Thursday, July 28, 2022

Has the Evidence for Christianity Grown Over the Past Few Decades?


In this interview with Dr. Sean McDowell, Dr. Doug Groothuis discusses his own conversion to Christianity, the updated version of his book Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for the Biblical Faith and how the evidence for the faith has grown over the past few decades.

You can get your copy of Groothuis' book here

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Podcast: Beauty and Divine Hiddenness with Doug Groothuis

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

‘Gotcha’ Arguments: Burning Fertility Clinics and Other Strange Fantasies

You’re in a burning fertility clinic and hear a 5-year-old child crying for help. Across the room is a container marked “1,000 Viable Human Embryos.” The flames are rising, smoke is filling the air, and you can only save one: the child or the container of embryos. According to Tomlinson, if you would choose to save the crying child, you’re betraying the fact that, whatever you may say, you really believe embryos aren’t equivalent to human beings. How, otherwise, could you justify saving one over 1,000? 

Click here to listen or read below Breakpoint's John Stonestreet respond to this and other "gotcha arguments" put forth by abortion activists.

 The moment Roe v. Wade was overturned last month, desperate activists began to dust off the oldest and oddest arguments for abortion. These “gotcha” scenarios are supposed to prove that pro-lifers don’t really value human life or consider preborn babies from the earliest stages of development to be human. Instead, these pretend scenarios demonstrate that pro-lifers are simply hypocrites. 

On closer inspection, however, these scenarios fail to convince. For example, there’s the so-called “burning fertility clinic” scenario. A friend emailed me recently and asked for a response to this one, which as best I can tell, was invented by author Patrick Tomlinson. 

 It goes like this. You’re in a burning fertility clinic and hear a 5-year-old child crying for help. Across the room is a container marked “1,000 Viable Human Embryos.” The flames are rising, smoke is filling the air, and you can only save one: the child or the container of embryos. According to Tomlinson, if you would choose to save the crying child, you’re betraying the fact that, whatever you may say, you really believe embryos aren’t equivalent to human beings. How, otherwise, could you justify saving one over 1,000?

 “Gotcha,” right? Not really. First, this argument has nothing whatsoever to do with abortion. In no instance does a woman or her doctor ever choose between saving the life of one child at an advanced stage of development, or 1,000 at an earlier stage. Abortion involves the intentional killing of one or multiple children who, in most cases, would have lived if left alone. There’s no analogy, here, which means as an argument for abortion, the burning fertility clinic is toast. 

 But even sitting that important point aside, the decision to save the imaginary 5-year-old over the embryos—which for the record, I would make—doesn’t necessarily reflect my view of the embryos’ humanity. It only reflects what I would do with limited time in a no-win situation. Perhaps, I would be acting on an impulse to stop conscious suffering, or to prevent parents from losing a child whose face and voice they know, or from a spur-of-the-moment instinct to answer a cry for help. None of these actions has any equivalence to an intentional killing, and none of them means I consider embryos less than human. 

 Of course, abortion activists continue to repackage this flawed scenario, again and again, with help from media sources. Last week in The Washington Post, another and even more bizarre form of this argument surfaced. Harvard ethics professor Daniel Wikler and  Northwestern University law professor Andrew Koppelman argued that if state lawmakers who are now outlawing abortion really believe embryos are human beings, they should be panicking over the sudden statistical spike in their states’ infant mortality rates. 

 As these professors write: “30 percent of human embryos spontaneously self-abort”—or are miscarried. These deaths aren’t normally counted in infant mortality statistics, which only account for deaths after birth. But if embryos are human persons, these profs argue, infant mortality stats should include miscarriages. If we did that, though, we would be looking at mortality rates more than twice those of the most dangerous countries on earth—a true public health crisis! They conclude: “the fact of spontaneous abortion shows that opponents of abortion do not themselves believe what they are saying.”

 This “gotcha” scenario has nothing to do with abortion, which is, once again, the intentional killing of unborn babies. Their use of the term “spontaneous abortion” instead of “miscarriage” may be medically acceptable but muddies this crucial distinction.

