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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christian Apologetics" was given an "award of merit" (meaning: tied for second place) in the Evangelism and Apologetics category of Christianity Today's book awards for this year.http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/january/2012-book-awards.html

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gagging on Gaga

Mark Sayers and I have the cover stories on Lady Gaga in the most recent Christian Research Journal. Yes, my article involves Christian apologetics.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hitchens is Dead

Christopher Hitchens, the acerbic atheist and prolific author, is dead. I reviewed his book, god is not Great a few years ago. It was a keen wit, a good writer, and a terrible philosopher of religion. Here is the review:

http://www.equip.org/articles/god-is-not-great-how-religion-poisons-everything

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

‎"Since the truth may not be what we would prefer. It is revealing that so many people today express approval by saying, "I'm comfortable with that," and disapproval by saying, "I'm not comfortable with that." Comfort is important when it comes to furniture and headphones, but it is irrelevant when it comes to truth."-- Christian Apologetics by Doug Groothuis p. 141

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I need Tim Tebow to promote my book. He could use it for weight training.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Second Printing!

InterVarsity Press sent me the second printing of Christian Apologetics. There are now over 6500 copies of this book now in print. It was released in late August of 2011.

Thanks to all who have purchased it and promoted it. Let's keep the momentum going for the glory of God.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Another Review from Amazon

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superlative Resource for Apologetics, October 19, 2011
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Hardcover)
If one has even an entry-level knowledge of the field of apologetics, one knows some of the traditional textbooks in which to turn to for study. Norman Geisler's classic Christian Apologetics still stands strong a few decades after it was first written. J.P. Moreland's Scaling the Secular City and William Lane Craig's Reasonable Faith are others that are widely used, and rightly so. The scholarship and wisdom in the books I have just mentioned provide an intellectual analysis of the field of apologetics and how Christians ought to engage with it. Contemporary Christians interested in apologetics can now turn to another text that is bound to become one of the most-used textbooks in apologetics. Douglas Groothuis' Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for the Biblical Faith (InterVarsity, 2011) may have more breadth both in content and wisdom than any apologetics text to date. The subtitle is justified as the book, over 700 pages and 26 chapters long (not including two appendixes), presents the need for apologetics and explores the main philosophical arguments for the existence of God. Unlike other apologetics texts, Groothuis includes chapters examining truth in postmodern society, religious pluralism, and a tactful approach to dealing with Islam. Furthermore, biblical scholars (and Denver Seminary colleagues) Richard Hess and Craig Blomberg build on an already strong text by writing chapters on apologetics in the Old Testament (Appendix 2) and a historical approach to the person of Christ and the gospels, respectively.
It is difficult to provide an in-depth chapter-by-chapter review of any textbook, let alone a book that concludes at 752 pages. I will not be so naïve to think I could do such a thing either. Thus, this review will hit on what I believe to be the most important and substantial portions of the book. Groothuis divides the book into three sections and I will structure this review in accordance to that division. While a few critiques may be included in the sectional review, I will leave what I believe to be the most pressing critiques (and they are few and minimal) until the end of the review. As one would expect with a book of this size, this review will be lengthy. I will be as concise as possible; however, I will not devalue the examination this book deserves simply to be brief. It is my role as a reviewer to do diligence to both the author and text itself to be as objective and comprehensive in my examination as possible.

