Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Lee Strobel interviews Brian Auten (Apologetics 315) on the state of apologetics

Brian Auten of Apologetics 315

Brian Auten of Apologetics 315

From Bible Gateway, an interview by Lee Strobel featuring Brian Auten, webmaster of Apologetics 315.

Intro:

As creator of the best website for resources to defend Christianity, Brian Auten offers a unique perspective on the current apologetics scene—the good, the bad, and the hopeful.

Apologetics 315 features a terrific compilation of material for Christians to equip themselves to better define and defend the faith. It’s full of links to resources dealing with every imaginable area of apologetics. As a regular reader of the site, I became curious what its creator, Brian Auten, thinks about the current state of apologetics around the world—and he was willing to share his insights by answering a few questions.

Excerpt:

• What trends do you see in apologetics?

Consider books like The DaVinci Code, writings by agnostic professor Bart Ehrman, or the various publications of the so-called New Atheists. All these attacks on Christianity have generated a lot of buzz. However, each of these attacks has been met with a strong counter-response from scholars, theologians, and apologists. Christianity hasn’t been defeated. Instead, it has weathered storm after storm. In the meantime, the resources available that answer these challenges have increased dramatically. Over and over again, what has been intended to bring Christianity down has only served to strengthen it.

But the tendency is this: too many times Christians are only responding to the challenges. That seems to be the trend. Why are we not running to the battle? Instead of just reacting to the next challenge, I long for the day when more and more Christians would equip themselves with this vast armory of resources and use it to take the battle to the enemy’s camp, so to speak. Apologetic-savvy educators, scientists, public officials, businessmen, actors, novelists, movie-makers—all people with a heart of evangelism who are able to defend and contend for the faith in the public square could have an immense impact for the Gospel.

And more:

• You’re passionate about churches starting apologetics ministries. Are you seeing more of them doing this?

I want to see churches start their own apologetics ministries because it is our scriptural mandate to “always be prepared to give an answer.” Yet there often is very little preparation going on! When challenges to faith come, people struggle to find substantive answers. This may cause some believers to resort to a sort of “believe it anyway” mentality; for others it causes them to abandon the faith altogether.

Research by the Barna Group has shown that a majority of young people walk away from the faith around the time they go to college or university. They simply have not been equipped to deal with the secular challenges that come against their faith when they go to college. But what if they had been properly equipped to understand and answer these sorts of challenges? They would not only be able to stand up under the attacks, but they would also be able to share Christ with more confidence, knowing that they have good reasons undergirding their faith.

So I think it’s so crucial that our churches become training grounds where believers learn why they believe what they believe. Apologetics ministries and small group studies provide a venue for discipleship where people can work through the tough questions that they constantly face from the secular world. And what’s more, our faith is enriched to even deeper levels when we experience the joy of loving God with our minds.

Thankfully, I think we are seeing a rise in the number of churches that both see this need and are beginning to equip their congregations through apologetic teaching, small groups, conferences, and resources.

Read the whole thing. Tweet it, share it. Think about it!

There’s a great list of scholars and ministries in there as well. If you guys want to know what you should be reading to prepare your defense of theism and Christianity, leave a comment with your intended audience, and I will suggest some resources. I may even BUY YOU the resource, if you are a budding apologist who is conservative on economics and politics and foreign policy. Yes, I do that a lot on this blog – mailed out a dozen books this month already to people. Get to know me, I can help you to defend your faith.

Filed under: Mentoring, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Twenty ideas for doing apologetics from Apologetics 315

The post is here.

Here are the ones I do from his list:

1. Give to an apologetics ministry
2. Get books into the hands of the right people (Love Your God with All Your Mind)
3. Organize apologetics conferences
5. Comment on blogs
6. Start your own blog (Blogger, WordPress)
7. Give people CDs and MP3s to listen to

That’s right – there’s a ton of them on there that I don’t do! But they are ALL do-able!

Leave a comment if you think of more. The one I thought of that isn’t on his list is to talk to your co-workers about your faith. But the first commenter mentions it. Here some links below. I recommend the co-workers one and the defend your faith in public one.

Mentoring

Apologetics advocacy

Filed under: Mentoring, , , , , , , , , , ,

Is the Bible we have now the Bible they had then?

OK, I think Dan Wallace is the best guy out there on the reliability of the New Testament documents. He even debated Bart Ehrman and cleaned his clock.

One of the set of 32 lectures I just ordered was given by Dan Wallace on the reliability of the New Testament.

So what does Brian Auten of Apologetics 315 do?

He finds you a free version of that same lecture!!!

Here is the MP3 file.

I had to pay $5 for mine, but Brian found you a free one! Not fair!

Here is my post on Bart Ehrman, a prominent skeptic much loved by the media and liberal Christians, who argues against what Wallace says in the lecture.

UPDATE: This thing is 42 minutes long and it is AWESOME! Filled with humor, really entertaining. If you guys want to get the 2008 debate between Dan Wallace and Bart Ehrman, you can get it here. I got the MP3s, they’re cheap!

By the way, check out the topic for 2010 Greer-Heard debate: atheist John Dominic Crossan vs Ben Witherington.

Filed under: Podcasts, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Atheist explains why Christians ought to evangelize him

Here’s a neat video from a normally mean atheist, named Penn. Since I don’t own a TV, I have no idea who he is, but this is a thoughtful talk. Penn does not expect Christians to act like atheists in public.

From this, we learn two things:

  1. Making fun of atheists on the Internet is one thing, but if you have atheists that you relate to in person, be nice.
  2. Some atheists are grown-ups. They admire authentic, consistent Christianity, boldly expressed.

I will be surveying Christians soon to see why we don’t do what Penn says, and I’ll publish the results.

By the way, blogging is light today, because I had to work on a guest post for someone.

If you haven’t read any of my mentoring posts, you can read some of those to keep busy!

Mentoring

Apologetics advocacy

The challenge of postmodernism

My testimony is here, in case you missed it.

Filed under: Videos, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Understanding the challenge of becoming a Christian

One thing that I have noticed as I compiled the results of the survey is that none of these non-Christians understood what Christianity is about, and none of them have tried to find out, and none of them wanted to find out. All but one refused to follow Jesus even if it became clear to them beyond a shadow of a doubt that Christianity were true. And he initially answered as the others did.

Somehow, people have gotten into their heads the idea that religions are all the same, and that the purpose of religion is to make people “good”, (or worse, “happy”). And when they say “good”, they mean being nice to others. Surprise! The purpose of Christianity is NOT to make you be nice to others nor to make you happy. In fact, no amount of being nice is going to please God, unless something even more important is secured first.

The purpose of Christianity is three-fold. You must expend time, effort and wealth:

  1. KNOWING GOD’S CHARACTER AS HE REALLY IS.
  2. KNOWING WHAT GOD HAS DONE IN HISTORY.
  3. RESPONDING TO AND PURSUING GOD, AS HE REVEALS HIMSELF TO YOU.

You don’t decide what your purpose is, God does. God was there before the universe and his character was set before you were even born. He created you and designed you for a purpose.

I wanted to highlight a story in Daniel 3 in order to show what it is that atheists choose not to do, which God considers moral. An atheist cannot stand for God in public, and remain faithful and loyal to him in the midst of suffering and persecution. And Christians are required do this. This is following the example of the Old Testament prophets, as well as Jesus himself.

It should be no comfort to atheists that they stick to their chosen diet, or stop at stop signs, practice yoga and recycle. God is not the least bit interested in your compliance with your own arbitrary personal preferences, nor the arbitrary standard of your culture in the time and place you live in. That’s not morality! That’s just giving yourself happy feelings by effortlessly complying with made-up standards.

One way of loving God, (which is the most important commandment), is by keeping faith with God publicly, even when things don’t go your way. Atheists can’t do that. It just isn’t rational for people who will be alive for 75 years and then gone, to deny themselves for any higher purpose, especially when it involves suffering. And when being good isn’t rational, people don’t do it, especially when it’s hard to do.

