Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview – Moreland & Craig

Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview – Moreland & Craig Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview by Dr. J. P. Moreland and Dr. William Lane Craig (two of the most respected leaders in Christian apologetics), is an epic work! Philosophy is a topic that most Christian avoid. They tend to do so for two primary reasons: They feel it is beyond their comprehension. They believe it to be bad. On the first point, that is often the case. Philosophers are known for taking difficult concepts, and making them even more difficult to understand. On the second, if we consider the etymology of the word, Philosophy, we will see that it is the combination of two Greek words: philo (meaning “love”) and sophia (meaning “wisdom”). We are commanded in Scripture to “love wisdom” (Prov. 4:6), so in that sense, we all should “do” philosophy. And I would contend, we do. We all grapple with the big questions of life: “What is reality? Who am I?, What is my purpose? What is right and wrong? What happens when I die?” These are philosophical questions. The question is not, “Should we do philosophy?” but rather “Is my approach to philosophy Biblical, or Humanistic?” This book covers (in the Introduction): “What is philosophy?” It also addresses the issue of argumentation and logic. It then addresses: Epistemology (the study of knowledge) Metaphysics (the study of being or reality — includes the study of ideas) Philosophy of Science (the study of the physical world and nature’s laws) Ethics (knowing what is right and wrong) Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology There are many sub-categories under each. The material is presented at a college level, and unless you are especially interested in this topic, this is not a book that you will choose to curl up with at night. But it is an amazing reference tool, and pastors, counselors, Christian leaders, and serious scholars will definitely want to add this resource to their study collection. Did I mention it is almost 700 pages?!! This is the most comprehensive book I have seen to-date on this important topic. This new second edition is case-bound and was released in October 2017, by InterVarsity Press. Review by Site Editor for ChristianWorldview.net: Israel Wayne...

In Defense of Shame

In Defense of Shame Shame (and shaming) is something our culture seeks to avoid at all costs. It is deemed to be “unkind,” and therefore, “not nice,” and therefore something we should never experience, or hope for others to experience. Is that how God sees the subject? What is God’s view? Are we viewing this issue through the lenses of Scripture, or the lenses of secular culture? First of all, it might be helpful for us to define the term. Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary says of the noun form: A painful sensation excited by a consciousness of guilt, or of having done something which injures reputation; or by that which nature or modesty prompts us to conceal. Shame is particularly excited by the disclosure of actions which, in the view of men, are mean and degrading. Hence it is often or always manifested by a downcast look or by blushes, called confusion of face. And of the verb (as in “shaming” someone): To make ashamed; to excite a consciousness of guilt or of doing something derogatory to reputation; to cause to blush. The concept of disgrace is rooted in a universal moral law. There is an objective “right” and an objective “wrong.” There are truths that are true for all people, in all places, at all times. I believe the main reason people in our postmodern age chafe against the notion of shame, is that they also, even subconsciously, are fuzzy in their minds about the absolute nature of moral truth. Most people today, even Christians, essentially believe that all truth is relative, and that everyone has a different “truth,” or set of ethics that are right “for them.” God is, in His very nature and character, the standard that defines right and wrong. He IS truth. That which does not conform to His personhood is sinful. When we fall short of His righteous standard, our conscience alerts us that we are not living the way we should. (Ravi Zacharias has also spoken on this topic.) What does the Bible say about shame? Let’s examine some examples of God shaming the rebellious: “All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let...