PART ONE

Part one of the book, entitled "Apologetic Preliminaries" examines the need and reasons to engage in apologetics. I would recommend this section to any Christian scholar, pastor, missionary and layperson alike. Groothuis begins by laying out the need for apologetics as not something that Christians can do if they so choose, but rather as a biblical mandate. The contemporary attitude towards apologetics is often hostile. We live in a culture that thrives on tolerance between different worldviews and the defense of one position seems to rub against the grain of what is now considered normal. Groothuis masterfully breaks down this misconception in the opening chapters of the book. While Christian apologetics is the defense of a particular position, it is not one that is meant to be hostile. Rather, Groothuis says that Christian apologetics is "the rational defense of the Christian worldview as objectively true, rationally compelling and existentially or subjectively engaging." Apologetics is shown to be crucial for both the presenter and receiver of the apologetic message. For the receiver, a logically and rationally compelling argument is given that promotes the objective truth of Christianity. For the presenter, the Christian, engaging in apologetics fortifies the Christian in their position as a Christian.
While apologetics is a field of its own, Groothuis makes the claim that an apologetic argument cannot be effectively presented without understanding its connection to philosophy and theology. Apologetics is not reducible to either of these fields but it greatly hinges on the content and discipline of these other areas of study. The systematic doctrine of theology is itself what is being defended. One cannot properly present an apology for Christianity without adequately understanding its truth-claims. In relation to philosophy, one must be skilled and trained in rational and logical styles of argumentation. This makes the argument itself sound and eliminates philosophical fallacies. Furthermore, Groothuis grounds the field of apologetics as biblically mandatory. He presents biblical examples of apologetic interaction - including Jesus himself.
Groothuis wisely includes a chapter of the apologetic method and its core reliance on philosophical logic. As previously stated, one cannot be a good apologist without being familiar with logical argumentation. Groothuis, then, follows up on that claim with the inclusion of a chapter devoted to basic logical principles necessary for apologetics.
Apologetics 101 is knowing the content of the worldview that one is defending. Thus, Groothuis lays out the foundational beliefs of Christianity. Quite a lot is discussed in one chapter as Groothuis examines the theist's belief of metaphysics, epistemological foundation, the human condition, salvation and morality. Countless books have been devoted to subsets of each of these topics and thus the finer details of these areas cannot be adequately included in this type of book. However, Groothuis hits all the main and foundation beliefs of Christianity that one needs to know in order to engage in apologetic discussion. It is a chapter filled with the basic truths of Christianity and is a chapter that will serve as a nice complimentary piece to James Sire's The Universe Next Door for anyone interested in comparative worldviews. Should one want a deeper examination of the details of the topics discussed in this chapter, one will need to consult other books.
As a philosopher that is as focused on objective truth, it is to no surprise that Groothuis includes a chapter on truth in postmodern culture. Building on one of his previous books, Truth Decay, Groothuis states that objective truth is a staple of humanity, the "intellectual oxygen we breathe." Here, Groothuis tactfully examines and breaks down the postmodern thought that truth is not objective. Identifying two main enemies of truth in contemporary American culture, apathy and tolerance, Groothuis states that objective truth is dismissed in favor of the lauded view of tolerance, which attempts to embrace all differing cultural norms, and apathy, the lackadaisical approach to knowing truth. The book wisely points out that these views are antithetical to sound philosophy. In philosophy, one is on the path of knowledge and engages in the discipline of knowing truth. The connection to Christianity is clear - the Bible presents truth-claims. If one believes these to be true, they must be objectively true. If one believes the Christian worldview to be true, it is the intellectual responsibility of the Christian to gain further knowledge about the worldview.
While much more can be said about the opening section of the book as I only highlighted crucial features of a few chapters, I can conclude this section encouraging anyone interested in apologetics consult this first section of Christian Apologetics. It provides the examination of the necessity for apologetics and is the portrayal of Groothuis' attitude towards the discipline. It is easy to deduce that Groothuis is passionate about the truth of the Christian faith and is direly concerned with its presentations to those outside the Christian worldview. If an academic book were to ever tug at one's heart and implore one to move, it will be found in this opening section.

