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Archive for October, 2007

How appropriate in light of Reformation Day today that the Trinity Foundation made this announcement

From http://www.trinityfoundation.org/07winners.php

The First Prize of $3,000 plus 15 free books goes to Alexander Woehr of Greenville, South Carolina, for his essay “How Christian Theism Relates to Education.”

The Second Prize of $2,000 plus 10 free books goes to Jimmy Li of Los Angeles, California, for his essay “Clark’s Christian Philosophy of Education for Today.”

The Third Prize of $1,000 and 5 free books goes to Jeremy Larson of Charleston, South Carolina, for his essay “Gordon Clark’s Successful Essay on Education.”

Congratulations to our three winners, and thanks to all those who entered the Contest. All entrants had to read the book “A Christian Philosophy of Education” by Gordon H. Clark and write an essay about the book.

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Greg Bahnsen’s words still ring clearly as atheists claim rationality for their unbelief.

How do we know what we know, and how can we prove our beliefs to be true? The autonomous rationalists maintained that there are self-evident truths from which we can deduce substantial conclusions about the nature of reality. The wildly different conclusions about reality at which they arrived made it rather incredible that their premises were genuinely self-evident and that their deductions were genuinely necessary.

The autonomous empiricists rejected all innate ideas, maintained that only particulars exist, and said that we know and prove things by common sense and observation of the world. This too led to philosophical embarrassment, in that the empirical demand for verification (or the tracing of our particular ideas back to their origin) was not itself a truth that could be empirically verified, and the nature of the particulars that were acknowledged to exist was hotly disputed. Was there a particular substance underlying the particular attributes of things (Locke), or did material substance exist only as a mental idea or internal experience (Berkeley), or—empirically speaking—must we not also reject the existence of a mental substance (the mind being only a bundle of perceptions), as well as enduring extramental objects (made up of isolated, experienced traits) and any causal relation between them (Hume)? Enlightenment epistemology was a shambles in both Europe (the rationalists) and Great Britain (the empiricists). Hume could comment: “If reasoning be considered in an abstract view, it furnishes invincible arguments against itself! The vaunted “Age of Reason” had collapsed into subjectivism and skepticism, failing to find a reliable method of knowing—and even disagreeing sharply over the nature of “reasoning” itself. There would seem to be no intellectual basis for confidence in man’s ability to gain objective knowledge of the real and orderly world outside (or inside) the mind.

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Alvin Plantinga delivered the Norton Lectures at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Oct. 23, 2007 “Science and Religion: Why does the Debate Continue?”

Oct. 24, 2007 “Divine Action in the World”

Oct. 24, 2007 Ph.D. Graduate Club luncheon

Oct. 25, 2007 “Evolution vs. Atheism”

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Clearly, atheism is not a rational worldview. It is self-refuting because the atheist must first assume the opposite of what he is trying to prove in order to be able to prove anything. As Dr. Cornelius VanTil put it, “[A]theism presupposes theism.” Laws of logic require the existence of God—and not just any god, but the Christian God. Only the God of the Bible can be the foundation for knowledge (Proverbs 1:7; Colossians 2:3). Since the God of Scripture is immaterial, sovereign, and beyond time, it makes sense to have laws of logic that are immaterial, universal, and unchanging. Since God has revealed Himself to man, we are able to know and use logic. Since God made the universe and since God made our minds, it makes sense that our minds would have an ability to study and understand the universe. But if the brain is simply the result of mindless evolutionary processes that conveyed some sort of survival value in the past, why should we trust its conclusions? If the universe and our minds are simply the results of time and chance, as the atheist contends, why would we expect that the mind could make sense of the universe? How could science and technology be possible?

Rational thinking, science, and technology make sense in a Christian worldview. The Christian has a basis for these things; the atheist does not. This is not to say that atheists cannot be rational about some things. They can because they too are made in God’s image and have access to God’s laws of logic. But they have no rational basis for rationality within their own worldview. Likewise, atheists can be moral, but they have no basis for that morality according to what they claim to believe. An atheist is a walking bundle of contradictions. He reasons and does science, yet he denies the very God that makes reasoning and science possible. On the other hand, the Christian worldview is consistent and makes sense of human reasoning and experience.

Read the whole article by Jason Lisle, Ph.D

Dr Lisle is an astrophysicist and a speaker for Answers in Genesis. He sure sounds like a “presup.”

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Raphael’s “The School of Athens.” Interactive map. Find out who is who.

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In the middle of the painting are Plato and Aristotle. Plato (left) holds a copy of his Timaeus, and gestures upward to the aetherial realm of his eternal forms – he pointed towards absolutes or ideals. In contrast, Aristotle (right) holds a copy of his Nichomachean Ethics, his hand is outstretched, fingers spread wide and thrust down toward the earth. He indicates with his gesture the worldliness, the concreteness, of his contributions to philosophy, emphasizing particulars.

