Islam, Christianity, and Archaeology

Last month it was reported that nearly two thousand potential archaeological sites had been discovered in Saudi Arabia – and all from an office in Perth, Australia. Read more

Reviewing Rob Bell

Even before its release, Rob Bell’s book Love Wins has been drawing controversy. In questioning many of the traditional Christian views of heaven, hell, and eternal punishment, the popular megachurch pastor seemed to be abandoning the doctrine of God’s judgment and advocating a brand of universalism.

Now that the book has been published, several reviews and responses have became available. Of these, Kevin DeYoung has perhaps written one of the most careful and comprehensive treatments of the book. He summarizes why the book is so dangerous:

“The theology is heterodox. The history is inaccurate. The impact on souls is devastating. And the use of Scripture is indefensible. Worst of all, Love Wins demeans the cross and misrepresents God’s character.”

You can read the whole review on his blog or download the 21 page pdf here.

DeYoung’s response is organized under seven headings:

  1. Not Your Grandmother’s Christianity
  2. Historical Problems
  3. Exegetical Problems
  4. Eschatological Problems
  5. Christological Problems
  6. Gospel Problems
  7. A Different God

Rob Bell is right when he says “what we believe about heaven and hell is incredibly important because it exposes what we believe about who God is, and what God is like” and that’s why we need to take these issues so seriously and understand how harmful Bell’s claims are to the gospel message.

Seven Ways to Help Japan

Mashable has a list of online things we can do to help the disaster-struck nation.

And let’s continue to pray for the rebuilding and renewal of their great nation, and also for our brothers and sisters there who are serving as God’s healing and compassionate presence in the midst of the suffering. As the people of Japan struggle to comprehend and cope with their enormous losses, may they find hope and strength in Jesus, our sympathetic Priest and risen Saviour.

Suffering through Romans: Part One

“Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” – Acts 9:15-16

In this series I shall survey this theme in Romans within the wider of context of Pauline theology. This includes the origin and scope of pain, and the appropriate response to suffering in the present. I shall then give some thoughts on application drawn from this thematic exploration. In Part One I shall briefly sketch the historical and socio-cultural backdrop of the Roman Empire, its capital city Rome, and its citizens. Read more

Has origin-of-life research reached an impasse?

That’s exactly what John Horgan suggests. Writing for Scientific American, the science journalist argues that, twenty years since he first wrote about the topic, atheistic explanations have not moved any closer to establishing how life first emerged.

James Anderson on the Transcendental Argument

For those who are interested in the merits of the transcendental argument for the existence of God (also known as TAG), James Anderson has posted an interesting article “No Dilemma for the Proponent of the Transcendental Argument: A Response to David Reiter” on his site. The essay, which will appear in the summer issue of Philosophia Christi, is a response to Reiter’s claim that the transcendental argument is either insufficient or superfluous.

New Apologetics Website and the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview have launched The Point, an online Christian ministry that offers fresh commentary on news, media, entertainment and culture from a distinctly Christian perspective.

With the goal of developing worldview-oriented Christian discipleship, the site has a daily radio broadcast from John Stonestreet,  Executive Director of Summit Ministries, and a group blog of apologetic all-stars (including Tom Gilson, Sean McDowell, Amy Hall, Jonathan Morrow, Mary Jo Sharp, and Brett Kunkle).

Be sure to bookmark the site and add their blog to your RSS reader.

John Lennox on God, Christchurch, and the Problem of Pain

Howick Baptist has made available the video and audio from Professor John Lennox’s  sermon at their Sunday service. Read more

How Could a Good God Allow Earthquakes?

Compassion for New Zealand has come from the Reasons to Believe team in America. Astrophysicist Dr Jeffery Zweerink explains that the first response to tragedies like the Christchurch earthquake should be that of empathy, aid and support. He then explains that an academic question remains; how could a good God allow it? His answer to the latter is summarized by the following.

(1) The Bible narrative explains that this world is not a perfect world, but that God has created it for the purpose of bringing about a perfect creation and defeating evil. The natural-scientific narrative gives a story which aligns with this, beginning in an environment that is hostile to life, and changing into an enviroment that is able to host an abundance of life.

(2) Why there are earthquakes.

(3) How the history of the earth provides evidence to show that the development and sustenance of life on the planet is dependent upon these destructive processes, but that these destructive processes are finely-tuned in a way to minimize their destructiveness as much as possible.

To listen to the podcast go to:

How Could a Good God Allow Earthquakes?

or subscribe to their podcast Science News Flash.

Dawkins, Determinism, and Truth

Philosopher Paul Copan describes his recent experience at a lecture given by Richard Dawkins at Nova Southeastern University:

There I was—the first one in line during the Q&A. I asked Dawkins how he could claim that the naturalist [is] rationally superior to the theist since, according to his book River Out of Eden, all of us are dancing to the music of our DNA. Our beliefs are the product of non-rational, deterministic physical forces beyond our control—whether we’re theists or naturalists. In fact, if the naturalist is right, it’s only by accident—not because he’s more intellectually virtuous than the theist. That is, the naturalist has accidental true belief (which is not knowledge) rather than warranted true belief (which is knowledge).

Dawkins gave the odd reply that it’s kind of like Republicans and Democrats—with each group thinking they’re right and the other group wrong. But on what grounds could either side think they are more rational than the other? Dawkins then added that he supposed that whatever view “works” the correct one to hold. But here’s the problem: what “works” is logically distinct from “true” or “matching up with reality”—since we may hold to a lot of false beliefs that help us survive and reproduce, even if they are false. Indeed, naturalistic evolution is interested in survival and reproduction—the “four F’s” (fighting, feeding, fleeing, and reproducing). Truth, the naturalist philosopher Patricia Churchland argues, is secondary to these pursuits According to another such naturalist, the late Richard Rorty, truth is “utterly unDarwinian.”

To top off his answer to me (without addressing how to ground rationality), Dawkins dismissively quipped that science flies rockets to the moon while religion flies planes into buildings.

Read the rest of the post and see what Professor Copan made of Dawkins’ response.

Ten Reasons for Pro-Life Optimism

Trevin Wax offers ten reasons why those of us who believe unborn children deserve human rights can be encouraged:

10. Recent Polls
9. Abortion’s Treatment on Television and in Movies
8. The Revulsion to Sex-Selection Abortion
7. The Exposing of Planned Parenthood’s Corruption
6. Planned Parenthood’s Recent Talking Points
5. Abortion as a “Tragic Choice”
4. Young People
3. Ultrasound Technology and Pregnancy Support Centers
2. The Third Wave
1. God Hears

Read the whole post and his explanation of each point here.