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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Here are two recommended courses for the spring semester, 2013, which are a part of the fledgling Christian Apologetics and Ethics degree at Denver Seminary. 

1. Contemporary Apologists. Two credit hours, taught by Dr. Douglas Groothuis. 4:00pm-5:50pm, Wednesdays.

Catalog description: Helps students understand the works of key contemporary apologists so that they are equipped to engage in contemporary world apologetics. Offered spring semesters, odd years. 

Become conversant in the works of current key figures in the field of apologetics, and in the process, sharpen your own skills. 

2. Social Ethics, Two credit hours, taught by Dr. Larry Burtoft. 12:00pm-1:50pm, Tuesdays.

Catalog description: Constructs a biblically rooted paradigm to apply to contemporary social issues, responding to questions such as: What would a Christian social ethic look like? Has the church anything to offer in the way of public policy? Can the church hold definitive positions on issues such as human rights, politics, economics, poverty, racism, sexism, homosexuality, and bioethics? 

Help us spread the word about this program!

Christian Apologetics and Ethics on Facebook:

Official website:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

‎"The Christian worldview is not proven in one or two strokes but is rather verified by appealing to a wide and compelling variety of converging arguments. Christianity is shown to be the best explanation for the origin and nature of the universe as well as the human condition and the facts of history." -Douglas Groothuis

Thursday, November 8, 2012


"Darwinists often brush aside criticisms by claiming that even if their theory betrays some weaknesses (which, of course, will be worked out in time) it wins by default, since no other theory has replaced it. Thus, in order to discredit Darwinism (1) Darwinism must be brought into question by the evidence, and (2) another scientific model must be put in its place. The second condition is not nec
essary to bring Darwinism into question, however, because this condition biases the case for Darwinism unfairly. In a court of law an attorney must merely exonerate his client in order for the client to be cleared of a crime. The attorney does not, in addition, need to find the real culprit. ...Nagel rejects Darwinism...even though he does not offer an alternative theory." -- Douglas Richard Groothuis, Christian Apologetics, pp.297-298.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Jesus, the Philosopher

Jesus, the Philosopher

This question was posed by the moderator at an early Republican presidential debate in 1999: “Who is your favorite political philosopher?” George W. Bush surprised, if not stunned, his fellow candidates, moderator, and audience when he tersely declared, “Jesus Christ, because he changed my life.”
At the philosophical level, we might say candidate Bush dropped the ball. He gave a religious or devotional justification for his choice of Jesus as favorite philosopher instead of stipulating just what it was about Jesus as a philosopher that he valued above other philosophers.
Public reaction to Bush’s one-liner ranged all over the political map. Was his response just shameless, pious posturing? Or was it a sincere and disarmingly modest confession—or just inappropriate in that setting however sincere it may have been? In any event, Bush’s clipped but controversial response raises a deeper question largely if not entirely avoided in the popular press: Was Jesus—whatever else he may have been—a bona fide philosopher? If the answer is Yes, several other engaging sorts of questions emerge: What kind of philosopher was he? What did he believe and why? How does his philosophy relate to that of other philosophers? Does his philosophizing have anything to contribute to contemporary philosophical debates? Further, just what is a philosopher anyway?
Most reference books in philosophy say that Jesus was not a philosopher, given their omissions. For example, The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1967), long a standard reference work, has no entry under “Jesus” or “Christ.” The newer and well-respected Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1998) has no entry for “Jesus” or “Christ,” but includes one on “Buddha.”
So what is the essential condition for being a philosopher? I take it to be a strong and lived-out inclination to pursue truth about philosophical matters through the rigorous use of human reasoning. By “philosophical matters” I mean the enduring questions of life’s meaning, purpose, and value as they relate to all the major divisions of philosophy (primarily epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics).
Of course, one may speak to life’s meaning, purpose, and value in a nonphilosophical manner—by merely issuing assertions or simply declaring divine judgments with no further discussion. (Some wrongly think this was Jesus’ only mode of teaching.) A philosophical approach to these matters, however, explores the logic or rationale of various claims about reality; it sniffs out intellectual presuppositions and implications; it ponders possibilities and weighs their rational credibility. The work of a philosopher need not include philosophical system-building (a la Aristotle or Aquinas), nor need it exclude religious authority or even divine inspiration so long as this perspective does not preclude rational argumentation. Being a philosopher requires a certain orientation to knowledge, a willingness to argue and debate logically, and to do so with some proficiency. On this account, was Jesus a philosopher?
Philosopher Dallas Willard, who makes much of Jesus’ brilliance, argues that a philosophical mind requires not only certain intellectual skills but also certain character commitments regarding the importance of logic and the value of truth in one’s life. A thoughtful person must choose to esteem logic and argument through focused concentration, reasoned dialogue, and a willingness to follow the truth wherever it may lead. This cognitive orientation places demands on the moral life—demands that Jesus accepted wholeheartedly. Willard deems Jesus a philosopher by these standards.
John Stott observes that Jesus was a “controversialist” in that he was not “broad-minded.” Jesus did not countenance any and every view on important subjects, but instead engaged in extensive disputes, some quite heated, mostly with the Jewish intellectual leaders of his day. He was not afraid to cut against the grain of popular opinion if he deemed it to be wrong. He spoke often and passionately about the value of truth and the dangers of error, and he gave logical arguments to support truth and oppose error. This all sounds rather philosophical.
Why, then (as responses to Mr. Bush’s comment revealed), do people find it odd to think of Jesus as a philosopher? In The Case Against Christianity, philosopher Michael Martin alleges that the Jesus of the Gospel accounts “does not exemplify important intellectual virtues. Both his words and his actions seem to indicate that he does not value reason and learning.” Jesus based “his entire ministry on faith.” Martin interprets Jesus’ statement about the need to become like children to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3) as praising uncritical belief.
These are damning charges against the claim that Jesus was a philosopher. But Martin misinterprets Jesus’ statements uncharitably. If the rest of the Gospel material consistently showed Jesus avoiding or condemning any rational assessment of his teachings or claims, Martin’s contention would be vindicated. But Jesus repeatedly engaged in a variety of bona fide arguments over theology, ethics, and his personal identity. He employed argument forms such as reductio ad absurdum (Matthew 22:41-46) and a fortiori (John 7:21-24), and appealed to evidence to ground his claims (Matthew 11:1-6). Jesus also deftly escaped from between the horns of logical dilemmas by constructing ingenious tertium quids, as when he avoided both statism and anarchy by saying that one must render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s (Matthew 22:15-22). The same Jesus who valued children also said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).
Consider the passage to which Martin refers. Jesus is asked by his disciples, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” After calling a child and having him stand among them, Jesus replies:

