Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Featured Apologetics Resource: Apologetics Videos, Curriculum and PDF downloads

The Apologetics Study Bible is a pretty good apologetics resource. On their web site you will find an excellent set of flash videos covering:
What is Apologetics?
The Cosmological Argument
The Design Argument
The Moral Argument
The Resurrection

You can also download PDF transcripts of each lesson in the curriculum, which may serve well as a teaching resource.


Monday, September 29, 2008

John Lennox vs. Michael Shermer: The Great Debate - Does God Exist? MP3 Audio

The Great Debate: Does God Exist? This is a debate featuring Professor John Lennox and Dr Michael Shermer during Australian Science Week 2008.

Full MP3 Audio here.

Found here.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Quote: Pascal on Truth

"We know the truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart."

- Blaise Pascal

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Historical Apologist: Anselm

Anslem (1033-1109) was an archbishop of Canterbury who is noted for his invention of the ontological argument for God's existence (in his Proslogian) and his classical formulation of a doctrine of the atonement that sees Christ's sacrifice as providing satisfaction for human sin.

Anselm was a follower of Augustine and continued the tradition of "faith seeking understanding."1

1. C.Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), p. 10.

Friday, September 26, 2008

William Lane Craig's Rebuttal to the West Wing MP3 Audio

William Lane Craig addresses the popular "West Wing" episode dealing with the topic of homosexuality and the Bible.
Listen to MP3 audio here.

Part of Craig's great Reasonable Faith Podcast.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Michael Licona vs Ali Ataie Debate MP3 Audio: Was Jesus Resurrected or Rescued?

Michael Licona and Ali Ataie debate the topic: Was Jesus Resurrected or Rescued? This was the formal Muslim-Christian Debate held at UC Davis on November 30, 2006.

Full MP3 audio courtesy of Glenn over at In Defense of the Faith.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

See the Movie Fireproof

From the creators of Facing the Giants comes Fireproof, starring Kirk Cameron. This movie has a strong Gospel message. Opens in theaters on September 26th, 2008.

Go and see it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Conversational Apologetics MP3 Audio by Michael Ramsden

We live in cultures that are filled with unanswered questions. To many, there is so much confusion, the solution is to stop looking for answers. What can we learn from Jesus' interaction with other people, and how can that help us in sharing the Gospel today?

Full MP3 Audio here.

More about Michael Ramsden over at The Zacharias Trust.

More great resources at www.euroleadershipresources.org

Monday, September 22, 2008

Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead - Gary Habermas MP3 Audio

Gary Habermas appears on Truth Talk Live and discusses the topic:
Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?
Quite a short little interview, with some apologetics commentary following with Alex Mcfarland.

Full MP3 audio here.

Truth Talk Live audio archive here.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology - MP3 Audio

Wayne Grudem's systematic theology class is available online.
100 MP3's! Yes, that's right...ONE HUNDRED MP3's.

Presented at monergism.com. Hosted by Scottsdale Bible Church.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Reasons to Trust the Scriptures by Norman Geisler - PDF download

How do I know the Bible is true? Norman Geisler gives sound reasons to trust the scriptures in this 8 page reference.

Download PDF here.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Douglas Groothuis Reviews Christopher Hitchens' God is Not Great

Professor Douglas Groothuis reviews Christopher Hitchens' book God is Not Great in this interview on Issues, Etc.

Full MP3 Audio here.

Douglas Groothuis' blog here.
Subscribe to Issues, Etc. in iTunes.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Five Questions Evolutionists Would Rather Dodge by William Dembski

Mathematician and philosopher William Dembski presents five questions evolutionists would rather dodge in this quick resource for dealing with evolutionary theory.

This includes the fossil record, natural selection, detecting design, molecular machines, and testability.

Download the PDF here.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Three Articles on Darwinism from dissentfromdarwin.org

The arguments that ultimately unravel the Darwinian synthesis aren't terribly difficult to grasp. Anyone who remembers the rudiments of logic they learned in freshman composition can follow the essentials of the argument.

Below are three articles to get started:
Fact Sheet: Microevolution vs. Macroevolution
Fact Sheet: The Cambrian Explosion
The Survival of the Fakest

These resources can be found at www.dissentfromdarwin.org.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Dawkins Confusion - by Alvin Plantinga

Alvin Plantinga, one of today's notable philosophers, reviews Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion:
Now despite the fact that this book is mainly philosophy, Dawkins is not a philosopher (he's a biologist). Even taking this into account, however, much of the philosophy he purveys is at best jejune. You might say that some of his forays into philosophy are at best sophomoric, but that would be unfair to sophomores; the fact is (grade inflation aside), many of his arguments would receive a failing grade in a sophomore philosophy class. This, combined with the arrogant, smarter-than-thou tone of the book, can be annoying. I shall put irritation aside, however and do my best to take Dawkins' main argument seriously.
Full article here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Quote: Charles Hodge on the Gospel

"The gospel is so simple that simple children can understand it, and it is so profound that studies by the wisest theologians will never exhaust its riches."

- Charles Hodge

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Historical Apologist: Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984) was an evangelical thinker, writer and speaker who had a dramatic impact on young evangelicals in the 1960s and 1970s. Schaeffer was a Bible Presbyterian minister who went to Switzerland as a missionary in 1948. With his wife, Edith, he developed L'Abri - a ministry to young people from Europe and North America.

Such books as The God Who Is There and Escape from Reason, developed from his lectures, popularized his view that Western culture had descended into irrationalism as a consequence of its rejection of biblical Christianity. Schaeffer's analysis of history was wide-ranging, covering fields as diverse as art, philosophy and politics. In his later years he increasingly emphasized the evils of abortion.1

1. C.Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), p. 104.

Friday, September 12, 2008

William Lane Craig vs James Crossley Debate MP3 Audio

William Lane Craig debates James Crossley: Was Jesus Bodily Raised From The Dead?

Full MP3 audio here.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Abortion Resources - Defend the Unborn

Stand to Reason has posted a page full of resources for educating and equipping people to defend the unborn. This page has a large list of resources, including: images and videos, Embryology pictures, and what the Bible has to say about abortion.

The video link posted here is graphic. It is intended only to reveal the sober truth behind what many think is a woman's choice.

Defend the unborn.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Featured Website: Manawatu Christian Apologetics Society

New Zealand's best apologetics website has got to be the Manawatu Christian Apologetics Society. You will find a wide array of material to browse, as well as a good apologetics blog to keep you up to date with the latest news and such. RSS here.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Doubts About Darwin: MP3 Audio by Dr. Tom Woodward

This MP3 Audio presents the essential material from the book by Dr Woodward of the same title. It focuses not only on the history of Intelligent Design research, but on the specific nature of the arguments advanced by Intelligent Design that the culture has found hard to resist.

MP3 Audio here.

More good stuff from the European Leadership Forum.


Monday, September 08, 2008

A Case for Apologetics

by Brian Auten

What is Apologetics?
The word apologetics comes from the Greek word apologia, which is found seventeen times in the New Testament. It can be translated as “a defense,” and is a judicial term implying a reasoned argument, vindication, or defense. In its original use, the term apologia referred to a legal defense given in response to an accusation. In modern usage, the term apologetics takes on a larger scope of meaning. Christian philosopher William Lane Craig presents a concise definition of apologetics in its contemporary form:

Apologetics is that branch of Christian theology which seeks to provide a rational justification for the truth claims of the Christian faith. […] apologetics specifically serves to show to unbelievers the truth of the Christian faith, to confirm that faith to believers, and to reveal and explore the connections between Christian doctrine and other truths.1
Apologetics at its core simply makes a case for the truthfulness of Christianity. As theologian Gordon R. Lewis states: “Apologetics…examines Christianity’s most basic presuppositions. It considers why we should start with Christian presuppositions rather than others.”2 Apologetics answers the question, “Why should I believe that Christianity is true?” Although the answers to this question are manifold, the goal is to convince and persuade the questioner of the truthfulness of Christianity. Apologetics provides reasons to believe, both in defending the Gospel and in proclaiming it.

