New Issue of Hope’s Reason Online

The latest issue of the apologetic journal Hope’s Reason is now available. Here’s a list of the articles and reviews contained in the issue:

Articles:
  • An Apologetic Church | Stephen J. Bedard
  • Apologetic Testimony from an Unlikely Source | Mark Eckel
  • The Witness of the Spirit: Developing a Pentecostal Approach to World Religions | Jeffrey K. Clarke
  • The Christian Doctrine of God Explained and Defended for Muslims | Luis Dizon
  • The Resurrection, Two Scholars, and Historical Method | J. Steve Lee
Reviews:
  • Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend by Ravi Zacharias | reviewed by Stephen J. Bedard
  • The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Carl Trueman | reviewed by Fred G. Zaspel
  • The Priority of Jesus Christ by Tom Wells | reviewed by Fred G. Zaspel
  • Father, Son, and Spirit: The Trinity and John’s Gospel by Andreas J. Kostenberger and Scott R. Swain | reviewed by Fred G. Zaspel
  • Sealed With an Oath: Covenant in God’s Unfolding Purpose by Paul R. Williamson | reviewed by Fred G. Zaspel
  • If God, Why Evil? A New Way to Think About the Question by Norman L. Geisler | reviewed by Stephen J. Bedard
  • The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic? by Michael Rydelnik | reviewed by Fred G. Zaspel
  • Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell | reviewed by Stephen J. Bedard
  • Science and Religion: Are They Compatible? by Daniel C. Dennett and Alvin Plantinga | reviewed by Josiah J. Batten
  • Generation Ex-Christian: Why Young Adults are Leaving the Faith…and How to Bring them Back by Drew Dyck | reviewed by Jeffery K. Clarke
  • Think and Live: Challenging Believers to Think and Thinkers to Believe by Paul Hughes | reviewed by Stephen J. Bedard
  • The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me To Faith by Peter Hitchens | reviewed by Ian Clary
  • The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion by Tim Challies | reviewed by Michael Plato
  • Christian Apologetics: Past & Present: A Primary Source Reader: Volume 1: To 1500 edited by William Edgar, K. Scott Oliphint | reviewed by Ian Clary
  • Through Western Eyes: Eastern Orthodoxy: A Reformed Perspective by Robert Letham | reviewed by Ian Clary

Get the 115 page pdf here.

180: The Good and the Not-So-Good

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Produced by Living Waters, 180 is a documentary showing Ray Comfort talking to people about the issue of abortion. By comparing the destruction of the unborn to the Holocaust, Comfort shows the inconsistency of supporting abortion while opposing the the Nazi’s extermination of 6 million Jews during World War II.

In a post at the Life Training Institute Blog, Pro-life apologist Scott Klusendorf offers his thoughts on the film:

What the documentary gets right:

1. The film casts the abortion issue as a human rights issue.
2. The film correctly states that moral conclusions (i.e., abortion is wrong) should impact how we vote.
3. The film correctly states that discussions about abortion often lead to larger (theological) questions about human sinfulness and the gospel as the remedy.
4. The film challenges the fear of engaging unbelievers.

What the documentary neglects:

1. The distinction between people in the film (Venice Beach?) and the public at large.
2. The distinction between shouting a conclusion and establishing one.
3. The distinction between killing a “baby” and unjustly killing human beings.
4. The distinction between voting for pro-life candidates and voting pro-life.
5. The distinction between intentional killing and killing that is merely foreseen.

Read the post for his explanation of each point.

Update: Justin Taylor also offers a careful analysis of the documentary that is worth reading.

The Dead Sea Scrolls Online

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In a joint project with the Israel Museum, Google have put the Dead Sea Scrolls online for the first time. Considered one of the most significant archaeological finds of the 20th century, the Dead Sea Scrolls date from around 250 BC to 68 AD and comprise some 800 documents in many tens of thousands of fragments. The ancient scrolls were first discovered by a Bedouin shepherd in 1947 and continue to be studied and scrutinized by scholars. As well as shedding a great deal of light on the Jewish world at the time of Jesus, the scrolls also demonstrate the accuracy of our modern-day Old Testament in representing what the original authors first wrote.

Explore the scrolls here: http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/

In this video, New Testament professor Craig A. Evans discusses the Biblical manuscripts, textual criticism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls (HT Brian LePort):

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His book on the Dead Sea Scrolls is available from Amazon and B&H Publishing.

The William Lane Craig UK Tour

Here’s the promotional trailer for Craig’s upcoming tour of the UK:

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The final details of the tour are still being arranged, but here’s the schedule as it presently stands:

Monday 17th October 2011
7.30pm, Debate: Does God Exist?
Public Debate with Stephen Law (lecturer in Philosophy at Heythrop College, London and Editor of the magazine of the Royal Institute of Philosophy THINK). Arranged by Premier Radio.
Westminster Central Hall, London

Tuesday 18th October 2011
12.45pm, Lecture: “The Evidence for God”
Imperial College London, London
Get the live feed here.

