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Archive for June, 2013

Our 2013 update to our series of posts concerning evangelism and apologetics towards Muslims

The Domain for Truth

sand dunes

What originally began on July 15th, 2012 as a special one week focus on Islam here at Veritas Domain ended up being a twelve day marathon!  Among the things posted are resources available on the internet outside our blog concerning many facets of Islam: awareness of the problem that Islam poses including debates, documentary, videos and written media such as books and thesis.  We have also attempted to provide our own apologetic and evangelism resources here as well.  Concerning our written sources, I wish to provide here an index to those materials that we have written ourselves.

  1. Ramadan 2012: Tips on Christian opportunities to Witness to Muslim Friends— Practical witnessing tips for Christians this Muslim Ramadan season.
  2. WITNESSING TO MUSLIMS: THE QURANIC VIEW OF THE BIBLE— I believe what is presented here is the best for Christians to witness and engage in apologetics with Muslims, in a fashion that’s compatible…

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GO TO PART 13

Chelsea Clinton at Women Deliver Conference, May 2013

Chelsea Clinton at Women Deliver Conference, May 2013

Point: It’s not easy conveying the two crucial idea of Presuppositional apologetics that (1) a non-Christian worldview end up being self-refuting and (2) the non-Christian actually presupposes something entirely different than what the nonbelievers professes to be their operating worldview, but in their heart they are suppressing the truth they know of the Christian God and worldview.  While all analogies break down, I think the following illustration might help the Reformed Apologist illustrate his or her point.

Picture: Between May 27th-30th, 2013 Chelsea Clintion participated in a liberal “Women Deliver” Conference that took place in Malaysia.

Chelsea apparently made some interesting comment advocating for Planned Parenthood when she lamented of how she wished her great-grandparents would have had “Planned Parenthood Crucial Services” when her grandmother was born.

The relevant part of the video begins at 18:50=

http://new.livestream.com/WomenDeliver/conference2013/videos/19961888

Summary:

  • Notice how she said that she was already on the campaign trail when she was in her mother’s womb,  presupposing her personhood in the womb before birth.
  • Beginning at the twenty minutes mark, Clintion stated that the most influential person outside of her parents was her Grandmother, who “was born to two teenage parents who were not married, people who did not not have accesses to the services that Planned Parenthood so crucially provide…”
  • Clinton is not just simply arguing for the possibility of Planned Parenthood services as an option in the instance of her great-grandparents; it would not make sense that she’s talking about an option that they didn’t use in light of all the tragedy she laments about, but rather she’s implying that her great-grandparents themselves SHOULD HAVE USED those “services” so that the pain and hardship of her grandmother would never happened.

Clinton is too passionate and ideological about her belief in Planned Parenthood’s “services” to probably notice what she is saying.

Think about it.

  • Here she is saying how wonderful her Grandmother is.  She talks about how she wishes her great-Grandparents could have had the services of Planned Parenthood so that her own grandmother would have never lived.  That is, it’s better off not existing or being murdered than to experience the life she did have.  But if Chelsea had her wish, she wouldn’t have a wonderful grandmother who influenced her.
  • Chelsea presupposes that “Grandmother’s life < Grandmother’s misery.”  Therefore, her great grandparents should have made sure she didn’t existed or should have been been aborted.  Seeing that the misery is that of her grandmother, it seems that the Grandmother herself did not presuppose “Grandmother’s life < Grandmother’s misery;” or at least not for most of her life since she did not commit suicide but instead went on to have kids of her own, even living long enough to be a wonderful Grandmother to Chelsea.  For all the rhetoric of a woman’s right to choose, I wonder what place Chelsea has in her ideology for her own Grandmother’s choice to live.
  • We must not miss the greatest irony of Chelsea’s lament that her Grandparents should have access and use of Planned Parenthood “services”:   If she got her wish, Chelsea herself would not exist!  Chelsea is unknowingly making a death wish (though I don’t wish death upon her but a long life instead; and may I add, eternal life through Christ Jesus) .  Sometimes I like to call self-refuting arguments “suicidal arguments” and it is kind of awkward in this instance.
  • Which lead to our analogy of the Transcendental argument: For Chelsea to even articulate her arguments for Planned Parenthood services, it is foundational (presuppositional) that her great-grandparents didn’t use Planned Parenthood “services.”  Thus every time she speaks or utter any argument for Planned Parenthood “services” she actually presupposes otherwise since for her to even do so depends upon her Great-Grandparents not having such “services.”  Despite her public and passionate plea for Planned Parenthood, ironically not having and not utilizing Planned Parenthood “services” is the precondition for everything else in her life including the ability for her to engage in her life’s cause.

I suppose someone might ask, what does the application of this illustration looks like?

 POSSIBLE SCENARIO FOR EMPLOYING THIS ILLUSTRATION DURING APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM

<After employing Presuppositional apologetics in a conversation >

OPPONENT: I don’t get what you are trying to do.  What’s your point.

CHRISTIAN: I’m trying to show how your worldview is self-refuting and how you need to presuppose the Christian worldview to even justify the tools and argument that you are trying to use against it.  I suppose an illustration would be appropriate.  Did you hear about what Chelsea Clinton recently said in a forum discussion?

OPPONENT: No.

<Give illustration >

CHRISTIAN: What do you think if Clinton got her wish?

OPPONENT: (Laughs) She wouldn’t be here!

CHRISTIAN: True!  If I might add, every time she speaks or utter any argument for Planned Parenthood “services” she actually presupposes otherwise since for her to even do so depends upon her Great-Grandparents not having such “services.”  Despite her public and passionate plea for Planned Parenthood, ironically not having and not utilizing Planned Parenthood “services” is the precondition for everything else in her life including the ability for her to engage in her life’s cause.  In the same way, when you deny God as the ultimate source of your life it doesn’t add up when your ability, action and argument against Him require Him as the foundation for all of it to be intelligible, meaningful and significant.

GO TO PART 15

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Imagine powerhouse theologians Ligon Duncan, Sinclair Ferguson, Robert Godfrey, Stephen Nichols, Richard Pratt, and R.C.Sproul all in one place having a discussion about Christology today!  Now watch this video.

I appreciated the Presbyterian Church of America and Ligonier making this available!

(HT: Jeff Downs)

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did-JESUS-exist-book

For several months now I have discussed various problematic reasoning found in Bart Ehrman’s book, Did Jesus ExistMy last post focused on Bart Ehrman’s Scriptural argument against Jesus being God.  Lord willing in the not so distant future, I am planning on reading another of his book, God’s Problem and offer a Presuppositional (Van Tillian) critique of it.  Pray that I am able to do this in the midst of a busy schedule.

In today’s post I wanted to examine the reasoning behind Ehrman’s rejection of the historicity of Jesus’ so called Triumphant entry into Jerusalem during the last week of His life.

Bart Ehrman succinctly stated his case on page 293:

Conversely, the likelihood of Jesus entering into Jerusalem straddling two donkeys and with the crowd shouting out that he was the messiah is decreased by the circumstance that had such an event really happened (unlikely as it is on its own terms), Jesus would no doubt have been arrested by the authorities on the spot instead of a week later.” (293)

And with a bit more extended comment Ehrman stated earlier on page 202:

If it is true that the crowds were shouting that Jesus was the messiah now arriving in the holy city, why didn’t the authorities immediately take notice and have him arrested both for causing a disturbance and for claiming to be the Jewish king (when only Rome could appoint the king)?  Instead, according to Matthew and the other Gospels, Jesus spent an unmoltested week in Jerusalem and only then was arrested and put on trial.  But it defies belief that the Roman authorities who were in town precisely in order to prevent any mob actions or uprisings would have failed to intervene if the crowds shouted in acclamation for a new ruler arriving in town” (202).

Ehrman’s argument is essentially that he can’t believe it took a full week after Jesus entered into Jerusalem in a Messianic fashion (with it’s political implication) before He was finally arrested and put on trial.  His reasoning is not without it’s problem.  One can group them into two basic categories: Ehrman has not properly handle the Biblical data and also his conclusion does not necessarily follow from his reasoning in light of historical parallels.  We will look at the first set and save the second for our next installment.

I. PROBLEM WITH EHRMAN’S REASONING IN LIGHT OF THE BIBLICAL DATA

Problem 1:  Ehrman claimed that “according to Matthew and the other Gospels, Jesus spent an unmolested week in Jerusalem” (202).  But the week following his “Triumphant entry” was not a totally “unmolested week” for Jesus since the Jewish religious leaders were actively involved in opposing and harassing Him.  Ehrman’s claim about “Matthew and the other Gospels” portraying Jesus as having “an unmolested week in Jerusalem” is inaccurate:  Matthew 21:23-22:46, Mark 11:27-12:35, Luke 20:1-44 record intense debates as attempts by the religious establishment to stump Jesus and refute Him publicly.

