BreakPoint.org 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.
It’s the second to last Friday before Christmas and the return of the link post (back by popular demand!). Here are some links from around the web to enjoy into the weekend.
– Steve Cowan summarizes his recent paper at the national EPS conference in Atlanta and the problem of God’s “authorship of sin” for libertarians and compatibilists.
– James N. Anderson reviews The Cambridge Companion to Christian Philosophical Theology.
– Dru Johnson reviews Analytic Theology: New Essays in the Philosophy of Theology.
– Alvin Plantinga’s lecture at Biola University on the conflict between science and religion.
– More on the myth that people prior to Columbus believed the earth was flat.
– J. P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, has launched a Facebook page.
– J.W. Wartick reviews Theism and Ultimate Explanation by Timothy O’Connor
– John Bird reviews The Gospel and the Mind by Bradley Green at The Discerning Reader.
– Tom Gilson proposes the essential missing prologue to all apologetics.
– The latest issue of Synthese (a journal dedicated to epistemology, methodology and philosophy of science) is devoted to Intelligent Design.
– The trouble with Richard Dawkins: an interview with Michael Ruse:
– Ten things about the story of Christmas that you might not know.
– Theology Masters has posted a list of the top 50 blogs by theology professors.
– Richard Lints, Thomas Schreiner, and Kevin DeYoung each put forward a list of helpful books on the doctrine of Scripture.
– Kevin DeYoung explains the New Testament use of Old Testament prophecy.
– Thoughts from Don Carson on how we should consider individualism in the West.
– Video of a discussion between Mark Dever and Jim Wallis on social justice (5 parts):
– A preview of Makoto Fujimura’s gorgeous The Four Holy Gospels.
– A virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel. Incredible.
– A replica of an ancient Greek mechanical computer that predicted celestial events. Out of Lego.
– Matthew Shapiro has posted his epic mash-up of films released this year:
Christian philosopher J. P. Moreland is no stranger to the internet. He’s blogged at his author page on Amazon and has also contributed to The Scriptorium Daily. However it’s great to see that he now has his own new website and blog at jpmoreland.com. According to the site:
“This space is intended to be a dynamic clearinghouse for J.P. Moreland content, whether from the past, the present or the future.
As you can see, the website is driven by both J.P.’s passion and content. On the Library main page, you’ll notice that we have all sorts of different ways to help you find his content, whether by audience type (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) or by the themes of the “Kingdom Triangle” (‘Life of the Mind,’ ‘Spiritual Formation,’ and ‘Power of the Spirit’). The latter is intentional and strategically emphasized throughout given how that concept integrates with J.P.’s life.”
Be sure to also subscribe to his blog on the website, as well.
“At the Library of Historical Apologetics, our mission is to be the world’s leading resource for lay apologists, pastors, students, and scholars seeking historical apologetics materials for self-study, church classes, sermon preparation, and research. Our digital collection currently contains references to about 3,000 items with a focus on works in English from the 17th through the early 20th centuries.
Beyond simply providing access to these materials, our long-term vision is to create a digital learning environment that incorporates personal and collaborative reading, note taking, and study tools. We want to support a community in which more experienced scholars help newcomers find the material they need and construct secondary resources such as curricula, study guides, and course syllabi that can be shared by all users.
This project is directed by Dr. Timothy McGrew, who is Professor of Philosophy at Western Michigan University, where he has taught since 1995, serving as department chairman from 2005-2009. The Institute for Digital Christian Heritage is providing technical and administrative assistance in the form of project planning, implementation and evaluation.”
The project’s goal is to have the full collection available online by the end of the year. This is a great resource for Christians who want to become familiar with the vast heritage of Christian thought. Be sure to check it out.
(HT: Rational Thoughts)
The Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship is an evangelical student ministry that works at campuses both internationally and around New Zealand. They also have a dedicated program, called Catalyst, that serves graduates, both in the workplace and in post-graduate study.
Today they launch Catalyst Books, an online store that will provide a range of titles to assist graduates in relating their faith to life, study and work.
One of the great things about the store is that they offer books that seek to relate the Gospel directly to each academic discipline, from architecture to psychology. They also offer free shipping.
Make sure you head over to their site and take a look.
The Veritas Forum have just launched their new website. Began in 1992 at Harvard, the campus ministry was established to provide a context for students to explore the ultimate questions of life. Today the organization works with more than 60 leading schools throughout North American and Europe, coordinating events with leading Christian thinkers such as Os Guinness, Alister McGrath, Dallas Willard and many more.
The website offers many great videos and resources that I encourage you to explore.
Here are a few:
The Existence of Evil and the Problem of God
Alvin Plantinga and Richard Gale Ph.D.