I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, those who humble themselves like this child are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me (Matthew 18:3-5).

The meaning of “become like little children” is not “become uncritical and unthinking” (as Martin would have it), but “become humble.” Jesus spoke much of humility, and never associated humility with stupidity, ignorance, or gullibility. Jesus praised children for the same reasons that people have always praised them. Children are never viewed as models because they are irrational or immature, but because they are innocent and wholehearted in their love, devotion, and enthusiasm for life. They are esteemed because they can be disarmingly humble, having not learned the pretensions and posturings of the adult world. Jesus did thank God for revealing the Gospel to the humble and not to the supposedly wise and understanding (Matthew 11:25-26). This, however, does not imply that intelligence is a detriment to believing Jesus’ message, but that some of the intellectual/religious leaders of the day could not grasp it, largely because of its humbling consequence.
Unless humility is incompatible with intelligence and rational investigation, there is no reason to believe that Jesus prizes gullibility or credulity. Most of us have met a few valued women and men who have been both tough-minded and softhearted. A good part of their intellectual virtue consists precisely in their humility, their willingness to let truth makes its demands on them. They pursue truth reasonably, but not arrogantly or pridefully. Moreover, children often ask searching and difficult questions—even of a philosophical nature.
Martin further charges that when Jesus did give any reason to accept his teaching, it was never a “rational justification,” but was merely pragmatic. On these grounds, Martin objects to Jesus’ exhortation that his listeners believe his words because the kingdom has come.
This charge rings hollow. When Jesus referred the kingdom of God as a justification for his teaching and preaching, he was admonishing people to reorient their lives spiritually and morally because God was breaking into history in an unparalleled and dramatic fashion. This is not necessarily an irrational or unfounded claim if (1) God was acting in this manner in Jesus’ day and (2) one can find evidence for the emergence of the kingdom, chiefly through the actions of Jesus himself. The Gospels present the kingdom as uniquely present in the teaching and actions of Jesus. So it was that Jesus claimed, “If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28). Since his audience took him to be driving out demons with singular authority, Jesus was giving a modus ponens argument. If P, then Q; P, therefore Q.  Jesus’ argument for the kingdom of God served as a logical support for his teaching and purpose. He was not merely making assertions or ungrounded threats, and expecting a childish or cowardly compliance.
For these reasons (and many more), I believe George W. Bush’s show-stopping assertion was correct. Jesus was a philosopher and a great one. If so, Christians should investigate the Gospels afresh to discover Jesus, the philosopher, as well as Jesus, God Incarnate. Moreover, his followers might find some inspiration to imitate their master intellectually and to enter the great philosophical debates of the age in the Spirit of the One in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3)

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy at Denver Seminary and the author of On Jesus (Wadsworth, 2002) and Christian Apologetics (InterVarsity, 2011).

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Try at Civility

This goes in the regular mail tomorrow:

Dear Boulder Atheists:

I asked Denver Atheists and Freethinkers to have me speak to their group in a Q&A session. They declined.

Please consider having me speak to your group for no fee. There will be no lecture, nothing sold, and no sign up sheet. I simply would like to have a civil discussion.

Doug Groothuis, Denver Seminary

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Logos prayer

Prayer (John 1:1-18)

Logos above me,
Logos within me,
Logos behind me,
Logos ahead of me,
Logos beyond me.
Logos before creation,
Logos in creation,
Logos unto the Eschaton.
Logos forever.

Thank you, Logos.

Certificate in Apologetics

Denver Seminary offers a 10-hour Certificate of Completion in Christian Apologetics. Please consider taking this, if you do not want the full two-year degree.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pascal on Humanity

What sort of freak then is man! How novel, how monstrous, how chaotic, how paradoxical, how prodigious! Judge of all things, feeble earthworm, repository of truth, sink of doubt and error, the glory and refuse of the universe! (Blaise Pascal, Pensées, 131/434).

O God, we thank you for all those in whose words and in whose writings your truth has come to us. For the historians, the psalmists and the prophets, who wrote the Old Testament; for all those who in every generation have taught and explained and expounded and preached the word of Scripture: we thank you, O God.
Grant, O God, that no false teaching may ever have any power to deceive us or to seduce us from the truth. Grant, O God, that we may never listen any teaching which would encourage us to think sin less serious, vice more attractive, or virtue less important; grant, O God, that we may never listen to any teaching which would dethrone Jesus Christ from the topmost place; grant, O God, that we may never listen to any teaching which for its own purposes perverts the truth.
God, our Father, establish us immovably in the truth. Give us minds which can see at once the difference between the true and the false; make us able to test everything, and to hold fast to that which is good; give us such a love of truth, that no false thing may ever be able to lure us from it. So grant that all our lives we may know, and love, and live the truth, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.[i]

[i] William Barclay, Prayers for the Christian Year (New York: Harper, 1965); quoted in Vernon Grounds, “The Truth About Truth,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Volume 38, No. 2 (June 1995), 228-229.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Christianity depicts God as a rational, responsive, dependable, and omnipotent being and the universe as his personal creation, thus having a rational, lawful, stable structure, awaiting human comprehension." Douglas Groothuis "Christian A
pologetics", pg. 102. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Love is an inescapable mystery that has stymied many of the best of philosophers, poets, and prophets. Yet love finds its answer-philosophically, theologically, and existentially-in the person of a crucified Jew, who, two thousand years ago, manifested the greatest love of all and who gathers all other loves under his suffering arms." Forward by Douglas Groothuis in Leaving Dirt Place by Jonah Haddad. Page X.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Denver Seminary's New Christian Apologetics and Ethics Master's Degree

Denver Seminary’s New Christian Apologetics and Ethics Master’s Degree

"Douglas Groothuis has established the reputation of being one of the best apologists and Christian philosophers in the Evangelical community. Now he has developed a new and exciting program in Christian apologetics and ethics. This program is very important in light of contemporary culture, and any student who studies with Groothuis and his colleagues will get first-rate training. I highly recommend this program."  JP Moreland

            In August, 2012, Denver Seminary launched a new Master of Arts degree in Christian Apologetics and Ethics. The purpose and mission of this degree is to train students to ably defend the faith and wisely engage culture, thus advancing the mission of God through Christian apologetics and ethics. There are many good reasons to study this subject in Denver as opposed to elsewhere similar degrees are offered. Here are nine of those reasons.

(1) The Christian Apologetics and Ethics degree is broad in scope yet focused in mission. Students will be able to immerse themselves deeply in the field of apologetics and ethics, while being taught by a faculty acutely aware of our purpose to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). Moreover, students will have the opportunity to grow in their understanding of philosophy, theology, and cultural criticism in order to deepen apologetics skills and become knowledgeable, discerning ministers of the Gospel.

(2) Students will be able to sit in classes sized appropriately for the development of relationships with each other and with their professors. Douglas Groothuis, a top-notch Christian philosopher, experienced apologist, and the author of a leading apologetics textbook on the market (in addition to ten other books), is the primary professor. Dr. Groothuis is not only a gifted thinker, but he is an outstanding teacher committed to personally attending to his students’ intellectual and spiritual growth.

(3) Students will have the opportunity to take core classes from Craig Blomberg, a world-renowned New Testament scholar and apologist. Dr. Blomberg is a prolific author, who has written, among other books, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, Jesus and the Gospels, and The Historical Reliability of John’s Gospel. Blomberg is also a leading and respected authority in the field of New Testament studies and historical Jesus studies. Furthermore, Dr. Blomberg is extremely accessible and loves to meet with and get to know his students.

(4) One of the leading Old Testament and ancient Near East scholars in the world, Richard Hess, is a full-time faculty member, and teaches part of the core curriculum in the Old Testament department. In his classes, he ably addresses important apologetic issues such as violence in the Bible, and the reliability of the Old Testament documents.

(5) Along with Craig Blomberg and Richard Hess, Denver Seminary’s biblical studies and Christian thought faculty will help the Apologetics and Ethics student gain a robust biblical studies and theological education, which will serve to bolster their apologetics skills.

(6) Students in this program will become well-versed in ethics, apologetic methodology, natural theology, arguments for the reliability of the Bible, comparative religion, thus being carefully groomed and equipped for wise cultural engagement and leadership.

(7) While being academically rigorous, this program serves to prepare students for a life of ministry. Having a background in Christian apologetics and ethics is beneficial to campus ministry, youth ministry, or work in para-church organizations. The ethics, philosophy, and critical thinking elements of this degree will help equip those who want to go on to law school, or become involved in politics. The degree will also help pastors to better answer difficult questions of their congregants, as well as to train those in their care to do the same. Furthermore, writing skills are an important component of this degree, and those who go through the program will be well-equipped to write for newspapers and magazines, and to publish articles or even books.

(8) Denver Seminary has cultivated an atmosphere of study and fellowship. The campus boasts an expansive library, with many conference rooms and study areas. Additionally, the seminary recently completed a new student center, complete with comfortable seating, a stone fireplace, and a full-service coffee and snack bar.

(9) Denver Seminary is a short drive from the Rocky Mountains, and students can enjoy the beautiful mountain view and sunny weather most days of the year.

The Christian Apologetics and Ethics program is intellectually deep, personally intimate, and set within a respected educational institution. For those individuals interested in learning how to defend historic Christianity, think more carefully, write more persuasively, speak more clearly, and be mentored by some of the sharpest minds in the field, this new program is worth your attention, and perhaps a visit.

For more information:

            Official website:
            “Like” us on Facebook:
            Follow us on Twitter: @DSApologetics

Written by Sarah C. Geis, graduate of Denver Seminary. If you have any questions about the program, you are welcome to contact her at

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Christian Apologetics, chapter three

"...there is nothing impious in using arguments with unbelievers that employ their God-given reasoning abilities. Good reasoning is not 'autonomous' or 'apostate,' but rather a God-given way to discover truth." p. 63

"Simply put, if a worldview fails to explain what it promises to explain, fails to make sense on its own terms (internal consistency), fails to describe what is there (objective and inner reality), fails to give intelligible meaning to life, or fails to be intellectually and culturally productive, it is disqualified from consideration.  I will argue that Christianity passes these tests better than any of its competitors." p. 72

Friday, August 24, 2012

Apologetic Method

Much ink has been spilled over apologetic methodology.  Various schools have contended that their way is superior to others.  Some apologists have spent as much or more time attempting to refute their fellow apologists’ methods than they have in attempting to bring apologetics to the people who need it most:  unbelievers and doubting followers of Jesus.  Evangelist Dwight L. Moody was once criticized by another Christian for his approach to evangelism.  Moody’s response was that he liked the way he did evangelism better than the way his critics didn’t do evangelism.  This lesson applies to apologetic method as well.

