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faith

Faith Refocused

What is Faith and how does it relate to the world?

Does a weak faith help people believe in things that are unlikely, and a strong faith believe in things that are truly false?

Why is it reasonable to trust God?

This video helps to answer such questions and more. Enjoy!

how to be an atheist

An Interview on “How to Be an Atheist”

In a new video from Crossway Books, Justin Taylor sits down to talk to Mitch Stokes about his provocatively titled book How to Be an Atheist: Why Many Skeptics Aren’t Skeptical Enough.

Stokes was an engineer before he studied philosophy under intellectual heavyweights Wolterstorff and Plantinga. His previous book, A Shot of Faith (to the Head), expertly navigated deep philosophical and scientific waters to help readers get an understandable grasp of the rationality of theistic belief. His new book, How to be an Atheist, encourages skeptics to be more skeptical about the certainty of their skeptical beliefs. It sounds like an interesting read.

Thinking matters – Shame on His Name

Welcome to the final instalment in my series on why thinking matters greatly in the life of the Christian. In part 1 of the series, we looked at the spiritual malnourishment that Christians put themselves through to avoid the ‘lifeless endeavour’ that is theology (or, putting-God-in-a-box-ology). We learnt that the Bible creates a vital link between thinking and spiritual health. Part 2 expanded this intellectual famine out into the watching world – theologically starved Christians do not tend to provide a stimulating case for belief. And now, in part 3, we face the consequence of these two errors.

To put it bluntly– thinking matters because not thinking dishonours God and is therefore, a sin. Few professing Christians would be comfortable with the idea of bringing God’s name into disrepute, yet fewer seem to have made the connection between glorifying God (making Him look great) and engaging in the life of the mind.

A disdain for thinking in the Christian life is not merely a spiritual boo-boo, but a brazen refusal to live and love God in the way that He has prescribed. When Jesus stated that the greatest commandment is to love God with all one’s heart, soul, and mind (Matt. 22:37) he was in effect saying, “Love me with all of your being. Love me in all the ways I have created you.” Never—in Jesus’ mind or in Scripture—is there a splitting of head and heart; they are always meant to go together. 1

Christians (and humanity in general) tend to concentrate on the activity of their hearts and hands – on what they are feeling and doing. We are hard-coded doers. Value is rarely attributed to thoughts or beliefs, but rather to desires and deeds. Few think about their thinking. What I have aimed to achieve in writing these articles is not for Christians to forsake the pursuit of devoted hearts and generous hands, but for the correct paradigm to be restored. Truth enters through the gateway of the mind, is accepted, believed and treasured, and then the rest of the body follows suit, instinctively obeying. This is demonstrated with the following adage:

Head > Heart > Hands. 2

Removing or rearranging any component in this progression will cause the whole thing to collapse. Only with all three in the correct order is the Christian able to live in a way that brings glory to God’s name. The very fact that God ordained His words of eternal life to be written down in a physical book shows us that He first aims to take our minds as willing captives before wooing the rest of our being.

Conclusion

Just like every other sin, Christian anti-intellectualism brings shame to God’s name and is worthy of punishment. We can’t blame our lack of thinking on our culture, our brains, or just try to pretend it isn’t important. The Bible is clear and it will not alter its wording for you. The natural response here should be to mourn.

However, there is one more glaring similarity to all other sins – it is not beyond the all-encompassing reach of Jesus Christ. When Jesus died on that cross, he bore the punishment for every sin that his people had and would commit, including the sin of anti-intellectualism. I don’t know about you, but that glorious gift of grace makes me want to exercise my intellect so I can learn even a touch more about this beautiful God who saves.


1. “The Church Needs Philosophers and Philosophers Need the Church” Paul Gould, The Gospel
Coalition (http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-church-needs-philosophers-and-
philosophers-need-the-church), accessed on 11 October 2014

2. This wee maxim has been borrowed from David Murray’s blog of the same name.

Can a Scientist Trust the New Testament? by N. T. Wright

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N. T. Wright recently spoke at St Andrews University on the trustworthiness of the New Testament. The message was a part of the James Gregory lectures, a series of public talks by eminent national and international speakers on a wide range of contemporary issues in science and religion.

