This Sunday, July 30th, 2017, will mark fifty years since Joni Eareckson Tada's tragic diving accident left her a quadriplegic at the young age of 17. Simply enduring life in a wheelchair for fifty years is itself more than noteworthy . But to think about all that Joni has accomplished is nothing short of miraculous in my opinion. All you need to do is go to her Wikipedia page to learn about her extensive work. She has had tremendous success as a writer (48 books), singer, and speaker. Eareckson Tada also founded Joni and Friends, which is a ministry for the disabled community, in 1979. She has been married for nearly 35 years to her husband, Ken.
Joni's life is a great example of how God can use suffering for His good purpose.
"I think that far from counting as evidence against God’s existence, evil actually provides evidence for God. How? Evil is when things aren’t the way they are supposed to be or are the way they aren’t supposed to be. You can’t have real evil without there being a real way things are and are not supposed to be. But, again, this distinction is clear to me if there is a God. But if God does not exist, things just are. There is no way that things are supposed to be. Stuff happens and that’s the end of the matter."1
"In a talk given in Australia, Amy Orr-Ewing examines how Christianity really relates to women and if negative perceptions are truly deserved.
Amy looks at three challenges facing women today – objectification, self-objectification and sexual violence – and considers what Christianity has to say about each. Critically, she also looks at how Jesus interacted with women and argues Christianity offers a coherent worldview that underpins a vision of human flourishing."1
Some Muslim scholars claim that when Jesus promised "the Helper" (Gr., parakletos) to his disciples in John 14:16 that Christ was actually referring to the coming of the Prophet Mohammed. They argue that that the Qur'an (Surah 61:6) refers to Mohammed as "Ahmad" (periclytos) which they contend is the correct rendering of "parakletos."
Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion: "What matters is not whether Hitler and Stalin were atheists, but whether atheism systematically influences people to do bad things. There is not the smallest evidence that it does."[p. 273]
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand recalling his imprisonment under Communist rule in his book Tortured for Christ:
"The cruelty of atheism is hard to believe. When a man has no faith in the reward of good or the punishment of evil, there is no reason to be human. There is no restraint from the depths of evil that is in man. The Communist tortures often said, "There is no God, no hereafter, no punishment for evil. We can do what we wish." I heard one torturer say, "I thank God, in whom I don't believe, that I have lived to this hour when I can express all the evil in my heart." He expressed it in unbelievable brutality and torture inflicted on prisoners."[p. 36]
In their small book The Facts on Jehovah's Witnesses, authors John Ankerberg and John Weldon contend that "Greek scholars, Christian and non-Christian universally reject..."1 the New World Translation (NWT) of the Bible used by Jehovah's Witnesses.
One such example they offer is the late Dr. Julius Mantey. As the authors explain:
"Mantey was one of the leading Greek scholars in the world. He was author of the Hellenistic Greek Reader and coauthor, with H.E. Dana, of A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament. Not only did he reject the NWT, he publicly demanded that the Society stop misquoting his Grammar to support it."2
"I have never read any New Testament so badly translated as The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures. In fact, it is not their translation at all. Rather, it is a distortion of the New Testament. The translators used what J.B. Rotherham has translated in 1893, in modern speech, and changed the readings in scores of passages to state what Jehovah's Witnesses believe and teach. That is distortion, not translation."3
Bruce Metzger, another well-known scholar of New Testament stated, "The Jehovah's Witnesses have incorporated in their translations of the New Testament several quite erroneous renderings of the Greek."4
Also, Dr. Robert Countess, who wrote his dissertation for his Ph.D. in Greek on the NWT, concluded that the translation:
"...has been sharply unsuccessful in keeping doctrinal considerations from influencing the actual translation...It must be viewed as a radically biased piece of work. At some points it is actually dishonest. At others it is neither modern nor scholarly. And interwoven throughout its fabric is inconsistent application of its own principles enunciated in the Foreword and Appendix."5
As if that were not enough. British scholar H.H. Rowley actually called the NWT "an insult to the Word of God."6
So, according to both Christian and non-Christian Greek scholars, the NWT is biased, dishonest and wrong.
Courage and Godspeed, Chad
Footnotes: 1. John Ankerberg and John Weldon, The Facts on Jehovah's Witnesses, p. 31. 2. Ibid., 32. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. Ibid. 6. Ibid.
"This series is designed to analyze a number of theological phrases or practical bits of Christians wisdom that may simply be wrong, or at least misunderstood. Or maybe both.
Now to be clear, I will not be suggesting that the instances of Christianese we will be exploring in this series are necessarily wrong. Taken properly, they may be right in many ways. But, of course, that is precisely the issue. Often they are not taken properly. Instead they can be used to justify some questionable theological views.
So, the goal of the series–and this is important to get–is not to refute these phrases but to clarify, to nuance, and to balance out these phrases. In the world of theology, lack of nuance is one step (often a big step) towards doctrinal error."1
Joseph Smith: “In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it.”1
The Book of Isaiah: "You are my witnesses," declares the Lord, "and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me."2 Courage and Godspeed, Chad
Footnotes: 1. Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, v. 6, pp. 307, 308 as quoted by Mormon Think. 2. Isaiah 42:10, ESV; Emphasis mine. Related Posts
Young adults simply don’t know anything about Christianity. I’m not sure, then, that it is right to say that young adults are walking away from Christianity. It seems as though they’ve never been introduced to it. He goes on to write about our responsibility to not only teach the next generation the Word of God but also display to them the power it has in our lives. You can read the post in its entirety here.
In the prologue to Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel Qureshi shares his desire to know who God is. Below is part of the prayer he recites:
"Please, God Almighty, tell me who You are! I beseech You and only You. Only You can rescue me. At your feet, I lay down everything I have learned, and give my entire life to You. Take away what You will, be it my joy, my friends, my family, or even my life. But let me have You, O God.
Light the path that I must walk. I don't care how many hurdles are in the way, how many pits I must jump over or climb out of, or how many thorns I must step through. Guide me on the right path. If it is Islam, show me how it is true! If it is Christianity, give me eyes to see! Just show me which path is Yours, dear God, so I can walk it."1
I find this prayer very moving as it reveals the author's heart to truly know who God is despite what it might cost him. It also reminds me to ask myself what are my intentions when it comes to being a Christian? Is it for the experience? Is it to have the right worldview compared to many others? Is it to avoid being condemned to hell?
While these questions are worth considering, I believe there is a more important question. Do I truly believe in who Jesus is and that he came to "give life and give it abundantly" as mentioned in John 10:10. If I do, am I living this out accordingly? Is it apparent in my marriage, as a father, in my daily interactions with my co-workers and others who may cross my path? I find this question to be helpful in reminding me of my purpose to share the truth of the Gospel message.
You can find the latest Nabeel Qureshi videos by going here. Please continue to pray for him and his family as he perseveres through his illness.
“If there were even one spark of evidence from antiquity that Jesus even may have gotten married, then as a historian, I would have to weigh this evidence against the total absence of such information in either Scripture or the early church traditions. But there is no such spark-not a scintilla of evidence-anywhere in historical sources. Even where one might expect to find such claims in the bizarre, second-century, apocryphal gospels...there is no reference that Jesus ever got married.”1
In this featured video, Pastor Jeff Durbin of Apologia Church explains how to biblically and concisely explain the doctrine of the Trinity to those who reject it. This message is aimed toward Muslims, but really applies to any world religion or cult that rejects the Triune Nature of God.
He is also Senior Editor of Premier Christianity Magazine. Justin splits his time between radio presenting, editing and serving in his local church. He enjoys finding fresh way to create conversations about faith through the programmes, videos and articles that bring theology into the real world.
About the Book
Yet recently, good conversations about faith have been increasingly squeezed out of the public sphere. Seeking to reopen the debate, Justin Brierley began to invite atheists, sceptics and non-believers onto Premier Christian Radio to hear the best arguments for and against the Christian faith. Now, over ten years later, Unbelievable?continues to captivate thousands of listeners and has spawned its own annual conference.