And consider their logic: Lots of miscarriages, tragically, do happen. If pro-life lawmakers aren’t adequately panicking about this, they must not really think intentionally killing unborn babies is wrong? That is like saying if you aren’t panicked about children dying during a pandemic, you can’t be against a shooter gunning them down in a school. It’s an absurd line of thinking yet, in the frenzy of a post-Roe abortion movement, passes for Ivy-League–level ethical reasoning.

 None of these “gotcha” arguments should intimidate pro-lifers, especially Christians. We have the truth on our side, and now, thank God, the law in an increasing number of states. Bizarre hypothetical scenarios cannot change the moral reality that elective abortion is evil. On close inspection, the “gotcha” scenarios, like the imaginary fertility clinic in which they so often take place, just go up in smoke. 

Monday, July 25, 2022

Elizabeth Warren's Despicable and Uninformed Attack on Crisis Pregnancy Centers

This post contains a Letter to the Editor that I wrote to our local newspaper.  Enjoy.  

It is certainly good to know that while we are facing record inflation, rising crime rates and the war in Ukraine, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has taken aim at the real deep seeded evil in the United States - Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Warren was recently quoted as saying:

"In Massachusetts right now, those crisis pregnancy centers that are there to fool people who are looking for pregnancy termination help outnumber true abortion clinics by three to one…We need to shut them down here in Massachusetts and we need to shut them down all around the country."1

Indeed. When one considers the dastardly services offered by pregnancy centers such as the Hagerstown Area Pregnancy Clinic (HAPC), Warren’s concern is certainly understandable. The HAPC offers women free confidential pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, counseling and they partner with many outside community organizations to provide a wide range of services for women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.  It is also worth nothing that while the HAPC unashamedly advocates for the life of the child, they also offer post-abortive care, demonstrating that regardless of a women's choice, they are there to love them and support them.  One can certainly see why they must be stopped!

Hopefully, at this point, the reader has picked up on my sarcasm. Warren’s unwarranted attacks on Crisis Pregnancy Centers are utterly despicable and dreadfully uninformed. These centers provide invaluable services to women who find themselves in difficult situations and provide them with the information they need to make an informed choice. But I suspect that is what people like Warren fear the most. She knows that the majority of women, who see their baby on an ultrasound, will choose life. And at the end of the day, Elizabeth Warren is not pro-choice, but pro-abortion.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad


Footnote:
1. Liz Wolfe, Elizabeth Warren Wants To Shut Down All of the Country's Crisis Pregnancy Centers.

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Friday, July 22, 2022

Philosopher Stephen T. Davis on the Empty Tomb of Jesus

 

"...if the story of the empty tomb was a apologetic device invented by the early Christians, it is bad apologetics.  A made-up story, invented to defend the claim that Jesus was raised, would never have included women as the primary witnesses.  As everyone knows, women in the first-century Judaism did not have much respect or legal status.  As Jewish historian Josephus says they were not considered credible witnesses and were allowed to testify in court only very rarely; their testimony had to be corroborated by a man.  Even more striking is the figure of Mary Magdalene, 'from whom seven demons had gone out' (Luke 8:2), as the principal discoverer of the empty tomb.  An invented story, made as convincing and airtight as possible, would never have used such a dubious woman; it would surely have had men as the discoverers of the empty tomb."1

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad


Footnote:
1. Stephen T. Davis, Rational Faith: A Philosopher's Defense of Christianity, p. 73.


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Thursday, July 21, 2022

Apologetics315 Podcast - Jesus Quotes

 

In our recent podcast, Brian Auten and I take a look at some of our favorite quotes about Jesus and what they teach us about Him.  This was a worshipful and informative experience. 

You can listen here.

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad 


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Wednesday, July 20, 2022

N.T. Wright on the Necessity of the Resurrection

 

"You see, the bodily resurrection of Jesus isn't a take-it-or-leave-it thing, as though some Christians are welcome to believe it and others are welcome not to believe it.  Take it away, and the whole picture is totally different.

Take it away, and Karl Marx was probably right to accuse Christianity of ignoring problems of the material world.  Take it away, and Sigmund Freud was probably right to say that Christianity is a wish-fulfillment religion.  Take it away, and Friedrich Nietzsche was probably right to say that Christianity was a religion for wimps.  