Michael Horton addresses common questions about the Christian faith

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Michael Horton recently sat down and answered five of the most common apologetics questions people get when they share their faith with their friends and family. Horton is a professor of systematic theology and apologetics at Westminster Seminary California, co-host of White Horse Inn and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine.

How Can Jesus Be the Only Way?

Read more

The Preconditions of Evangelism

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Our church is currently doing a class on evangelism and we recently worked through some of the things necessary to keep in mind when sharing our faith. It was a useful talk and especially relevant to what we do as apologists (maybe even more so).

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Outline

1. Love must be our primary motivator.

  • Remember that God is the Primary Evangelist and His motive is Love.
  • We have received His love and it should fill and direct us.
  • Love, care, and compassion should be our motivation to share the Gospel and explain Christianity to those who are perishing.

2. Remember our own need for the Gospel

3. We need to actually know and have confidence in the Gospel.

4. Remember that one size does not fit all.

Compare the way Jesus deals with people in John 3:1-15, John 4:7-26, and Mark 10:17-22. Compare the way Paul talks with others in Acts 13:13-42 with Acts 17:16-34.

5. Prayer is not important – it’s essential.

Since God is the real evangelist we must depend on him for every aspect of a person’s coming to know Him.

For other talks in the series go here.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument Explained

For resources about this subject, visit Reasonable Faith’s Kalam Cosmological Argument page.

 

question

The New Atheists’ Questionable Knowledge of History

John Dickson examines some of the historical claims about the gospels and the life of Jesus made by the New Atheists.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Dickson is the director of the Centre for Public Christianity and Senior Research Fellow of the Department of Ancient History at Macquarie University. You can check out more of CPX’s videos on their vimeo channel or on their website.

Sean McDowell and Michael Shermer talk about the Fine-Tuning of the Universe, Objective Morality, and the Evidence for God

Christian apologist Sean McDowell and skeptic Michael Shermer discuss whether theism or atheism better explains morality and the universe. McDowell is a great communicator and the videos are a good introduction to the issues involved in the debate. The conversation was hosted by Cross Examination, a show produced by The Salvation Army to stimulate thinking and discussion.

Objective morality and God: Part 1

Objective morality and God: Part 2:

The Fine-Tuning of the Universe:

Does atheism or theism better explain the universe?:

Evidence and God:

Ravi Zacharias on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The theme at the Ligonier National Conference conference this year was standing for the truth of God’s Word. At the conference, Ravi Zacharias gave a message on the resurrection, discussing it’s context, why it matters, and what it means for us today. You can listen or view the rest of the conference talks at Ligonier.org.

The Complete Video Archive of the Reasonable Faith UK Tour

The full video archive of Dr William Lane Craig’s speaking engagements from the Reasonable Faith UK Tour has been posted on YouTube. Every debate, lecture, Q&A session, and conference discussion is online and presented in chronological order. That’s almost twenty hours of solid apologetic content.

View the playlist here.

Amy Hall

Amy Hall – If God is good, why is there evil and suffering?

If God is good, why is there evil and suffering?  How can we reconcile the existence of evil with a good, powerful and omniscient God?   In this clear and enlightening presentation Amy discusses the various reasons why it is reasonable to believe that God has morally sufficient reasons for allowing the evil we see in the world.

Amy works for Stand to Reason (http://www.str.org) by contributing to their online content, blogging and responding to apologetics questions sent to Stand to Reason.  She has an M.A. in Christian Apologetics from Biola University.

This presentation was recorded at Thinking Matters Tauranga (New Zealand) as part of a 10 day speaking tour of New Zealand with Brett Kunkle (Stand to Reason) and Jay Watts (Life Training Institute) in September 2012.  This presentation comes from the full NZ Tour DVD set (includes 9 sessions by Brett, Amy and Jay) which will be available shortly from Thinking Matters for NZ$60 (freight free in NZ).  Keep an eye on the blog for news of its availability.