But how has ten years in the atheist-argument-firing line affected the presenter’s faith?
Reflecting on conversations with Richard Dawkins, Derren Brown and many more, Justin explains why he still finds Christianity the most compelling explanation for life, the universe and everything. And why, regardless of belief or background, we should all welcome the conversation.
Text originallyfound here: The hypostatic union is the term used to describe how God the Son, Jesus Christ, took on a human nature, yet remained fully God at the same time. Jesus always had been God (John 8:58, 10:30), but at the incarnation Jesus became a human being (John 1:14). The addition of the human nature to the divine nature is Jesus, the God-man. This is the hypostatic union, Jesus Christ, one Person, fully God and fully man.
Jesus' two natures, human and divine, are inseparable. Jesus will forever be the God-man, fully God and fully human, two distinct natures in one Person. Jesus' humanity and divinity are not mixed, but are united without loss of separate identity. Jesus sometimes operated with the limitations of humanity (John 4:6,19:28) and other times in the power of His deity (John 11:43; Matthew 14:18-21). In both, Jesus' actions were from His one Person. Jesus had two natures, but only one personality.
As the father of two young girls, I am constantly assessing the cultural landscape that we find ourselves in and asking the question, "What kind of world are my girls going to inherit?" Some would argue that every generation has had its share of moral challenges and cultural shifts. This is undoubtedly true; however, let's be honest- we are living in strange, strange times. There are currently issues arising in the west that simply have never needed to be dealt with or addressed before. Moreover, various issues that have emerged in the past have seemingly intensified in recent years.
Addiction has always been a challenge, but now it seems we are inventing new ways to destroy ourselves. Pornography has been a moral problem since its inception, but never has it been more readily available to our children. There are people who are not only struggling with gender dysphoria, but those who now wear pet collars, eat from a bowl and identify as dogs. There are grown men who identify as little girls. Just recently, pop star Miley Cyrus claimed to be a "genderless spirit." And many in the culture seem to think that such behavior is perfectly normal and acceptable. And as the Apostle Paul wrote in the Book of Romans, many seem to even give "hearty approval" (1:32; NASB) to such conduct. How do we raise our kids with a solid Christian worldview when the world around them seems determined to turn away from the very truths and principals it has historically held to?
In their new book, A Practical Guide to Culture, authors John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkle are wrestling with these same types of questions:
"It's always been rough out there, but the palpable sense of many American Christians-especially parents-is that the cultural currents have shifted and intensified. The past few years have brought a tsunami of change, and not for the better. One issue after another after another hits us like a series of waves at high tide. We wonder if and how our kids can keep their heads above the water, much less live the sort of flourishing Christian lives we hope they will. As dads, we wonder how we can too...In our lifetimes, we have never seen the pressure on Christian conviction greater than it is right now. We try to avoid alarmism, but standing for Christ in our culture is getting harder and harder."[p. 18]
The authors realize that "[t]he kids of today will build the culture of tomorrow" and their goal in this work is to equip families to navigate the cultural landscape reasonably and biblically. As they write:
"We've aimed this book at parents, grandparents, mentors, teachers, and pastors who have some little image bearers in their lives, as we have in ours, and who want to see them navigate this cultural moment as champions for Christ. [p. 19]
Layout of the Book
The book is divided into four parts.
Part I is meant to provide a framework of culture for Christians. The authors do a great job here defining culture, putting culture in the context of the gospel, and explaining what success with our children would look like in our current cultural climate.
Part II deals with those powerful yet subtle undercurrents of our culture that often go unnoticed. Important issues such as navigating the information age, what it means to be human, and how we can be human together are discussed. An important issue addressed in this section is the issue of extended adolescence in children. The authors contend that if kids can just grow up, they will be way ahead of their peers. This reader wholeheartedly agrees!