Put it back and you have a faith that can take on the postmodern world that looks to Marx, Freud and Nietzsche as its prophets, and you can beat them at their own game with the Easter news that the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger then men."

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad


Footnote:
1. N.T. Wright, For All God's Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church.


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Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Testify Video - C.S. Lewis' Trilemma is Better Than You Think


In one of his recent videos, I was grateful to see apologist Erik Manning take a fresh look at C.S. Lewis' famous trilemma argument.  For those unfamiliar with the argument, it goes something like this:

1. Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic or Lord.
2. Jesus was not a liar or a lunatic.
3. Therefore, Jesus is Lord.

This video offers a great history of the argument and why some skeptical dismissals of the argument are unmerited.

For great defenses of Lewis' trilemma, I would recommend Peter S. Williams book C.S. Lewis vs. the New Atheists and Neil Shenvi's recent work, Why Believe? A Reasoned Approach to Christianity.

You can find more great videos from Manning here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Monday, July 11, 2022

TruthB.O.M.B. Book Review - A Rebel's Manifesto by Sean McDowell

 

B - Background

Sean McDowell is an author, speaker and associate professor at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.  He has two master's degrees and a PhD in apologetics and worldview studies.  He is active on social media and has a popular YouTube channel.  He has authored or edited more than eighteen books, including Chasing Love and So the Next Generation Will Know.  Sean married his high school sweetheart, Stephanie.  They have three children and live in California.  

O - Overview

As a Christian parent of two teenage daughters, I confess that raising a young person into today's cultural climate is challenging, to say the least.  And this challenge is compounded by the fact that there are so many issues that we must help our kids think through. That is why I am very grateful for Sean McDowell's latest book, A Rebel's Manifesto: Choosing Truth, Real Justice and Love Amid the Noise of Today's World.  

McDowell's book serves as a guide for young people to help them navigate the many thorny moral issues they face on a daily basis.  The author's goal in the book is not only to help students think biblically about these challenging issues, but to also offer practical steps they can take to make a positive difference for Christ.  He writes:

"Determining that you want to honor the Lord before moral challenges come is important for standing strong today.  It is often too late-although not impossible-to do the right thing without developing convictions beforehand" [p. 8].

And that is what this book is all about - coming along side students and helping them develop biblically sound moral convictions based upon Scripture, sound thinking and winsome arguments.

M- Main Arguments

McDowell begins the book by explaining what it means to follow Jesus into today's world and the importance of thinking Christianly about the vital issues of our day.  This reader was delighted to see McDowell take the time to address question "What is a worldview?" and explain how to discern the worldview of others when reading a book, watching the news or just having a conversation.  

The next section of the book deals with issues relating to culture such as social media, smartphones, drugs and even politics!  McDowell's ability to extinguish the heat of potentially combustable topics is on full display here.  He winsomely presents 4 scriptural commitments that must shape the political thinking of a Christian, thus simplifying an always complex subject.  He contends:

"The primary institution Jesus came to establish is the church.  But we must be prepared to make good arguments for why our views, shaped by a Christian worldview, are in the best interest of society and thus are the ones that should be legislated" [p. 72].

In the next section, the author zeros in on relationship issues including loneliness, bullying, suicide, assisted suicide and racial tension.  As you can see from the topics addressed, McDowell isn't afraid to speak to controversial issues, but he successfully does so with boldness, truth and compassion.  And wisely, he is quick to point to Jesus as the model Christians ought to strive to imitate.  When addressing bullying he writes:

"Jesus touched the untouchable.  He loved the unlovable.  Even those who were excluded by society could be included in his love.  If Jesus were physically present today, he would stand up to bullies, have compassion on those who are bullied and never be a bystander" [p. 97].

McDowell then moves on to issues surrounding the topic of sex; specifically, God's design for sex, homosexuality, transgender ideology, pornography and abortion.  The author rightly argues that "[w]e often think of rules as restrictive, but although it may strike you as counterintuitive, following God's plan for sex will actually make you more free" [p. 133].  

This reader was impressed with how McDowell handled these potentially divisive issues with love, understanding and Scripture, while not shying away from biblical teachings that challenge our current cultural norms.  

