On January 13, 2018, Dr. William Lane Craig participated in an event billed as "A Conversation with Two Leading Evangelists" alongside Bishop Robert Barron. The discussion with Barron, founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, focused on the following three topics:
1) The Challenge of Evangelization
2) Science and Faith
3) Advice to Christians Living in an Increasingly Secular World.
This is an outstanding dialogue and as an added bonus, philosophers Ed Feser and Stephen Davis act as moderators!
In this featured article, Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason uses the following outline as a guide for parents to use while discipling their children:
"We have a responsibility to do this. We cannot just pawn it off on teachers, or Sunday school teachers, or our pastor, or a Christian school, if we have one. They can help, but it is our primary job to raise our children in the Lord."
Tremper Longman III (PhD, Yale University) is Distinguished Scholar of Biblical Studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. He is also visiting professor of Old Testament at Seattle School of Theology and Psychology and adjunct of Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary. He lectures regularly at Regent College in Vancouver and the Canadian Theological Seminary in Calgary.
Longman is the author or coauthor of over twenty books, including How to Read Genesis, How to Read the Psalms, How to Read Proverbs, Literary Approaches to Biblical Interpretation, Old Testament Essentials, and coeditor of A Complete Literary Guide to the Bible. He and Dan Allender have coauthored Bold Love, Cry of the Soul, Intimate Allies, The Intimate Mystery, and the Intimate Marriage Bible studies.
John H. Walton (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School. Previously he was professor of Old Testament at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago for twenty years.
Some of Walton's books include The Lost World of Adam and Eve, The Lost World of Scripture,The Lost World of Genesis One, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament, The Essential Bible Companion, The NIV Application Commentary: Genesis, and The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament (with Victor Matthews and Mark Chavalas).
Walton's ministry experience includes church classes for all age groups, high school Bible studies, and adult Sunday school classes, as well as serving as a teacher for "The Bible in 90 Days." John and his wife, Kim, live in Wheaton, Illinois, and have three adult children.
"The flood continued forty days on the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth . . . and the ark floated on the face of the waters" (Gen 6:17-18 NRSV).
In modern times the Genesis flood account has been probed and analyzed for answers to scientific, apologetic, and historical questions. It is a text that has called forth "flood geology," fueled searches for remnants of the ark on Mount Ararat, and inspired a full-size replica of Noah's ark in a theme park. Some claim that the very veracity of Scripture hinges on a particular reading of the flood narrative. But do we understand what we are reading?
Longman and Walton urge us to ask what the biblical author might have been saying to his ancient audience. Our quest to rediscover the biblical flood requires that we set aside our own cultural and interpretive assumptions and visit the distant world of the ancient Near East. Responsible interpretation calls for the patient examination of the text within its ancient context of language, literature, and thought. And as we return from that lost world to our own, we will need to ask whether geological science supports the notion of flood geology.
To read Longman and Walton is to put our feet on firmer interpretive ground. Without attempting to answer all of our questions, they lift the fog of modernity and allow the sunlight to reveal the true contours of the text. As with other books in the Lost World series, The Lost World of the Flood is an informative and enlightening journey toward a more responsible reading of a timeless biblical narrative.
“It is a historical fact that some of Jesus’ followers came to believe that he had been raised from the dead soon after his execution. We know some of these believers by name; one of them, the apostle Paul, claims quite plainly to have seen Jesus alive after his death. Thus, for the historian, Christianity begins after the death of Jesus, not with the resurrection itself, but with the belief in the resurrection.”1
Courage and Godspeed, Chad
1. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. Third Edition. (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.276), Emphasis mine. Related Posts
Lee Strobel was the award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune and is the bestselling author of The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, The Case for a Creator, and The Case for Grace. With a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale, Lee has won four Gold Medallions for publishing excellence and coauthored the Christian Book of the Year. He serves as Professor of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University. Visit Lee's website here.
Jesse Florea has written and edited for Focus on the Family for twenty-five years. As editorial director for youth publications, he oversees Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. magazines, and he cohosts the “Official Adventures in Odyssey” podcast. Jesse has written or cowritten more than thirty books, including The Case for Grace for Kids and the bestselling The One-Year Sports Devotions for Kids and Devotions for Super Average Kids. He lives with his wife, Stephanie, in Colorado Springs.
About the Book
From bestselling author Lee Strobel’s well-renowned, bestselling series exploring the life of Jesus and what it means to be a Christian, The Case for Miracles for Kidstackles the tough questions kids ask about God, Jesus, and miracles, as well as providing information for kids who want to learn more so they can share their faith and knowledge with others. Mixing light-hearted prose and a conversational style with historical facts, research, and true stories, this book brings the miracles and ministry of Jesus to life and shows why they still matter today.
