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Archive for the ‘christian apologetics’ Category

No foundation

A round up of links for those who follow Presuppositional apologetics between January 8th-14th, 2014.  Which ones were you blessed with?

1.) Postmodern Integration

2.) Clark and Van Til

3.) Dr. Cornelius Van Til: The Misunderstood Apologist

4.) Attention Christian Intellectuals: 10 Indicators You Might Apostatize in 2014

5.) Sale .99 Cents Sale new book “God’s Not Dead: Many Proofs” Apologetics Book

6.) An Example of Logical Fallacies in Common Phrases Concerning Luck

7.) Peripatetic 25 – Ignorant Objections, Bigotry and Duck Dynasty

8.) When Atheists Are Angry at God

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Sye doppelganger

 

Here’s a debate Sye had with an atheist about a year ago but it’s only recently loaded up online on Youtube:

Enjoy!

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Jeff Durbin

 

In 2013 I found out about Pastor/apologist/evangelist Jeff Durbin largely from his Apologia radio show and clips of him on Youtube.

Two days ago he loaded up on his Youtube page a video that feature his message on witnessing to Mormons.  Enjoy!

Video Description:

Christian Pastor and Apologist, Jeff Durbin, gives a lesson on reaching Mormons with the Biblical Gospel at the ‘Sound and Pound’ conference. Jeff gives examples of encounters and an explanation on what you need to know to minister effectively to Mormons.

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Vern Poythress

It’s great to see the teaching of the Christian worldview going worldwide.  Dr. Vern Poythress recently taught in Taiwan on the topic of Why the Beginning is Important.  He has a translator who communicates his teaching into Mandarian.  Enjoy!

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folly_auckland_small

More links on Presuppositional apologetics!  There’s quite a bit more links this time than usual, so enjoy!

What in the World is the World?: A Brief Contrast Between Materialist and Biblical Perspectives

The Bahnsen Conference – Lecture Two: Dr. Joel McDurmon

Biblical Apologetics: Audio Messages by R.C. Dozier

Apologetic Evangelism 101: Readying Ourselves to Engage the World

Is Nature the 67th Book of the Bible?

Never Always Winter by Scott Oliphint

Just a Little Persecution? by James Anderson

Good Grouping, Bad Shot

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dc008c8d0478c8e2e92e9b698b928fd4

These are Presuppositional apologetics links between December 8th-14th, 2013:

1.) Apologetic Evangelism 101: Developing a Strategic Offensive

2.) Review of debate: Young Earthers and Presuppositionalism

3.) Questions about False Doctrine: What Is Monism?

4.) Objective Moral Values: God is Required

UPDATE: 2 MORE LINKS!

The Bahnsen Conference – Lecture One: Pastor Roger Wagner

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Cornelius-Van-Til

Here’s our installment of Presuppositional apologetics links for early December (December 1st-7th, 2013).  The picture is courtesy of Calvinistic Cartoons, be sure to check them as well =)

1.)Applied Presuppositional Apologetics lecture series by Chuck Muether.

2.) Dogma, Disagreement and Doubt

3.) Apologetic Evangelism 101: Building Our Defense

4.) Antitheism Presupposes Theism (5)

5.) Vern Poythress’ Pedagogical Best Practices for the Doctrine of Inerrancy: A Contribution

6.) Two Atheists walk into a bar…only one walks out

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Jeff Durbin

Jeff Durbin Pastor of Apologia Church, Christian apologist and host of Apologia Radio just spoke recently at a class on philosophy.  Here’s the video of it:

Here’s the video’s description:

Christian Apologist and Pastor, Jeff Durbin, was invited to speak to the Philosophy of Religion class at Scottsdale Community College. Initially, this was planned as a debate between Jeff and an Atheist. After being unable to find an Atheist to participate, Jeff was invited to give a positive presentation the existence of God and the truthfulness of the Christian Worldview.

Jeff presents and defends the claim: The proof of the Christian God is that apart from Him you can’t prove anything.

This is an excellent introduction to the Christian Worldview and the Biblical Gospel. We hope you’ll feel led to share this with your friends, family, and even those hostile to the Gospel.

It’s good to see someone applying Presuppositional apologetics as taught by Cornelius Van Til.

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discussion evangelism

 

It seems to be important that when we evangelize and engage in apologetics to communicate as clearly as possible the concepts of Christian truth or the reasoning for our defense and refutation.  Thus, apologetics illustration seems to be important in the apologist’s toolbox.

The following are twenty apologetics illustration I’ve thought might be helpful that I’ve written up on over the years.

I’ve tried to include illustrations also touching on facets of Presuppositional apologetics as taught by Cornelius Van Til.

Apologetics Sermon Illustration # 20: Torching A Safe Full of Fire Works and Self-Destructive Arguments

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Three years ago I posted .

In light of the fact that Black Friday was yesterday I thought I add a few more books to that lists of books I recommend if you are looking for gifts for those who are curious about Presuppositional apologetics or getting more into it.  Of course, if it’s someone who is intensely into Van Til’s apologetics, it doesn’t hurt to ask whether or not they have it already.

Here are a few that I think I can recommend with links to my review:

1.) Christian Apologetics by Dr. Cornelius Van Til

Christian Apologetics

Note: For some reason I really enjoyed the format of this book more than Van Til’s Defending the Faith.

2.) Pushing the Antithesis

Pushing the Antithesis

Note: Found this helpful for apologetics discipleship with the format though not without concern (see comment section of the review).

3.) Persuasion

Persuasions A Dream of Reason Meeting Unbelief Wilson

Note: Good sketches of what apologetics and evangelism conversation with a Van Tillian bent looks like with different folks.

4.) 

Schaeffer on the Christian Life

Note: This spiritual biography is authored by a professor of apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary.  A good devotional and spiritual read for an apologist, to keep one’s life spiritually balance and not just “head knowledge.”

5.) 

Unfolding Mystery Edmund Clowney

Note: 25th Anniversary edition.  I think it’s important for Presuppositionalists to also really know their Scriptures and their Old Testament Messianic prophecies pointing towards Jesus Christ.  If one claims to be driven by Scripture in apologetics (where the Word sets the framework for apologetics) I think it’s also important to know how the Old Testament prophesied about Jesus as the Messiah.

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Persuasions A Dream of Reason Meeting Unbelief Wilson

 

Good sketches of what apologetics dialogue from a VanTillian perspective might look like with various kinds of people. I believe we need more books like this that illustrate what apologetics dialogue practically look like. If you enjoy Doug Wilson’s other work you will likely enjoy this one too with his wit and wordsmith ability. Somewhat like C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters and Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, this is a semi-allegorical “vision” of “Evangelists” talking to various kinds of people about the Gospel. For instance, “Evangelist” talks to a feminist, atheist and a New Age follower. I particularly enjoyed “Evangelist’s” discussion with the Reverend Howe, a theologically liberal Minister offended at the Evangelist ‘ignorance’ of modern scholarship. With the evolutionist it was standard Presuppositional argument against a materialistic chance driven worldview. Wilson presents several good illustration for one’s own apologetics encounter; for instance, in regards to the hypocrisy objection against Christianity, Wilson gave the illustration of whether someone still use currency even if there are counterfeit ones out there. Wilson also note how only things that are valuable will be counterfeited since no one makes counterfeit brown paper bag. Surprisingly, Wilson also have a chapter on Evangelist discussion with someone who denies Lordship salvation and is a believer. Here Wilson makes a good point that Lordship does not depend our work but our Work depend upon the objective Lordship of Christ and he further illustrates this truth with the analogy of his fatherly authority over son despite his son’s sin, but it’s also because of Wilson’s fathering his son that give him the authority to discipline his son (70-71). If I am not mistaken this is one of Wilson’s first published work—or at least first published work in Christian apologetics. One can see the growth of Wilson’s apologetics over time. Nevertheless it is a good book that provide sketches of apologetics dialogue.

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Vern Poythress

This is a lecture that Dr. Vern Poythress, professor at Westminster Theological Seminary.  It was delivered on April 8th, 2013 for a conference, called “Pensmore Dialogues on Science and Faith.”  It took place at the Patrick Henry College.  Dr. Poythress spoke for the second session and the title of his lecture is “Why the Beginning is Important and Why People Fight about it

Enjoy!