But please read the entire chapter three, which explains in depth and detail, my own apologetic method.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

‎"There is something which unites magic and applied science while separating both from the “wisdom” of earlier ages. For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue. For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men: the solution is a technique." - C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

From Christian Apologetics

The Biblical Basis for Apologetics

            Is the Christian worldview true and rational? Is it worth believing and living out? Within these questions resides the discipline of Christian apologetics. It offers answers based on rational arguments, yet these arguments can never be divorced from the apologist’s personal character. Therefore, apologetics is necessarily both theoretical and personal, both intellectual and relational. Along with the method of the apologetic argument comes the manner of the apologist himself. Both are equally vital, as we will see.
                        The word “apologetics” is often used today in a derogatory way to mean a biased and belligerent advocacy of an indefensible position. Yet the idea of presenting a credible “apology” for a legitimate position or viewpoint has a long and rich history. For example, the American founders presented an apology (or apologetic) for what would become the American form of government in The Federalist Papers. These learned and eloquent apologists explained and rationally defended a political perspective in the face of objections. An apologist, then, is a defender and an advocate for a particular position. There are apologists aplenty for all manner of religion and irreligion.
            Christian apologetics is the rational defense of the Christian worldview as objectively true, rationally compelling, and existentially or subjectively engaging. The word apologetics comes from the Greek word apologia, which can be translated as “defense” or “vindication.” In the days of the New Testament “an apologia was a formal courtroom defense of something (2 Timothy 4:16).”[1] The word, in either the noun form apologia or the verb form apologeoma, appears eight times in the New Testament (Acts 22:1; 25:16; 1 Corinthians 9:3; 2 Corinthians 7:11; Philippians 1:7, 16; 2 Timothy 4:16; 1 Peter 3:15). The term is used specifically for a rational defense of the gospel in three texts: Philippians 1:7, 16 and most famously in 1 Peter 3:15-16.[2]
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer [apologia] to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
Because Jesus, echoing the Hebrew Scriptures, affirmed that we should love God with all of our being, including our minds (Matthew 22:37-39), believers should defend God’s truth when it is assailed. Jesus himself did just this throughout his ministry. He was an apologist and a philosopher, although these categories are rarely applied to him today.[3]

[1] L. G. Whitlock, Jr., “Apologetics” in Walter Elwell, ed., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1984), 68.
[2] See Kenneth Boa and Robert Bowman, Faith Has Its Reasons: An Integrative Approach to Defending Christianity (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2001), 17-18.
[3] See Douglas Groothuis, “Jesus as Thinker and Apologist,” Christian Research Journal.

Christianity and the Fall

The fall of humanity is admittedly difficult to fathom; however, once it is admitted into our worldview, the enigmas of the human condition are explained and the human landscape is illuminated as never before. Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics.

Guest Post?

If anyone in Facebook land has a blog, I'd be happy to do a guest post taken from Christian Apologetics. Let me know.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Don’t belittle knowledge in order to minimize your own lack of understanding. There is far more at stake than your own reputation.--Sarah Geis.

Biblical Inerrancy

1. Meaning of the term inerrant: The sixty-six books of the Protestant canon are divinely-inspired, and therefore inerrant (since God cannot lie) in the original writings (autographs). This process of inspiration is confluent: God used the writers to communicate exactly what God wanted, yet did so without overriding their personalities. For a detailed analysis, see Carl Henry, God, Revelation and Authority, volumes 2-4 especially.
2.       There are cogent arguments from nature and humanity that an personal-infinite God exists.
3.       If (2), then this God could inspire writings to say what he wants them to say. See Part II of Groothuis, Christian Apologetics and Francis Schaeffer, “Is Propositional Revelation Nonsense?” in He is There and He is Not Silent.
4.       The text of the New Testament has been reliably transmitted to us today (textual criticism). See chapter 19 of Christian Apologetics.
5.       The New Testament passes the tests of reliable history. See chapter 19 of Christian Apologetics.
6.       The New Testament presents Jesus as God-incarnate, given Jesus’ claims, credentials, and achievements
7.       Jesus endorsed the divine authority of the Old Testament, directly and indirectly. See chapter 20 of Christian Apologetics.
8.       Therefore, the Old Testament is divinely inspired/inerrant. See chapter 20 of Christian Apologetics.
9.       Jesus authorized the Apostles to preserve his teachings. See chapter 20 of Christian Apologetics.
10.   Therefore the New Testament, which is apostolically authorized directly or indirectly, is divinely-inspired/inerrant. See chapter 20 of Christian Apologetics.
11.   Therefore, the sixty-six books of the Bible are divinely-inspired/inerrant. See chapter 20 of Christian Apologetics.
12.   Bonus, while textual transmission has not been inerrant, it has been very reliable. Thus, we can say that the best translations today are infallible; that is, they will not mislead us on anything to which they speak.
13.   I wrote this from memory, but every Christian should have some understanding of the epistemological basis of their worldview! No “leap of faith” is needed.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

On Jesus

Does Christianity have any intellectual clout?
Can we look to Jesus as a model intellectual?
Would you like to discover an aspect of Jesus often neglected?

These and other pertinent questions are answered in my book, On Jesus, published by Wadsworth (2003) as par of their Philosopher Series. To my knowledge, it is the only book of its kind by a single author. If you have any comments on this work, please post them here or on Amazon. If you have read and like the book, please make that known on Amazon. Why do I write this? See Matthew 6:33.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Articulate, passionate, knowledgeable, and logical speech and writing is the enemy of evil. Cultivate it; awaken it; be transfixed and transformed by it, for the hour is late and dire.
Only the truth can set you free; but are free from sin, lies, and bullshit; you are free to explore the real, conquer knowledge, and change the world--from the inside out and forever. Live dangerously in, for, with the truth. Refuse the false comforts of vicious conformity, vain pleasure, and egotistical effusions of ephemeral effluvia.
Only the truth can set you free; but are free from sin, lies, and bullshit; you are free to explore the real, conquer knowledge, and change the world--from the inside out and forever. Live dangerously in, for, with the truth. Refuse the false comforts of vicious conformity, vain pleasure, and egotistical effusions of ephemeral effluvia.

Monday, July 30, 2012

“People today are trying to hang on to the dignity of man, but they do not know how to, because they have lost the truth that man is made in the image of God.” ~ Francis Schaeffer, Escape From Reason

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Philosophy of Pascal

Only five people are signed up for Philosophy of Pascal this fall at Denver Seminary. I am teaching this and wrote one of the texts, On Pascal. We will emphasize Pascal's classic, Pensees. Join us!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Socrates states in the Phaedo, "but first there is a certain experience we must be careful to avoid...That we must not become misologues, as people become misanthropes. There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse. Misology and misanthropy arise in the same way. Misanthropy comes when a man without knowledge or skill has placed great trust in someone and believes him to be altogether truthful, sound and trustworthy; then, a short time afterwards he finds him to be wicked and unreliable, and then this happens in another case; when one has frequently had that experience, especially with those whom one believed to be one's closest friends, then, in the end, after many blows, one comes to hate all men and to believe that no one is sound in any way at all...This is a shameful state of affairs...and obviously due to an attempt to have human relations without any skill in human affairs." Phaedo, 89d–89e (tr. John Cooper)

Friday, June 29, 2012

On Language

Ever since the Logos was betrayed by errant mortals, and the evil deed was sealed at Babel, human language has suffered in all its forms. However, from my view as a 55-year-old philosopher and author, we seem to be torturing it nearly to death in recent years. One example is the acceptance of illegal (or undocumented) clusters of words posing as sentences. As I attempted to read an article in Psychology Today on dealing with difficult people (yes, this was a mistake from the onset), I was greeted by a seeming plethora of incomplete sentences, a breezy gone, and the decline of Western civilization.

What can one say, one do? Fight back and write back. Prize literacy; be different; make people miserable who care not royal fig for God's gift of language, spoken and written. Never give up on the Logos.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

 My review of Mere Apologetics: How to Help Seekers and Skeptics Find Faith
by Alister E. McGrath will be out in a forthcoming issue of The Christian Research Journal. I did not like the book, since I take a very different approach.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) at 12:15, we will be meeting for our study on Reasons to Believe

Dr. Douglas R. Groothuis, chairperson of the Philosophy Department at Denver Seminary will be teaching on The Argument from Morality to God.  Doug is world renown as the author of 12 books including Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (InterVarsity, 2011).  We will take a special love offering to help pay for Dr. Groothuis’ expenses.

Please bring your Bibles, notebooks, and a lunch if you wish.  We will have coffee and water for you. 

We are meeting at Front Range Christian Fellowship, 10667 Parkridge Avenue (Parkridge and Main), in the auxiliary house located across Parkridge from the church.  The church is easily found as it is across Main Street from the North Super WalMart.  Instead of turning right at the light on Parkridge into WalMart, turn left.  Front Range is on your immediate right.  You can park in the church parking lot and walk across the street to the ministry house.

We will see you there!

Glennis J. Henry
Legal Assistant
The Sonnesyn Law Firm
655 4th Ave. Suite B
Longmont, CO  80501

Ann Coulter

I am sending Ann Coulter a copy of my Christian Apologetics. A friend was able to forward my email. She responded with her mailing address. I pray this does some good.

She ably defended Intelligent Design in one of her books a few years ago.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The accurate analysis of persons and ideas will illicit controversy in a fallen world, since so many are so wrong about so much so often.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I agree with this Christian philosopher and friend

When we are told by a perfect stranger that he believes in God, we still don't know much about the person. That is partly because the word "belief" is used all too flippantly these days. For some, to say "I believe in God" mean little more than "I haven't gotten around yet to denying the existence of God." But there is another reason why a person's assertion of belief in God is seldom very illuminating about that person. That is because two people who believe in God may believe radically different and incompatible things about God; or, to put it another way, one person's theism is another person's atheism. To say "I believe in God," then, is to say almost nothing. - R. Douglas Geivett

Preaching Apologetics

Christian Apologetics was given a short and sweet review in Preaching Magazine.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

Book Review

Jonah Haddad, Leaving Dirt Place: Love as an Apologetic for Christianity. Wipf and Stock. I refer to this book on page 400 of Christian Apologetics.

With the Bible as their guide, Christians make the audacious claim that God is love, and that God demonstrated is love toward us by becoming Incarnate in order to reconcile us to God through the perfect life, sin-cancelling and demon-defeating death, and glorious historical resurrection of Jesus Christ, the God-Man. Therefore, the concept and reality of love vibrates at the living center of all Christian thought. This titanic claim should not be taken for granted; neither should the concept of Christian love languish amidst clichés and intellectually superficial invocations.

While many apologetics books and articles have defended the love and power of the Christian God in relation to the miseries of this fallen world (addressing “the problem of evil”), few writers have made love itself a profound apologetic for the Christian worldview. This largely neglected task is the burden of this unique and much-needed work by Jonah Haddad. In a poetic yet philosophical approach, Haddad explains the vexed question of the very meaning of love. He then investigates which worldview best explains the objective existence of love by carefully and fairly assessing each “live hypothesis” (William James) available to answer this query.

While humans speak of love, yearn for love, give love, receive love, and have their hearts broken (and break other hearts) by the manifold betrayals of love, the very fact of love is often unexplained or (worse yet) explained away by philosophies that cannot bear its bitter-sweet weight. Haddad, however, does not shrink from this daunting task, but rather marshals the theological and philosophical resources required to set for a compelling case that only the Christian vision of existence can give love its proper meaning, value, and significance—even (or especially) amidst all the tears, blood, and fears of a world “east of Eden.”

Love is an inescapable mystery that has stymied many of the best of philosophers, poets, and prophets. Yet love finds its answer—philosophically, theologically, and existentially—in the person of a crucified Jew, who, two thousand years ago, manifested the greatest love of all and who gathers all other loves under his suffering arms. As George Herbert wrote in the concluding lines to “The Agonie” (1633):

Love in that liquour sweet and most divine,
Which my God feels as bloud; but I, as wine.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Apologetics Event at Denver Seminary

It’s time for our next alumni webinar! Bring your lunch and watch LIVE, next Wednesday June 13 from 12:00 – 12:50 pm in Classroom 100b. It will be on the topic “Bringing the Truth to Light: Christian Apologetics” with Dr. Doug Groothuis presenting (description is below).
Dr. Groothuis will discuss the importance in having a rational and credible Christian witness before the world that involves discussing:
·         The nature of truth
·         Arguments for the existence of God
·         The reliability of the Bible
·         How we deal with people who hold other worldviews
Much of the discussion will be based around Dr. Groothuis' new book "Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith," the 2012 Christianity Today Book Award of Merit winner!
As usual, the webinar will also be broadcast to our many alumni all over the world! You are welcome to invite friends to attend as well. Hope to see you all there!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Groothuis Gig

I am teaching on a prophetic theme from the book of Hosea at Wellspring Anglican Church in Englewood, CO, on June 17. Services begin at 9:00 and 10:35 AM. I am limited to 25 minutes. My theme will be "The Responsibility of Knowledge" (4:6).
I am speaking at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church on Sunday, June 10, in the adult education class. Here is my outline:

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D, Professor of Philosophy, Denver Seminary, Head of the Christian Apologetics and Ethics Masters Degree.

Worldviews and the Bible:
Reading the Bible Rightly and Discerning False Worldviews

I.                   What is a Worldview?

A.    Philosophy of life, conceptual system, scheme of things

B.     Answers perennial questions:

1.      What is the ultimate reality?

2.      Does life have a purpose?

3.      Who are human beings?

4.      Is there an afterlife?

5.      What is the basis and meaning of ethics?

II.                What is a Biblical Worldview?

1.      The scandal of worldview ignorance

2.      Based on the Bible (epistemology): 2 Timothy 3:15; John 17:17

3.      Takes knowledge from outside the Bible (general revelation): Romans 1-2.

4.      Reads the Bible according to the author’s intension taken in its context, both literarily and culturally (hermeneutics).

No “deconstruction” (relativizing) of the text. This destroys the intrinsic authority of the biblical text.

5.      Biblical worldview essentials

a.       Creation (Genesis 1; Psalm 90:1-2; John 1:1-3)

b.      Fall (Genesis 3; Romans 3; Mark 7:20-23)

c.       Redemption (John 3:16-18; Romans 1-8)

d.      Consummation (Revelation 21-22)

III.             Two Competing Worldviews

A.    Naturalism or Philosophical Materialism

1.      Dominates elite culture in America and the West

2.      Nature is only material: physicalism

3.      Natural all that there is; a closed system of cause and effect; the causal closure principle.

4.      There is no revelation, soul, miracles, purpose in life, or afterlife

5.      Religion is a useless or dangerous superstition. See Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (2006) and my review of it. The Bible is a collection of myths and legends. It must be “demythologized.”

6.      A few problems with naturalism

1.      The Big Bang refutes it (see Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics, chapter 11)

2.      Cosmic fine-tuning refutes it (See Groothuis, Christian Apologetics, chapter 12)

3.      It cannot give meaning to humans who crave meaning (See Groothuis, Christian Apologetics, chapter 15)

B.     Pantheism or non-dualism

1.      More influential at a popular, not academic level. See Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra.

2.      All that exists is a divine oneness (monism or non-dualism)

3.      God is impersonal and amoral—an It, not a He (see Exodus 3:14)

4.      Salvation is found within the self (“the God within”)

Misinterpretation of the Bible: “The Kingdom of God is within [or among] you” (Luke 17:21). “Among” is in ESV and NLT. This does not teach pantheism, but the presence of Christ himself in the midst of the Jews.

5.      Reincarnation and karma (see Hebrews 9:27)

Misinterpretation of the Bible: “John the Baptist is Elijah” (Matthew 11:13-14); this is taken to be reincarnation, but it is a figure of speech to refer to the character of Elijah, not reincarnation. See John 1:19-21.

6.      A few problems with pantheism (see Douglas Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age (InterVarsity, 1986); Confronting the New Age (1988; Wipf and Stock reprint); Jesus in an Age of Controversy (1996; Wipf and Stock reprint)

1.      It denies basic sense experience and intuition of a world of diverse things and the finitude of the self

2.      It dissolves any justification for objective morality, since all is one.

3.      It cannot fulfill our yearning for love and healthy relationships
4.      It distorts the meaning and person of Jesus Christ, reducing him to a guru, yogi, swami, avatar, adept, and so on. See Matthew 11:27; John 14:1-6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5)

IV.             Know and Spread the Truth of God

A.    Explore and develop a Christian worldview faithful to the Scripture and logic (Romans 12:1-2). Study, memorize, and meditate on the Holy Bible.

B.     Do not impose a naturalistic or pantheistic view on the Bible (2 Peter 3:16)

C.     Discern unbiblical and illogical worldviews and expose them in love (1 Peter 3:15; Ephesians 4:15)

D.    Be ready for intellectual and spiritual warfare as you battle to bring people to Christ and build up Christians in the knowledge of God (1 Peter 5:8-9; Ephesians 6:10-19)

1.      Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith. InterVarsity Press, 2011. 752 pages.
2.      Douglas Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age. InterVarsity Press, 1986.
3.      Douglas Groothuis, Confronting the New Age. 1988; Wipf and Stock reprint.
4.      Douglas Groothuis, Jesus in an Age of Controversy. 1996; Wifp and Stock reprint.
5.      Douglas Groothuis, Are All Religions One? Booklet. InterVarsity Press, 1996.
6.      Douglas Groothuis is on Twitter (#DougGroothuis) and Facebook. Join me!
7.      Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth. Crossway, 2005.
8.      James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalogue, 5th ed. InterVarsity Press, 2009.
9.      James W. Sire, Scripture Twisting: 20 Ways Cults Misinterpret the Bible. InterVarsity Press, 1980.