You can pre-order your copy here. You can learn more about the book here.
Question: "Who was Saint Patrick and why do we celebrate St. Patrick's Day?"
Answer: Patrick, whom almost everyone calls “Saint Patrick,” although he was never canonized by the Catholic Church, was born to a wealthy family in AD 387 in Kilpatrick, Scotland. His real name was Maewyn Succat. It was his extensive missionary work in Ireland for which Patrick is famous. During the thirty years of work there, he supposedly converted over 135,000 people, established 300 churches, and consecrated 350 bishops. Patrick died on March 17, 461. For over a millennium, the Irish have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.
History records that Saint Patrick, at age sixteen, was captured by Irish raiders and spent several years as a slave in Ireland. It was during this time that he learned the various rituals, customs, and language of Druids, and it was these people that he eventually evangelized. Patrick apparently had a dream in which God spoke to him, saying, “Your ship is ready.” Patrick was then able to escape Ireland by ship. Shortly thereafter, he experienced another dream in which he received a letter that was labeled the “voice of the Irish.” When he opened it, he heard the voices of all those whom he had met in Ireland begging him to return.
Saint Patrick then returned to Ireland to tell people about Christ. Though the task was difficult and dangerous, he persisted and was able to build a strong foundation for Christianity. The Irish people were receptive to his teachings, especially in light of the fact that he was able to take several of their Celtic symbols and “Christianize” them. The most well-known of Patrick’s illustrations is the shamrock, a certain type of clover sacred to the Druids, which he used as a symbol of the Trinity.
Each year millions of people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It is a national holiday in Ireland when people do not work but worship and gather with family. In the United States, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York on March 17, 1762. It consisted largely of Irish soldiers. Today, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by wearing green, which symbolizes spring as well as Irish culture.
What started as a religious holiday has become a secular celebration of all things Irish. Neither Saint Patrick nor St. Patrick’s Day is mentioned in Scripture. While we would strongly disagree of some aspects of theology that St. Patrick taught, the fact that around 1,600 years ago a man dedicated his life to proclaiming the gospel, resulting in tens of thousands coming to faith in Christ, is most definitely worth celebrating (Luke 15:7–10).
Scott T. Brown is the President of the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches and pastor at Hope Baptist Church in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Scott graduated from California State University in Fullerton with a degree in History and received a Master of Divinity degree from Talbot School of Theology. He gives his time to expository preaching and local pastoral ministry, as well as conferences on Biblical doctrine and church and family reformation. He and his wife Deborah have four grown children. Scott helps people think through the two greatest evangelistic and discipleship institutions God has provided — the church and the family.
By God’s grace Jeff Pollard was converted to Jesus Christ from a career in rock music in the early 1980s. Though religious from his youth, his true conversion at age thirty brought him to understand and then to preach God’s sovereign grace. God’s Spirit and Word awakened him to his responsibilities as husband and father as well as to God’s vision for families. Jeff is now an elder of Mt. Zion Bible Church, Pensacola, Florida. He is the editor of the Free Grace Broadcaster and author of Christian Modesty and the Public Undressing of America and Do You Know Jesus Christ?
About the Book
This book presents a perspective on the family largely forgotten by the modern church. There are fifty-six authors featured in this volume; authors such as: John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, John Gill, William Gouge, Matthew Henry, Martin Luther, A.W. Pink, J. C. Ryle, R. C. Sproul, Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Watson. Each of them give a powerful testimony that the twenty-first-century church needs to be reminded of what she used to believe about family life. These authors bring a measure of the correction and the balm necessary to heal our amnesia and return us to biblical order.
In the mid 1990s, it began to occur to me that the modern Church had actually lost the biblical doctrine of the family. Biblical fatherhood was dead. Feminists owned womanhood. Motherhood was despised. Babies were marginalized as thieves of convenience and success. In America, we have aborted millions of children since 1973. Marriages were crumbling, and the very institution was being redefined. It was almost impossible to find men in the church who understood biblical manhood or fatherhood. The twentieth century was a bad time for the family; the trends were all running in the wrong direction, and biblical ignorance was speeding the family on its way to destruction.
Meanwhile, Jeff Pollard was doing something about it. He was toiling into the night to document a correct theology of the family. He brought these doctrines together in an organized form for the ministry of Chapel Library. If you have known Jeff for any length of time, you know that the last twelve years of his life has been defined by his ministry to Mount Zion Bible Church and the unrelenting schedule to produce the Free Grace Broadcaster, a quarterly digest of Christ-centered sermons and articles from prior centuries. It is all about recovering sound doctrine and biblical practices. Jeff has produced dozens of booklets on subjects such as the gospel, sin, repentance, the Holy Spirit, the blood of Christ, justification, sanctification, secret sins, and many other critical matters. Through Jeff’s work at Chapel Library, there is a wealth of doctrinal resources that are being shipped all over the world. He brought them together in order to correct the lapses, heal the wounds, and pass them on to the rising generation. He worked for over a decade to identify the great authors and writings of the past that could meet the problems of our day. He went back in time. He returned to eras where a Christ centered view of the family was understood much better. He has revealed the doctrine locked in the literary treasure chests of the past. I am thankful that he also did this for the doctrine of the family.