He then takes aim of some of the most important ethical challenges we face today - climate change, poverty, gun rights, immigration and artificial intelligence.  Throughout the book, one of the best features is McDowell's constant encouragement to consider both sides of important worldview issues.  Further, he encourages his audience to listen to those that disagree with them and strive to understand their position.  This attitude is modeled by the author in this section, particularly in the discussion about guns and violence.  He correctly asserts that "[m]ost of the modern debate about gun ownership is not if people should be able to own them but what kinds of weapons people should be able to own and under what conditions they can carry them" [p. 192-193].  The author then walks the reader through how the Bible can inform our views on guns and he is even fair-minded enough to share a few poor arguments used by people on both sides of the aisle.  

The book ends with a useful discussion on knowing God's will for your life and practical tips for navigating conversations in a manner that honors Christ, but does not lead one to sacrifice biblical truth.  He writes:

"Remember, the goal of a conversation is not to sound smart.  It's not to be right.  The point is to love someone.  Love certainly requires speaking the truth, in the right time and the right manner, but our greatest goal in engaging others must always be to love them.  Period" [p. 229].

B - Bottomline 

Sean McDowell's A Rebel's Manifesto is a timely and necessary book to help equip our young people to think Christianly about many of the most culturally significant issues of our day.  With relatable  illustrations, short (4-5 pages), easy-to-read chapters and personal stories, McDowell successfully leads his audience through how to think like Jesus, with the ultimate goal of sharing Him with a world who badly needs Him.  

We highly recommend this book to young people grappling with these important issues and to parents doing the same.  

You can get your copy here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Friday, July 08, 2022

George MacDonald on Truth

"To explain truth to him who loves it not is to give more plentiful material for misinterpretation."

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:




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Thursday, July 07, 2022

Video: King James Bible - The Most Reliable Translation?


The importance of the King James Bible in the history of the church is undeniable.  However, is it the most reliable translation available to us today?  Are those that say it is the only translation we should use correct?  These are just some of the questions that Sean McDowell explores with his guest Timothy Berg.

This interview was both informative and useful.

You can find Timothy Berg's article that is the subject of the interview here.  You can also checkout Berg's website on the history of the KJB here.

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Apologetics315 Podcast: Pre-suppositionalism or Evidentialism with Jonathan McLatchie

In this podcast, Brian Auten and I had a great time chatting with Christian thinker Jonathan McLatchie about pre-suppositional apologetics.  McLatchie also shares a bit about evidentialism and his ministry TalkAboutDoubts.com.  

You can listen to the podcast here.

Many thanks to Jonathan for this time! 

To learn more about his work, go here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Does Studying Philosophy Make You an Atheist? by Josh Rasmussen

 

This post was originally found here:

Given that so many philosophers are atheists, you might have the impression that studying philosophy leads to atheism. Does it?

In this study, [Helen] De Cruz analyzes the belief revision of philosophers of religion. She reports, "12.2% (n = 17) went from religious belief to non-belief, often as undergraduates, when encountering philosophical objections to theism. By contrast, 9.4% (n = 13) went from agnosticism or atheism to religious belief." At first blush, this stat may seem to confirm the impression that philosophy is more likely to make you skeptical of God. However, to get an accurate analysis, we need to factor in the fact that most of the respondents were theists. That changes the analysis. In particular, she found that 17 out of 85 theists surveyed moved to non-theism. So 20% of the theists who went into the field of philosophy became atheist or agnostic. By contrast, 13 out of 33 non-theists (atheists and agnostics) surveyed moved to theism. That's 39% -- almost double.

In other words, according to the study, philosophers of religion are nearly twice as likely to move toward theism than away from theism.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Monday, July 04, 2022

Article: Thomas Jefferson's Embrace of Intelligent Design

 


It seemed appropriate, on this Independence Day, to feature this article from best-selling author and philosopher of science, Dr. Stephen C. Meyer.  In his article Thomas Jefferson's Embrace of Intelligent Design, he talks about an often overlooked idea that is the source of our rights as citizens - to the idea that there is an intelligent creator who can be known by reason from nature.  


Happy Independence Day!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, July 01, 2022

Greg Koukl on Abortion

 

“If the unborn is not a human person, no justification for abortion is necessary. However, if the unborn is a human person, no justification for abortion is adequate.”1

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. As quoted here.


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