Biblical Archaeology — Interview w/ Dr. Jeffrey Hudon

Biblical Archaeology — Interview w/ Dr. Jeffrey Hudon Recently, I was blessed to participate in an exceptional 12-week course on the topic of the Dead Sea Scrolls, taught by Dr. Jeff Hudon, Ph.D. This course was offered, surprisingly, by our church, as an adult Sunday School class (Jeff and I attend the same church). I have never interviewed anyone here on the topic of Archaeology before, but I consider it to be an important part of Historical Apologetics. It is my honor to introduce Dr. Hudon to you, and encourage you to learn more about him and his work. Dr. Hudon is an Adjunct Professorn of Old Testament at Bethel College and a Research Associate at Andrews University. He has a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in History and Biblical Studies from Simpson University, an M.A. in Biblical History from Jerusalem University College, an M.A. in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Archaeology and Old Testament Exegesis from Andrews University. He also serves as a Graduate Assistant for the American Schools of Oriental Research and Administrative Director of the Tall Hisban Cultural Heritage Project. Israel Wayne: What motivated you to pursue Archaeology as a student, and then as a professional teaching career? Dr. Jeffrey Hudon: I like to describe archaeology as something akin to having a “fifth gospel.”  By that I mean that archaeology, as a science, consistently illuminates the biblical text and continually contributes new, often exciting data to our knowledge of the biblical world.  Observing and participating in this quest is the basis for my passionate interest in this subject.  However, my interest in excavation actually began when, as a young boy, I “excavated” the family garbage dump in the woods behind our home.  The dump contained household trash and rusty machinery, including a 1934 Chevy!  My parents were not amused, but this early experience instilled in me the thrill of discovery as well as revealed information about how my grandparents lived, which became a most important first lesson in my archaeological methodology training; that is, interpreting and gleaning information from finds. Israel Wayne: What were some of the archaeological finds throughout history that have been the most encouraging to you personally in terms of supporting your view of the historicity of the Bible? Dr. Jeffrey Hudon: One of the highlights of my year is attending the meetings of archaeological societies and hearing papers describing the often thrilling discoveries made during the previous field season.  Consistently, the most important of these finds...

The Threat of Smaug: A Call for Christian Unity

The Threat of Smaug: A Call for Christian Unity Christians can be so short-sighted. I’ll never forget a vivid illustration that author / speaker, Kevin P. Swanson, used once regarding Christian unity at a national homeschool leadership meeting. He said (based on his best guesstimate) that if you total up the entire gross revenue of all of the major right-wing Christian organizations in the U.S. (Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, American Family Association, Family Research Council, etc.), their collective annual income is about $250 million dollars.   That sounds like a lot of money, until you consider that just ONE organization, Planned Parenthood, receives over $1 BILLION dollars a year (4x the amount of ALL of those Christian organizations put together), and half of that, $500,000,000 is government funded.   It’s like there is this horrible dragon of evil that desires to destroy our homes, our marriages, our churches, our civilization, and we, collectively, are like a flea on the back leg of the dragon, whose intended purpose is to bite the leg of the dragon. But rather than doing that, we chew our own legs off!   If another Christian doesn’t agree with us on the Calvinist / Arminian debate, or if they speak in tongues (or don’t), or their view of end-times is different than ours, or whatever…we distance ourselves, speak disparagingly behind their back, and refuse to work with them in any way, because they aren’t EXACTLY like us.   We so need to get over ourselves. The strongest argument against Christianity is Christians. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35) If someone is preaching a false gospel, they need to be opposed. This is not a call to doctrine-free, relativistic, ecumenism. But if another Christian just isn’t like you (or works for a different Christian ministry, or attends a different church, than you)…seriously?! We need to remember the big picture, and refuse to shoot anyone in our own foxhole. Israel Wayne is an Author and Conference Speaker and the Director of Family Renewal, LLC. He is author of the book, Questions Jesus Asks: Where Divinity Meets Humanity. He is also the Site Editor for www.ChristianWorldview.net. Photo credit: eigirdaz via Foter.com / CC...