You can learn more about this unique resource here.
On Saturday, March 3, 2018, David Wood and Shabir Ally debate the topic: "Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?" The event was sponsored by Ratio Christi at George Mason University. Truthbomb team member Chad Vaughn and I attended the debate.
It was a lively exchange and both men did an admiral job representing their respective positions. Dr. Wood argued as follows:
1. Jesus died
2. He was alive again later
3. Therefore, he rose from the dead
Dr. Ally began his opening statement conceding that the traditional Muslim response to the crucifixion (substitution theory) was incorrect. Then, he proceeded to argue that the gospels have evolved over time and that what "Christian scholars" are now discovering through scholarship is consistent with a Muslim position that Allah took Jesus up to himself before he died on the cross.
In response, Wood demonstrated that the best of modern scholarship demonstrates that Jesus died on the cross.
To be sure, Dr. Ally is certainly a gentlemen, but I was repeatedly frustrated by his historical methodology. During the debate, Dr. Ally repeatedly cherry-picked verses and quotes that suited his position. For example, at least two times during the debate, Dr. Ally quoted the gospels as if they were reliable sources after arguing that the gospels were unreliable sources! Moreover, I found it deceptive that Dr. Ally would quote liberal scholars such as Marcus Borg and Robert Price as if they represented mainstream Christian scholarship. This is simply not the case. Dr. Wood wisely pointed out the deceptive nature of this methodology, but I never heard a convincing response from Dr. Ally. He did attempt to argue that it was their arguments that mattered and not their positions, but throughout the evening he neglected to present their arguments in any clear or convincing way. Finally, during the Q and A, Dr. Ally left the realm of academic argument and entered into pure speculation. Dr. Ally seemed willing to consider any alternative explanation, no matter how outlandish, except for the scholarly consensus position- Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross under Pontius Pilate.
Finally, as Dr. Wood noted, Dr. Ally's case for the "evolution" of the gospels rested upon work done by Marcus Borg in his book "Evolution of the Word." But interestingly, Dr. Borg agrees with the central facts Dr. Wood used to make his case for the resurrection!
I am grateful to both men for a lively discussion, but in the end, Dr. Wood made the better case.
Who do you think won? Please share in the comments below!
When I began investigating the evidence for Christianity, one name that believers repeatedly recommended was Josh McDowell. I began looking into his works and discovered two titles- More than a Carpenter and Evidence that Demands a Verdict (EDAV). At the time, I especially found EDAV to be a great resource for a novice like myself. It enabled me to evaluate some of the manuscript evidence for the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Amazingly, the original EDAV was published in 1979! The new edition is thoroughly revised and updated from previous editions in light of the plethora of recently uncovered historical documentation and the best of modern scholarship. The chapters are expanded and address many of the most recent attacks from Christianity's harshest critics.
In addition, EDAV is now co-authored by Josh McDowell and his son, Sean McDowell, Ph.D. This new work provides "fresh insights, greater perspective and a fresh voice to today's most pressing questions."
Strengths of the Book
Usually, when we receive a book to review, we post a book preview of the work for readers to familiarize themselves with a forthcoming text. Shortly after posting our book preview for EDAV, a skeptic sent me a review of the original EDAV by some prominent atheists and simply stated, "The evidence has been weighed and found wanting." This serves to highlight one of the strengths of this expanded and updated version. Consider the chapter presenting evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. Readers familiar with McDowell's original work will immediately notice that the arguments now offer fresh insights from top scholars in this area, such as N.T. Wright and Mike Licona. So the skeptic simply cannot assume that, if they have read the original and "found it wanting," that the same can be said for the latest version. The arguments offered in each section of this work are much richer and deeper than its predecessor.
I also greatly appreciated how the authors offered an "apologetic" for apologetics in the introduction of the text. This is especially vital in today's church culture where some of the most ardent defenders of irrationality are Christians! They also address 10 common misconceptions about the Christian faith. This provides a nice foundation for the forthcoming content.
Finally, this reviewer was also delighted to find that EDAV deals with topics that many modern day apologetics works do not address. Some examples include the historical Adam, the historicity of the patriarchs, the historicity of the Exodus and the historicity of the conquest of Canaan. While defending "Mere Christianity" certainly has its place, this work takes you well beyond.
