Tag Archives: Speaking

Frank Turek interviews William Lane Craig about Christian apologetics and debate

This interview is getting good reviews on Facebook. I would say it is a must-see, because it will change your view of what we should be emphasizing as Christians. Please watch the lecture and then mail this post to all of your friends – we need to be challenged by this man William Lane Craig.

(H/T BirdieUpon)

This interview occured after William Lane Craig’s debate tour of the UK, and they talk a lot about it. I think the lesson for us is that apologetics is the best evangelistic tool that Christians have, and people really do show up by the thousands to see these debates. Maybe we should do more of them? And maybe we should be encouraging young people to follow Craig’s path and become solid philosophers and debaters? And are we going to take seriously the duty to sponsor events like this? We have to ask ourselves these tough questions, and be practical and effective about defending God’s honor when it’s called into question. Having a relationship with God is not just about us getting what we want. There are things that we need to be doing to hold up our end of the relationship. Hard things. Self-sacrificial things. Things that we may not like at all. Things that work.

In Intellectual Neutral

Here’s an article that I think might be appropriate for this interview.

Excerpt:

You may see, perhaps for the first time in your life, that here is a need in your life and as a result resolve to become intellectually engaged as a Christian. This is a momentous decision. It is a step that is desperately needed in the lives of millions of American Christians today. No one has issued the challenge to become intellectually engaged more forcefully than did Charles Malik, in his inaugural address at the dedication of the Billy Graham Center on this campus. He emphasized that we as Christians face two tasks in our evangelism: saving the soul and saving the mind, that is to say, not only converting people spiritually, but converting them intellectually as well. And the Church, he said, is lagging dangerously behind with regard to this second task. Listen to what he says:

I must be frank with you: the greatest danger confronting American evangelical Christianity is the danger of anti-intellectualism. The mind in its greatest and deepest reaches is not cared for enough. But intellectual nurture cannot take place apart from profound immersion for a period of years in the history of thought and the spirit. People who are in a hurry to get out of the university and start earning money or serving the church or preaching the gospel have no idea of the infinite value of spending years of leisure conversing with the greatest minds and souls of the past, ripening and sharpening and enlarging their powers of thinking. The result is that the arena of creative thinking is vacated and abdicated to the enemy. Who among evangelicals can stand up to the great secular scholars on their own terms of scholarship? Who among evangelical scholars is quoted as a normative source by the greatest secular authorities on history or philosophy or psychology or sociology or politics? Does the evangelical mode of thinking have the slightest chance of becoming the dominant mode in the great universities of Europe and America that stamp our entire civilization with their spirit and ideas? For the sake of greater effectiveness in witnessing to Jesus Christ, as well as for their own sakes, evangelicals cannot afford to keep on living on the periphery of responsible intellectual existence.

These words hit like a hammer. Evangelicals really have been living on the periphery of responsible intellectual existence. The average Christian doesn’t realize that there is an intellectual war going on in the universities and the professional journals and the scholarly societies. Christianity is being attacked from all sides as irrational or bigoted, and millions of students, our future generation of leaders, have absorbed this viewpoint.

This is a war which we cannot afford to lose. As J. Gresham Machen warned in his article, “Christianity and Culture” in the Princeton Theological Review of 1913, on the even of the Fundamentalist Controversy, if we lose this intellectual war, then our evangelism will be immeasurably more difficult in the next generation. He wrote,

False ideas are the greatest obstacles to the reception of the gospel. We may preach with all the fervor of a reformer and yet succeed only in winning a straggler here and there, if we permit the whole collective thought of the nation to be controlled by ideas which prevent Christianity from being regarded as anything more than a harmless delusion. Under such circumstances, what God desires us to do is to destroy the obstacle at its root.

You can get the video and audio from a later version of this talk from Apologetics 315. I was present in the Wheaton College chapel when he gave the talk I excerpted above. It was moving.

We need a three part approach. We need to be intellectually engaged ourselves. We need to be intentional about marrying well and raising up young people who are intellectually engaged. And we need to study hard subjects so we can be good earners, and support the right kinds of operations. We can’t just do whatever makes us feel good, willy-nilly, and then hope that things will work out – we have to work at this.

What is the meaning and significance of the holiday of Pentecost?

From Patheos, an article by New Testament scholar and pastor Mark D. Roberts.

Introduction:

For Christians, Pentecost is a holiday on which we commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the early followers of Jesus. Before the events of the first Pentecost, which came a few weeks after Jesus’ death and resurrection, there were followers of Jesus, but no movement that could be meaningfully called “the church.” Thus, from an historical point of view, Pentecost is the day on which the church was started. This is also true from a spiritual perspective, since the Spirit brings the church into existence and enlivens it. Thus Pentecost is the church’s birthday.

I’m guessing most of you know the story of what happens. Peter preaches on who Jesus was, and the meaning of his bodily resurrection – and a whole lot of people believe him and become Christians.

Here are the topics that Roberts mentions in the article:

  1. The Presence and Power of the Spirit
  2. The Central Role of the Church in God’s Work in the World
  3. The Multilingual Nature and Mission of the Church
  4. The Inclusive Ministry of the Church

I wanted to excerpt the part of the article where Dr. Roberts explains a part that I think is important.

Excerpt:

3. The Multilingual Nature and Mission of the Church

On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit empowered believers in Jesus to praise God in many languages that they had not learned in the ordinary manner (Acts 2:5-13). Symbolically, this miracle reinforces the multilingual, multicultural, multiracial mission of the church. We are to be a community in which all people are drawn together by God’s love in Christ. As Paul writes in Galatians 3:28: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

Personal Implications: Although there are some glorious exceptions, it seems that the church has not, in general, lived out its multilingual mission. We are often divided according to language, race, and ethnicity. Pentecost challenges all of us to examine our own attitudes in the regard, to reject and repent of any prejudice that lurks within us, and to open our hearts to all people, even and especially those who do not share our language and culture. Yes, I know this is not easy. But it is central to our calling. And it is something that the Spirit of God will help us to do if we are available.

So this is a good thing to remember. Anyone who is willing to believe in Christ and re-prioritize their lives based on his identity and teachings can be a Christian.The Holy Spirit is available to anyone who is willing to respond to God’s drawing them towards himself – anyone who asks God to forgive their sins and re-orient their lives to that it is Christ-directed.

You really can’t look at a person and tell what they are going to be able to contribute to the mission of Christ. They might have a different skin color. They could come from far-away countries. And have different cultural backgrounds. They could be single and childless, or they could be married with children. They could be lonely or popular. They could be ugly or beautiful. They could be emotional and artistic, or scientific and technical. They could come from a happy family or have no family. They could be rich or they could be poor. They might not fit the mold of what we expect for what counts as a good Christian.

I’m not turning a blind eye to sin here, because sin that is celebrated and unrepented IS a reason to reject someone’s claim to be a Christian. I am trying to point out that we should not be rejecting or discounting sincere, effective Christians for non-moral considerations. This is not a country club. It’s all hands on deck.

Michael Behe will be lecturing in the UK this November

Story from Evolution News.

Excerpt:

Controversial ID Scientist tours UK
Professor Michael Behe, a key figure in the Intelligent Design (ID) movement, will challenge his critics in a lecture tour of the UK in November.

Prof. Behe is one of an increasing number of scientists who believe that modern biochemical evidence undermines the basis of Darwinian evolution. The author of two ground-breaking books on ID – ‘Darwin’s Black Box‘ (1996) and ‘The Edge of Evolution‘ (2007) – Behe’s theory of irreducible complexity has drawn attacks from many neo-Darwinists, but not one of them has been able to refute it.

As Behe himself writes, in the years since the publication of ‘Darwin’s Black Box’, “the scientific argument for design is stronger than ever. Despite the enormous progress of biochemistry in the intervening years… despite implacable opposition from some scientists at the highest levels, the book’s argument for design stands… there is very little of the original text I would change if I wrote it today.

“In short, as science advances relentlessly, the molecular foundation of life… is getting exponentially more complex. As it does, the case for the intelligent design of life becomes exponentially stronger.”

Behe’s ‘Darwin or Design? What Does the Science Really Say?’ tour runs from 20-27 November and will comprise evening lectures at the Babbage Lecture Theatre in Cambridge and the Caledonian University in Glasgow, plus events in London, Belfast and Leamington/Warwick. He will also be the main speaker at a day conference (27 November) at Oxford Brookes University.

The tour is organised by the UK-based Centre for Intelligent Design, which exists to promote the public understanding of ID.

For more details of the tour and booking information see: www.darwinordesign.org.uk

Michael Behe is one of my favorite intelligent design speakers.

What Christians need to do to fix the church

I was recently notified about a speaking event that Greg Koukl is doing in Calgary (Canada), in October 2009.

Take a look at this web site set up by the organizers.

Here are the organizers:

We are a group of Evangelical Christians from a variety of different churches (we include Pentecostals, Baptists and Reformers; Greg Koukl is Reformed), who have been studying how to defend our faith. To put it another way, we’ve been learning Christian apologetics.

The need for apologetics seems greater now more than ever. From Oprah to the New Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, the Christian faith is mischaracterized and attacked. And too many times we see Christians either being unable to defend their faith or worse, embracing false ideas about the faith.

But rather than learning to answer these claims against Christianity, too few Christians seem to take their faith seriously. Many see faith as mere belief, something that may or may not be true. It is a preference not a worldview that makes sense. In doing so, many are rejecting the Christian faith for what they think it is, not for what it really is.

Furthermore, through trial and error, we’ve realized apologetics has a bad connotation, not just for nonbelievers but for believers too. Many see it as just merely head knowledge with no heart or worse, creating argument for argument’s sake.

We’re organizing these events to help introduce the Christian community in Calgary to some of the most cutting-edge Christian ideas. This kind of apologetics is geared towards helping Christians become good ambassadors for God’s Kingdom by helping them understand what the Christian worldview is and then by equipping them to clearly share that worldview with others.

Too many people are rejecting the Christian faith for what they think it is and that is a sign of failure on our part as the church. We believe strongly that it is our Christian mandate to make the gospel as clear as possible just as Paul wrote:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh (3), for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. (4) We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ… (5)
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

And this is the purpose of the event:

I have to be honest with you. Though I’ve lived by the foot of the Rocky Mountains now for a few years, I’ve never been rock climbing. I’ve often thought about going, but then that old cliché comes to mind: It’s not the heights that kill you, it’s the landings!

I guess that shows the kind of faith I have in my skills as a climber and the equipment climbers use.

Of course any seasoned climber always assures people like me, how reliable their equipment is. They constantly test it, in all kinds of conditions because their lives hinge on the equipment’s reliability. They wouldn’t put their faith in that equipment unless it was trustworthy.

That’s the kind of faith Jesus talks about in the Bible. He wants us to put our trust in Him because He says our lives depend on Him.

Unfortunately, the word faith has lost much of its meaning today, particularly when it comes to religion.

People juxtapose it with reason or fact, implying that faith is somehow irrational.

People use it interchangeably with words like wishing, saying that if you simply believe hard enough, whatever you wish for, will be true for you.

And it seems there’s a growing gap between how society views what faith is, and what Jesus meant as faith.

That’s why I’m part of a group of Evangelical Christians (that include Pentecostals, Reformers, Baptists and others) who’ve informally joined together to organize a series of presentations here in Calgary under the theme, Faith Beyond Belief.

The series is meant to challenge our thinking about the Christian faith and to equip Christians to be able to explain their faith more clearly to others. The talks are not a set of lectures on the newest evangelism techniques. Neither are they going to cover new projects that Christians can do to prove to our neighbours how much we love them.

Rather, these presentations cover something more basic; they are about understanding the Christian worldview. Because no matter how important evangelism techniques and love projects are for Christians – and they are important – these need to be grounded in the right understanding of what the Christian faith is all about. Without proper Christian knowledge, we cannot do Christian work properly.

Our speaker, Greg Koukl represents a group called Stand to Reason, whose mandate is to equip Christians to understand what they believe and then to winsomely but effectively challenge society’s bad thinking about the Christian faith.

Our hope is that you attend one of these presentations and are challenged to think about what the Christian faith is all about and what it says about the world we live in.

We may never face the challenge of climbing a mountain and so we may never need to put faith in climbing equipment. But we all face the challenges of living life here on earth and that means we all need to choose what equipment we put our faith in, to face that challenge. We hope through these talks, you’ll learn what it means to have a faith beyond belief.

They are accepting donations is here.

The schedule is here.

Their official blog is here.

My thoughts

There are two things I like about this event:

  1. There is a debate, which is very good for male Christians who appreciate competition and conflict
  2. That Greg Koukl will be speaking in the main morning service, from the pulpit, about truth and apologetics

This is the best way for us to fix the church. All my Canadian and American readers, if you are looking to fund a quality event, this is a quality event that could use your support. Actually, reading over their web site just gives me the shivers. This is what we need to do. Notice that they are not focused on safe, in-house issues like Calvinism/Catholicism, the age of the earth, etc. They are talking about whether truth exists, whether God exists, whether the resurrection really happened, whether morality is real, and how to answer philosophical objections to Christian theism.

Now, I want to hear what my readers think about this. Have you guys ever done something like this in your churches? Ask your pastors and priests about this event and see what the response is. Ask them whether this is something your church might be interested in doing, too. Then let me know what they say!