PART TWO

Part two of Christian Apologetics is the heart of the book - the dense examination of the main philosophical arguments for the existence of God. Again, it would be irresponsible for me to do a quick and flippant review of each chapter and thus I will examine what I believe to be the most important and pertinent content.
Groothuis starts off with an ancient and controversial argument: the ontological argument. Hinging on both of Saint Anselm's arguments as well as the reformed version by Alvin Plantinga, Groothuis presents the ontological argument as one that is both rationally captivating and successful. I currently remain in limbo on the success of this particular argument. It his been widely (and unwarrantedly) ridiculed and yet has remained defended for centuries. The ontological argument works entirely off the notion of the existence of God without relying on empirical claims. If nothing else, the ontological argument gives evidence to the brilliance of human reason. This particular argument logically guarantees that God exists from the premise that one can conceptualize a Perfect Being. The (Anselmian) argument, deductive in form, can be summed up by saying that a person can think of a greatest possible being. From this, a thing either exists only as knowledge construct, or, as something that exists in reality. It is greater for a thing to exist in reality rather than merely in the mind. But, God is the greatest possible being and he therefore exists in reality.
Groothuis provides a few examples of critiques of the argument and goes into a lengthy exploration of Kant's critique. While Groothuis, I believe, accurately dismisses Kant's critique, I have found little persuasiveness in this chapter that would lead me to accept the ontological argument as a success. This is no reflection on the author's ability to engage with difficult subjects. The very fact that Groothuis included a chapter devoted to this difficult concept exemplify his skill as a philosopher. The area that lacked, however, was a detailed examination on how the mind can construct a supposed reality about an immaterial Perfect Being from human reason alone. While I come to the same conclusion, that of believing God is a Perfect Being that is logically necessary, I still am not persuaded by this argument. Furthermore, Saint Thomas Aquinas' critique of this argument is quite compelling and is not examined in this book.
The chapter on cosmological arguments is superb and only further qualifies Groothuis as a proficient thinker. This chapter without question is the chapter I learned the most from. Groothuis engages very difficult scientific and philosophical concepts and communicates them in a way that even the beginner will be able to grasp. Though there are many different versions of the cosmological argument, the chapter hones in on the kalam cosmological argument as put forth by William Lane Craig. The kalam argument is superior to other cosmological arguments in that it supposedly secures the theistic doctrine of ex nihilo if the arguments proves successful (note: a minor quibble of this chapter is that Groothuis purports that the Thomistic cosmological argument does not endorse ex nihilo. I believe this to be false). This specific chapter was sensational - however I was left disappointed that no time was given to addressing the cosmological argument posited by Aquinas. In some respects, the Thomistic cosmological argument is the simplest form for people new to apologetics. The Thomistic version does not get into the technical issues of the metaphysics of time and Big Bang cosmology that the kalam version uses, nor does it require knowledge of the principle of sufficient reason that the Leibnizian version necessitates. While the kalam and Leibnizian versions are logical and sound arguments, they may confusing to people new to apologetics. Because of this, beginners ought to take the time to read this chapter slowly and more than once because of the finer technical details.
Chapters 12-14 are devoted to the design argument and issues relating to it. Groothuis opposes macroevolution and thus goes to great extent to battle Darwinism. Those interested in the philosophy of science will be drawn to these chapters. The chapter focused on intelligent design relies heavily on the work of William Dembski and Michael Behe. These chapters serve as a valuable introduction for those new to discussion between Christian and naturalistic sciences.
Chapter 15 is perhaps the most successful chapter of the entire book as it deals with the moral argument. It is my belief that the moral argument is the most successful argument for the existence of God as it appeals to everyone, Christian, atheist, and non-Christian religious persons. Ethical theory may perhaps be the most widely debated philosophical topic throughout history and thus Groothuis could have taken many approaches when discussing the moral argument. The way he structured his chapter, however, is nearly flawless. Building off his chapter examining truth in the postmodern culture (chapter 7), Groothuis correlates the denial of objective truth to the ridding of objective moral value. He unmercifully attacks moral relativism and brilliantly shows its dangers. He states that cultural relativism reduces to individual relativism, which, in turn, ultimately rests on nihilism. The setup of this reductio ad absurdum points the reader to a moral system that does not reduce to nihilism. Thus, a worldview that embraces objective moral truths must be embraced. Groothuis makes the claim that the source of objective moral truths is found in the absolute Being - God. Groothuis puts for the notion that God is the source of all perfect moral code because he himself is incapable of an evil act as it would be a contradiction of God's Being.
Also included is an argument from religious experience. It is refreshing to see this argument given the attention that it deserves as it is not as predominately seen in apologetics as some of the other arguments already discussed. Groothuis supports the claim that one can know God through some experience of divine reality. He supports this by using the argument from divine longing and numinous experience. The argument from numinous experience is defended well via a phenomenological triad that correlates a revelatory experience to an intentional religious experience. That is, numinous experience, as intentional, find their source outside the person who is experiencing - thus correlating objectively to a divine Being.
The remaining chapters of section two surround arguments of the person and ministry of Jesus Christ. This includes the chapter from Professor Craig Blomberg. Groothuis includes a defense of the incarnation, Jesus' miracles and the resurrection - all while refuting common arguments against these issues. These chapters are an appropriate end to a magnificent examination of the main apologetic methods.