Part III addresses various singular cultural issues (what the authors refer to as the "pelvic issues") such as porn, casual sex, sexual orientation and gender identify. Others issues addressed include affluence and consumerism, addiction, entertainment and racial tension.
Part IV offers what the authors call "Christian worldview essentials" for parents and kids. These essentials are "ones that seem particularly important for the task this book seeks to tackle: empowering parents and mentors to help kids navigate the cultural moment."[p. 21]
The authors wisely begin their work by defining culture. As they point out, sometimes the word culture is used, but some do not always understand what it actually means. They explain:
"Among Christians, culture is a word much used but rarely defined. It comes from the Latin word cultura, which means 'agriculture.' If plowing, tilling, and cultivating come to mind, they should. In its most basic sense, culture refers to what people do with the world: we build, we invent, we imagine, we create, we tear down, we replace, we compose, we design, we emphasize, we dismiss, we embellish, we engineer. As Andy Crouch says, 'Culture is what human beings make of the world.'"[p. 29]
Further, Kunkle and Stonestreet correctly identify the challenge many Christians face in the west- the seductive allurement to conform to the culture. They write:
"Culture tends to shape us most deeply by what it presents as normal. We are creatures of cultural habit. Our loves, our longings, our loyalties, and our labors can become products of the liturgies our culture imposes. We live according to them but rarely think through them. Unintentionally, we become culture shaped rather than intentional about shaping culture."[p. 39]
Of course, this is contrary to what the Bible says- "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:2; NASB). As the late Francis Schaeffer asked many years ago, "How should we then live?" Or, perhaps more appropriate for today's parents, "How should we teach our kids to live?"
The authors are convinced that the answer lies within the overall story told in the Bible- creation, fall, redemption and restoration. They explain:
"The Story is the context of our cultural moment. We must live from it and allow it to shape us." [p. 58]
Kunkle and Stonestreet also contend that a large reason why young people don't know who they are is because we have rejected the universal Story of history and humanity for postmodernism that offers no meaningful narrative.
It should be obvious to the reader at this point that some of the issues dealt with in this work are sensitive in nature. Topics such as sexual orientation and gender identity are "hot-button" matters that many find difficult to talk about without getting emotional. Further, it should be noted that these issues are not simply academic matters to be considered and adjudicated upon, but involve real people with struggles and hurts who were created in the image of God. The authors successfully navigate these touchy issues with just the right balance of grace and truth. As they are careful to disclose:
"Jesus was 'full of grace and truth' (John 1:14), and He is the model for our engagement of all issues. We must bring truth to bear by thinking carefully about the intellectual issues surrounding sexual orientation. We must bring grace to bear by engaging individuals with love, kindness, and hospitality."[p. 188]
And this pattern is followed throughout.
Each issue addressed in chapters 8-15 follows a very helpful pattern for those desiring to discuss these subjects with their children. These chapters begin by explaining the specific problem and then lies that the culture perpetuates related to this issue. Then, these falsehoods are factually and thoughtfully dealt with. Moreover, the authors offer how each struggle should be viewed in light of God's Story- "the true Story about all of reality..."[p. 158] Finally, "Action Steps" are given to those families wanting to discuss and teach about the topic.
Throughout the work, various resources are suggested for those who want to learn more about a given subject. The resources offered are both practical and easily accessible. For example, when dealing with porn, it is correctly pointed out that parents must not wait until they discover porn in their kids' lives to address it. They must do something now! They go on to suggest various ways to filter, monitor and restrict what children are able to see online and give a helpful list of websites so that readers can take action immediately. Throughout the work, various books, articles, videos and other helpful tools are recommended.