That is why it is impossible to please God unless you first believe certain things that are only possible if God exists. For example, you need an objective moral standard, free will, someone to whom duty is owed, moral accountability, moral significance, etc.

And to illustrate what counts with God, let’s take a look at this sermon on Daniel 3 that I found that tells the story of Daniel and his 3 friends.

The Scripture is here. You’ll need to read this if you don’t know the story.

And the sermon excerpt is here:

Now, before we set up Nebuchadnezzar as the worst guy ever, we don’t have to go back very far to see similar things that have happened in our own day and age.  Every totalitarian the regime in the 20th century had statues erected in honor of their own tyrant.  Whether it was statues of Lenin in the Soviet Union, statues of Mao in China, or statues of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, people had to pay homage to these statues is they wanted to advance in society, and in some cases, simply to stay alive.  Usually one was allowed to keep believing in whatever ‘god’ they wanted as long as it was subordinate to the empire.  Allegiance to the state was more important than allegiance to any god.

Our society is certainly different in that we don’t have a dictator, and nobody, at least not yet, is threatening to shoot us or toss us into a fiery furnace.  But in some ways our society is actually worse, mostly because its pressure is very subtle and sometimes we don’t even realize it’s going on.  Our culture places the same type of pressure on each one of us to put God in second place.  We find ourselves constantly pressed to keep our beliefs private and secondary. We can believe whatever we want as long as we don’t ever talk about it.

…Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego… had failed to bow down and worship the statue, thereby disrespecting not only the statue but the king as well.

They were accused of ingratitude, verse 12, “There are certain Jews whom you have appointed,” and impiety,” they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”  But the fundamental element of both these charges was their offense against Nebuchadnezzar himself. But that’s not how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego saw it.

They were simply trying to be obedient to the commandment, Exodus 20:4­5a, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God …”

It’s worth noting that there were only three men in the whole crowd who refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s statue…. this highlights the fact that sometimes standing up for God can be a lonely activity.  And it doesn’t matter if you’re standing on the national stage or you’re simply visiting with all your unbelieving relatives who think you’re some sort of moronic freak.  There are times in life when doing what’s right means you can’t hide in the crowd.

…I’ve come to see this same battle being fought daily in my heart over much lesser issues.  Am I going to declare the Lord to be my primary allegiance, come what may, or will I bow to the multitude of idols that the world presents?  Unless you’re an actor, our idols aren’t usually golden statues.  Our idols are the various pleasures, desires, and attitudes that the culture tells me I need to have in order to live a fulfilled and worthwhile life.

For some, their golden image is the respect and admiration and acceptance of others.  For a lot the young adults here, high school and college, there’s the pressure to be part of the “in­ crowd,” even though the cost of admission to this club is that we shouldn’t show respect to our parents, or talk about God, or keep ourselves pure until marriage.  This image of acceptance says, “Bow to me or I’ll throw you into the fiery furnace of the mockery and ridicule of your peers.’

Notice how this example of obedience and endurance parallels the life of Jesus, as well, which provides the model for Christians who are called upon to do the same – and this is central to Christianity. Where is this on atheism? Clearly, atheists cannot meet this standard. It is irrational, on atheism, to perform acts of self-sacrifice like this in obedience to an objective moral law, and to the moral lawgiver.

So, what is important to Christians is not what is important to atheists, obviously. Our primary goal is not our feelings and well-being, or being “nice” to others or being liked by others. That is irrelevant. What is considered normal in Christianity is put yourself second, and to put God first, under fire. That is loving God. The most important commandment.

Greg Koukl put it nicely in one of his lectures in the Q&A session when he said “With respect to God’s purposes in the world, your happiness is expendable”. That is the normal Christian life. And it isn’t for everyone.


Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wintery Tweets

Click to see recent visitors

  Visitors Online Now

Page views since 1/30/09

  • 4,202,706 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,954 other followers

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,954 other followers

%d bloggers like this: