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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 clich├ęs 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.