Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A.W. Tozer on the Coming New Year

Truthbomb will be back on January 2, 2017!  Until then...

"I do not advise that we end the year on a somber note. The march, not the dirge, has ever been the music of Christianity. If we are good students in the school of life, there is much that the years have to teach us. But the Christian is more than a student, more than a philosopher. He is a believer, and the object of his faith makes the difference, the mighty difference. Of all persons the Christian should be best prepared for whatever the New Year brings. He has dealt with life at its source. In Christ he has disposed of a thousand enemies that other men must face alone and unprepared. He can face his tomorrow cheerful and unafraid because yesterday he turned his feet into the ways of peace and today he lives in God. The man who has made God his dwelling place will always have a safe habitation." [1]

Happy New Year!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. A.W. Tozer, The Warfare of the Spirit.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas from Truthbomb!

We here at Truthbomb want to wish you and your family a very Merry CHRIST-mas!

"From the cradle to the cross:

What the Child has done for those who receive His pardon…"


To find out more about Jesus, go here.


Courage and Godspeed,
The Truthbomb Team

Sunday Praise: "Flesh and Bone" We Are Messengers


Happy Christmas!
Chase

Friday, December 23, 2016

Former Atheist Lee Strobel on Atheism vs. Christianity

“Essentially, I realized that to stay an atheist, I would have to believe that nothing produces everything; non-life produces life; randomness produces fine-tuning; chaos produces information; unconsciousness produces consciousness; and non-reason produces reason. Those leaps of faith were simply too big for me to take, especially in light of the affirmative case for God's existence … In other words, in my assessment the Christian worldview accounted for the totality of the evidence much better than the atheistic worldview.”1


Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. As quoted by gotQuestions.org here.

Related Posts

The Definition of Atheism

Do Atheists Believe in Miracles Without a Miracle Worker?

Article: On Miracles and Historiography: Can The Supernatural Ever Be The Best Explanation? by Jonathan McLatchie

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Debate Video: Jeff Lowder vs. Frank Turek- What Better Explains Reality: Naturalism or Theism?


This debate features Dr. Frank Turek of CrossExamined and Jeffery Jay Lowder, founder of Internet Infidels.

Debate Review

I greatly enjoy watching debates and usually get very excited about them. For me, these types of debates are akin to what the Super Bowl is to others. Most often, however, debates do not live up to my expectations.

I remember being very excited that Sam Harris was debating William Lane Craig, but then I was disappointed by Harris' inability to stay on the topic and his insistence on attacking arguments that Craig hadn't even made.  More recently I was excited to watch David Wood's debate with Dr. Michael Shermer, but then I was frustrated with Shermer trotting out atheist slogan after atheist slogan while demonstrating, once again, that he does not understand the moral argument for God's existence. This is why I so enjoyed this debate between Frank Turek and Jeffrey Jay Lowder.

For those who are unfamiliar with Jeffrey Jay Lowder, he is a metaphysical naturalist, who, as noted above, is co-founder of Internet Infidels. He also blogs at Secular Outpost. As Dr. Turek pointed out in the debate, Lowder doesn't just attempt to tear down the case for God made by the Christian theist, but he actually presents arguments in favor of his position. Further, Lowder's debate style is very similar to that of William Lane Craig. He begins with the contentions he intends on defending and then supports them with his arguments. This should be modeled by all those who desire to debate successfully.

My thoughts on the debate are as follows:

Substance- Turek and Lowder spent the entire time arguing for their positions and defending their positions. This may not seem all that impressive to some, but for someone like myself, who has watched many debates, this was refreshing. There were very few red herrings introduced.

Organization- Both debaters presented very well-organized cases for their positions and knew their material well. It was obvious, especially in the case of Lowder, that the debaters were familiar with their opponent’s position and written work.

Tone- It was obvious that these gentlemen respect each other and that came through in their interactions. Absent were the common ad hominem attacks that accompany these types of exchanges. Turek and Lowder both went out of their way to compliment each other when appropriate and while neither pulled their punches, they acted as gentlemen throughout. I confess that I wish all theists and atheists would model this behavior.

Humility- Lowder was willing to point out arguments that he believes favor theism, which this listener greatly appreciated. Moreover, when he and Turek were discussing what grounds objective moral values and duties, Lowder conceded that he had not settled on which atheist explanation he finds most satisfying. Furthermore, at one point Lowder even said that he was not going to make an argument that "95% of other atheists make" and that is "the Euthyphro dilemma." He and Turek agreed that it is a false dilemma. It is this type of honesty that initially attracted me to Lowder's work, and we should all learn from it. Drop an argument when it fails. Don't try to continue using it just because it is the "done thing."

Rhetoric- If the debate were judged on rhetoric alone, I believe even Lowder would concede that Turek won. At one point during the debate, he even complimented Turek on his comedy. I appreciated Turek's ability to share stories, illustrations, and jokes to communicate his points.

Arguments- The debaters differed in how they argued. Interestingly, I believe they could learn from one another! While Turek majored on presentation, Lowder majored on content. It was evident that Lowder had over prepared for the debate and, as a consequence, was unable to cover all his material as he would have preferred. Turek, on the other hand, presented some arguments that were not as well developed. Therefore, they sometimes looked like mere assertions. For example, he asserted that the laws of logic must be grounded in the existence of God (which is a position I am sympathetic with); however, he did not present an argument for this position.

So, while Turek could learn from Lowder's depth, Lowder could learn from Turek's presentation.

Conclusion

In most of the debates on the existence of God, I am always impressed with how well the moral argument for God's existence stands. Although the argument was not completely developed by Turek, the naturalist’s difficulty with grounding objective moral truths apart from God was once again on display.

I learned a great deal from this exchange and, like any great debate, it has inspired more study. I want to learn more about Lowder's claim that evolution is more probable on naturalism than theism. And while it is still my conviction that God best grounds objective moral values and duties, I want to explore the atheist positions highlighted by Lowder.

All in all, this debate was pure mind food.  I completely agree with Randal Rauser, who wrote, in his own debate review, "Lowder and Turek have provided us a fascinating exchange of ideas and style which explores a range of issues and topics that often get overlooked or underemphasized in the God debates."

Please let us know what you thought of the debate in the comments below!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad
Related Posts

Resource: Faith + Evolution

Video: The Case for the Existence of the Soul by J.P. Moreland

Book Review: Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case by Frank Turek

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

How to Reach Your Non-Christian Relatives This Christmas by Frank Turek

One of the many benefits of the Christmas season is that it presents a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel with friends and family. However, sometimes it can be difficult to know how to steer the conversation in a spiritual direction.

In this post from CrossExamined.org, Dr. Frank Turek offers 10 ways believers can move people closer to the gospel this holiday season or any time!

They are as follows:

  1. Pray: Start praying now for opportunities and for hearts to be open.  Then volunteer to pray before the meal (No one will interrupt or critique a prayer!).   Keep the prayer short and thank God for:
    • Your family members and guests by name
    • The food
    • Coming to earth that first Christmas in the person of Jesus to pay for our sins and to offer forgiveness and salvation for free to anyone who trusts in Christ
  2. Serve: Get off the couch and serve people as if you were a real Christian!
  3. Ask:  Seriously ask people how they’ve been doing this year.  Then ask them, “Is there anything I can pray for you about?”
  4. Testify: If they ask you how you’ve been doing, fold in a story of how God is working.
  5. Agree & Affirm whatever they get right.  It will make points of disagreement more acceptable.
  6. Use Tactical Questions When They Get Something Wrong: When people make truth claims, it’s not your job to refute them—it is their job to support them. So before responding to their statements, ask these questions.
    • What do you mean by that?
    • How did you come to that conclusion? (Or what evidence do you have for that?)
    • Have you ever considered…? (Fill in the blank with the evidence you would like the person to consider).
  7. Use the Quick Answers section of the CrossExamined App to respond to specific objections.   
  8. Show them what makes your walk easier: Glo BibleYou Version Bible, CrossExamined App (people love gadgets and apps).
  9. Seed the conversation:  Depending on how the conversation goes, some of these statements may get people thinking and even get them to ask you questions.  They include:
    • If I were perfect, I wouldn’t need a Savior.
    • God won’t force people into Heaven against their will.
    • I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.
    • The greatest miracle in the Bible is the first verse.
    • What motive did the Jewish New Testament writers have to make up a new religion?
    • If Christianity were true, would you become a Christian?
    10. Write them afterwards:  Following up on a conversation later via email can be very effective. That’s because you can present your ideas more clearly and completely while the other person can actually consider what you are saying without feeling the pressure of having to respond immediately. You can also include links to articles or websites for those that want to go deeper.
What about you?  What tactics or approaches do you find effective in reaching others with the gospel around the holidays?  Please feel free to share in the comments below!

Courage and Godspeed,

Answering Common Objections to Hell

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Article: What is the Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God? by gotQuestions.org

Originally published here:

The transcendental argument for the existence of God is the argument which attempts to prove God’s existence by arguing that logic, morals, and science ultimately presuppose the Christian worldview and that God’s transcendent character is the source of logic and morals. The transcendental argument for the existence of God argues that without the existence of God it is impossible to prove anything because, in the atheistic world, you cannot justify or account for universal laws.

Deductive reason presupposes the laws of logic. But why do the laws of logic hold? For the Christian, there is a transcendent standard for reasoning. As the laws of logic are reduced to being materialistic entities, they cease to possess their law-like character. But the laws of logic are not comprised of matter; they apply universally and at all times. The laws of logic are contingent upon God’s unchanging nature and are necessary for deductive reasoning. The invariability, sovereignty, transcendence, and immateriality of God are the foundation for the laws of logic. Thus, rational reasoning would be impossible without the biblical God.

The atheist might respond “Well, I can use the laws of logic and I am an atheist.” But this argument is illogical. Logical reasoning requires the existence of a transcendent and immaterial God, not a profession of belief in Him. The atheist can reason, but within his own worldview his reasoning cannot rationally be accounted for.

If the laws of logic are merely man-made contentions, then different cultures could adopt different laws of logic. In that case, the laws of logic would not be universal laws. Rational debate would be impossible if the laws of logic were conventional, because the two parties could simply adopt different laws of logic. Each would be correct according to his own arbitrary standard.

If the atheist argues that the laws of logic are simply the product of electro-chemical impulses in the brain, then the laws of logic cannot be regarded as universal. What happens inside your brain cannot be regarded as a law for it does not necessarily correspond to what happens in another person’s brain. In other words, we could not argue that logical contradictions cannot occur in a distant galaxy, distinct from conscious observers.

One common response is “We can use the laws of logic because they have been observed to work.” However, this is to miss the point. All are agreed that the laws of logic work, but they work because they are true. The real issue is, how can the atheist account for absolute standards of reasoning like the laws of logic? Why does the material universe feel compelled to obey immaterial laws? Moreover, the appeal to the past to make such deductions concerning the way matter will behave in the future—from the materialistic point of view—is circular. Indeed, in the past, matter has conformed to uniformity. But how can one know that uniformity will persist in the future unless one has already assumed that the future reflects the past (i.e. uniformity)? To use one’s past experience as a premise upon which to build one’s expectations for the future is to presuppose uniformity and logic. Thus, when the atheist claims to believe that there will be uniformity in the future since there has been uniformity in the past, he is trying to simply justify uniformity by presupposing uniformity, which is to argue in a circle.

To conclude, the transcendental argument for the existence of God argues that atheism is self-refuting because the atheist must presuppose the opposite of what he is attempting to prove in order to prove anything. It argues that rationality and logic make sense only within a Christian theistic framework. Atheists have access to the laws of logic, but they have no foundation upon which to base their deductive reason within their own paradigm.

For more helpful answers about Christianity and other world views, I highly recommend gotQuestions?.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad


Common Objection #24- "There is no evidence for God."

Common Objection #27- "Intelligent People Don't Believe in God!"

Monday, December 19, 2016

What Do We Mean When We Use the Term, "Virgin Conception"?

In the subject post, J. Warner Wallace examines the theological concepts of virgin conception, virgin birth, and immaculate conception to draw out the distinctions between them and to determine the biblical warrant for each.

The post can be found here.




Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016

I Still Believe in Santa, and God Too

I am thirty-five years old, and I still believe in Santa.
I remember well that dark day when my friends told me that Santa didn’t exist. I was devastated. I felt this heaviness in my gut, and the colors of Christmas seemed to fade. I was made to feel like I was a baby for believing in Santa, and so I quickly gave up the belief. I didn’t want to be the odd one out. I didn’t want to be a fool.
But in the privacy of my own mind I began to think it through. If Santa didn’t exist, where did all of those great gifts under the tree come from year after year? If Santa didn’t exist, how did my letters always disappear from the fireplace? Plus, I had been in Santa’s presence plenty of times! I had frequently bumped into him in the mall and on the streets of New York City, and I had pictures to prove it. One time Santa even showed up at my house on Christmas.
How irrational it would have been for me to conclude that Santa simply didn’t exist! To affirm that Santa was merely a legend that had evolved over many generations, or to accept that the multiple and multiply attested appearances of Santa were cases of me and everyone else hallucinating—only a willful neglect of the evidence could lead to such conclusions.
It turned out that my friends had not been very precise with their thinking or with their words. It wasn’t that Santa didn’t exist; it was that Santa wasn’t who I thought he was.
It turns out he is far greater than I had thought. He is indeed capable of providing gifts and picking up letters, and he is, as suspected, responsible for the disappearance of the mountain of cookies that we would leave out for him on Christmas Eve.
But, thankfully, he doesn’t live as far away as the North Pole. He isn’t someone whom I could only hope to catch a momentary glimpse of once a year. He isn’t someone who likes me only if I am not naughty but nice. The good news is that Santa is with me all year, and he loves and is there for me no matter what. Santa exists; it’s just that when he is fully revealed, he is also Mom and Dad.
Many of us can remember a time when someone told us God doesn’t exist, and perhaps they made us feel foolish for believing such a thing. Did we give up that belief because we had really thought it through, or simply because we didn’t want to be seen as a baby?
If God doesn’t exist, how did the universe begin? Why is it designed for life with such precision and intricacy? Why is its material content subject to moral laws? Why is it orderly and comprehensible? Why is it beautiful? Why is a baby being born a miracle that so clearly transcends the sum of its chemical reactions? Why do so many people consult the constellations above and the conscience within and know that there is something more? Why did hundreds of people claim to see and spend time with Jesus after he had been killed, even when it meant they might be killed? Why are millions of people in every corner of the globe so convinced that they daily spend time in his presence—that they speak to him, personally, and that he hears them and he answers them. In neglecting God, have we actually neglected the evidence?
What if it isn’t that God doesn’t exist? What if God just isn’t who we thought God was? What if it turns out that God is far greater?
Yes, God is powerful enough to create the universe, and to design it with order and precision. But God is not the distant God of the deists. God is not someone whom, at best, we can hope to catch a glimpse of. God is not someone whose love is conditional on our nice deeds outweighing our naughty ones. When fully revealed, God is indeed Creator and Designer, but—even better—God is our loving friend. For us, God was willing to be seen as a fool, and as a baby.
It’s not that Santa doesn’t exist; it’s just that Santa is Mom and Dad. And that’s good news! What if, likewise, the God that so many have stopped believing in exists after all? And what if God does not live high in the sky, to be seen only when we die? What if he dwelled among us, and lives within us? What if God is Abba—Dad?
This Christmas, would you consider joining me in believing in the real Santa, and would you consider believing in God too?
Vince Vitale is director of the Zacharias Institute at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.
Published on December 15, 2016 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.”

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/

Friday, December 16, 2016

A Christmas Testimony



It’s been one year since Star Wars: The Force Awakens was revealed in theaters after much anticipation about how the saga from a galaxy far, far away would carry on.   Historic characters were brought back and new characters were introduced.  Fans speculated as new trailers and information was released or “leaked” throughout 2015 prior to the movie’s release. 
There has always been one moment that has stuck out to me from the movie.  It was actually introduced during one of the trailers.  Han Solo is discussing with Finn and Rey the status of Luke Skywalker and speculating why he disappeared-
Finn: Do you know what happened to him?
Han Solo: A lot of rumors. Stories. People that knew him best think he went looking for the first Jedi temple.
Rey: The Jedi were real?
Han Solo: I used to wonder about that myself. Thought it was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. A magical power holding together good and evil, the dark side and the light. Crazy thing is... it's true. The Force. The Jedi... All of it... It's all true. 1
Han’s response to Rey’s question about whether or not the Jedi were real has always stuck with me.  It reminds me of my own personal journey as a Christian and the significance of celebrating Christmas.  Now I can’t say that I ever considered the account of Jesus’ birth a bunch of “mumbo-jumbo,” but for much of my life, it was not the centerpiece of why I celebrated Christmas.  It was more like a tradition that was remembered and simply went along with the other things I would do every year such as listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, buying and receiving presents, and visiting with family members in hot, crammed spaces.  It didn’t really rank any higher to me than these things.
My perspective began to change on Christmas Day of 2003.  What made this Christmas very different from years past was my mom being in a nursing home on her 48th birthday.  The cancer that she had bravely fought for the past year had come back and the doctors had told her and my dad that there was really nothing more they could do.  It was only a matter of time before she would leave this earth.  My family decided that day that we would spend the morning at home together and then spend the rest of the day with my mom.  When we arrived at the nursing home in the afternoon, we walked into her room and immediately noticed something was terribly wrong.  An emergency 911 call was made and mom was rushed to the hospital.  Within hours, she would be gone.  I was in shock, to say the least.  While I knew that barring a miraculous healing, mom was going to die, the reality of it hit me hard.  And the fact that it happened on Christmas, the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth, just didn’t seem fair.  Now it was also the day that I would always remember as when my mom was born and when she died.
For several years, Christmas became more like any other holiday.  I was more excited about being off work for an extended period and having a good time rather than reflecting on the importance of this observance. 
So what changed?  In late 2006, I met Kimberly, whom I’ve now been married to for almost 9 years.  She helped me with re-establishing my relationship with God.  We found a church that was exactly what we were looking for and more.  This is where I met Chad Gross and was introduced to the world of apologetics, something I desperately needed.  I had many questions about my faith and didn’t really think that I should ask them or I assumed they couldn’t be answered.  Man, was I wrong!  And I am so thankful for that!  What I slowly began to realize was Christianity is much more than a tradition.  It’s true, all of it!  In Star Wars Episode VII, Han’s statement I quoted earlier was the result of his “eyewitness accounts” of Jedi, Sith Lords, etc.  The New Testament, particularly the Gospels, are eyewitness testimonies of those who witness the historical events surrounding the life of Jesus Christ.  Their accounts and the sacrifices they made to share it with as many people as possible, is one of the many pieces of evidence that gives me reasonable confidence in what I believe. 
My life as a Christ follower is not based on tradition, but is instead grounded in truth!

May the Lord be with you!

The Other Chad


Thursday, December 15, 2016

5 Theses on Anti-Intellectualism by Justin Taylor

Originally published here at The Gospel Coalition.

1. Anti-Intellectualism is less about aptitude than attitude.


“Anti-intellectualism is a disposition to discount the importance of truth and the life of the mind.”
—Os Guinness

2. Anti-Intellectualism is a problem in the Western world.

“We live in what may be the most anti-intellectual period in the history of Western civilization.”
—R. C. Sproul

“. . . Americans are the best entertained and quite likely the least well-informed people in the Western world.”
—Neil Postman

3. Anti-Intellectualism is a problem within evangelicalism.

“I must be frank with you: the greatest danger confronting American evangelical Christianity is the danger of anti-intellectualism. The mind in its greatest and deepest reaches is not cared for enough.”
—Charles Malik

“The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.”
—Mark Noll

“. . . the Christian Mind has succumbed to the secular drift with a degree of weakness unmatched in Christian History.”
—Harry Blamires

“The contemporary Christian mind is starved, and as a result we have small, impoverished souls.”
—J. P. Moreland

“Our churches are filled with Christians who are idling in intellectual neutral. As Christians, their minds are going to waste. One result of this is an immature, superficial faith. People who simply ride the roller coaster of emotional experience are cheating themselves out of a deeper and richer Christian faith by neglecting the intellectual side of that faith.”
—William Lane Craig

4. Anti-Intellectualism is not virtuous.

“God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers.”
—C. S. Lewis

“Intellectual slothfulness is but a quack remedy for unbelief. . . .”
—J. Gresham Machen

“At root, evangelical anti-intellectualism is both a scandal and a sin. It is a scandal in the sense of being an offense and a stumbling block that needlessly hinders serious people from considering the Christian faith and coming to Christ. It is a sin because it is a refusal, contrary to Jesus’ two great commandments, to love the Lord our God with our minds. Anti-intellectualism is quite simply a sin. Evangelicals must address it as such, beyond all excuses, evasions, or rationalizations of false piety.”
—Os Guinness

5. Anti-Intellectualism should be resisted with Godward passion and intellectual consecration to the Lord.

“We must have passion—indeed hearts on fire for the things of God. But that passion must resist with intensity the anti-intellectual spirit of the world.”
—R. C. Sproul

“The Christian religion flourishes not in the darkness but in the light. . . . [T]he true remedy [of unbelief] is consecration of intellectual power to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
—J. Gresham Machen

“What is today a matter of academic speculation begins tomorrow to move armies and pull down empires. In that second stage, it has gone too far to be combated; the time to stop it was when it was still a matter of impassioned debate. So as Christians we should try to mold the thought of the world in such a way as to make the acceptance of Christianity something more than a logical absurdity. . . . What more pressing duty than for those who have received the mighty experience of regeneration, who, therefore, do not, like the world, neglect that whole series of vitally relevant facts which is embraced in Christian experience — what more pressing duty than for these men to make themselves masters of the thought of the world in order to make it an instrument of truth instead of error?”
—J. Gresham Machen

Some Books to Consider Reading:
Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Related Posts

Michael Sherrard on Anti-Intellectualism in the Church

J.P. Moreland on Culture

Video: Loving God with All Your Mind by J.P. Moreland