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Against the Gods John Currid

 

This is a great book that contributes to the discussion of the relationship of the Ancient Near East (ANE) to the Old Testament.  Have you ever heard people assert that the Old Testament is merely plagiarism of ancient pagan religion or that the authors of Scripture indiscriminately borrowed from the heathens?  Is the Old Testament compromised syncretism or simply a literary copy cat of another religion’s myth?  This book helps the Christian navigate through such questions and challenges.  For starters who might need to be caught up to speed, chapter one gives a nice survey of the history of the study of the Ancient Near East painting a portrait of how these studies originated and its trajectory since.  While the author acknowledges in the introduction and conclusion that the discussion of how ANE relate to the OT can be quite complex, he advances what he calls “polemical theology,” as a paradigm that help make sense of OT and ANE religious parallels.  “Polemical theology” basically describes a conscious ploy by Biblical writers to use the thought forms and stories from cultures of the Ancient Near East in order to apply it to Yahweh exclusively while often using the same motifs in an ironic fashion against the polytheistic gods and goddesses it originated from.  After delineating what polemical theology means in chapter two, the bulk of this book is an examination of the data from ANE sources and the application of Polemical theology.  Here the author John Currid brings his scholarship and knowledge of the ANE record to bear.  For instance, chapter three concentrate on Genesis 1.  In light of how some have attacked the Genesis’ creation account for “borrowing” from other mythologies, Currid demonstrates how the Creation account essentially is antithetical to the creation account of the Egyptians and other Ancient Near East religion, especially with the Bible’s account of not deifying the stars, sea creatures, etc.  Currid is fair:  He acknowledges parallels, documents it well but he always argue that the differences are significant, since it is at the level of worldview and theology.  The differences are not incidental—the polemical and at times poetical jabs that the Old Testament makes shows these differences are intentional on the part of the writers of the Bible.  Much of the book focuses it’s case on Genesis and Exodus, a familiar territory to the author’s area of expertise. I wished we could have seen more of Currid’s analysis of polemical theology with other parts of the Old Testament.  One chapter stands out:  Currid has an excellent study on the rod of Moses that is a good demonstration of what lexical word studies and the proper use of Ancient Near East data looks like:  After noting that Moses’ rod was more of a typical rod versus the significance of the rod of the Egyptian Magicians, Currid shows how there is a polemical “smack” against the Egyptian’s religious worldview at play.  Currid note how the Bible says it’s Moses “rod” that swallows the Egyptian rod rather than saying it is a “snake,” thus retaining the polemical force.  I think this book is helpful in light of what Peter Enns, Walton, Longman III and Waltke has to say.  I highly recommend this book.

NOTE: This book was provided to me free by Net Galley and Crossway without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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apologist john whitcomb

 

John Whitcomb, who is often called one of the “Fathers of the Modern Creationist Movement” with the launch of his book titled “The Genesis Flood” more than 50 years ago, has also been identified as a Presuppositionalists by other VanTillians in addition to being a former Old Testament Professor.

Here is a video by Dr. Whitcomb on Miracles and the Modern mind.

Lord willing we plan to get an interview with him concerning Presuppositional apologetics as part of our series on Calvinistic Dispensational Presuppositionalists.

 

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GO TO PART 14

Polyergus breviceps parasitic queen

Point: Contrary to the spirit of our age, the New Testament has a lot to say about false teaching and false teachers.  Believers are to be on the alert for them, to resist false doctrines , refute them, warn others about it and not to fellowship with false teachers.  Sometimes Christians today lack discernment and often will just let false teachers go because they use Christian vocabulary with different meanings; that is, false teachers have a pass among some Christians because their false teachings are “sprinkled” with a little bit of Christianese even though the true meaning of their contents are not Christian at all.  It might be appropriate to get the idea across that Christians must be aware of false teachers (be it in the form of a cult leader, compromiser, Liberal or secularists) with the following illustration.