Johannes Kepler on Mathematics, Astronomy, Harmony and Worship

Johannes Kepler on Mathematics, Astronomy, Harmony and Worship As I’m working on a writing project this week, I have been reading through some of Johannes Kepler‘s book, Harmonices Mundi (Harmonies of the World) (1619).   Kepler was discussing a fascinating correlation he discovered between the interdependence of planetary motion, geometry, and musical harmony. Admittedly, I am, intellectually, to Kepler what a paper airplane is to a fighter jet. So many of the details of his discoveries are way over my head. However, what struck me is what happened to Kepler at the very end of this essay.   He was so overcome by the beauty and precision of the obviously created universe that he burst into spontaneous worship, thinking about how he (and us) should then live in light of the knowledge that God has made all things for His glory. “While I struggle to bring forth this process into the light of human intellect by means of the elementary form customary with geometers, may the Author of the heavens be favourable, the Father of intellects, the Bestower of mortal senses, Himself immortal and superblessed, and may He prevent the darkness of our mind from bringing forth in this work anything unworthy of His Majesty, and may He effect that we, the imitators of God by the help of the Holy Ghost, should rival the perfection of His works in sanctity of life, for which He choose His church throughout the Earth and, by the blood of His Son, cleansed it from sins, and that we should keep at a distance all the discords of enmity, all contentions, rivalries, anger, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envy, provocations, and irritations arising through mocking speech and the other works of the flesh; and that along with myself, all who possess the spirit of Christ will not only desire but will also strive by deeds to express and make sure their calling, by spurning all crooked morals of all kinds which have been veiled and painted over with the cloak of zeal or of the love of truth or of singular erudition or modesty over against contentious teachers, or with any other showy garment. Holy Father, keep us safe in the concord of our love for one another, that we may be one, just as Thou art one with They Son, Our Lord, and with the Holy Ghost, and just as through the sweetest bonds of harmonies Thou hast made all Thy works one; and that from the bringing of Thy people...

Good & Angry — David Powlison (a book review)

Good & Angry — David Powlison (a book review) Good & Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining & Bitterness — by David Powlison (a review by Israel Wayne) As an author of a book on anger myself, I was intrigued to see David Powlison’s take on this important topic. I have read many books on anger, and have been impressed by very few of them. Many have created a victim status for those who express habitual anger. The goal seems to be that we need to excuse people from their harmful behavior, because they just can’t help what they do. These books may make someone feel better, in the short term, but the devastation of ruined relationships will continue. In the end, people who struggle with addictive anger patterns need hope that they can change and that life can better. Telling someone, “We all have hang-ups, so don’t stress about yours,” isn’t kind, or healing. It’s actually infinitely cruel, in the long run. I sometimes suspect that such authors end up promoting hopeless advice like: “Just forgive yourself and don’t be so hard on yourself,” because they have not found any true solutions in their own life. As a Christian, I am always hopeful that another Christian author will appeal to the only fixed reference point in the universe: The nature and character of God as He has expressed Himself in the Bible. My hopes are usually dashed. But not because most Christian authors don’t quote the Bible. They do. It’s just that they do so in a peripheral way. It’s almost like Jesus is a plug-in to a Humanistic worldview software program. The main solution is to either try harder (through your own human effort – which is a sure way to fail), or to abandon hope altogether. In “Good & Angry,” I was delightfully surprised to note that David Powlison appealed to the wisdom of God as THE final source of truth on the topic of overcoming anger. The book is not merely a litany of random Bible verses, however, instead it is thoughtful and practical in its application of God’s specific teaching on this matter. David does a good job in sorting out the difference between what we might call “righteous indignation,” and harmful human anger that destroys relationships and hurts people. He describes the root sources of anger, and provides Biblically-based solutions for breaking free from the anger habit. This book will on a very short list of books that I will recommend for those...

Why Does God Not Answer Your Prayer?

Why Does God Not Answer Your Prayer? Over the years I’ve heard people say, “God doesn’t answer my prayers. The heavens are silent and He doesn’t respond or grant my requests.” What does the Bible say about prayer? There are quite a few factors and conditions to answered prayer and the Bible provides us with quite a few reasons why you may not be receiving what you are seeking. Let’s look together at some of them. Are You Born Again? As far as I can tell from the Scriptures, the only prayer God promises to hear from an unbeliever is the prayer of repentance. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 12:27). If you are not hearing from God, perhaps you are not a sheep. You May Not Have Asked in Prayer As simple as it may seem, perhaps you have never actually made your request known to God. He knows what you need before you even ask or think, but He desires for you to come to Him in prayer. “Ask (and keep on asking) and it shall be given to you; seek (and keep on seeking), and you shall find; knock (and keep on knocking), and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8). “ If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). “ Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2b). You Need to Ask the Father in Jesus’ Name “Whatever you ask in my name, that will I do that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14). “You did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you” (John 15:16). “Truly, truly, I say to you, if you shall ask the Father for anything, He will give it to you in My name. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and...

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