Thursday, December 11, 2014

Four Challenges to the Apologetic Life

For this posting, I found some of my notes from a few years ago, that caused me to reflect over the last several weeks of my life as a minister in the arena of auto sales. Before I get to that though, I would like to be a little transparent, and ask your prayers with what I am sharing.

Over the past several weeks, I have been trying to dig myself out of a rut of discouragement. Be rest assured though, this discouragement has NOT come from living out my Christian faith in my semi hostile job environment.

Quite the contrary, it has been a battle working long hours with some bright spots and highlights of conversations that the Lord has opened up. But my desire is for more time in a day to be able to share with you in this blog. Working long hours and coming home tired so that I have no energy to do what I am doing now.  And that weighed into the periodic spiritual battles we engage in make for a really wearying day.

But such are the joys in the midst of the raging of the cultural setting I find myself. So what's all this got to do with what what is following my asking for your prayers? Let me share with you some things on what it is like to live the apologetic life and things that you can engage in full force or in part.

Allow me to share with you four challenges that we have as apologists,

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Practical Definition for Apologetics

Having just returned from from the National Christian Apologetics Conference and Ratio Christi Symposium, I have been thinking on the interactions I had with fellow apologists of the weekend. After some reflection, I cannot help thinking about the condition of the church in light of its misunderstanding of the spiritual discipline of apologetics. 

Let me say that it is both troubling and encouraging at the same time. As Charles Dickens wrote in the opening of his work, A Tale of Two Cities, "it [is] the best of times, and it [is] worst of times." The reason for this is because the church at large seems to be refusing, except in some circles, to engage the culture with the truth of the gospel. But engage the culture how?  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Prayer and the Apologist

Due to logistics at the coming SES national conference and Ratio Christi Symposium, my wife Kathy and our daughter Christine would not be able to make this year's conference.

Last year they were unable to make any of the conferences due to travel time conflicting with commitments to their involvement with the homeschool co op.

So I shared with them that the year 2014 would be different. I promised them that this year, they were going to a conference "by hook or by crook." And this year it happened, as they were able to attend the Truth for a New Generation apologetics conference, in Spartanburg, SC.

While they were down in Spartanburg, SC and I up here in the "Burg," I kept track of their conference times, and continued perusing the sessions and speakers.  In my perusing, I noticed one  seminar, "Prayer and Apologetics" which was given a couple of times and it really caught my attention.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Part 2: A Clear Look at History Cracks the “Josephus Mirror Code”


This posting first appears at the blog for the Christian Apologetics Alliance

Earlier this month, I started a series of responses to another blog author posting a note on our Ratio Christi at Germanna Community college Facebook page. The comment was a promo for his book entitled, The Josephus Mirror Code and the author is Paul Amatucci.[1] His note was a multi leveled attack on the authenticity and the historicity of the life of Jesus and the gospel records.

It is one of the premises from his comment on our wall that I will be addressing in this post. The premise is that "the New Testament documents do not have any contemporary historical evidence written by anyone outside of those documents to prove that Jesus Christ and his followers ever lived" and "there was a 61 year gap between the events of the New Testament and Josephus' writings."

This creates just one piece of the puzzle in his book. My purpose for this post is to not some much toward the demand for contemporary documents as much as it is to show the problem with his statement. If there is any relevancy toward a demand for contemporary sources, that will be paled in light of the other problems with his premise.  Let's first look at the what Mr. Amatucci might be implying as contemporary.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Things Not to Say to Those Who are Suffering from a Loss

Supposing you have just lost your spouse or a parent and someone comes up to encourage you with words they that they truly believe are biblical. But when they do share those words, their message to you is without compassion or empathy. Is this possible?

In all fairness, many are oblivious to the application of words which can prove to be rather hurtful, without realizing it. Are words like, "God is sovereign" or "God has a plan" biblical? Yes. The question then becomes are they the right words for the right time?

In fact it is highly likely you and I have said something like this, not realizing how we could be adding more pain to the one who is suffering. This posting is going to deal with these statements along with a statement that is just plain unbiblical that some folks will say at a funeral. Lastly, I want to attempt to give a solution to help you and I do better in ministering to the suffering from an "apologetic of touch."

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Why So Much Opposition to Apologetics When it is All About Discipleship?

This morning I had the privilege of reading Eric Chabot's piece entitled, Why Does Opposition to Apologetics Come from Mostly Within the Church?  In his posting he brings in a series of five issues that are potential catalysts for this opposition. What I would like to do in my posting on this very same issue is springboard off of his first point, and perhaps may have a  posting on another of these points. Please go the linked article to read his posting.  

When bringing up the subject or the discipline of apologetics, have you ever had someone ask you, "what am I apologizing for?" Some folks who have heard that word, meaning giving an explanation for why you and I believe what we believe, will joke about the word, "apologetics." Others will be serious with that question.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Why Worship a God that has killed thousands upon thousands of people?

Introduction.

It has been a few weeks since my last posting. Things have changed with my job. I am still a "tent maker apologist" working a full time job in car sales. But with the changes in ownership and the increase in time, and demands, I have been in a "battle" to find that precious commodity we all desire. . .TIME.

The increase in schedule has me scrambling to find time for my responsibilities as a speaker, a teacher and a Ratio Christi Chapter Director. The increase in time and getting home later has challenged my energy to post blogs here on The Real Issue and the Christian Apologetics Alliance. Please pray for a change as you can see where my passion really lies.

My job helps take care of the responsibilities of taking care of my family and feeding needy women and children. . . Mine!  A good thing to all of this, is that my commitment to not stay quiet in sharing the gospel and engaging peoples' objections has not been squelched. Lately I have been involved in meeting other believers who are new to the employment where I work, and meeting folks open to discussing their views on life and values in light of the events of our culture and political arena.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Are all Deities the Same? What's the Difference?

Not too long ago, I received a text message from one of our students in our Student ministry at church. His text was asking for my thoughts regarding his friend toying with the idea of leaving his Christian faith for another religion. The religion that his friend was dabbling with was Buddhism.

One thing that this friend knew that many others do not know is that there is a difference between the Judeo Christian view of God, and Buddhism. If there was no difference there would be no need of leaving one for the other. So let's get down to the real issue on this subject.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Is Atheism a Lack of Belief? Certainly Not!


by Rob Lundberg

How do you respond to the challenge from the "popular atheist," who says "atheism is a lack of belief?" As we look at this question, I want to get to the real issue of matter. The first time that I really encountered this "definition" was a couple of years ago at the Reason Rally up at the DC Mall (2012).  

One of the several conversations we had was with two young "skeptics" who defined their atheism as a "lack of belief." But there is a problem with this re-definition of atheism. What is the problem?

Two Problems with the Re-definition.

In past postings, I have defined atheism as the philosophical position that denies the reality of the God of theism or other divine beings. I have also explained that atheism is also a worldview. For most of us, these concepts are pretty clear.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Answering the "God of the Gaps" Argument from Atheists

Introduction.

Some of us have heard this illustration, but it bears worth repeating. It is around the Easter season and the pastor's children's sermon was before the choir special. This particular Sunday, the pastor had all the children seated in front of him, and asks them to guess what he is describing. "Children, I am thinking of a little furry animal with a fluffy tail, and long ears and hops around."  Little Johnny in the back of the group raises his hand and says, "Pastor, I'll bet the answer is a bunny rabbit, but I think the real answer is Jesus." This is because little Johnny has been taught that Jesus is the answer for 'everything.' A cute story, however we live in a culture where, for an increasing many, Jesus and the evidence of God existence is not an acceptable answer.

As it is with my opening illustration, a similar challenge is thrown down when Christians are conversing with atheists on the issues of faith and science or the question of intelligent design versus macro evolution. In those conversations, the atheist may throw down a question where the Christian's only answer is "God" to their vehemently skeptical inquisitor's question. The atheist then accuses the Christian for throwing down what they call "god of the gaps" and dismisses the answer. How does the Christian respond to this?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Absolute Truth as Narrow Minded or Intolerant

by Rob Lundberg

Have you ever been called intolerant or narrow minded because you believe in absolute truth? The charges of intolerance and narrow mindedness are some of the more popular charges thrown down at Christians in light of our belief in absolute truth. Intolerance and narrow-mindedness are cultural hot buttons that paint Christians as a "horse with blinders on its eyes, limiting its vision of the world; or that of an ostrich with its head buried in the sand, completely oblivious to the surrounding world."[1]

This gauntlet thrown down by those who believe truth is relative is very self-defeating and misled for a few reasons. Let's get to the real issue to see what those reasons are, and how we can answer them.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Responding to the Feelings Barrier for Determining Truth

Introduction.

Have you ever heard anyone make statements like the following: "I feel it is only right to (fill in a moral choice or issue)" "Something bad happened, it can't be true!"  This is the "Walt Disney method" for determining truth, where a person uses their feelings and emotions to create the foundation for one's reality.  In this posting, I want to address the real issue of the use of feelings and emotions as a means for determining truth.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Answering the Relativism Barrier to Truth

This posting is a continuation of subject matter that I have been training my daughter Christine in her homeschool apologetics curricula. In my last couple of postings, we have been looking at a couple of the different barriers that are put down by those who disagree with the starting points of absolute truth.

In this posting I want to give a short answer to the barrier of relativism coming from those how say that "truth is relative." Like the previous two objections where someone might say no one is able to discover truth, or the barrier of saying that we need to doubt everything this one is very easy to turn around and give a clear response to affirming the absolute nature of truth.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Doubt Everything! Should I doubt that too?

Continuing on in our series answering some of the objections coming against our belief in absolute truth. There is a second objection that some people throw down is rooted in "skepticism." That objection is "doubt everything that claims to be true."

This objection of being skeptical about everything is rooted and grounded in  philosophy of uncertainty. In fact it is not really all that new in that it has its roots began in ancient times before Christ. In a not so ancient time, like the eighteenth century, we would find a "champion" of this form of skepticism in the likes of David Hume (1711-1776).

David Hume was a Scottish philosopher who was one of the preeminent thinkers during the Enlightenment. Hume claimed that all knowledge of "mattes of fact" or any knowledge not grounded in meanings of terms, is based upon our senses. Within the discipline of religious thought, Hume became famous for his arguments that belief in miracles was irrational because the evidence of a past experience will always outweigh the testimony in favor of miracles.[1]

Sunday, March 2, 2014

What's Wrong with This Picture? When Churches Pitch Reason from Faith

Introduction.

This picture hit Facebook and caused a stir among many of us in the apologetics community. Some were face palming, others were just tweeting and commenting with UGH! There were even some questioning if this was for real, being suspicious that it was of a Photoshop picture. For me, I thought it would make a good blog posting of how some are helping along the conflict between faith and reason.

It is not my desire to further the viral nature of the picture. Nevertheless my intent is to address the message on the billboard (in the picture), and show how it could be an indicator for why a reasonable faith causes skittishness and is perhaps an unwelcome conversation in many churches across our land.