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Archive for January, 2015

question mark

Over on Facebook a question was asked:

How would you respond to an atheist who said that he presupposes the laws of logic as descriptions of reality? Consequently, it’s not that they have any justification, they are just part of the way things are. Is there a contradiction in such a view?

Here’s my take:

There might not be an obvious contradiction at the surface level of the atheist statement but I do think his claim faces tension with other beliefs he might hold.

1.) I think I would begin by saying that in agreement with him I too presuppose that the laws of logic are “descriptions of reality” but I would press him on how is it that he as a finite being cannot know that without a revelational epistemology (one which situate properly basic beliefs and intuition in the context of General and Special revelation).  Can he say the laws of logic are “descriptions of reality” and claim that “they are just part of the way things are” if he hasn’t experienced all of reality?

Finite Infinite problem

 

2.) We must be acutely aware of the naturalistic fallacy of confusing “is” with “ought.”  In order for the laws of logic to be functional it is not enough to presuppose that the laws of logic are descriptive.  I think I would also press him to see if he thinks the laws of logic are “merely” descriptive.  There is also a prescriptive aspect to the laws of logic governing our thoughts; for example, when someone gives a logically sound argument with true premises that individual is saying to himself and others that they are obligated to accept the conclusion.  We must not make the fallacious jump from “is” to “ought.”

3.) I am not going to rehearse the whole discussion here but in light of my second point I would also also say that the standard Presuppositional arguments apply here concerning the problem of norms being unintelligible and meaningless in a non-Christian worldview given that the nature of the laws of logic is also prescriptive.

4.) I’m sometimes amazed at how much an atheist can sound like a Van Tillian when he asserts that the laws of logic are descriptions of reality.  When pressed often the answer I hear is that they say we need the laws of logic because it just is the case and that without the laws of logic nothing else makes sense.  The argument here is Transcendental in nature, just like the Transcendental Argument the Presuppositionalist use.  My observation here is that an atheist in this scenario doesn’t reject the form of the Transcendental argument a Christian use since they employ it themselves.  If they reject TAG the very arguments can be used as a self-defeater to those who claim he can just presupposes the laws of logic as descriptions of reality.  But we are not left with two equally plausible alternative between God and atheism after the two Transcendental arguments have been given; we must remember the problems described in point one through three that is stacked against an atheism that presupposes the laws of logic as descriptions of reality.

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Fearless

 Eric Blehm.  Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown. Chrstianaudio.com, 2012.  10 hours and 19 minutes.

There have been a myriad of books under the category of biographies.  Biographies are great.  They are educational.  You get educated about the life of the person.  Disclosing their life requires that one enters into an excursion.  I remember Charles Spurgeon mentioning from his book, Lectures to My Students, in the section: “To Workers with Slender Apparatus,” that you can learn much by reading from others; especially experienced saints.  Spurgeon’s wisdom rings true.  This book grabs your heart. Unlike most war biographies on Navy Seals, whereby BUD/S is one of the main scenes in the early stages of the book, this book does not do that; rather the pendulum swings the other direction by taking you into a panoramic picture of Adam Brown.

This biographical work documents Brown who is from Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Hot Springs, Arkansas is where Brown spent most of his life.  A life that spans his successes and failures as a young boy and man.  A life that portrays his descent into drugs and his remarkable climb into not only the Navy SEALs, but the most elite of the SEALs: DEVGRU (aka SEAL Team 6).  Joining the SEALs was not a childhood dream for Brown, but it would be a crucible that would forge him into a better man.  He was sick and tired of his drug addiction.  He needed a challenge that would help him purge out the dirt in his life.  And joining the SEALs would be one instrument in this journey.

This biographical work documents the grace of God in Brown’s life.  Fearless reveals the importance of God in His life.  God conquered his heart.  Brown had this void in His life.  As a result, he turned to drugs.  But want he really needed was a supernatural power that would quench his thirst.  He needed the Living Water.  Christ was important to him.  Christ patched his life together.  He made him a whole person because He found forgiveness in Christ.  In Christ, and via His grace, Brown became a better husband, father, and SEAL. As a man devoted to Christ, He lived the Gospel both in word and in deed.  That is verified by those around him.  His life impacted many.

This biographical work reveals the fearless characteristics in many ways.  You see it with his fight against drug addiction and his climb to being in the most elite fighting force in the world.  You see it will his physical protection of his family and SEAL brothers. Brown’s last fearlessness was seen in Komar Province of Afghanistan in March 17, 2010.  In that foreign land, he faced evil by going into the heart of it.  He placed himself in the line of fire in order to protect other members of his unit so they can live. Tragically, Brown lost his life.  He died a hero.  He showed the warrior spirit.  He laid down his life for others.  Even though he injured his dominant hand and suffered a injury to one of his eyes that caused blindness he still made it through SEAL sniper school and became one of the most elite operators

This biographical work reveals how one’s sanctification is tested.  Although Brown was no longer enslaved to cocaine as demonstrated in the past, there were a few times where he relapsed.  It took the help of others like his wife and friends and the power of God to wake him up from his dismal fall into relapse.  He made war against sin.  He revealed his identification in Christ by taking sanctification seriously.  Brown wanted others to see not only the bright side of his life, but also his dark side.  His life is like a sparkling diamond that is placed in the middle upon a black velvet.  His life shines brightly when seen against the backdrop of his sin.  It is where you see the hand of God, the grace of God, moving in his life for His glory.

I encourage you to check out this biography because Fearless is sobering, emotional, inspirational, and honest concerning this Christian, husband, father, and Navy SEAL Chief.

This audiobook also has a bonus interview section.

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james white south africa debate

Did the Earliest Followers of Jesus Believe in His Deity?  Christian apologist James White debates Muslim apologist Shabir Ally concerning this question at University of Pretoria, South Africa.  The debate took place on October 8, 2013 but has just been loaded up online two days ago.

Enjoy!

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Ministry Charles Brown

Charles J. Brown.  The Ministry: Address to Students of Divinity.
Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2006. 112 pp.

I started reading this book during a break in ministry as a devotional to refresh my soul. I had this book for a few years now and I thought I finally get around to reading it.  It turns out that the book really ministered to my heart and I was glad I read it.

The book has a biographical introduction to the author Charles Brown that was written by the biographer Iain Murray of Banner of Truth. I found the biographical sketch helpful since I didn’t know anything about the author before I read the book and learning a little more about this largely forgotten nineteenth century Scottish preacher prepared me to want to read the rest of the book in order to learn more from a great man of God and faithful minister of four decades. The book was an adaptation of several addresses that Charles Brown delivered for the Free Church of Scotland with attention towards ministers and seminarians.  The first chapter argues for the connection between Godliness and Christian ministry, the second on public prayer, the third on preaching and the fourth on elements of pulpit power.  There is an appendix that ought to be a chapter in of itself on various other aspect of pastoral ministry followed by one of Brown’s sermon that is a great example of Gospel driven preaching.

The book is short and is a plus in many ways: first it is the perfect size for a pastor’s devotional. Secondly, the author is concise and to the point.  Thirdly, its spiritual impact is greater than its size; in reviewing this book I was pleasantly surprised how much of the book I highlighted that fed my soul. The following are some of the valuable gems in the book:

  • Reverend Brown is a man of deep prayers. For instance, he devotes a while chapter to public corporate prayer. I appreciate his practical and pastoral reasons for short public prayers.  He doesn’t merely give a pragmatic argument but argues for the benefit of the spiritual well being of the congregation.  Even when he talks about sermon preparation and visitation he talks about the importance of prayers.
  • Brown presented an excellent two point argument for the importance of godliness in the ministry but he doesn’t just leave the readers there; he had some helpful practical hints to strive for personal holiness such as reading more works that are more personal and experimental in character.  I love also seeing Brown’s recommendations, which are all Christian classics and one that stood out to me is his recommendation to read Rutherford’s Letter’s since I didn’t know it had such an effect on Brown.  I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for Rutherford’s work, which previously I have known about only as the man who wrote Lex Rex.
  • I love his illustration of the Word of God being like a gem, arrow and bait in that it is what the minister must master if they are going to preach evangelistically and powerfully.
  • Brown is against manuscripting a sermon; he argues that one should have an outline instead in order to ensure that one is able to look at the eyes of people and to ensure what Brown quoted from John Livingstone as saying “I was more helped in my preaching by the thirsty eyes of the people than anything else.”  Livingstone’s quote must have made a profound impact on Brown since he quoted him twice in the book.
  • I have always felt that as a preacher I should spend more time and effort preparing a conclusion well than the introduction given that it’s important to “land” the sermon properly and to drive home to the hearers a call to respond.  It is wonderful to see a successful preacher with forty one years of experience affirming my conclusion.
  • Brown did share his one regret in ministry was that he wished he got to ministered to the younger members more.  A lesson well taken.

I definitely recommend this book for pastors young and old to read.  I also recommend this for lay people to get this as a gift for their pastors.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

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Master College Evangelism SocietyOver at The Master’s College they have a campus club called Evangelism Society.  According to their own description of themselves online:

The Evangelism Society is one of many societies at The Master’s College and consists of students who seek to grow in their understanding of the gospel, apologetics, and evangelism by holding fast to the inerrant Word of God and obeying, by His grace.

Last week they have begun loading some short videos on Youtube concerning motives for evangelism and Presuppositional apologetics.  Here are the two videos below:

Enjoy!

 

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john frame

How should we understand the concept of God’s presence? Isn’t there a dilemma of God bring non-physical and yet is described as all present?
John Frame has a good paragraph:

(more…)

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G3-2015

The G3 Conference from this year is already up!  Here are the videos:

Session #1: Josh Buice

Session #2: Tim Challies

Session #3: James White

Session #4: Richard Owen Roberts

Session #5: Voddie Baucham

Session #6: Paul Washer

Session #7: James White

Session #8: H. B. Charles Jr.

Q&A Panel Discussion

Session #9: Richard Owen Roberts

Session #10: Voddie Baucham

Session #11: Steven Lawson

Session #12: David Miller

Session #13: Paul Washer

Session #14: Steven Lawson

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