University of Tennessee
A Conversation with Tim Keller: Belief in an Age of Skepticism? (Edit)
Timothy J. Keller
University of California, Berkeley
Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense, Part 1 of 2 (Edit)
N. T. Wright
This week, we saw technology feature prominently in the headlines, with tens of thousands of New Zealand Telecom XT mobile customers losing their connections over the last few days. However, the big news of course was the announcement of Apple’s latest tech gadget, the iPad. Weighing in at one-and-a-half pounds (.68 kg) and a half-an-inch thick (13.4mm), with a 9.7-inch screen, the most surprising detail of the portable computer was the price: $499 USD. Will it change the world? At the very least, it will offer a serious challenge to Amazon’s Kindle. And Christians may wonder if it has the potential to revolutionize the virtual church movement.
Until then, here is some reading to take you into the final weekend of January.
Christianity and the Haiti disaster
- A Christian perspective on the tragedy in Haiti
Michael Milton offers some pastoral reflections from Lamentations and Luke chapter 15.
- Was Pat Roberston’s thoughtless statement about the Haiti disaster actually representative of Biblical Christianity?
Melinda at the Stand to Reason blog corrects Richard Dawkins’ confused claim that Pat Roberston’s comments are an accurate reflection of the Christian tradition.
- Should Pat Robertson have attributed the Haiti disaster to the wrath of Gaia instead?
Christianity and Theology
- Douglas Wilson: “How shall we understand our afflictions? Our God sometimes strikes us, but only as the accomplished pianist forcefully strikes the keys.”
- The Judgmental Jesus
Matt’s column in the latest Investigate Magazine addresses one of the most quoted (and misunderstood) verses in the Bible: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
- Greg Beale discusses inerrancy
Martin Downes interviews professor Greg Beale about the exegetical foundations of inerrancy and the status of the doctrine today among evangelical theologians and biblical scholars.
- The Church and the surprising offense of God’s love
- Inerrancy and its denial
Jeremy Pierce discusses why inerrancy should be the starting point for our doctrine of Scripture and some of the implications of its denial.
Christianity and Ethics
- The Euthanasia debate
Professor of philosophy at Biola, J. P. Moreland analyzes the different arguments used in the debate about euthanasia and sets the controversy in the larger context of broad, world view issues.
- Abortion: A rational look at an emotional issue
Christianity and Philosophy
- A conversation about Middle Knowledge
Razorkiss posts a transcript of his discussion on AOMin’s chat channel about middle knowledge and how this diminishes our conception of God’s nature, particularly his immutability.
- Remembering Aquinas
Edmund Edward Feser offers some links to celebrate (yesterday’s) Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas.
- Bill Vallicella disentangles several questions that may be asked about the Trinity.
- Chesterton and the argument from reason
Jim maps out Chesterton’s influence on the argument that C. S. Lewis’ made popular.
- Part 3 of Os Guinness’ lecture series on the essence of apologetics has been uploaded.
- Ten essential aspects of thinking as a Christian
Tom Gilson describes what it means to think well, think deeply, and in accordance with the truth of God revealed through Jesus Christ.
Christianity and Politics
- The difficulties of religious freedom
Lydia McGrew explores the idea that informal moral agreement must be necessary in order for religious freedom to work in society, particularly in the context of Islam and homosexual activism.
- The reaction to the ‘celebrate life’ Super-Bowl ad
Jim Daly comments on the attempt of woman’s rights groups to pressure CBS into disallowing a Superbowl commerical that advocates a pro-life message.
Christianity and Fiction
- Vampires and God
An interview with a professor Emeritus of English Literature at the University of Central Missouri about vampires, folklore, literature, and the how these themes connect to death and religion.
- More discussion about The Shack
Yesterday, we posted Tim Keller’s impressions of the enormously popular novel by William Young. This week, Albert Mohler also considers the popularity of the book and what this means about the lost art of spiritual discernment within the Christian community. Fred Sanders, at the Scriptorium, also has some thoughts on how we can make the most of The Shack.
Christianity and Film
- Exegeting Avatar
Sophie Lister deftly analyzes James Cameron’s epic crowd-pleaser from a Christian perspective.
Here are some headlines from around the web, to take you into the weekend.
Christianity and Politics
The continuing conversation over the Manhattan Declaration: R. C. Sproul, Ligon Duncan, and Paul Edwards add their voices. Hunter Baker addresses John Stackhouse’s objection that the Declaration is “philosophically and politically incoherent”.
Christianity and Culture
New study reveals the costly effects of pornography. (Also check out JT’s post with a great list of additional resources on the subject)
Robert Wright on how the New Atheism crusade is encountering powerful and possibly pivotal resistance: “Maybe this is the New Atheists’ biggest problem: As living proof that religion isn’t a prerequisite for divisive fundamentalism, they are walking rebuttals to their own ideology.”
This one is for Glenn: Scar Wars – a Star Wars/Scarface mash-up (content warning, not for delicate flowers)
This month’s issue of the Investigate Magazine features a great article by Matthew Flannagan on the Flat-Earth Myth. It is common assumption in popular discourse and even within public education that, prior to Columbus, the Church taught that the world was flat. However, in his column, Matthew argues that this idea was fabricated by opponents of Christianity in the 19th century and is actually a historical revision. He maintains that the Flat-Earth myth has been thoroughly debunked by contemporary historians.