The purpose of this paper is to present the Biblical mandate for apologetics, refute some common objections to apologetics, and to contend that apologetics is just as relevant today as it was in the formation of the early Christian Church.

Three Basic Functions of Apologetics
First, apologetics is used in a proactive way to prove the truth of Christianity and to persuade unbelievers to believe. This may involve arguments from history, philosophy, science, culture, logic, and testimony, among others. The purpose is simply to build a reasonable case to persuade the unbeliever. Removing intellectual stumbling blocks is a key element. “Apologetic argument may not create belief, but it creates the atmosphere in which belief can come to life.”3

Second, apologetics is used defensively when criticism or attack comes against the Gospel. Inevitably, Christianity will be attacked. However, apologetics defends the faith by providing a rational and reasonable basis for belief and contending for the truth. Defensive apologetics can guard the Church from false doctrine by refuting error and exposing false teaching. The Church has the opportunity to gain a more robust faith when the Gospel is strongly defended against opposition. Martin Luther noted that when the Gospel is attacked, it has an opportunity to gain strength:
If the devil were wise enough and would stand by in silence and let the gospel be preached, he would suffer less harm. For when there is no battle for the gospel it rusts and it finds no cause and no occasion to show its vigor and power. Therefore, nothing better can befall the gospel than that the world should fight it with force and
Third, apologetics strengthens the faith of believers. Just as there are attacks upon the Gospel itself, there are times when the faith of individual believers is tested and tried. This may come from voices of doubt, worldly influences, personal crises, or any number of other sources. However, apologetics can play a key role in anchoring the faith of a Christian when faced with times of doubt. This anchoring also allows for the Christian to be a bolder witness to the world, as he is prepared for all kinds of common objections he may face from unbelievers.

Biblical Examples of Apologetics
The use of apologetics during the formation of the early Church is evident in the preaching of the apostles, and in the history recorded in the New Testament. Various proofs, such as historical evidence and eyewitness testimony, are often used in presenting a rational case for Christianity. In the first sermon at Pentecost (Acts 3:15), the apostle Peter appeals to the testimony of those who had been eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.” (Acts 2:32 NIV) Peter again appealed to the same evidence when later persecuted (Acts 5:30-32).

The apostle Paul is an example of the use of apologetics in the early Church. The scripture tells us that it was Paul’s custom to go to the synagogue and reason with the Jews from the scriptures (Acts 17:22). In fact, very early after his conversion, Paul (then called Saul) would argue for the truth of Christianity with effectiveness: “Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.” (Acts 9:22 NIV) Christian persuasion was Paul’s goal. “Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 18:4) Paul argued extensively for Christianity. His apologetics and his evangelism were inseparable.

Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. (Acts 19:8-10 NIV)
Paul saw it as his role as a messenger of the Gospel to both proclaim it and defend it. He was an apologist, as he made clear to the Philippians: “It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me.” (emphasis added, Philippians 1:7 NIV) In the same chapter he continues, “…knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. (emphasis added, Philippians 1:16b NIV) In the seventeenth chapter of the book of Acts, Paul engages in more apologetic preaching in Athens:
While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the Godfearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, "What is this babbler trying to say?" Others remarked, "He seems to be advocating foreign gods." They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean." (Acts 17:16-20 NIV)
During the sermon that follows, Paul reasons with his listeners regarding creation, he appeals to the words of their own poets, and points to the proof of the resurrection. The outcome involved the conversion of some, continued interest of others, and scoffing from the rest: “When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, ‘We want to hear you again on this subject.’ At that, Paul left the Council. A few men became followers of Paul and believed.” (Acts 17:32-34a NIV)

The Alexandrian Jew Apollos also became an ardent apologist to the Jews. Apollos was a learned man with a thorough knowledge of the scriptures (Acts 18:24). The book of Acts records that “...he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.” (Acts 18:28 NIV)