6.30pm, Lecture “A Moral Argument for the Existence of God ; can we be good without God?”
University of London Union, Malet Street, London

Wednesday 19th October 2011
7.30pm, Public lecture on Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design followed by a panel response
St. Andrew the Great, Cambridge

Thursday 20th October 2011
7.30pm, Debate at the Cambridge Union: “This House Believes that God is not a Delusion” (Not open to the public)
Proposing the motion: William Lane Craig and Peter S. Williams
Opposing the motion: Arif Ahmed and Andrew Copson
The Cambridge Union, Cambridge

Friday 21st October 2011
7.30pm, Debate: Does God Exist?
Debate with Professor Peter Millican (Gilbert Ryle Fellow and Professor of Philosophy at Hertford College, Oxford University).
The Great Hall, Birmingham University, Edgbaston

Saturday 22nd October 2011
9.30am – 5.30pm Bethinking National Apologetics Day Conference
William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, John Lennox, and Peter J. Williams
Westminster Chapel, London

Monday 24th October 2011
7.30pm, Lecture: “The Historicity of Jesus’ Resurrection”
Southampton Guildhall, Southampton

Tuesday 25th October 2011
7.30pm, Lecture – “Is God a Delusion?” A Critique of Dawkins’ The God Delusion
[or a debate with Richard Dawkins if he should accept the invitation]
Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

Wednesday 26th October 2011
7.30pm, Debate: Does God Exist?
Debate with Dr Peter Atkins (former Professor of Chemistry at Oxford University).
University Place Lecture Theatre, Manchester University, Oxford Road, Manchester

Some of the events will be webcast (access the stream at www.livestream.com/reasonablefaithtour2011), so those of us outside the UK will still get a chance to watch or listen in. We’ll live tweet the debates, if they’re available, so make sure you’re following us on twitter.

pages

Apologetics Primary Source Reader

The second volume of Christian Apologetics Past and Present: A Primary Source Reader (Crossway 2011) comes out this month.

Edited by William Edgar and Scott Oliphint, the reader collects important texts in the history of apologetics from the Reformation to the present. The volume is divided into four parts: (1) The Reformation, Post-Reformation (Protestant), and Catholic Reformation; (2) Modernity and the Challenge of Reason; (3) The Global Era: Christian Faith and a Changing World; (4) Issues Today and Tomorrow.

At Crossway Books you can read the sample pages, which include the table of contents, introduction, and the first chapter.

It’s a 700-page hardcover. Each section contains a general introduction, with an additional preface to each apologist and their primary material. Each source text is then followed by questions for reflection or group discussion. This is a handy resource. With the current revival of interest in apologetics, it behooves us to understand the historical context of the discipline and how our fathers in the faith responded to the intellectual challenges facing them.

Here are the endorsements:

“The texts here assembled are ‘classics’—not in the sense that they answer all legitimate questions about Christianity, but that, when they were written, they made their readers think hard about the faith, and that they continue to do so today. This is a most worthy collection.”
-Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame

“Understanding apologetics as explicating, affirming, and vindicating Christianity in the face of uncertainty and skepticism, Edgar and Oliphint have skillfully selected the best primary sources to introduce us to this ongoing task. Their work fills a gap in scholarly resources and highlights the strength, wisdom, and solidity of the prominent defenders of our faith.”
-J. I. Packer, Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology, Regent College; author, Knowing God

“This series on the classical traditions of Christian apologetics is, to my knowledge, unmatched in basic compendia. It will equip and encourage thoughtful Christians to develop equally compelling defenses of the faith in our post-Enlightenment, post-Romantic, post-Postmodern era where global interdependencies plunge many into new varieties of suspicion, contempt, and hostility that demand reasonable and faith-filled encounter, dialogue, and debate.”
-Max L. Stackhouse, De Vries Professor of Theology and Public Life Emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary

“In an age of historical amnesia such as ours, nothing could be more helpful than to know how the church, in its long march through time, has addressed the opponents of Christian faith. This collection is superbly done and will bring much needed wisdom to our own times.”
-David F. Wells, Distinguished Senior Research Professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

“Bill Edgar, one of evangelicalism’s most valued scholars and apologists, has given us in this work with Scott Oliphint; a classic destined to be used for generations. I highly recommend it to all who are called to defend the faith.”
-Charles Colson, Founder, Prison Fellowship

“For years I have wanted a collection of primary sources in apologetics to use in my classes. Now we have an excellent one. Editors Edgar and Oliphint have made good choices in the selections used. A number of them are fascinating pieces rarely considered today, but very timely.”
-John M. Frame, J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando

Volume 1 (which traces apologetics from the early church to 1500) is also available on Amazon and Crossway.

What Does it Mean for God to Be Perfect?

Robert Lawrence Kuhn talks to Christian philosopher J.P. Moreland about the nature of God’s perfection and how concepts such as moral courage, joy, personal growth and enrichment, etc, might apply to a perfect being. The PBS documentary series Closer to Truth is one of the best resources available for interviews with top scholars on God, the universe, religion, and the mind. You can view the rest of Moreland’s videos on the website here.

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The Limits of Science

[pk_box width=”600″ align=”none” text_align=”left”]But science is never the end of the story, because science cannot teach humans what they most need to know: the meaning of life and how to value it. The sciences are as practical as theoretical; science has evident survival value, teaching us how to gain benefits that we desire. But what ought we to desire? Our enlightened self-interest? Our genetic self-interest? More children? More science? The conservation of biodiversity? Sustainable development? A sustainable biosphere? The love of neighbor? The love of God? Justice? Equity? Charity? … After science, we still need help deciding what to value; what is right and wrong, good and evil, how to behave as we cope. The end of life still lies in its meaning, the domain of religion and ethics.[/pk_box]

—Holmes Rolston (Genes, Genesis, and God, 1999).

The Value of Doubt

[pk_box width=”600″ align=”” text_align=””]”One of the most interesting findings from that pilot project was the importance of doubt in a student’s faith maturity. The more college students felt that they had the opportunity to express their doubt while they were in high school, the higher levels of faith maturity and spiritual maturity [they had in college].”[/pk_box]

Kara Powell, on a three-year study conducted by Fuller Theological Seminary’s Center for Youth and Family Ministry.

[Via: Jay L. Wile]

tv

Q&A Videos with William Lane Craig, Ravi Zacharias, and John Stackhouse

100 Huntley Street is a daily talk show in Canada that regularly hosts Christian leaders and thinkers from around the world. Some of their guests have included Philip Yancey, N. T. Wright, Craig Evans, and Sean McDowell. Many of these interviews are available on their website and YouTube channel and I’ve posted some good ones below. The clips are at least six months old, but they provide a useful introduction to a host of issues in apologetics, philosophy, and cultural engagement.

William Lane Craig

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What is the Best Argument for Belief in God?

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Is God a Logical Necessity?

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The ‘Flying Spaghetti Monster’ and The Evidence For God

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Who Designed The Designer? A response to Dawkins’ The God Delusion

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Christopher Hitchens, Atheism, and Evil

Douglas Wilson, writing at The Gospel Coalition, discusses Christopher Hitchen’s recent Slate article on 9/11:

[pk_box width=”600″ align=”none” text_align=””]All this is Hitchens doing what Hitchens does best, and he does it for most of his article. And then, fulfilling the promise of the title (“Simply Evil”), he veers into incoherence at the very end when he only had about two column inches to go. It was like watching a bicycling Tour de Something rider, 50 yards ahead of the nearest competitor, anticipate the finish line by raising both hands above his head, at which point he triumphantly bites it.

“The regimes of Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fully deserve to be called ‘evil.’”

Evil? Since the 2009 publication of God is Not Great, Christopher Hitchens has spent a great deal of energy trying to persuade all of us that the idea of God is a false and pernicious one. But now he ups and calls these bad guys . . . evil. Given the premises, what might the definition of that be? Who determines what is evil and why? By what standard? But there may be a wiggle-room word in there. Hitchens only said they deserve to be called evil. But that generates the same questions. By whom? And whoever that person is, how did he wind up in charge of our moral lexicon?

We have to grow up, Hitchens has said. We have to reject outmoded concepts. We have to get rid of the idea that there is a God in heaven, telling us the difference between right and wrong. But if these things be true, then there are other things that follow. For some reason, Hitchens is willing to affirm the premises but will not own any of the obvious conclusions. You cannot throw away your suitcase at the beginning of your journey, and then, as you are nearing the end of the trip, pull out all the things that you packed in it. There may be shrewd ways of avoiding baggage handling fees, but that’s not one of them.

If there is no God, then Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have no God. But if they have no God, then it follows that Hitchens is not their god either. And if Hitchens is not their god, why should they care what he calls them? There is no god, and Hitchens is not his prophet.

Evil? Unless such men are treated as evil men, there is no justice. And if there is no actual justice (not paper justice, not name-calling justice, but actual justice), then there really is no such thing as evil. If there is no such thing as final justice, then how can we manage to define the concept of injustice? Hitchens wants to call them evil after they are largely out of ear shot. Let us all agree to call Stalin evil. On Hitchens’s account of things, does Stalin care?

Hitchens may counter that he fully intends to fight them. He fully intends to treat them as evil, and his article was a call to arms. All right then. Is evil then determined by who wins that fight? Does this fight have a referee? Is there a rulebook? Who wrote it?”[/pk_box]

And his conclusion:

[pk_box width=”600″ align=”none” text_align=””]I for one am glad that Hitchens wants to repudiate the big lies. I am glad that he stands against vicious totalitarian ideas. Thus far I can applaud him. But in order to stand against anything, however obviously bad it is, you must have something to stand on.[/pk_box]

Read the whole thing here.