I recommend either getting a hold of the issue or reading it online here. If you’ve been following my recent “Conflict for the conflict thesis” posts, Matt’s article dove-tails nicely with that series and my central claim: Christianity encourages and does not oppose science or its success. Even apart from that, go read it – Matt’s writing is never dull, and his well-reasoned arguments are easy to comprehend.
Some late night Friday reading from the interwebs. Knock yourselves out, peeps.
Christianity and Politics
-This week, the story that has dominated discussion in Christian circles has been the recent joint declaration by Evangelical, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian leaders on the need for Christians to stand up for moral issues. The document, titled the Manhattan Declaration, included signatories such Wayne Grudem, Tim Keller, Dr. Peter Kreeft, Josh McDowell,Albert Mohler Jr., J. I Packer, and Ravi Zacharias. Drafted by Chuck Colson, it calls for a renewed vision of justice and ethical life in government and society, especially with respect to the sanctity of human life and the dignity of marriage as a union of husband and wife. While some have applauded the declaration and view its “ecumenism of the trenches” as a necessity, others wonder if the Gospel is being obscured.
– Alistair Begg, John MacArthur, James White, Frank Turk, Tim Challies explain why they disagree with the document. David Doran, Steve Hays and John Stackhouse also offer their thoughts, while Brian McLaren just misses the point completely.
– Does God really want all people to be saved? Video interview with Dr R. C. Sproul.
– In his post, The Basis for Moral Realism, Tom Gilson puts forward several questions for atheists who want to hold onto moral realism, including:
- What is a moral value or duty; specifically, to whom or what is it a value, and to whom or what is the duty directed, owed, or pointed?
- To whom or what was it directed, owed, or pointed when there was no person in the universe toward whom it could have been so pointed?
- Who or what held any responsibility for these moral values or duties before there was any intelligent life?
- In what did these values or duties inhere, or in other words, where did they exist?
- Was there such a thing as evil while the stars and planets were forming? What was it?
- Was killing immoral for the first 3 billion or so years of evolution, before humans arrived?
– Douglas Wilson recounts the thinkers who have rocked his world: “The men I am most indebted to philosophically are: C.S. Lewis, Cornelius Van Til, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Calvin, Richard Weaver, the early Rushdoony, Augustine, John Knox, Gary North, J.I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer, G.K. Chesterton, Paul Johnson, John Stott, Christopher Dawson, H.L. Mencken, William Buckley, David Wells, R.L. Dabney, E. Michael Jones, P.G. Wodehouse, Greg Bahnsen, and Peter Leithart. And after a diet of such books for twenty-six years, I have to say that reading an emergent book by Brian McLaren is like watching a six-year-old do card tricks.”
Christianity and Culture
– This week marked the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. Time magazine interviews Dennis Sewell on Darwin and his legacy.
– Positive comments from atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel on Stephen C. Meyer’s new book, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperCollins): “Meyer is a Christian, but atheists, and theists who believe God never intervenes in the natural world, will be instructed by his careful presentation of this fiendishly difficult problem.”
“In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to itand says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.”
To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”
This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable.”
Greg Koukl of apologetics ministry Stand to Reason writes,
In an odd sort of way, Christians have abetted atheists in their efforts to cast doubt and even derision on believers. Here’s how.
Atheists have tremendous confidence that science will continue its record of silencing superstition. As knowledge waxes, foolishness wanes. Consequently, there’s no need for sticking God in the so-called “gaps.” Science will fill them soon enough.
Atheists are buoyed in their confidence by what they consider an inverse relationship between knowledge and faith. The more you have of the first, the less you need of the second.
Faith is merely a filler for ignorance. As knowledge increases, silly superstitious beliefs are discarded. As science marches forward, ignorance will eventually disappear and faith will simply dry up.
Simply put, faith and knowledge are functional opposites. The only place for faith, then, is in the shadows of ignorance.
Ironically, this same perspective has been promoted by Christians themselves. “If I know that God exists,” they challenge, “or that Jesus rose from the dead, or that Heaven is real, then where is room for faith?” Note the same inverse relationship between knowledge and faith held by atheists: Faith and knowledge are functional opposites.
This view is obviously false if you pause to think about it. The opposite of knowledge is not faith, but ignorance. And the opposite of faith is not knowledge, but unbelief. It’s certainly possible to have knowledgeable faith and ignorant unbelief.
More importantly, the knowledge vs. faith equation is not what the Bible teaches. In fact, Scripture affirms just the opposite. In this month’s Solid Ground, I lay out the case that biblical faith is based on knowledge, not contrary to it. Once you see the textual evidence, I think you’ll agree that faith and knowledge are compatible, shoring up our confidence in the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
With confidence in Christ,
(Greg recently has recently interviewed author David Berlinski about his book, The Devil’s Delusion that has just been released on paperback. This was very interesting discussion and recommended. Listen Here.)
Thinking Matters is a ministry encouraging New Zealand Christians to explore WHAT they believe and WHY they believe it, so they can engage culture and present the Christian faith both gracefully and persuasively.
We do this through training in apologetics, worldview, culture, and evangelism.
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