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This is from the 2007 National Conference (Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints).

The entire conversation both in audio and video can be found at DesiringGod.

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I have just spoken to a lady from Germany about her kids in college while my Lebanese friend was standing by. Both work at the local coffee shop where I am writing this piece. Just prior to that I spoke with other acquaintances from South Korea who own a T-shirt business at the city market downtown. Business is not so good for them right now, but they smile and talk with me most mornings I’m there.

I met yet another Korean worker at this shop this morning. It was our first actual discussion, although we had said hello from time to time. She has only been in the country for five months, and, much to my surprise, is a Sunday School teacher at the Korean church in town.

This is not all. Even earlier this morning I met my dentist for a time of mentoring right here in the same place. Prior to that I had a great talk with the building inspector for Parkville, the little town within Kansas City where I have my office. I met another friend and had some discussion about spiritual matters for a few moments prior that meeting. He manages the Christian bookstore. I had a brief “hello” with his wife as she came in later. And I at least got to wave to yet another friend who is one of the regulars at the shop. He’s the local chiropractor.

Building relationships—this is the value of hanging out. I’m making a determined effort to do that, and I wish to recommend it to you. Not just any kind of hanging out will do, of course, but there is a purposeful hanging out that I believe God smiles on.

Not long ago I wrote this in my Commonplace Book, the notebook I use to record my observations from my reading and thinking: “It is an interesting question: What did Jesus do in a given week?”

That simple question was answered by going through the book of Matthew. I wrote fourteen pages of observations on the peripatetic life of Christ as to how Christ employed his time. As a conclusion to it all I had to say that Jesus basically just hung out. Of course, it was “divine” hanging out.

Christ constantly moved about a small area, especially around Capernaum, which could be considered his home town, and Bethany, the home of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha, a favorite hub close to Jerusalem down south. He never kept hours or had an office. He always “ate out.” He never seemed to have organizational meetings. He spent lots of time with his followers, dined with “sinners,” answered lots of questions, taught when he could get a crowd or small group of listeners, took special times to pray and get away to stay focused, made use of the synagogues to raise issues, healed and did miracles. It seems that much of his time was spent just being among people, and in that context he did what he was sent to do. Paul, of course, did similarly.

Now, we have to go to work. And that in itself is a mission field. And I do not pretend to say that a person should not do that. But somehow along the way we have forgotten how important it is to be among people in a way that lends itself to relaxed, friendly, or even sometimes intense, philosophical talk. Like fire comes from sparks falling on dry tinder, so God can and will do things through us most powerfully when we are “in the context” of those we most want to see impacted with our message. We must find some informal place for meeting people. The rewards are too good to forfeit.

If God has planted his love and the fruit of his spirit into you, that amazing work of God is largely wasted if we stay away from people. When a man or woman is full of godly character, that simply must be seen somehow or it is like “hiding our light under a bushel.” If you are somebody in Christ (and you are), then let it be observed by getting in the right context. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Here is the idea:

  1. Find a hanging out place, or several, in your area. This will be easier for some than others. I’ve even spent some time in the local hamburger place. For most this will have to be early in the morning before work, but others may be able to invest a bit more. The morning usually attracts the “regulars” that you will be best able to connect with.
  2. Learn the names of the people you meet. It is good to jot their names down somewhere for reference.
  3. Take your Bible and spend time reading it, writing notes in your notebook, or reading a good Christian book while out.
  4. Keep a friendly, approachable look about you. Speak to people. Introduce yourself and find out about them. Focus much of your talk on them. They’ll also be curious about you.
  5. Seek to get to the layer of philosophical talk. What do these new friends believe about important issues of life and death? This makes for deeper and more significant relationships.
  6. You will find that they will be curious about you and your beliefs also. Talk freely about what you believe and how you approach life.
  7. Make friends, real friends, who will be important to you no matter what their spiritual preferences are. Love them for who they are.
  8. If you have read something interesting that you can pass on, by all means do so, especially if it has something to do with the true love of your life, Jesus Christ.
  9. Expect God to do something. Christians make a difference! You might help a fellow believer or a person who does not have a spiritual bone in his body. You never know what God may be doing. The world reacts and responds to “lighted” Christians.

If you had just three years to make a major impact on the world, what would you do? Jesus spent His three years in constant motion, being with people as much as possible, and pulling away as necessary to pray and meditate. He gave special attention to the disciples, but, regardless, it was people that Jesus was about.

Now I realize my proposal can be misunderstood in a world that majors on production. Many rate their importance by how busy they appear to be. Well, there is a lot that I do and my wife sometimes calls me a workaholic, but I’m seeing things a bit better these days. I would like to be more like Christ who felt it was of utmost importance to be around people as much as possible.

And, hey, I’ve written this article while I’ve been hanging out!

by Jim Eliff

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