For the last few weeks, I've been helping teach an Apologetics class as part of the Brookside Institute on Sunday afternoons. That means I've had my nose in resources that help explain the reasonableness, reliability, and richness of the Christian more that I sometimes do at other times. And, whenever I find a good resource, I try to recommend it so others can benefit from it (or at least consider what it's saying!) as well. You may recall me posting one such resource video a few weeks ago.
Well, I've run across another worthwhile video that's less than 6 minutes long. The video features Eric Metaxas, who's always fun to listen to (and worth listening to). The video deals with a topic - science and Christianity - about which Metaxas recently wrote a (MUCH discussed) Wall Street Journal article. And the video is well done - making a clear point concisely, with some (characteristic) Metaxas wit thrown in.
Here's one line from the video that will hopefully serve as a teaser, drawing you into the 6 minute clip: "Simply put, the odds against life in the universe are astonishing. Yet, here we are - not only existing, but talking about existing. What can account for it?"
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, the Apostle Paul highlights a central message he preached and taught, something he describes as "of first importance." This central, driving message for Paul was the gospel. In Paul's own words, this gospel is
...that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third dayaccording to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
One thing I want us to notice is how provable - or falsifiable - Paul's main message is! Paul is basically asking us to fact-check his message. And when we do so (using this passage in 1 Corinthians, and the Gospel accounts, for e.g.) we discover that Jesus' death was public, his burial was public, and his resurrection appearances were (you guessed it!) public. All of these things really happened!
Michael Patton and Reclaiming the Mind ministries have drawn attention to this as well in this post. I ran across this graphic recently (see below, and here's the source) that contrasts the historic "provability" of Christianity with the "privateness" behind the revelation and beginnings of other world religions. A bit simplified? Perhaps. (Pictures usually are, by the way.) But helpful nonetheless.
If you want to read a bit more about this, I encourage you to check out the post at the Reclaiming the Mind blog where I found this, and where they develop this further.
I'm grateful for the work Michael Patton and Reclaiming the Mind ministries are doing to promote strong foundations on which Christians can grow. (A driving priority of the Brookside Institute as well!) I encourage you to keep an eye on what they're doing!
Last session in our Apologetics class on Sunday afternoons, we responded to this question: Does God Exist? And Does it Matter? As part of that, we looked at some of the traditional "arguments" that cumulatively make the case for God's existence: the ontological argument (getting to God from the very idea of God itself), the cosmological argument (getting to God from origins), the teleological argument (getting to God from design), the moral argument (getting to God from "ought"), etc.
In talking about the teleological argument, I ran across this great video at William Lane Craig's site, Reasonable Faith. The video is less than 7 minutes long, and does a good job at making a case for God from design in a way that is both accessible and appropriately thorough. Check it out:
What Others Are Saying about "Christianity Amidst the Questions: Introduction to Christian Apologetics"
People just like you have taken "Christianity Amidst the Questions: Introduction to Christian Apologetics" and have benefited from it. Take a few minutes and hear what they've got to say. Then, click here to be taken to our Spring 2015 classes page where you can sign up for this class and benefit from it yourself!
Based on the number of "hits" each month, here are the top 5 posts here on the Brookside Institute blog for each month, since June 2014.
Did you miss any of these? Click on any of these "Top Posts by Month from 2014" to be taken to the post, and check 'em out!
Earlier this semester Jack Archer, Brookside's Director of Middle School Ministries (called "Tribe"), offered a sort of "Tribe Institute" where he gave Middle Schoolers the chance to "Dig Deep" in a certain area of discipleship. He did great!! Listen to what Jack has to say about it:
"In Tribe, we decided to do a Middle School version of the Institute. We wanted to provide a learning opportunity for students who are ready to be stretched and dig into any given topic a little more. In October, our topic was Understanding the Storyline of the Bible. It was fun to take students through the entirety of Scripture at a glance, and several students commented on how helpful it was to get a big picture snapshot of the Bible. Those students can now approach God's Word with more confidence now that they have a better understanding of the context of what they're reading. In December we'll be tackling the topic of World Religions & the Uniqueness of Christianity!"
And then just last weekend, 25 Middle Schoolers attended the December course that Jack offered for Tribe students, "The Uniqueness of Christianity."
I love to hear about this stuff going on, and am excited to see how these students - equipped with a strong foundation in these areas - will continue to grow themselves and be used by God!
Here's a sampling of some of the things I've been reading and reviewing this week. The hope is that these bite-sized sections of books, articles, blog posts, etc will stand on their own and be beneficial (or at least thought-provoking!) in-and-of-themselves. But I also hope that some of you will like these excerpts enough that they pull you into the larger work from which they've been taken.
Let's start sampling:
Last Sunday as part of Brookside Church's "Prepared" series, co-lead pastor Jeff Dart responded to the question, "Can I Have Confidence in the Bible?" His short answer was "yes." We can have confidence in the Bible because it is reliable, unified, unique, and relevant. (To access the full sermon, click here and find the sermon preached on November 9, 2014).
This topic of "reliability of the Bible" is important because of what's at stake: we won't believe the Bible's message (culminating in Christ and His work) if the source is inconsistent or incoherent. And because so many critique the reliability of the Bible, it's important for Christians to be equipped to believe and explain the credibility of the Bible as God's Word.
If you're looking for some resources that will help you have confidence in the Bible and its message, here are 4 that I'd encourage you to dig into:
Here's a sampling of some of the things I've been reading and reviewing this week. The hope is that these bite-sized sections of books, articles, blog posts, etc will stand on their own and be beneficial in-and-of-themselves. But I also hope that some of you will like these excerpts enough that they pull you into the larger work from which they've been taken.
Let's start sampling:
Last Sunday as part of Brookside Church's "Prepared" series, co-lead pastor Steve Moltumyr responded to the question, "Is Jesus the Only Way?" (To access the full sermon, click here and find the sermon preached on November 2, 2014).
As part of that sermon, he referenced a chart comparing some of the world's major religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity). The differences highlighted in this chart help dispel the myth that "all religions teach the same thing" or that "all religions lead to the same place." (By the way, I've not talked with an adherent of any of these religions that would espouse such a claim themselves.)
In case you're interested, here's the chart:
By their very nature, charts are a bit simplistic and can't convey all the nuances involved in a more thorough discussion. Nevertheless, charts are helpful at surveying the landscape of a topic and introducing us to big ideas and general themes. I'm hopeful the categories discussed in this chart are presented in a way that adherents of any of these religion would themselves agree with. For further study on this, I encourage you to look more deeply into the "Contributing Sources" materials on p. 2 of the chart.
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