Not only did the early apostolic preaching contain apologetic elements, but the books of the New Testament themselves are apologetic in many aspects. A large part of the motivation of the authors of New Testament scripture was to make a case for the truthfulness of Christianity. The apostle John explains the purpose of writing his Gospel:
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30,31 NIV)
John makes it clear that his intention in writing his Gospel was to present evidence (namely, the accounts of Jesus’ miracles and resurrection) so that the reader may be persuaded to believe. John’s Gospel could be understood as an evangelistic document that employs apologetics in its approach. Luke the physician had similar motives and methods when he authored his Gospel
and the Acts of the Apostles:
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4 NIV)
Here Luke states up-front what his motives are for authoring the Gospel that bears his name. His goal is to persuade his readers of the actual reality of the Gospel. His method involved investigation, historical research, and appeal to eyewitness accounts. He also mentions that many have sought to record the actual events that took place regarding the life of Jesus. The Gospel of Luke is a case for the truth of Christianity—an apologetic document. The physician follows the same pattern when recording the Acts of the Apostles:

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:1-3 NIV)
Again Luke is forthright in his motivation for writing. He appeals to “many convincing proofs” of the resurrection of Jesus, and alludes to the lengthy eyewitness accounts of the resurrected Christ. Indeed, the centrality of the resurrection was and still is a focal point of apologetics. In fact, Jesus himself appealed to his miracles as proof of his divinity:
Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father. (John 10:36b-38 NIV)
Jesus pointed to his resurrection as the central proof that his claims were true. He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:39,40 NIV)

As the Gospel was proclaimed and propagated, opposition soon arose. Historian Avery Cardinal Dulles explains apologetics was inseparable from the proclamation of the Gospel message:
As the message concerning Jesus as risen Lord was proclaimed, it gave rise to certain questions and objections from inquirers, from believers, and from adversaries. In answer to such objections, and possibly also in anticipation of foreseen objections, the Christian preachers spoke about the signs and evidences they had found convincing. They insisted, for instance, that Jesus spoke with unique power, that He performed wondrous deeds, that He fulfilled the Old Testament messianic prophecies, and that He had undoubtedly risen from the dead. Factual memories, dogmatic reflections, and apologetic arguments became so intertwined in the apostolic preaching that it would be artificial to try to draw a line between them. ... To some degree, therefore, apologetics was intrinsic to the presentation of the kerygma.5
The Biblical Mandate for Apologetics
Not only does the New Testament show many examples of apologetics, it also commands believers to use apologetics. As the first apologist at Pentecost, the apostle Peter appropriately presents a mandate for apologetics to all believers:
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. (emphasis added, 1 Peter 3:15,16 NASB)
The command for believers is that we always be ready with apologetics. Christians should be able to give reasons why they believe. Shall a Christian obey the command to sanctify Christ as Lord, but disobey the command to be ready to make a defense? The context of Peter’s command implies that apologetics goes hand-in-hand with a godly character and lifestyle, which are a testimony to unbelievers.

In his exhortation to the Colossian church, the apostle Paul emphasizes the importance of apologetics as part of a godly example to unbelievers: “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:5,6) Giving an answer to those who ask is part or making the most of every opportunity to share the Gospel.

When listing the requirements for church overseers, Paul adds the skills of an apologist to the list. “He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” (Titus 1:9) Refuting doctrines that oppose the Gospel is part of the apologetic task, as it defends the Gospel from corruption. Jude makes this point plainly in his epistle: “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 3 NIV) Jude’s letter continues in a defense against false teaching that was threatening the church.

Common Objections to Apologetics
Although apologetics has been practiced since the birth of the Church and throughout Church history, there still arise some common objections to apologetics from believers. One objection is: “You cannot reason someone into the kingdom.” This objection fails to take into account that the Holy Spirit may use reason to bring someone to faith. To quote Gordon Lewis, “the Holy Spirit alone regenerates; but the Holy Spirit has chosen not to regenerate alone.”6

As we have seen above, the apostles appealed to reason on numerous occasions. The most basic Gospel appeal will involve an element of reason. “‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’” (Isaiah 1:18 NIV).

Another objection to apologetics is: “The Bible does not need to be defended.” This objection suggests that the Bible, as the Word of God, is sufficiently powerful in and of itself to do the convincing of the unbeliever. The problem with this objection is that the Bible does need to be defended. If someone believes the Bible is just a book full of myths and stories, they have no cause to submit to it. Lewis points out:
If the Bible expresses God’s eternal truth, of course that needs no support from men. The question has to do with the image of the Bible in the minds of young people who for twelve to sixteen years of public school education have heard the Bible’s authority questioned and its teachings challenged.7
Why should someone obey the Bible if they have no reason to believe that it is true? Therefore, apologetics is necessary as a means of “pre-evangelism.”

Still another objection that may be heard is, “apologetics is an intellectual distraction from the Gospel.” This objection asserts that belief is spiritual and any intellectual activity in an evangelistic encounter is simply a hindrance to the preaching of the Gospel. This objection is not without an element of truth. Discussions with an unbeliever may simply spawn intellectual smoke screens. If the apologist is not discerning, he may be led off into discussions that have no real bearing on the truth of the Gospel.

However, just because apologetics can be used poorly or improperly does not mean that we should abandon its use. On the contrary, apologetics used properly during an evangelistic conversation may be exactly what is needed to clear the intellectual smoke screens and point the encounter back towards the cross. A wise evangelist will use apologetics in a tactful and appropriate manner in order to remove obstacles to belief. As the apostle Paul exhorts us: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV)

Apologetics is a reasoned defense of the Christian faith. It has been used throughout Church history and the Bible commands us to use apologetics. Apologetics makes a positive case for Christianity, removes obstacles to the Gospel, refutes false teaching, and strengthens the faith of believers.

In conclusion, apologetics as a discipline brings glory to God. An expert in the law once came to and asked him a question: “‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”’” (emphasis added, Matthew 22:36 NIV) God has blessed all believers with the opportunity to worship Him through the intellectual pursuit of Christ.

1 William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008), p. 15.
2 Gordon R. Lewis, Testing Christianity’s Truth Claims (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1990), p. 21.
3 Ibid., p. 23.
4 Martin Luther, source unknown.
5 Avery Cardinal Dulles, A History of Apologetics (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2005), p. 2.
6 Lewis, p. 26.
7 Ibid., p.25.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Antony Flew Reviews The God Delusion

Famous atheist philosopher Athony Flew has presented robust arguments for atheism for the last 50 years. That is, until he accepted that there is a God.

Not long ago Flew wrote a review of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion:

"this book show Dawkins himself to have become what he and his fellow secularists typically believe to be an impossibility: namely, a secularist bigot"

Read the full article at bethinking.org.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Reader Response: Your Top 3 Apologetics Books

Here are my current top 3 recommended apologetics books:

1. Love Your God With All Your Mind by J. P. Moreland
2. Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig
3. I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek

What are yours? Feedback is appreciated. For those who may be regular readers of this blog, this is a chance to interact a bit.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Featured Podcast: Probe Ministries

Probe Ministries is a Christian worldview and apologetics ministry that helps people think biblically about a large range of topics.

Recent topics include The Impotence of Darwinism, Jesus and the Qu'ran, and The Authority of the Bible.

Subscribe in iTunes here.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Fruits of Atheism - MP3 Audio

Here's a little talk given by Kyle Butt on The Fruits of Atheism. What happens when the foundation is atheism?

Download the MP3 here.

Lots more over at Apologetics Press Audio.


Monday, September 01, 2008

J.P. Holding Critiques Bill Maher's Religulous

Bill Maher's movie Religious hits theaters soon. J.P. Holding over at Tekton Apologetics Ministries gives some critique and commentary on Maher's project.

Be sure to check out more good stuff over at Tekton.

Happy reading.

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