Arguments Dealt with in the Book
EDAV is compiled of thirty-two chapters divided into to the following 4 parts:
I. The Uniqueness of the Bible
II. Evidence for Jesus
III. Evidence for the Old Testament
IV. Evidence for Truth
Readers who work through EDAV will be equipped to defend, among other key arguments, the deity of Christ, the reliability of the Bible and the evidence for the historicity and resurrection of Jesus.
Who Would Benefit from this Book?
This reader cannot think of one person who would not benefit from reading this book. The skeptic will be challenged with robust and well-documented arguments for the central pillars of the Christian faith and beyond. Meanwhile, the Christian will be equipped to defend their faith against some of its most contemporary critics.
Josh McDowell, along with his son, Sean, hope that "...in providing the most up-to-date information, this fourth edition of Evidence that Demands a Verdict will equip Christians of the twenty-first century with confidence as they seek to understand and defend their faith" [p. xvii]. Mission accomplished.
It is also their desire that "many who have been confused or never exposed to the truth of Christianity will discover that Jesus Christ is who he claimed to be, that God loves them, and that he wants to welcome them into his eternal family" [p. xviii]. This reviewer firmly believes that the skeptic who reads this work with an opened mind will be challenged by those truths.
I rarely describe a book as a "necessary purchase," but the new updated and revised EDAV certainly qualifies. The wide scope of evidence it presents along with the excellent scholarship therein, makes it an indispensable resource for the Christian case maker or the inquiring skeptic.
Greg Cootsona (PhD, Graduate Theological Union) is a writer, researcher, and speaker. He directs Science and Theology for Emerging Adult Ministries (or STEAM) at Fuller Theological Seminary, and teaches religious studies and humanities at California State University at Chico.
Cootsona studied comparative literature at U. C. Berkeley and theology at Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv), the Universities of Tübingen and Heidelberg, and Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union, where he received his PhD. He recently finished eighteen years as associate pastor for adult discipleship at Bidwell Presbyterian Church in Chico and Fifth Avenue Presbyterian in New York City. He has been interviewed by CNN, the BBC, the New York Times, and the Today Show.
About the Book
Many Christians have been brought up under the assumption that mainstream science is incompatible with genuine Christian faith—so when they see compelling evidence for biological evolution, for example, they feel forced to choose between science and their faith. The devastating effects of this dilemma are plain to see, as emerging adults either leave the faith or shut themselves off to the findings of the scientific community.
But it's a false dilemma. In this book, Greg Cootsona argues against the idea that science and faith are inherently antagonistic. We don't have to keep them scrupulously separated—instead, we can bring them into dialogue with one another. Cootsona brings this integration to a number of current topics in science and faith conversations, including hermeneutics, the historical Adam and Eve, cognitive science, and the future of technology. His insights are enhanced by his work with Fuller Seminary's STEAM research project.
Emerging adults want to believe that science and faith can coexist peacefully. Mere Science and Christian Faith holds out a vision for how that integration is possible and how it can lead us more deeply into the conversations around science and faith that confront the church today.
You can learn more about this new work here.
Famed preacher and evangelist Billy Graham passed away yesterday. Rev. Graham had dealt with a number of illnesses in his last years, including prostate cancer, hydrocephalus (a buildup of fluid in the brain) and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
It would be difficult estimate the full impact his life and ministry across the globe. Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore called Billy Graham the "most important evangelist since the Apostle Paul."1
You can learn more about the Rev. Graham here and here.
As I conclude, I am reminded of Graham's own words:
“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”
Here is the latest animated video by Reasonable Faith [RF]. RF features the work of philosopher and theologian Dr. William Lane Craig and aims to provide in the public arena an intelligent, articulate, and uncompromising yet gracious Christian perspective.
You can view the other animated videos in this series here. Moreover, you can find an article by Dr. Craig on this topic here.
As we shared here, these videos serve as great discussions starters for family apologetics discussions!
"To neglect the instruction of our offspring is worse than brutish. Family religion is necessary for the nation, for the family itself, and for the church of God...Would that parents would awaken to a sense of the importance of this matter. It is a pleasant duty to talk of Jesus to our sons and daughters, and the more so because it has often proved to be an accepted work, for God has saved the children through the parents' prayers and admonitions."1
"Faith in God is a reasonable faith. I want my kids to see that Christianity is true to the way things are—that it corresponds to reality. I want them to see Christianity as good and beautiful too—that Jesus and the Gospel satisfy their longings in a way that nothing else can. I want them to know what they believe and why they believe it. I want them to love the right things in the right way. In short, I want to teach my kids apologetics. In this post, I share three ways my wife and I taught our kids apologetics without them knowing it."