Chapters 16-19 conclude by teaching readers how to read the Bible on its own terms and by offering a general defense of the reliability of the Bible. This reviewer appreciated the three step argument offered for the authority of the Bible. The steps include: 1. God's Existence 2. Expectations of Divine Revelation 3. The Bible is God's Divine Revelation. The authors summarize their case as follows:
"Beginning with natural theology, we have good grounds for believing God exists. In addition, we have rational expectations for divine revelation because of who God is and the predicament we find ourselves in. Finally, the evidence demonstrates that God has indeed spoken and revealed Himself most fully in the Bible." [p. 317]
Finally, the issue of pluralism is addressed and demonstrated to be false; however, the authors recommend what they deem "the right kind" of pluralism. The right kind of pluralist builds their foundation on the the truth of the Christian worldview and then is able to interact with those around them, regardless of their views, with courage and confidence. Conclusion
If you are going to read one book this year, I strongly encourage you to consider making it A Practical Guide to Culture by John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkle. These seasoned apologists and fathers demonstrate how to teach apologetics and worldview to today's young people with clarity, wisdom and truth. Furthermore, they put answers and tools into the hands of parents, teachers, mentors and pastors that make engaging the ever shifting cultural sands around us achievable.
There are so many within the body of Christ asking the question, "What can we do about the crumbling culture around us?" Stonestreet and Kunkle have offered the answer in their latest work. I have already made it required reading for my wife!
Richard Dawkins: "The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference." 
C.S. Lewis: "If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning." 
Courage and Godspeed, Chad
Footnotes: 1. Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden, p. 55. 2. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.
In this video series with me, Nabeel Qureshi, and my friend David Wood, we cover some of the highlights of my book Seeking Allah Finding Jesus, providing brief insights into ministering to Muslims as well as responding to the most common Muslim objections to Christianity. It is designed for Christians and Muslims alike. I pray it will be encouraging and edifying for you!"
You can find the official video series here. The second video is here.
Christians confess that God created the heavens and the earth. But they are divided over howGod created and whether the Bible gives us a scientifically accurate account of the process of creation.
Representatives of two prominent positions—old-earth creation (Reasons to Believe) and evolutionary creation (BioLogos)—have been in dialogue over the past decade to understand where they agree and disagree on key issues in science and theology. This book is the result of those meetings.
Moderated by Southern Baptist seminary professors, the discussion between Reasons to Believe and BioLogos touches on many of the pressing debates in science and faith, including biblical authority, the historicity of Adam and Eve, human genetics and common descent, the problem of natural evil, and methodological naturalism. While both organizations agree that God created the universe billions of years ago, their differences reveal that far more is at stake here than just the age of the earth.
Old-Earth or Evolutionary Creation? invites readers to listen in as Christian scholars weigh the evidence, explore the options, and challenge each other on the questions of creation and evolution. In a culture of increasing polarization, this is a model for charitable Christian dialogue.
"This Reasons to Believe and BioLogos conversation is highly commendable, and it's important for a number of reasons. First, its tone is irenic, gracious, and humble. Second, its participants trust the Christian integrity of the other conversation partners. Third, it takes the authority of Scripture seriously as participants grapple with the implications of biblical interpretation in light of scientific discovery. Fourth, the Southern Baptist theologians serving as moderators are effective in guiding and focusing the conversation as they call for clarification and further elaboration from both sides. Finally, this conversation takes for granted the strong evidence for an ancient earth, allowing the discussion to push past the young-earth versus old-earth debate to far more pressing issues needing attention within the Christian community."
Paul Copan, professor and Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University, coeditor of The Dictionary of Christianity and Science
"This conversation is definitely worth listening to! The book is deeply satisfying, with knowledgeable and articulate advocates of differing positions expounding on areas of disagreement clearly as well as respectfully. At the same time, it is deeply unsatisfying, but in a good way: I found my own assumptions challenged, my horizons stretched. I think differently after reading it. An excellent job by all participants, moderators included."
C. John "Jack" Collins, professor of Old Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis
"This book has cultural significance that extends far beyond the origins debate. Here, Christians with deep disagreements chose to worship together, laboring for several years to understand and love each other. In a society marked by angry divisions, the hard work of reconciliation chronicled in this book is rare, beautiful, and an example for us all to follow."
S. Joshua Swamidass, MD, assistant professor of laboratory and genomic medicine, Washington University in Saint Louis