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Archive for the ‘Apologetics’ Category

GO TO PART 20

Patrick Rock

Note: After completing our series of Twenty Apologetics Sermon Illustrations, I can’t help it but to see more good analogies out there for an apologist’s toolbox.

Point: How often do you hear people say that they are against Christianity because of the hypocrisy of those who say they believe in Christianity or are leaders in the Christian community?  Does the existence of hypocrites rule out the truth claims of the propositions set forth in Christianity?  While we don’t want to downplay the responsibility of people’s sin and hypocrisy we must also realize that hypocrisy as an argument against Christianity does not have that much weight as it might seem initially.

Picture: The following news story seems to be an appropriate analogy to illustrate my point.

A senior adviser to David Cameron was arrested on child abuse images allegations, Downing Street said tonight.

Patrick Rock, who had been involved in drawing up proposals for internet porn filters, resigned after being questioned by police. Officers from the National Crime Agency examined Downing Street’s computer systems and offices used by Mr Rock, 62.

He was an been adviser to the Conservative party for 30 years and got to know Mr Cameron in the mid-1990s when they were both worked for Michael Howard when he was Home Secretary.

The Prime Minister brought him into Downing Street in 2011 to work in the Number 10 policy unit. He took responsibility for home affairs issues and was among officials who were involved in drawing up controls against internet images of child abuse.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “On the evening of February 12, Downing Street was first made aware of a potential offence relating to child abuse imagery. It was immediately referred to the National Crime Agency.

“The Prime Minister was immediately informed and kept updated throughout. Patrick Rock was arrested at his home in the early hours of February 13, a few hours after Downing Street had reported the matter.

“Subsequently, we arranged for officers to come into No 10 and have access to all IT systems and offices they considered relevant.

“This is an ongoing investigation so it would not be appropriate to comment further, but the Prime Minister believes that child abuse imagery is abhorrent and that anyone involved with it should be properly dealt with under the law.”

The Daily Mail quoted a friend of the Prime Minister as saying: “He has known Patrick for a long time and never expected anything like this.”

(SOURCE)

POSSIBLE SCENARIO FOR EMPLOYING THIS ILLUSTRATION DURING APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM

OPPONENT: I can’t believe in Christianity because of all the hypocrisy I see. <Insert moral argument (Example: Church experience, Christians throughout history who were oppressive, etc) >

CHRISTIAN: I see.  I don’t want to downplay the tragedy of people committing evil acts.  I would join you in saying that when Christians or so-called Christians sin, that is a wrong that ought to be called out for what it is.  Do you know I agree with you that hypocrisy is wrong?

OPPONENT: Okay.

CHRISTIAN: Now let me ask you another question: Do you think that just because someone is a hypocrite means that the ideas itself that allegedly espoused must necessarily be false?

OPPONENT: No.

CHRISTIAN: I think therefore its not enough to point out there are hypocrites and rule out Christianity…

OPPONENT: I mean yes.

CHRISTIAN: Oh.  I’m curious, do you think Child Pornography is wrong?

OPPONENT: What?  Of course it is wrong!  It is sick!

CHRISTIAN: Have you heard about how in the UK there is a man name Patrick Rock who is really against Child pornography on the internet?

OPPONENT: No tell me about him.

CHRISTIAN: <Insert apologetics illustration>

OPPONENT: Wow.

CHRISTIAN: I imagine you agree with me that what Patrick Rock did was wrong.

OPPONENT: Yes.

CHRISTIAN: But does Mr. Rock’s inability to live up to his own standard rule out his ideology that Child Pornography is wrong?

OPPONENT: Of course not…

CHRISTIAN: I agree, I’m glad you said that.  In the same way, you can’t just dismiss Christianity as doctrinally false just because there are hypocrites who claim to follow and represent it.  If we reason this way, why, we would be in a world of problems won’t we?

 

GO TO PART 21

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Alpha Omega Ministries

The video below is a debate between Christian apologist James White debates Islamic scholar Yusuf Ismail.

It is on the topic: Is the Quran a Reliable Record of the Teachings of Muhammad?

The debate took place on October 1, 2013 in South Africa.

I appreciate Dr. White’s contribution towards apologetics dealing with Islam.

Enjoy!