Problem 2: Ehrman’s other argument against the historicity of Jesus’ “Triumphant” entry to Jerusalem is cast in the form of a rhetorical question: “why didn’t the authorities immediately take notice and have him arrested both for causing a disturbance and for claiming to be the Jewish king (when only Rome could appoint the king)” (202)?  Ehrman assumption here is that if the Triumphant entry took place, “Jesus would no doubt have been arrested by the authorities on the spot instead of a week later” (293).  But careful attention to the Gospels give two factors why it’s plausible for Jesus to survive from being apprehended immediately “on the spot.”  First, the authorities were held back by their fear of the multitudes following Jesus.  Though Luke 19:47 mentioned that they wanted to destroy Jesus, verse 48 states that “they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He said.”  This explains why the authorities didn’t directly apprehended Him, but instead chose a strategy of debating Him before the multitude in order to undermine the people’s esteem of Jesus.  Someone might ask, “Why didn’t the authorities secretly take him out?”  The second factor that makes it plausible why Jesus was able to stall instant arrest and covert apprehension was because before and after the “Triumphant” entry Jesus avoided staying in Jerusalem for the night.  Jesus stayed at Bethany instead, which according to John 11:18 was a town two miles away.  Prior to John’s account of the “Triumphant” entry (John 12:12-19), we read in John 11:57 of how “the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where He was, he was to report it, so that they might seize Him.”   The next verse goes on to say “Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.”  Jesus must have known about the religious authorities’ scheme since the Greek word for “therefore” is ουν that functions to indicate the consequences of the authorities’ scheme.  Both Mark 11:11 and Matthew 21:10-17 indicate that after the “Triumphant” entry, Jesus did not stay in Jerusalem but went to Bethany for the night.

Problem 3: Whether it took a week, a day, an hour or a minute for Jesus to be arrested after His “Triumphant” entrance into Jerusalem seem rather nit-picking and a superficial argument against the historicity of the “Triumphant” entry.  In the end, Ehrman himself agrees that Jesus was arrested by the Jewish and Roman authorities.

Problem 4: Ehrman seems to have things backwards: Rather than see Jesus’ arrest a week later as a disproof of the historicity of the “Triumphant” entry, wouldn’t it be better to see that the reason why Jesus was arrested at all was because the authorities suddenly experienced a rude awakening in the form of some public event in which someone claimed to be the Messiah and had a significant popular support?  The historicity of Jesus’ “Triumphant” entry into Jeruslaem would have the better explanatory power than the denial of it.

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Transgender matthew 18
From the news this morning I read this on BBC:

A Colorado primary school discriminated against a six-year-old transgender girl by barring her from using the girls’ toilets, a civil rights panel has said.
The panel in the US state of Colorado said Coy Mathis’ school ignored her gender identity and created an environment “rife with harassment”.
Her family had removed her from the school in response.
The case comes as schools and governments across the US grapple with the emergence of transgender people

I wondered how this boy was diagnosed as being a “girl” and another news article said

The Mathises said Coy, a triplet, showed an early preference for things associated with girls.
At 5 months, she took a pink blanket meant for her sister Lily. Later, she showed little interest in toy cars and boy clothes with pictures of sports, monsters and dinosaurs on them. She refused to leave the house if she had to wear boy clothes.

Seriously?

This makes me remember the Words of Jesus in Matthew 18:6

but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea

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GO TO PART 12

marine gas mask

Point: Defense of the faith ultimately comes down to the issue of worldview.  One way of looking at worldview is to see it as a web of beliefs that are the least negotiable and remain foundational for other beliefs; that is, it’s one’s ultimate commitment and still some see it as the inter-relationship of one’s view of metaphysics/physics, epistemology and ethics.  Basically it’s one view of everything.  For the purpose of this illustration, think of one’s worldview as a METANARRATIVE, that is, THE one story that all other stories and everything that exists get their meaning, significance and intelligibility from.  An important part of discussing worldview apologetics is the issue of authority and often today when one reject God’s authority as revealed in His Word, they end up subscribing to a view that man is the measure of all thing; that is, to use the popular handle, they subscribe to “humanism” in believing that man is the source and standard setter of truth, values, meaning and morality.  Any man-centered worldview is folly if the God of the Bible exists.  How can we illustrate the folly of a man-centered meta-narrative?