PART THREE

The last section is contains chapters related to a few common objections to Christian theism: religious pluralism, issues surrounding Islam and the perennial problem of evil. The chapter on religious pluralism is wonderfully laid out and carefully examines the American ideal that all religions be treated equally and all lead to salvation. As Groothuis points out, "the dizzying plethora of religious pluralism has led many to believe that no religion can claim to be the only way of salvation. Religions should succumb to a more humble estimation ... in order to avoid religious dogmatism, controversy and strife." Such a statement is a profound summary of the current ideal. Groothuis goes to great lengths to argue against this worldview and states that the Christian worldview is objectively true and the only source of salvation. This chapter not only serves well as a stand-alone chapter, but the material is heightened when read in light of the opening chapters about truth in postmodern contexts. Groothuis examines other world religions and the worldview of perennialism to combat the pluralistic claims - including that of liberal theologian John Hick. This chapter serves well when read in the company of Harold Netland's Encountering Religious Pluralism.

SUMMARY

I have attempted to examine and review this monumental work in as much detail as I can. I have left out many things that could otherwise be noted in this review. However, I tried to touch on what I felt was most important. This books lives up to its name and is truly a comprehensive case for the biblical faith. The mastery of difficult topics shows that Groothuis is highly qualified and profoundly motivated in the field of apologetics. This books comes with many treats that other apologetics texts do not offer, such as the argument from religious experience, a chapter on Pascal's anthropological argument and also chapters on Islam and Hell.
No book is perfect, and while Christian Apologetics offers much, it does have a few flaws worth pointing out. Many of my critiques within the main body of this review were centered around exclusion of topics I felt worthwhile. Obviously, Groothuis could not hit on every topic, but the exclusion of subjects like the Thomistic cosmological argument leaves that specific chapter with a hole. Groothuis, at times, also too quickly passes over important objections to Christianity. This is evident in his dealing with the Euthyphro dilemma in the chapter on the moral argument (I believe his response can be considered question-begging by atheistic opposition). His chapter on the problem of evil is perhaps the chapter that kept me wanting most. Considering the book has 26 chapters and two appendixes (including the contributions of Blomberg and Hess), one chapter which lacks is not a bad feat. The problem of evil is only examined significantly under a compatiabilist and Calvinistic standpoint. While I hold neither of these positions, I understand their viewpoint and do not feel as though the problem of evil is argued away sufficiently with these views held.
The book significantly can enhance one's knowledge of the argument and it deeply examines arguments not prevalently seen. The book, however, will be an influential source to any person that needs an introduction to this important field. All in all, this is a great book and one that I would highly recommend to anyone.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

From Amazon.com

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Hardcover)
I just finished reading Christian Apologetics and found it to be the most comprehensive and thorough book in the topic I have read. I have read many books on the topic from Craig, Moreland, Habermans, Strobel and McDowell, but this one is the best at combining all significant questions and arguments for the the Christian faith. If I had to live with just one book on the topic for the rest of my life I would choose this book.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Prayer

God, who owns everything, prevail on behalf of your impoverished servant who is in danger of losing his house at the holidays. He is working for your to educate the church on Islam. Come to his aid, Oh God of mercy and provision. Oh, God, restore, renew, and bless supernaturally. Amen

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

From Facebook

Your chapter on Evil in Christian Apologetics is philosophically sound and engaging while also pastorally rich and comforting! Thanks for the labor of love that went into this.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Two Quotes from Chapter 17 of Christian Apologetics

Naturalism and Truth

Patricia Churchland: "Boiled down to essentials, a nervous system enables the organism to succeed in…feeding, fleeing, fighting, and reproducing. The principle chore of nervous systems is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive. . . . Improvements in sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style of representing [the world] is advantageous so long as it is geared to the organism's way of life and enhances the organism's chances of survival. Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost." [1]

Charles Darwin: With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” [2]



[1] Patricia Churchland, “Epistemology in an Age of Neuroscience,” Journal of Philosophy 84 (1987), pp. 548-549; emphasis in the original.

[2] Charles Darwin to W. Graham, July 3, 1881, in The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, ed. Francis Darwin (1897; reprint, Boston: Elibron, 2005), 1:285.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

–II Timothy 1:6-7, NIV

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Truth counts forever. See chapters five through seven in Christian Apologetics.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Outline for My Talk at Saddleback Church, Nov. 27

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Denver Seminary

Putting Truth to Work: the Biblical View of Truth

Truth is so obscure in these days, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth, we shall never know it.—Blaise Pascal Pensées.

I. Truth in Christian Witness: Apologetics

A. Jesus is Truth Incarnate and an apologist (John 14:1-6). See Douglas Groothuis, On Jesus, chapter 3.

B. His followers must know the truth and make it known (John 8:31-32;

1 Peter 3:15; Matthew 28:18-20).

Christian worldview: creation/fall/redemption/consummation. Christian Apologetics, chapters 2-3.

II. Truth and Today’s Culture

A. Knowing our culture, for example,

“From Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do”—Chronicles 12:32 (see also 1 John 2:15-17).

B. Two types of unbelief

1. Postmodernism (Richard Rorty): Truth is socially constructed and variable (relativism or non-realism)

2. Philosophical materialism (Richard Dawkins): Truth is what materialistic science describes (realism); there is no supernatural realm, e.g., God, the soul, spirits, the afterlife

III. The Christian View of Truth: the Nature of Truth

A. A true statement is one that reflects or matches reality (realism or the correspondence view of truth). See Christian Apologetics, chapter 5; Groothuis, Truth Decay, chapter 4.

“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith”—1 Corinthians 15:14.

B. Truth is objective; not merely subjective

Truth-claims stake out portions of reality through words: “Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:5-11).

C. Truth is antithetical, either/or

"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters—Matthew 12:30.

D. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13). Depend on the Spirit to give us an intelligent and virtuous witness (Acts 1:8).

IV. Against the Postmodern View of Truth

A. Postmodernism often refutes itself: claims truth is not objective, but then claims to be the objective account of truth: “There is no objective truth.”

a. If this statement is true objectively, then it is false. It is, therefore, self-refuting, self-stultifying as an objective truth claim.

b. If the statement is true subjectively, then there no reason to hold the postmodern view of truth as the claim applies to everything as objective, universal claim.

2. Counterexamples against postmodernism showing universal, objective truths:

a. Laws of logic: identity (A=A); noncontradiction (A is not non-A).

b. Objective moral goodness or evil: Mother Theresa or Osama bin Laden; sadistic torture or famine relief; murder or love

B. Challenge postmodernists to pursue the truth and put off laziness: truth counts forever (Luke 9:25). See Christian Apologetics, chapters 6-7.

V. Against Scientific Naturalism

A. If the brain is not designed for truth, and if organisms can survive and reproduce without consciousness or rationality, there is no reason to think our material brains know the truth. Charles Darwin. See Christian Apologetics, chapter 18.

1. We were designed to know God and the world; there is a fit between our being and our knowing of the world (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8).

2. Laws of logic are not physical, but universally and absolutely true ideas (that is, immaterial things).

B. Morality is more than instinct and social conditioning (materialism): values are immaterial truth beyond mere matter. See Christian Apologetics, chapter 15.

VI. Take Biblical Truth to the Streets!

A. Understand the biblical view of truth (realism) and what is true (creation/fall/redemption/consummation) as opposed to postmodernism and scientific naturalism.

B. Therefore, defend Christian truth with competence, confidence, courage, compassion, and creativity (2 Tim. 1:7). There is much at stake (Matthew 25:46).

Sources: Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (InterVarsity Press, 2011); Truth Decay: Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism (InterVarsity Press, 2000); On Jesus (Wadsworth, 2003).