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outnumber fight

As much as I like apologetics, typically in my evangelistic life I try to just share the Gospel and do not go out of my way looking for an argument or a fight.  The Lord has been gracious since this past year God has blessed us with people who listened to what we have to say.

Several weeks ago we were evangelizing in an open area in a college campus in Southern California.  I had two guys approached our evangelistic table with vulgarities against the faith with sexual and drug references.  There was a tone of mockery and condescension that they were really smart and knew a lot more than Christians do, with the assurance that they were going to beat down any Christians intellectually.  I attempted several times to stick to the Gospel but my effort to explain what we believe was derailed by their desire to attack to the Christian faith.

I happen to have a recorder and thought I asked if I could record our conversation for educational purpose for future teaching at my church and also to be made available on the internet.  They not only gave permission but they expressed confidence that people will lose their faith once people get to hear what they have to say.  They were ready for a two against one “beat down” before onlookers.

One good thing about having this conversation recorded was that the level of blasphemy and vulgarities toned down.  I appreciated that they got more civil in our discourse.

Sometimes people throw out so many objections you have to really think about what is important and what to focus on.  My intent in this dialogue was to respectfully press the antithesis and demonstrate the irrationality of their worldview that they can not account for the moral standard that they use to criticize the Bible.  Moreover, their worldview is itself self-refuting.

As 2 Corinthians 10:5 says,

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, andwe are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

The audio clip is available if you click HERE.

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Francis_Schaeffer

Although I don’t agree with him in everything nevertheless I do appreciate the apologist and evangelist Francis Schaeffer.

This is a rare clip of Francis Schaeffer teaching.  This was recently loaded online on Youtube courtesy of the Francis Schaeffer Study Center on the occasion of Resurrection Sunday.

Here’s the video’s description:

This video is from the 1983 L’Abri Conference in Atlanta. The full lecture with Q&A time has been included. The lecture was also previously given on May 11, 1983 in Minneapolis at the Evangelical Press Association Convention. A transcript of this lecture is available here: http://edmontonbpc.org/wp/2012/02/names-and-issues-by-francis-schaeffer/

Enjoy!

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Hitler's Philosophers

 

I’m glad that Yale Press published this.  When I first saw this book I knew I had to read it for two reasons:  As someone who enjoys intellectual history, this book will no doubt touch on the ideas and philosophy that influenced Hitler (or to be more charitable, it would point out the ideological capitals Hitler used to persuade people to his policies).  Secondly, we see an increase in the last fifteen years of historical works addressing the question of how did a mad man managed to lead a civilized people towards barbaric policies with the focus of the complicity of various institution, from the Pope, the church, scientists, social sciences and the universities.  In the same vein, this works show the intersection of philosophy/philosophers with Hitler/Nazism.  The book definitely fulfilled the initial reasons for why I wanted to read the book.

The author divided the book into two parts. The first section focused on Hitler and philosophy, and on the philosophers who collaborated with the Nazi’s ideological vision.  The second section concentrated on German philosophers that the Nazi opposed.  It is a big endeavor the author pursued since each section of the book can easily be the focus of a book-length treatment.

Chapter one was a mini-ideological biography of Hitler and what philosophers he liked and who and what influenced him.  I appreciated the chapter’s focus of the early years of Hitler before political opportunism seasoned his rhetoric and when he was passionately frank about what he believed during the lowest point of his life in a German prison.  The author worked through materials not only from Hitler’s writing and speech (he tend to brag about his intellectual prowess) but also sources from early supporters and friends.  I think chapter one definitely establishes the Nietzsche influence in Hitler’s worldview.  Chapter one also indirectly contributes to the debate of whether Hitler was a Christian or not, and what degree he was a Christian if he was one.  If one understands Hitler’s philosophy its very hard-pressed to see how his atheistic Nietzschean beliefs is compatible with Christian theism.

Chapter two looked at the historic philosophers and philosophies that Hitler invoked in his ideology.  For those familiar with philosophy the main idea of these philosophers are nothing new.  What is interesting and new to many is the thread of anti-Semitism among these philosophers, some of them who are important canons of Western philosophy.  The author is nuance in describing how these philosophers are not “Nazis” and many of these philosophers would probably be surprised with how someone like Hitler would invoke their name and thoughts.  I do think that these philosophers do project a trajectory that Hitler later borrowed and build his own philosophy upon.

Chapters three through five focused on the collaborators with Hitler’s Germany, with chapter three being specifically about the Nazi figures who controlled academia and German philosophy while chapter four and five look at the specific example of philosopher of jurisprudence Carl Schmitt and existentialist Martin Heidegger respectively.  Most interesting of this section is the author’s argument that Heidegger was more than an opportunists but one who embraced Hitler’s Nazi’s ideology wholeheartedly.  I think the author presented an excellent case.

Chapters six through nine focuses on philosophers the Nazis opposed.  We read of the tragic story of the Jewish philosopher Walter Benjamin who committed suicide when he was unable to flee from the Nazis and the exile of Theodor Adorno.  The best known of the philosophers in this section is Hannah Arendt, a Jewish woman who managed to escape from the Nazis.  In juxtaposition to Arendt is the story of Kurt Huber who as a philosopher spoke out against Nazi beliefs in the classroom and involved with the White Rose resistance movement that led to his execution.  Here is a heroic philosophical martyr who dared to oppose the Nazis.  The author laments of how Huber is little known today because of his resistance to the Nazis.

 

What I learned

This book re-affirmed to me the maxim that ideas have consequences.  Though it is a bit tangent from the book, there is no political systems that are philosophically neutral: there is some kind of worldview driving one’s political theory and at minimum we can say some philosophers will be willing mercenaries for political agendas in order to advance their academic careers, their school of thoughts, etc (Kuhn’s theory of the structure for scientific revolution is applicable in evaluating social sciences and the humanities as well).

From this book I learned of the composer Richard Wagner and his influence upon Nietzsche.   From there the book also show how Nietzsche’s idea shape other influential members of the Nazi party.

Perhaps the most surprising thing I learned was Heidegger’s adulterous affair with Hannah Arendt.  In one of history’s incredibly ironic moments, we see this famous philosopher whom the Nazis earned great intellectual credibility with him on their side, being caught up with a Jewish woman.   One sees how personal affair can shape one’s philosophy in the instance of Hannah Arendt beliefs in the war and after.

 

What I want to look up more on

I love looking through the endnotes and the bibliography of the book for it provides a treasure trove of references for further studies.  It is a wonderful way to acquaint oneself with the primary sources and scholarly secondary sources.

This book also made me realize I need to study more of certain philosophers.  Martin Heidegger is someone that I want to look up more beyond the few selected readings from my days in undergraduate.  I have always heard the name Schopenhauer but don’t really know what he believes.

 

Drawback

I wished the book would have adopted Chicago style format since it was rather annoying for me as someone who reads all the endnotes to turn from the page I’m reading to the end notes and then again to the bibliography.  I don’t find this kind of format being conducive to readers’ attention to the sources (why give citation anyways when your format discourage its use?).

 

Conclusion

Excellent work.  I wholeheartedly recommend it and I think those acquainted with philosophy would get the most out of it.

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James White

The video below is a debate between James White and Bart Ehrman on the topic “Does the Bible Misquote Jesus?”

The debate originally took place on January 21, 2009 at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and was sponsored by American Vision but the video of it on Youtube was just recently made available for free for viewing online.  We appreciate American Vision and Alpha Omega’s ministries’ generosity in blessing God’s people!

Enjoy the debate by two capable scholar.

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Presuppositional Dispensationalism

 

This is an expansion of an “index” to a previous series on Calvinistic Dispensational Presuppositionalism I had about two years ago.  I’m trying to have a “one stop shop” page that has links to everything online related to the tiny niche of Calvinistic Dispensational Presuppositionalism.  Bookmark it as I will add to this page from time to time!

HISTORICAL CONSIDERATION

PERSPECTIVALISM: INTER-RELATIONSHIP OF ESCHATOLOGY, APOLOGETICS AND HERMENEUTICS 

INTERVIEWS

THESIS AND DISSERTATIONS

ARTICLES, BLOG SERIES AND OTHER WRITINGS

MULTIMEDIA TEACHING RESOURCES ON PRESUPPOSITIONALISM BY DISPENSATIONALISTS

APOLOGETICS TACTICS

REVIEWS

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