree. But all this really shows is that an infant isn't an adult. An acorn is the immature stage, and the tree is the mature stage, but both are oaks. An acorn can become an oak tree, but it never becomes an oak. It is already a complete oak, even at the infant stage.

The confusion can be cleared up by asking a simple question:  "What kind of seed is an acorn?" There's only one answer: an oak.  Ask the same question at every stage of growth-seed, sprout, sapling, or tree-and the answer is always the same.

"But the unborn doesn't look like a human being."

Sure it does. It looks exactly as a human being should at this stage of his growth. In our experience we are familiar with only certain phases of human development:  newborn, child, adolescent, and adult. The reason why we're reluctant to call a developing unborn a human is because he looks so different from the stages of growth we're familiar with.

This teaches us an important lesson. Living things never look the same at one stage of development as they do at another. That's what it means to develop biologically:  constant change according to a predetermined growth pattern.

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Footnote:
Koukl, Greg. Precious Unborn Human Persons. Pages 18-19.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Video: Worst Objection to Theism- Who Created God?


Here is another great video from Inspiring Philosophy.  You can checkout their Youtube Channel here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad


Friday, July 03, 2015

Greg Koukl on American Nationalism


In this video, Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason covers the following points:
  • What is nationalism?
  •  Is it acceptable or not for the Christian to embrace nationalism?
  • If nationalism is embraced by the Christian, what are its limitations?
Enjoy!

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Share Your Thoughts: Christians and Religious Freedom in America

Followers of Christ have various views on how much they should be involved in the political arena.  Since the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage this past Friday, it seems this is  a hot topic, understandably so.

One view among Christians that I have heard is that it would be better for the sake of the gospel if believers in America lost their religious freedoms and were persecuted.  The idea is that the gospel is growing like wildfire in China under persecution so it would be most advantageous for American believers to be persecuted as well.

What do you think?  Do you think it would be a good thing if American Christians lost their liberties and experienced severe persecution?

Please sound off in the comments below!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Reasonable Faith Podcast: The Concept of God in Islam and Christianity

This podcast features a talk Dr. William Lane Craig gave at the National Religious Broadcaster's convention on "The Concept of God in Islam and Christianity."

He summarizes the nature of God, religious pluralism, and the doctrine of the Trinity as well.

I was impressed with Craig's tight arguments, compassionate manner and boldness.  He holds nothing back.

Please take the time to listen to this podcast. You'll be glad you did!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad