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Archive for March, 2009

Two Carbon footprints just got married

The world is in frailty,

Its prophet, the poet, suffers defective inability,

To sing of a meaningful melody,

And its attempt to romanticize the lovely,

Is a pathetic pity,

Wondering about what message we send to other galaxy,

Through our satellite signal and radio waves for TV,

Wondering beyond this earth if there might be,

Something out there but with no reference to Deity,

Yet hoping ever slightly,

Perhaps just an alien there might be,

Might see,

To make it a worthwhile cherish memory,

Etched on a galaxy,

Of static and planetary body,

Wanting love to be more than neurons chemistry,

Yet disturbed with irony:

Wars, peace and the ugly,

Yet the existence of moments so lovely?

Oh, can it be?

In a wedding where greetings are many,

Smiles and hugs are plenty,

The poet preaches his religion of philosophy,

Long, boring, no rhyme, it is pathetic really,

The annoyed audience smiles politely,

Like they do to a boring priest’s eulogy,

The poet center-staged philosophizing love and the ugly,

Such dialectical Kantian philosophy!

Unable to synthesize the two reality,

The existence of love and the ugly,

The clown left his closing line no hope of the pretty,

To his poison of existential philosophy,

“All is meaningless if you ask me”,

The audience, not understanding his poetry,

Has the stupid audacity,

To applaud for his poetry,

With no rhyme and a bad philosophy,

That undermines the point of getting marry!

Such Post-modernity,

What agnosticism of what is lovely!

A poet, the priest of ungodly philosophy,

Delivers his blowing lines to his own family!

How offensive, how can he?!

There’s got to be a law if you ask me,

Of Separation of Wedding and philosophy!

As people clap I watch his expression intently,

So much to be applauded for nothing really,

In a world with no reference to God,

The glory of getting marry,

It’s beauty,

Becomes so ugly,

A fading moment till all dies with the memory,

All the attendee, the couple and everybody,

In frail morality,

Are nothing more than specks of dust really,

In a particle filled no-God galaxy,

Two carbon footprint just got married…

–Slimjim

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According to the latest Time Magazine in 2009, Calvinism is one of the top 10 world changing Ideas

Interesting read here

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This is very interesting:

Richard Mouw, the president of Fuller Seminary has written a book review of John Muether’s biography of Cornelius Van Til

It is interesting of how many people have crossed path with Dr. Van Til during his lifetime, and Richard Mouw is one of them

I would not consider Dr. Mouw as being in the same theological camp as I am, but his review talks about the good impact of Van Til to those who are more theologically left:

Those of us—and I consider myself in this crowd—who are more tempted in the commonness direction would do well to learn from a nice little vignette that Muether relates. Toward the end of his life, Van Til returned to Grand Rapids and visited one of his Calvin philosophy professors, William Harry Jellema, who was close to death. Jellema was very much a common-grace type Kuyperian, well known for his expressed hope that he would meet Socrates in heaven. He and Van Til had long parted ways on many key philosophical and theological matters. On this occasion, however, Van Til thanked his former teacher for what he had learned from Jellema. Jellema responded: “Yes, but Kees, it was you who at times kept us from going too far.” Jellema is not the only one with that kind of indebtedness to Van Til.

Here is the link from Christianity Today: http://www.christianitytoday.com/global/printer.html?/bc/2009/marapr/4.9.html

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For those who were at the Shepherd’s Conference that might be interested more about Apologetics.

I am amazed at times how some Christians can be against Apologetics, when defending the faith is a Biblical command.

This article was originally from http://teamtruth.com/articles/art_apologetics.htm

Apologetics Foundation

What?

Apologetics comes from the Greek word Apologia, meaning “a defense of conduct and procedure.?span style=”mso-spacerun: yes”>  Apologetics is the defense of Christianity. The Bible verse that apologetics is built upon is 1 Peter 3:15.

“But in your heart acknowledge Christ as the Holy Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.?/font>

Who?

1 Peter 3:15 made it clear that CHRISTIANS should always be prepared to answer the reason for the hope that dwells in them. It is the job of every Christians to do this.

When? Where?

We should be ready any moment and anywhere to explain the hope that Christians have in Christ. However, apologetics should not be used only for the sake of argument. A Christian main purpose is to evangelize and plant seeds and witnesses to others our faith in Christ.

How?