Picture: Polyergus breviceps is a species of ant that is a “social parasite” of three other species of ants: the Formica gnava, Formica occulta and Formica argentea.  According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyergus_breviceps), these ants have

lost its ability to take care of its young and themselves. “The workers do not forage for food, feed the young or the queen, or even clean up their own nest”.[3] In order to survive, Polyergus workers raid Formica nests in order to steal the pupae which once hatched, become workers of the mixed nest.

Sounds like secular humanists who don’t have children of their own but wishes to control other people’s kids ideologically and otherwise, if you ask me.  The Wikipedia page continues,

What makes Polyergus special is the way a newly mated queen can, all by herself, take over a Formica nest and start a new colony.

The way the Queen Ant goes about it is further described:

After finding a Formica nest, she finds an entrance and is immediately attacked by Formica worker. The queen responds by biting with her sharp mandibles and releasing a pheromone from her enlargedDufour’s gland that, unlike many other parasitic ants, has a pacifying effect. The queen quickly searches for and locates the Formica queen and, with her adapted mandibles, proceeds to bite and lick various parts the Formica queen for an average of 25 minutes.[4] “Within seconds of the host queens death, the nest undergoes a most remarkable transformation”.[3] The Formica workers cease to be aggressive to the intruder and start to groom thePolyergus queen as if it were their own.[3] The takeover now complete, the Polyergus queen gains not only a nest, but a worker caste as well. She then lays her eggs and the cycle continues.

How does the Queen ant manage to control these other ants?  There are two important chemical strategies described.

First, the Queen releases a pheromone that reduces the defense of her victims:

Specific to Polyergus, when the queen first enters a Formica nest she releases a pheromone from her enlarged Dufour’s gland. Topoff did experiments to show that this pheromone has an important facilitative effect in colony usurpation; it reduces the aggression of the defending Formica workers. The researchers took the Dufour’s, pygidial, and poison glands from freshly mated Polyergus queens, using water as a negative control. These were crushed in distilled water to make a solution containing their extracts. Because it was impossible to prevent a Polyergus queen from secreting their own pheromones during a live encounter, they used the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex occidentalis (naturally attacked by Formica) as the subject. These ants were dipped in the above solutions, one ant/solution/test at a time, and placed in a petri dish with three Formica occulta “attackers”. They were observed for three minutes to see for how long the Pogonomyrmex was attacked.[5] The results were as follows: “the mean duration of aggression by the Dufour’s gland treatment was 53.3 seconds…The mean duration of aggression for the water, pygidial gland, and poison gland controls were: 143.5 seconds, and 137.2 seconds and 132.2 seconds respectively”.[5]

This is analogous to the tactics of false teachers ability to pacify resistance, whether it’s an appeal to “tolerance,” “unity,” the use of flattery, tickling of the hearer’s ear, etc.

Secondly, the Queen tricks her victims by absorbing the chemical of the original Queen by licking the dead or killed queen:

Topoff and Ellen Zimmerli also did experiments to prove that the Polyergus queen “tricks” the Formica colony by obtaining chemicals from the Formica queen in the process of killing her. In one test, the Formica queen was killed (by flash freezing then thawing) prior to Polyergus contact. Even though it was already dead, the Polyergus queen bit, stabbed, and licked the queen just as if it were alive: and the Polyergus was consequently accepted by the colony.[4] Another test showed that if no Formica queen was present, then Polyergus had little chance of a successful takeover. Clearly, the Formica queen is providing some sort of chemical(s) to the Polyergus queen, however unintentionally. That takeover can occur even if the host queen is dead, but not if she is not present, proves that chemical absorption is important. The Polyergus queen needs only kill one host queen to be accepted. If the colony was polygynistic, the Polyergus queen can take her time finding the other queens. “Hour by hour, day by day, she methodically locates and kills every Formica queen, sometimes taking several weeks to clear out all remnants of opposition”.[3]

 This is analogous to the tactics of false teachers equivocating Christian terminology in order to gain acceptance.

Conclusion

As Christians we must be careful to discern, warn and refute false teachers and their false teaching that comes into our midst and wishes to take over.

 

GO TO PART 16

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