Picture/Illustration: Several years ago I was able to participate in a short war film by a director I knew.  I was an extra.  As a Marine, I was happy to play the role (though my character was not a Marine).  I even got to fire a weapon that I really liked!  We slept the night with all these other guys, woke up early the next morning to get ready with our costumes and make up (I put on my own cammie paint).  Filming took a very long time for just one scene of the movie.  I had 2 short lines if I remember correctly.  We were in a fighting hole, some tanks advanced upon us and the main character and I was suppose to get out of it.  I was suppose to be one of the soldiers that got killed.  A stunt coordinator kept on having me fall again and again.  It was painful and after a while I couldn’t fall the way he wanted me to fall.  If I didn’t know any better I would have thought that the guy was out for the fall of many and rise of our main star!

red carpet

Some time later the short was completed and it was screened in Hollywood Blvd.  I was excited.  This was my debut as an extra!  When I watch the film for the first time I was in for a surprise:  I couldn’t see myself anywhere in the movie!  I watched it several more time before I finally found a blur of uniform that I can point to and say that was me but nothing that others could verify.  Later I did find my face–I was the soldier killed which the camera zoomed in my face for not even a second!  It went so fast that only with the help of a freezed screen could I identify myself!

POSSIBLE SCENARIO FOR EMPLOYING THIS ILLUSTRATION DURING APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM

CHRISTIAN: For you, what is your ultimate authority?  Or alternatively, what is your basis for truth, value or morality?

<You might have to asks some more questions to get to the bottom of what the NON CHRISTIAN’s Worldview/Metanarrative is >

OPPONENT: Basically, I think it’s we as humans who decide.  It’s all up to each individual’s choice of the matter.

CHRISTIAN: So you believe that values and morality and the explanation of them boils down to subjectivity?

OPPONENT: Yes.

<Refute Subjectivism/Relativism>

CHRISTIAN: Now, I have just stepped into your worldview to show it’s utter folly and inconsistencies.  May I also illustrate with a story why this is also folly when one consider the meta-narrative of the Christian Worldview?

<Insert Illusration>

CHRISTIAN: Which brings up a question that I wish for you to ponder:  What would you say if an extra such as myself were to go up to the star and the director and say that it’s not fair, my role is too small?  Or how about if I complain that the film should revolve around me and what I want to do?

OPPONENT: (Laughs).  That would not be your place; you are just an extra.

CHRISTIAN: Exactly!   You know if I watched the film thinking it’s about me, it would obviously color the way I see things: I would not be able to enjoy the film, the director’s crafting of the movie and the actor’s ability and the storyline.  You know, when I finally watched the movie without the primary goal of looking for my extra role I realized that the story of the film had a good story line.  I enjoyed it!  Then after seeing the big picture of the narrative, I become thankful that I was able to play a small part in telling this story of the brave service members who risked and lost their lives during war.  In the same way, you and I ought to know that we are extras who need to see the bigger picture of God’s Script and understand it’s not about us but instead the main character in God’s drama is Jesus Christ.  Then we would see the folly of trying to impose ourselves to interfere with God the Father and Christ; instead we will live out our roles in light of the Metanarrative of Jesus Christ and what God our “Director” wants.  To demand humanism is to commit the sin of ranked arrogance and not knowing you are but an extra!  We need to repent of our sins of thinking we are more important than we are, trust in the Christ of the metanarative of CREATION-FALL-REDEMPTION who came to save sinner by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone!

GO TO PART 14

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design_thinking_lights on

Round up from June 15th-21st.

1.) Real Reality: A Problem for Atheism

2.) Critical Thinking 101 With Robert Batly

3.) Bruggencate, Sye Ten – How To Answer The Fool:A Presuppositional Defense of the Faith

4.) Atheist Monument

5.) Gene Cook Audios: Presuppositional apologetics series based on Bahnsen’s Always Ready

6.) Review: How to Answer the Fool

7.) The Entire Creation Testifies of God

8.) The Nature of Reason

9.) Covenant Apologetics Proposal

10.) Relativists and Universal Human Rights

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