From Apologetics 315.
Looking to get apologetics into your church? (There’s a podcast about that.) To get started sometimes all it takes is an idea and the vision to make something happen, even if it is small. In Jonathan Morrow’s book Think Christianly (interview here) he lists 21 ways for your church to engage at the intersection of faith and culture. Are you ready to look at just seven of them and think about how you might be able to incorporate them into your own church?
Here are the first two to wet your whistle:
- Briefly mention current events relevant to faith and culture and include a reference to an article or blog for further exploration.
- Sponsor a debate on the existence of God. Consider partnering with another church to sponsor a live event, or you can show a recent one on a DVD. This will provide opportunities for conversations to occur.
I left this comment on the post:
I like #1! Wooohooo! I have long trumpeted the value of linking what goes on in church with the real world. Not just apologetics and evidence, but current events.
Here is a story showing how linking math to current events interests young people in math.
“When families chat about societal issues, they often create simple mathematical models of the events,” says Ming Ming Chiu, a professor of learning and instruction at UB’s Graduate School of Education with extensive experience studying how children from different cultures and countries learn. “Unlike casual chats, these chats about societal issues can both show the real-life value of mathematics to motivate students and improve their number sense.”
The findings, published in the current issue of Social Forces, an international journal of sociology, was the first international study on how conversations among family members affect students’ mathematical aptitude and performance in school. Chiu’s findings were based on data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; its Program for International Student Assessment collected almost 110,000 science test scores and questionnaires from 15-year-olds from 41 countries, including 3,846 from the U.S.
If it works for math, it should work for Christianity, too. I think so.
That’s one of the reasons why I cover current events relevant to Christianity.
I think that sponsoring Brian Auten would also be a good way to have an impact. He does great work posting all those debates, apologist interviews, lectures and book reviews. I’m sure that he could use the support!
For beginning apologists, I wanted to recommend a series of 3 books designed to give you coverage of most of the issues. Each book is a collection of short chapters designed to introduce you to the various areas that are likely to come up in disputes.
Here they are:
- “The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel
- “Passionate Conviction” edited by William Lane Craig and Paul Copan
- “Contending with Christianity’s Critics” edited by William Lane Craig and Paul Copan
I just wanted to show you the table of contents so that you could get an idea about what you might learn by reading through these books.
The Case for a Creator
Here is the table of contents. (Watch the book’s DVD on YouTube)
- White-Coated Scientists Versus Black-Robed Preachers
- The Images of Evolution
- Doubts About Darwinism: An Interview with Jonathan Wells
- Where Science Meets Faith: An interview with Stephen C. Meyer
- The Evidence of Cosmology: Beginning with a Bang; An interview with William Lane Craig
- The Evidence of Physics: the Cosmos on a Razor’s Edge; An interview with Robin Collins
- The Evidence of Astronomy: The Privileged Planet; An interview with Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Wesley Richards
- The Evidence of Biochemistry: The Complexity of Molecular Machines; An Interview with Michael J. Behe
- The Evidence of Biological Information: The Challenge of DNA and the Origin of Life; An Interview with Stephen C. Meyer
- The Evidence of Consciousness: The Enigma of the Mind; An Interview with J.P. Moreland
- The Cumulative Case for a Creator
Here is the table of contents. (Sample chapter in a PDF)
PART 1 WHY APOLOGETICS?
- In Intellectual Neutral by William Lane Craig
- Living Smart by J. P. Moreland
PART 2 GOD
- Why Doesn’t God Make His Existence More Obvious to Us? by Michael J. Murray
- Two Versions of the Cosmological Argument by R. Douglas Geivett
- The Contemporary Argument for Design: An Overview by Jay W. Richards
- A Moral Argument by Paul Copan
PART 3 JESUS
- Revisionist Views about Jesus by Charles L. Quarks
- What Do We Know for Sure about Jesus’ Death? by Craig A. Evans
- Jesus’ Resurrection and Christian Origins by N. T. Wright
PART 4 COMPARATIVE RELIGIONS
- Christianity in a World of Religions by Craig J. Hazen
- The East Comes West (or Why Jesus instead of the Buddha?) by Harold Netland
- Christ in the New Age by L. Russ Bush
- Islam and Christianity by Emir Fethi Caner
PART 5 POSTMODERNISM AND RELATIVISM
- The Challenges of Postmodernism by J. P. Moreland
- Is Morality Relative? by Francis J. Beckwith
- Reflections on McLaren and the Emerging Church by R. Scott Smith
PART 6 PRACTICAL APPLICATION
- Dealing with Emotional Doubt by Gary R. Habermas
- Apologetics for an Emerging Generation by Sean McDowell
Contending with Christainity’s Critics
Here is the table of contents. (Sample chapter in a PDF)
PART 1 THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
- Dawkins’s Delusion by William Lane Craig
- At Home in the Multiverse? by James Daniel Sinclair
- Confronting Naturalism: The Argument from Reason by Victor Reppert
- Belief in God: A Trick of Our Brain? by Michael J. Murray
- The Moral Poverty of Evolutionary Naturalism by Mark D. Linville
- Dawkins’s Best Argument Against God’s Existence by Gregory E. Ganssle
PART 2 THE JESUS OF HISTORY
- Criteria for the Gospels’ Authenticity by Robert H. Stein
- Jesus the Seer by Ben Witherington III
- The Resurrection of Jesus Time Line by Gary R. Habermas
- How Scholars Fabricate Jesus by Craig A. Evans
- How Badly Did the Early Scribes Corrupt the New Testament? An Examination of Bart Ehrman’s Claims by Daniel B. Wallace
- Who Did Jesus Think He Was? by Michael J. Wilkins
PART 3 THE COHERENCE OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE
- The Coherence of Theism by Charles Taliaferro and Elsa J. Marty
- Is the Trinity a Logical Blunder? God as Three and One by Paul Copan
- Did God Become a Jew? A Defense of the Incarnation by Paul Copan
- Dostoyevsky, Woody Allen, and the Doctrine of Penal Substitution by Steve L. Porter
- Hell: Getting What’s Good My Own Way by Stewart Goetz
- What Does God Know? The Problems of Open Theism by David P. Hunt
Before you can mount a detailed defense on any of these questions, it helps to be able to recognize them all!
By the way, you can get a head start on the first one if you just connect to YouTube and watch the movies “Unlocking the Mystery of Life” and “The Privileged Planet”.