Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Article: Greg Boyd's Misunderstandings of the 'Warrior God' by Paul Copan

In this featured article, philosopher Paul Copan, author of Is God a Moral Monster: Making Sense of the Old Testament God, offers a critique of Greg Boyd's new two-volume book, The Crucifixion of the Warrior God: Interpreting the Old Testament's Violent Portraits of God in Light of the Cross.  

Copan writes:

 "I shall briefly review Boyd’s project and then examine Boyd’s treatment of various biblical texts, arguing that his bold approach falls short on its own merits."

You can find Dr. Copan's treatment here.

You can also listen to Copan and Boyd discuss the "Warrior God" thesis on Justin's Brierley's Unbelievable here and here.

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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Monday, July 09, 2018

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

J.P. Moreland on Consciousness and Evolution

"...you can't get something from nothing...It's as simple as that.  If there were no God, then the history of the entire universe, up until the appearance of living creatures, would be a history of dead matter with no consciousness.  You would not have any thoughts, beliefs, feelings, sensations, free actions, choices, or purposes. There would be simply one physical event after another physical event, behaving according to the laws of physics and chemistry...How then, do you get something totally different- conscious, living, thinking, feeling, believing creatures- from materials that don't have that?  That's getting something from nothing!  And that's the main problem...However...if you begin with an infinite mind, then you can explain how finite minds could come into existence.  That makes sense.  What doesn't make sense- and which many atheistic evolutionists are conceding -is the idea of getting a mind to squirt into existence by starting with brute, dead, mindless matter."1

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. As quoted by Lee Strobel in The Case for the Creator, p. 263-264.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Common Objection #35- "Why Didn't God Create a World in Which Everyone Freely Chooses Him?"

Several weeks ago, at the Mentionables Conference in Greensboro, NC1, the team and I had the pleasure of participating in a discussion panel with Ben Watkins of Real Atheology2. Watkins was a delight to interact with and I greatly enjoyed our time together.

During one of the panel discussions, Ben asked a question that I have found myself thinking about as well: "If God exists, why didn't He create a world in which everyone would freely choose Him?"

One certainly can understand why Ben and others would ask the question. After all, if God is all-loving, it seems to follow that He would want everyone to choose Him. Moreover, if God is all-powerful, it would seem to follow that He could create a world like the one Ben imagines. However, I believe that it is important to remember that being all-powerful does not mean God has the ability to do the logically impossible. In other words, God cannot make a squared-circle or a married bachelor.3 Keeping that in mind, it seems reasonable to argue that it is not feasible for God to actualize a world in which everyone freely chooses Him for the same reason it is not feasible for God to create squared-circles- it is logically impossible.

In other words, it is logically impossible to make someone freely do something. As philosopher William Lane Craig explains, "...there's no guarantee that a possible world in which everyone hears the gospel and is freely saved is feasible for God to create...For all we know, in any world of free people that God could create, some people would freely reject His grace and be lost."4

Therefore, it seems reasonable to conclude that it is not necessarily true that God is able to create a world in which everyone chooses Him.

So, in conclusion, while it would seem ideal for God to create a universe in which everyone chooses Him, it seems plausible that it is not possible for Him to do so.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad


Footnotes:

1. For more about the conference, see here.
2. You can learn more about Real Atheology here.
3. For a fully explanation of why this is the case, see here.
4. William Lane Craig, 
On Guard, p. 277-278.

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Monday, July 02, 2018

Book Review: Family Worship by Donald S. Whitney

In his short book (67 pages) Family Worship, professor Donald S. Whitney of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary contends:

"While there is no direct, explicit commandment in Scripture about family worship, the Bible clearly implies that God deserves to be worshiped daily in our homes by our families.  Also, its practice is evident throughout the Bible." [p.15]

Yet Whitney reports that from his own ministry experience in hundreds of churches, little family worship takes place in Christian homes today.  As a lay apologist, I find this especially interesting.

As most apologists know, much has been made of the recent "youth exodus" problem among our church going youth.  Numerous studies have demonstrated that a high percentage of churchgoing teenagers leave the church once they finish high school.  Many apologists have argued that one of the main reasons for their departure is their lack of training in defending the faith.  And I freely confess that I agree with them wholeheartedly!  However, Whitney offers perhaps another reason why we are losing our youth:

"One of the leading problems with this issue is that...most of these young people have no early, sweet memories of family worship.  Such recollections, if they had them, might help prevent their departure from the faith in the first place.  Of if they do walk away, the memories might be the means to turn their hearts to seek God again later." [p. 12]

This reader can personally attest that family worship is one of the best places to answer the questions of young children about God, Jesus and the Bible.  So, could family worship be part of the solution to the youth exodus problem?  Professor Whitney surely thinks so and in Family Worship, he makes the case for what he argues is a forgotten, yet essential, practice.

Chapter 1- As for Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord: Family Worship in the Bible

Drawing from both the Old Testament and the New Testament, Whitney successfully demonstrates that while the Scriptures never explicitly command Christians to engage in family worship, it is a practice implicitly seen throughout the Bible.

Chapter 2- Here the Reformation Must Begin: Family Worship in Church History 

Beginning with the second century theologian Tertullian and ending with modern day theologians such as John Piper, Whitney offers an impressive list of Christian heroes from the past and present that firmly believe that God deserves to be worshiped daily in our homes by our families.  Further, he offers sound reasons to conclude that they practiced family worship in their own lives.

Chapter 3- Read, Pray, and Sing: The Elements of Family Worship

Whitney continues in this chapter by sharing, and briefly unpacking, the "three elements of family worship: read the Bible, pray, and sing." [p. 44]  He also offers a justification as to why those 3 elements are essential:

"...when you examine a list of activities the Bible says to do in worship, only three things on that already short list are equally as appropriate in family worship or in private worship as in congregational worship.  Those activities are reading the Bible, praying, and singing." [p. 45]

This reviewer was glad to see the author included other elements that can be added if time permits such as catechism, memorizing Scripture or reading books on various biblical topics.  Further, it has been this reader's experience that family worship looks slightly different in each home.

Chapter 4- No Family Worship Situation is Unique: But What If...?

I know that when I talk to other believers about the importance and benefits of family worship, they understandably have questions about its feasibility.  After all, what if there is not father in the home? How do you conduct meaningful family worship with very young children?  These questions and more are adequately addressed in this section.

Chapter 5- Isn't This What You Really Want to Do?: Start Today

The author ends this short work by admonishing fathers to resolve to lead their families daily in worship, even if they are not sure how to begin.  Further, Whitney explains that some may feel ashamed when they awaken to their "...spiritual responsibilities in the home...because...he has failed to lead family worship for so long he feels embarrassed to begin now." [p. 59]   However, he contends that father's must humble themselves and tell their families:

"I have come to believe that the Bible teaches I should be leading us in family worship, and I want to start today.  I have a lot to learn about it, but I want to do what I believe God wants me to do.  Will you join me?" [p. 60]

Conclusion

Family Worship by Donald S. Whitney is a perfect introduction to the subject.  His writing is clear and straightforward, challenging the reader throughout of the biblical and practical necessity of family worship.   For the spiritual leader of the home who desires to lead their family before the throne of God daily, I know of no better place to start than this work.

I wholeheartedly recommend this work!

You can get your copy here.

Learn more about Whitney and his ministry here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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