Doug Groothuis at Saddleback

I will be giving the last lecture in this series of lectures on apologetics at Saddleback Church. My title is "Putting Truth to Work: The Biblical View of Truth." I will post my outline shortly.

Friday, November 18, 2011

What does our age of constant diversion, distraction, and dissipation lack? It lacks meaningful discipline: self-denial for a cause greater than the self. But this alone gives meaning and truth to the self, which is otherwise derelict in its own finite absorption

"Roots and Fruits" on Line

A write up and the audio of my talk, "Roots and Fruits: Intellectual Influences on my Christian Calling" is now available on line.

My Book at the Evangelical Philosophical Society

Just wanted to let you know that Craig Hazen give your book Christian Apologetics a very good endorsement in the opening comments here at the Evangelical Philosophical Society conference in Berkeley last night. He had one at the podium and showed it to everyone, spoke about the comprehensiveness and size and then gave it away. About 1000 people are here. Unfortunately I didn't see any for sale here at the booths. Heath Cardie

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., Doug.Groothuis@denverseminary.edu

Denver Seminary

How to Spot a Cult

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.—Colossians 2:8.

I. Discerning Truth from Error

A. Christ, the church, and the truth

1. Jesus is Truth Incarnate (John 14:1-6)

2. The church is the pillar and foundation of the truth

3. The truth about God, salvation, ethics, and history is found in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:15-16; 2 Peter 1:20-21)

B. The challenge of theological error

1. The wide road to destruction (Matthew 7:14-14)

2. Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:20-28)

3. Being rooted in the truth (1 John 4:1-6)

II. What is a Cult?

A. Historically: groups that split off from an established religious body

Christian cults: significant deviations from Christian orthodoxy

B. Scaling the language barrier (Walter Martin)

Cults use Christian vocabulary without using our dictionary (the Bible’s meaning of these terms)

C. Theologically: teachings deny key orthodox beliefs about God and salvation

1. Source of authority: the Bible alone (sola scriptura) or the Bible plus another source?

a. Mormonism: Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrines and Covenants

b. Jehovah’s Witnesses: Watchtower Society pronouncements

c. Christian Science: Science and Health with a Key to the Scriptures

d. Other Mind science groups: Unity, Religious Science

2. Understanding of human nature

a. Cults always demote God and promote humans (Walter Martin), thus denying the need for the Cross of Christ

b. Cults deny total depravity and original sin (Mark 7:21-23; Romans 3:9-20)

3. Redefining the person and work of Jesus Christ

a. Cults diminish the work of Christ for our salvation (Galatians 1:6-11)

b. Deny his deity (John 1; Colossians 2:9)

c. Deny his full atonement for sins (Romans 5:1-8)

d. Deny his physical resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)

4. Cults deny the gospel of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:6-11; 2 Corinthians 11:14)

a. The gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-8; John 3:16-17; Romans 5:1-5; Ephesians 2:8-9)

b. Faith plus good works or mystical experience

Mormons: We do all we can—and God makes up the rest

c. Salvation is found only in Christ (Acts 4:12) and received only by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9)

III. Reaching Those in Cults

A. Know what you believe and why you believe it (Romans 12:1-2)

B. Be prepared for spiritual warfare (Acts 13:1-12; Ephesians 6:10-19; 1 Peter 5:8-9)

C. Be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8)

D. Treat the cultist as a human being needing salvation, not on object for evangelism

E. Discern the cultists beliefs and gently challenge them with biblical truth and apologetics (1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Resources

Books

Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults. Several editions.

Gordon Lewis, Confronting the Cults (P&R Publishing).

Robert Bowman, Orthodoxy and Heresy (Baker, 1992).

Ron Rhodes, The Challenge of Cults and New Religions (Zondervan, 2001).

Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality (Tyndale) A classic on living the Christian life biblically. I have read this many times.

Magazine: The Christian Research Journal. See www.equip.org

I am speaking on "How to Spot a Cult" for Logos Central Chapel tonight at 7:00 at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Denver, CO.

Groothuis on the Radio

I will be on Crosswalk with Gino Geraci Friday from 4:00-5:00 on KRKS-FM (Denver) to discuss Christian Apologetics.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A New Review from Amazon

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars An enlightening and enriching academic read!, November 17, 2011
This review is from: Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Hardcover)
I have always been interested in the subject of apologetics and this has been the perfect book for me. The author has taken some rather difficult arguments and boiled them down so that the average person can lay hold of them. It is an academic work, but is extremely far from being dry. Many strictly academic books that I have read in the past have bored me to tears and put me in a coma. This book is a great read for not only the lay person interested in apologetics but also for pastors or church leaders wanting more education or a brush up on their apologetics. I am a stay at home, home schooling mother of three, and I can read this book on the playground while my children play or in bed at night before I sleep. It is actually enjoyable to read. Also, if you are someone who is interested in the existence of God, or the Christian faith, I think this would be the perfect book for you. The arguments are explained thoroughly and the author doesn't leave any loose ends untied. The author is fair to both sides of the arguments. So buy it, and read it, and enjoy it!! It pairs nicely with a good cup of coffee, or a nice glass of red wine.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Doug Groothuis at Saddleback

I will be speaking on the topic of "Putting Truth to Work" at Saddleback Church on November 27 at 5:00 PM. This talk will address many of the topics in Christian Apologetics.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Duke and Apologetics

In an interview, Duke Ellington said that "my first job is to listen." This should be true in apologetics as well as in jazz. We must listen to the questions, concerns, and misunderstandings of those to whom we present a defense of Christianity as true, rational, and pertinent to life.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry---James 1:19.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Steve Jobs, Jesus, and the Problem of Evil

In the best-selling biography Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson recounts an event when a thirteen- year-old Steve Jobs is distressed by a photograph in a 1968 Life Magazine of a pair of starving children in Biafra. He then went to his Lutheran pastor, holds up one finger and asks, "Did God know I would hold up this finger before I did?" The Pastor said, "Yes, God knows everything." Then Jobs produced the Life cover photo and asks, "Well, does God know about this and what's going to happen to those children?" The Pastor replied, "Steve, I know you don't understand, but yes, God know about this."

Issacson reports that "Jobs announced that he didn't want to have anything to do with worshiping such a God, and he never went back to church." Instead, Jobs pursued Buddhism, gurus, and hallucinogenic drug use instead (pages 14-15). This is yet another tragic encounter with the problem of evil. Jobs later told Issacson that "The juice goes out of Christianity when it becomes too based on faith rather than on living like Jesus of seeing world as Jesus saw it (p. 15).

The most reliable records of Jesus life are the Four Gospels of The New Testament (see chapter 19 of Christian Apologetics). In them, we find Jesus affirming the existence of one, all-powerful God, as well as the existence of all manner of evil. That is how Jesus saw the world. But, unlike the Buddha, Jesus did not counsel his followers to detach from the world of suffering by ceasing to crave satisfaction. He rather said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be satisfied." It is inescapable that those who so hunger will also suffer: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted," Jesus also affirmed. (For more on Jesus's teachings, see chapter 20 of Christian Apologetics.)

The evils of this groaning world did not detract Jesus from his mission to "seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10). It was this wounded and aching world that sent Jesus to a bloody and horrible death on a Roman Cross, in order that humanity and deity might be reconciled and hope restored to an erring planet. As Pascal said: "The Incarnation shows man the greatness of his wretchedness through the greatness of the remedy required" (Pensees, 352/526).

If God is perfectly good and thoroughly powerful, he will not waste the sufferings of the world. He will bring a greater good out of them not otherwise possible. This may sound theoretical, but God himself put flesh to that reality through the Incarnation: "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). That Word taught only truth, offered only love and justice, and was put to death for no legal reason. On his Cross, he forgave his accusers and finally said, "It is finished." He was buried, dead as dead could be. The universe waited...until he rose from the dead in three days time--never to die again.

At a young age, Steve Jobs faced the severity and seeming absurdity of evil. In so doing, he rejected the only answer to the suffering: Christ Jesus. Let us rather affirm with the Apostle Paul:

55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.--1 Corinthians 15:55-58, King James Version.

(For more on the problem of evil, see chapter 25 of Christian Apologetics.)