First, one must accept the Bible as the Word of God and also as the ULTIMATE standard of TRUTH. One’s faith must be base upon the Word of God and nothing else including science, archaeology, and a certain church, etc. Remember that all things will change (for the worst or for the best) and the only thing that will remain the same is GOD’S WORD. If one’s faith in Christ is not centered on the Bible, boy, expect a fall sooner or later!

The Bible should be use in Apologetics. The use of God’s Word in apologetics helps in evangelical outreach. Apologetics using solely human wisdom alone is useless. “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel- not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be empty of its power.?(1 Corinthians 1:17) Therefore the Bible is critical! “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be equipped for every good work.?(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Apologetics is a ministry that must be accompanied with the evangelical ministry. The Bible equipped apologists would have the maximum effect with God’s Word arming them. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.?(Hebrews 4:12)

So we have two missions: Evangelism and apologetics. Apologetics isn’t just for arguments; its best use is when a person genuinely wants to take the step to Christ but isn’t too sure. When apologetics is used do not forget the big picture: That of witnessing our faith! Apologist Pinnock once wrote, “If our apologetics prevent us from explaining the gospel to any person, it is an inadequate apologetics.?o:p>

Therefore, preaching apologetics alone is useless. Hostile approach using apologetics is useless also. We must present apologetics with gentleness and respect.

By Jimmy Li

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Editor’s note: The following is my transcript of the seminar on the New Atheism during the Shepherd’s Conference.  As I listened to some of the people’s question after wards, it occurred to me that some have been introduced to Presuppositional Apologetics for the first time.  I have recently blogged on some of the objections against Presuppositional Apologetics from a believer in Christ here and by an athiest here.  Stay tune to Veritas Domain as there will be more material coming up here in the next few days on Introduction to Presuppositional Apologetics.

Psalm 14:1

Two months ago a campaign began in Britain on buses saying “There’s probably no God”

First question to address, “What is the new Atheism”?

Coined in 2005 by Ronald Aronson, professor of ideas at Wayne State

Key books written in 2006 and 2007

The God Delusion

Breaking the Spell

Letter to a Christian Nation

Christopher Hitchens

A quote from Al Mohler, which in essence is talking about how the New Atheism is evangelistic and ambition in hope and see belief in God as down right dangerous

A quote from Simon Hooper of CNN, which states that New Atheists are confrontational rather than gently persuasive. He raised also the issue of whether they are preaching to the choir and a backlash of religious revival.

Six tenets of the New Atheism summarized by Andrew Brown of The Guardarian:

1.) Religions is based upon faith which is unjustified belief

2.) Antidote to faith is science, specifically naturalistic evolution

3.) Science is also antidote to religion

4.) Thus religion is doomed, because science will eventually triumph over religion

5.) Religion’s true nature is a homicidal zeal for power

6.) As a result, religion must be opposed since it is dangerous

Eight additional hallmarks of what set it apart as new:

1.) Unprecedented boldness

2.) A specific rejection of the Christian God of the Bible

3.) Explicit rejection of Jesus Christ

4.) Unwavering commitment to science and scientism (everything must be explained naturalism)

5.) Intolerance for even moderate and liberal form of religious belief

6.) Attack on toleration for religion in Western society

7.) Questioning of whether parents have right to indoctrinate their children

8.) Idea that religion must be eliminated to preserve human freedom

Who are the new atheist?

Many we can mention who have published and blog, but there are four leading ones:

1.) Richard Dawkins

Oxford biologist, VP of British Humanist

“Darwin’s Rottweiler”

Finds God ‘improbable’

Argues against design argument

2.) Christopher Hitchens

British born author, parents from religious backgrounds

Book is God is not Great (2007)

Argues against religion as that which limits human freedom; spends two chapters attacking the Old and New Testament

3.) Sam Harris

American author

Affinity for eastern religion/meditation

Book is The End of Fatih (2004)

Right now at UCLA working on his doctorate

Assert religion results in foolish idea

4.) Daniel Dennett

American philosopher of the mind, science and biology

Book is titled Breaking the Spell: Religion as Natural Phenomenon (2006)

Attempts to explain everything (consciousness, free will, religion) in terms of Darwinism

Critical responses

Survey of some of the material responses

1.) Allister McGrath, The Dawkins Delusion?

2.) David Robertson, is a pastor in Scotland who wrote to Dawkin which resulted in The Dawkins Letters

3.) Alvin Plantinga The Dawkins Confusion

4.) Ravi Zacharias, The End of Reason

5.) Doug Wilson, Letter from a Christian Citizen

6.) Thomas Crean, catholic God is No Delusion

7.) John Haught, roman catholic of Georgetown University in God and the New Atheism

8.) Al Mohler, Atheism Remix

9.) David Aikman, the Delusion of Disbelief

These are highlighted to show that there has been a broader theistic/Christian community response to these groups and claims

Today, is not to go through the philosophical arguments and claim but to interact with it from a pastoral perspective

For instance, Alister McGrath in The Dawkins Delusion? Believes that the work is rhetorical style is to reassure and the death throws of the atheism movement

David Robertson who exposes it not as science per se but mainly because of philosophical

Plantinga who sees Dawkins work

Ravi Zacharias, sees that the ultimate debate is Islam vs. Christ in the West

Doug Wilson, who makes an argument to absurdity

Thomas Crean exposes how the presupposition of materialism is inherent within his worldview

Haught sees Dawkins of what the basis of morality to condemned Christianity that is not human convention or social constructions and the basis of absolute values

David Aiken-Much of what the atheist have written is not new, atheists have come and gone throughout history

Al Mohler- The Christian church must respond with conviction

Apologetics and Atheism

How do we practically respond as pastors,

2 Corinthians 10:5, 1 Peter 3:15, Jude 3, etc

6 principles to consider which are larger than the new atheism itself:

1.) Authority must be God’s Word not science or philosophy

Proponents want authority to be in pseudo-science, namely their philosophy of science

We need to go the Scripture for what we believe, and why we believe

2.) Aim is to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ (not just argument for theism in general)

Anthony Flew now accept design argument, although he does not accept Jesus and his ‘conversion’ does not save him though

Evangelicals can make the sense of teaming up with other theist who are against the gospel

Secondary aim of apologetics is to

3.) The agent of change in apologetics is the Holy Spirit and not us

The Spirit primarily use the Word He inspires

We need to bring it back to the Scripture otherwise it is just a debate

You cannot force belief

4.) The Biblical assumption is that people already know God exists

Romans 1:18 and onward

We don’t need to spend a lot of time arguing for the existence of argument

We can give reason for why we believe, but when it comes to witnessing to others that God himself said that He has made himself known to all through creation and conscience (Romans 2:14)

5.) Anticipation is that the message will be ridiculed and rejected by majority of unbelievers

We should not be desiring intellectual respectability

Doesn’t’ mean we become anti-intellectual, but that the message we have will be inherently unpopular

Be very careful because it is a trap

6.) Assessment of our success must be measured in the faithfulness to the Lord and His Word

God himself is the ultimate measure of success

You can win the argument but fail when your tactics is unchristian

Success is determined by God

These are presuppositonal approach

There is a way of presenting evidence biblically

Reasons we believe in God

1. Because He has revealed Himself to us

Authorative Establishment

General revelation

Special revelation

Secondary reasons

2. Because the very existence of our universe points to a Creator

Authorative Establishment: Scripture

Secondary Affirmation: Evidence from science, philosophy, human experience confirms truth

3. A

Should we be surprise when science and philosophy confirm the Bible? No.

This should not surprise us as it has been here for centuries and millennium

3. Design of creation points to a Designer

Authorative: Job 38-41, Psalm 104:1-35, 139:13-14, and so on.

Secondary affirmation: Evidence from science, especially medical biology has made teleological argument one of the most potent.

4. Because the continuation of the universe points to a sustainer

Authorative establishment: Job 26:7, Psalm 74:16-17; 104:14, Isa. 40:26, etc

5. Because the human sense of morality points to a lawgiver

Authorative: Romans 2:14, Eccl. 12:13-14, Hebrew 9:27, cf. romans 1:19, 32; Exodus 20:13-17; Mark 12:31

6. Because eternity is written on hearts of men and women

Eccl. 3:11, 12:5; John 5:29, etc

Secondary affirmation: Anthropology shows that afterlife is such a universal phenomenon

7. Because life without God is ultimately meaningless

8. Because history conforms to a divine plan (prophecy)

9. Because miraculous events confirm Bible

Conclusion

1. A strong case for theism can be made, but it must be biblical and not be too quick to go after extrabiblical lines of argument

2. New Atheism is not new, and false religions, a faith based worldview committed to scientism and materialsm

3. Gospel is the only real answer to those who profess atheism and any other false view

We need to make sure gospel is the center of our apologetics

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