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Archive for November, 2013

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.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

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).

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

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.

Purchase: Amazon

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.”

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

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.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

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Persuasions A Dream of Reason Meeting Unbelief Wilson

Purchase: Amazon

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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Happy Thanksgiving bible

 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

We are Thankful to God for many things–Salvation, a great Savior Jesus, the Church and His Election.

Among them include the privilege of blogging and all of you who have visited our blog and shared with us your life and doctrine!

Two posts on Thanksgiving devotionals worth by two of our friends that are worth sharing:

THANKSGIVING: Thank God for the Appointing of the Redeemer and His Gracious Condescension

30 Days Of Thankfulness Series Links…

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Sir Nicholas Winton holocaust survivors

The last few days there has been a lot of internet buzz on Sir Nicholas Winton who helped saved 650 Jewish children from the Nazis during World War two.  A Youtube clip of a 1988 British TV program reuniting him with the kids he rescued went viral.

This was People’s Magazine’s account of the story:

Sir Nicholas Winton is one of the lesser-known figures of World War II. He organized the rescue of over 650 children (mostly Jewish Czechoslovakians) in an operation called the Czech Kindertransport.

The children were destined for the Nazi death camps, and Winton was instrumental in getting them safe passage to Britain.

After the war was over, Winton didn’t brag about his exploits. In fact, he didn’t tell a soul for half a century, not even his wife Grete. Then, in 1988, Grete found a scrapbook dating to 1939 in their attic.

It held all the children’s photos, a list of their names, letters from some of their parents, and other documents. It was the first time she’d learned of her husband’s story.

Later that year, the BBC program That’s Life aired a reunion between Winton and the children – obviously now grown adults – he rescued. Winton was surprised when one of the children he rescued was revealed to be seated beside him, so imagine how he felt when the show’s host asked if there were any other people he’d helped to save in the audience and two dozen others stood and applauded.

Here is the emotional video:

This also got me thinking.  It made me think about the Christian life and the task of witnessing in the perspective of eternity.  While God is the one who does the saving at times the Apostle Paul use language to describe his human responsibility of evangelism as acts of saving others.  For instance, 1 Corinthians 9:22 states, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.” (see also Philemon 19 about Philemon “owing” his life to Paul).

I wonder if in heaven we will meet those whom the Lord has used us as imperfect vessels to share the Gospel with.  Think of the people you have given a tract to, someone who was a stranger whom you got to witness many years ago that you might have forgotten.  A co-worker whom you planted seed who has moved on and you no longer have contacts with who later came to a saving knowledge of Him.  God does not owe us anything to show us fruits now (though sometimes he does) nor do we really deserve any merit of justification before God with our obedience and hence we shouldn’t have an elevated view of our witnessing.  But to imagine…one day meeting those whom the Lord saved and He has used you through it.

That’s quite eye watering.  This is one thing I can’t wait for heaven–to see the testimonies of how He used His people.

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Pushing the Antithesis

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

I must say that I am happy to see what seems to be an increase of books published on Presuppositional apologetics over the last few years, though one might ask which one among them would be the best introductory text.  In my opinion I believe this work serves as the best textbook if you are just getting your feet wet through Presuppositional apologetics or are involved in mentoring someone new to biblical worldview apologetics.  I also believe that this work is a lot more systematize than Greg Bahnsen’s more better known Always Ready.  The late Bahnsen was a student of Cornelius Van Til, the father of Presuppositional apologetics.  As with most of Greg Bahnsen’s apologetics work, this was put together after his death by his followers.  Gary DeMar based the book upon a series of lecture Bahnsen delivered to some college students.  DeMar does a good job in the book having great discussion questions after the end of each chapter that is helpful for discipleship.  I appreciate how the answers to the questions are also given in the end of the book.  For my apologetics’ discipleship program I find this feature helpful as a sort of “catechism” review after one is finish with the book.  It is not an easy task to teach Presuppositional apologetics or to think about worldviews for that manner and this book did a good job slowly building up to the Presuppositionalist’s argumentation.  Each chapter features also an exegetical observation section which I find to be important if we are saying our apologetics methodology does have some Scriptural support.  Each chapter also offer further resources for deeper study with some being books and others being articles available on the internet.  I appreciate the quotations of atheists, philosophers and nonbelievers throughout the book making the point that a consistent atheistic or unbelieving worldview often lead to despair and irrationality.  I know that some have faulted Greg Bahnsen for not emphasizing the Trinity in his presentation of Presuppositional apologetics such as in his incredible work, Van Til’s apologetics.  But here in this volume Bahnsen definitely developed more his presentation on the Trinity as the solution to the classic philosophical problem of the One and the Many.  If I have any major criticism of this book it would have to be Gary DeMar’s sources on several occasion comes from Wikipedia perhaps too often than I’m comfortable with.

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GO TO PART 19

burntsafe1

Point: Presuppositional apologetics make a point that to attack Christianity ends up being self-destructive to one’s worldview, making things unintelligble and meaningless.

Picture: Here is a news story that illustrate how

HOPKINTON, N.H. —Two men were killed in an explosion Tuesday in Hopkinton when they used a torch to open a safe full of fireworks, police said.

Police said Lucas Bourke, 21, of Allenstown, and Ethan Keeler, 21, of Epsom, were killed in the explosion in a detached workshop at New Yard Landscaping on Farrington Corner Road in Hopkinton.

Watch report

Investigators said the men were using an oxy-acetylene cutting torch to try to get into a safe that contained fireworks. That led to the explosion and the men’s deaths, police said.

Police said they believe the two were at the workshop to carry out a burglary.

Investigators said the attempt to cut open the 4-foot-high, concrete-lined safe ignited the fireworks. The safe was blown through the building, landing outside — proof of how powerful the blast was.

“Fireworks are made of pyrotechnic material, which burns very fast,” said Deputy Chief Robert Farley of the state Fire Marshal’s Office. “Any time you have pyrotechnics sealed in a container, when it burns, it creates very high pressure that burns very rapidly, and that’s what caused the explosion.”

Both men had recent brushes with the law, police said. Keeler was recently arrested on a felony charge of receiving stolen property.

Read more: http://www.wcvb.com/news/local/men-killed-in-hopkinton-explosion-after-torch-ignites-fireworks-in-safe/-/9848876/22365438/-/pmgoqoz/-/index.html#ixzz2lggF6Nsa

Of course all analogies break down somewhere, and of course this does not imply attacking the God of the Bible result in an actual destruction of the truth of God.

POSSIBLE SCENARIO FOR EMPLOYING THIS ILLUSTRATION DURING APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM

OPPONENT: I have a moral objection to Christianity <Insert moral argument>

CHRISTIAN: Interesting, I see a greater dilemma in that I’m not sure you have the basis for a moral standard to object to Christianity to begin with.  What is the basis for determining what’s wrong and right in your worldview?

OPPONENT: <Insert moral basis other than God>

CHRISTIAN: <Insert Presuppositional argument>

OPPONENT: I don’t get what you are trying to do.

CHRISTIAN: What I’m trying to do is establish how your case against Christianity with your worldview end up being more self-destructive to your position than you realized.  It’s like this instance I heard recently from the news of two men trying to destroy a safe filled with fire crackers <Insert illustration>

 

GO TO PART 21

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Now for something a little different…In N Out Burger

Purchase: Amazon

This book was so good it made me go to In N Out and order a Double Double twice, while I was reading through it. There is no doubt that In N Out is one of California’s and now America’s most popular family owned burger chain that’s not franchised. Known for their old fashioned, simple and good quality food, In N Out is also known for their secret menus and references to Bible verses underneath their cups and wrappers. This book does a good job capturing the history of In N Out from it’s origin in Baldwin Park, to capturing details of the family behind the chain who tries to retain a lot of privacy, and the book even covered recent controversial history of executive infighting.

So what can Christians learn from this book about the business of In N Out Burger?

  • It was In N Out’s second generation owner Rich Snyder, the second and youngest son of Harry Snyder (the original founder) that was strongly Christian and put the Bible references in In N Out’s packaging. One shouldn’t be shy of their faith and Rich was not ashamed of the Gospel.
  • Success doesn’t always mean following what everyone else is doing, since much of In N Out business strategy goes against the rest of the industry of fast food chains. Ironically, this is what makes In N Out so popular.
  • In N Out demonstrate the truth of a Christian principle in business: It might seem paradoxical but there is some truth that if one is driven to take care of the customers and employees, the business ends up making a profit.
  • There is no substitute for quality if one wants to be successful. In N Out at the very beginning was acquiring the best meat, and everything made to precision with no compromise. It might be more costly but it brings in more business with their reputation of quality.
  • In N Out not only took care of its customers and employees, but they even paid good money above the industry’s typical costs to their suppliers as well. Taking care of their suppliers paid off during an unfortunate event in In N Out’s history, when their one and only distribution center at Baldwin Park was burned down, and fear arose as to the future of In N Out. The suppliers took the unusual step of going out of the way of delivering their good direct to each and every restaurant at the time, for a period of two years. What a lesson one can learn from this.
  • Harry Snyder has a non-jealous understanding of his competitors, seeing them as friends rather than enemies. Harry and his wife were even long time friends with the founders of Carl’s Jr., who themselves has the same understanding that competitors often made one’s business better due to competition rather than see rivals as enemies to hate.
  • Although most people today think it was Wendy’s Burger that first invented the the drive thru “talkies,” the book argues that it was really Harry Snyder, the founder of In N Out, who was the first to invent the drive thru “talkies” in the 1940s, over two decades before Wendy’s first drive thru. One should not be afraid to try something different from one’s competitor.
  • Harry’s innovation is also tampered with the idea that if something is not broken, then one must not try to fix it. As a result of knowing what “works,” In N Out is famous for their fierce resistance to change, such as changing or adding items to the menu. In contrast to this, one sees how franchise fast food’s multiple menu options don’t always translate into success, and can be a liability business wise.
  • Rich died young (age 41) and even before his death he always thought and spoke about how he could pass away. One sees a man with the understanding of the epistle of James that we don’t know about tomorrow.
  • Rich attended Calvary chapel and his funeral brought thousands of people who remembered him and his company.
  • The company has gone through a legal battle between an in-law, a long time company employee and the heiress of In and Out. There is an echo of Ecclesiastes 2:21 here: “When there is a man who has labored with wisdom, knowledge and skill, then he gives his [a]legacy to one who has not labored with them. This too is vanity and a great evil.”

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