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Archive | Apologetics

Answering Questions with Jesus

 

Joel Hart wrote the following guest-post. Joel is preparing for pastoral ministry as a student of theology in the Great Lakes-Gulf Presbytery of the RPCNA. He is a rising senior at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The Lord has given Orlena as Joel’s wife and has blessed them with three children.

                “I left the church because no one would answer my questions.”

This refrain, or similar rhetoric, scatters the blogs or social media posts of those who have distanced themselves from Christ’s church. One question emerges when we observe the phenomenon of despairing and leaving question-askers: Does the church — ­can the church — ­answer the questions of those in the church asking questions amidst an increasingly skeptical world?

Earlier this summer, I enjoyed the privilege of teaching 30 junior high youth at a church family camp. Our studies in the gospel of John led us to the response of the crowds to the teachings of Jesus as the bread of life (John 6:60-71). For Jesus’ audience, this teaching left many with a searching, skeptical question: “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (6:60). Here, our Savior answers the doubtful question with a decisive answer built on the […]

3GT Episode 45: Does ESV = ESS?

Grab your English Standard Version (ESV) Bible, look up John 14:10 and 16:13, then compare it with another version. Notice the difference?

That’s what the prof asks Aaron and Kyle to do on this episode of 3GT. From there they launch into a discussion of the recent debates regarding the Trinity and the teaching referred to as the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS). Does the ESV Study Bible promote this teaching? Listen as the guys seek to tease out in a clear way some of the subtle yet important distinctions needed about the nature of our God. Do they succeed? We’re not sure, but at least our onsite parishioner ends the show with some interesting applications!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/3gt-episode-45.mp3

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You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!

References Cited

Eternal Subordination of the Son and the ESV Study Bible | Rachel Miller

The Semi-Arianism of ESS | Brad Mason

Also, in God’s providence we just saw today that A Daughter of the Reformation also posted a podcast on this subject. You can listen at “Eternal Subordination of the Son – Podcast with Theology Gals.”

A New Book Release- The Case for Utter Hopelessness: Why Atheism Leads to Unyielding Despair

My latest book is now available, and while I have never strongly encouraged people to read things I have written, I would encourage you to consider checking this one out. I think it fills an important niche and could prove quite helpful in a number of different situations.

It is entitled The Case for Utter Hopelessness: Why Atheism Leads to Unyielding Despair.  Yes, the contents are as warm and inviting as the title suggests.

Having spent a significant portion of my adult life wrestling with the claims of atheism, listening and interacting at length with secular unbelief, I wanted to write a book exploring the bitter implications of the worldview.

My contention is quite simple, and I mean this in all seriousness. If it could somehow be shown that atheism is true, I would kill myself. Why? Because life in a Godless reality is utterly hopeless. Meaning is lost in the black hole of pointlessness. Human dignity is sacrificed on the altar of bias. Ethics perish in the whimsical tides of human preference. Rational thought is maimed by unrelenting relativism. And hope is dashed on the rocks of eternal nothingness.

All of these points would force me to shoulder an emotional burden that I could […]

Fearing Christianity?

It seems that in the western world there is one category of people not particularly allowed to voice an opinion; one category of people that should be denied office at all costs.

Would that be people with a track record of lying to the public? No. People with a track record of breaking their promises? Nope. People with a history of political violence? Nope again.

What about people who come from a tradition which established schools for all children, brought an end to slavery, built hospitals and hospices, elevated women’s rights, fought racism, put an end to widow burning and cannibalism, alleviated poverty, and much more?

Absolutely—they shouldn’t be let within a beagle’s gowl* of anything political—who knows what sort of damage they might do! Former American Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders typified this attitude last week. He was part of a panel interviewing nominees for the role of deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The problem for Sanders was that nominee Russell Vought had once written that Muslims stand condemned before God because they don’t acknowledge Jesus as the way to God. Sanders pressed him and pressed him on this issue of condemnation, despite the fact that it’s been […]

Love and Hell

Hell is not mentioned much these days, except when used as a curse word. It is a topic that many consider outdated and a place that few believe actually exists. And in these days of hyper-tolerance, which quickly becomes intolerance when anyone sounds the least bit doctrinaire, speaking of hell is seen as a strange, brutish thing to do.

So why do it?

In a word, it’s all about love.

For you see, hell does exist. Mocking it, ignoring it, forgetting it – none of that changes its reality. Jesus Christ preached about it repeatedly, warning his listeners of its danger. He taught that it is a real location where those who do not live as the Bible commands will be punished consciously forever. Not to believe in hell is to distrust the very words of Christ. The Westminster Confession of Faith, speaking about the final judgment, uses Biblical language as it describes hell in this manner: “The wicked, who know not God, and obey not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.”

So what does speaking of hell have to do with love?

If someone is about to […]

The fairness of God?

Two men live radically different lives. One is morally good, reasonably honest, seeks to help those around him—an all-round nice guy. The other is a rogue: utterly depraved, vilely immoral, with a string of convictions, and a litany of broken people and promises trailing behind him.

On his death-bed the second man asks God for forgiveness. The first sees no great need. According to Jesus, one man gets Heaven, the other Hell. The repentant degenerate finds forgiveness; the other man finds judgment.

It doesn’t seem fair. How can God be a God of justice if that’s the case?

How you frame the story defines how right the answer feels. Ask any parent or teacher. How often have you asked a child what happened, and you hear a story that makes you think that they have been unbearably hard done by, yet when you take a step back and see the event without spin, in its wider context, it all makes sense. We are exceedingly skilled at telling a story in a way that highlights our best endeavours—yet is often only half the story.

Let me frame the story of the two men differently. Two men are both given their lives by God. One man […]

The Antidote To Evolution

Over recent weeks I’ve been preaching, for the second time, through the opening verses of the Book of Genesis. Last Lord’s Day I delivered my first sermon on the first day. In my second point, I was defending the Mosaic account from the error of the ‘Framework Hypothesis.’ In doing so, for the very first time, I felt with intense force, both the folly and falsehood of adopting such an erroneous position (attractive though it may seem for those who want to dodge the bullet of the creation-science debate).

There surely is little doubt, like most dangerous half-truths, that Moses presents the material of the original Creation in a highly structured, schematized way. Yet, on his part, that neither implies the unhistorical nature of the account, or that the details of each day, or the times the bible allots to them, do not correspond precisely to the truth or order of the facts. In reality, quite the opposite is the case: the Holy Spirit, through Moses, has important lessons to teach us, in the material contained in Genesis 1, about the nature and character of God, and the methods by which He has worked and still works.

Planned Order

Chief among these is […]

An Assortment of Audio!

It’s been a good week in the world of podcasting.  Lots of juicy episodes and discussions.

Here are a few that just might interest you:

Policing is Racially Biased – Intelligence Squared Debates.  Listen in as four qualified people debate the question of discrimination in police activity.
Should Christians Embrace or Reject Theistic Evolution? – Unbelievable.  This is a very instructive debate.  Listen carefully to Mr. Alexander’s (the theistic evolutionist) theological rationale for suffering and evil.  It is truly incredible- which is to say incredibly weak.
An Evening with Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris (part one and two).  I believe that it is vitally important to hear and understand what the New Atheists are saying.  They continue to shape the minds of many Americans, especially the younger generation.  If we are not familiar with their way of thinking, we will not be prepared to intelligently engage it.

Some Recent Resources on Roman Catholicism

A few things that have recently come across my radar:

John 6 For Roman Catholics, James White.  Dr. White walks through John 6 slowly, demonstrating Rome’s over reading of the text.
Why I’m not Catholic, Steve Hays: A concise summation of some of the problems one ought to have with Roman Catholicism.
Debates with Roman Catholics, James White: Speaking of James White, he has spent a great deal of time debating and interacting with Roman Catholic apologists.  For a taste, check out his debate page.  Keep your eye out for White’s next debate on “Can Christians Lose Their Salvation?” with RC apologist Trent Horn.  That is scheduled for tomorrow.

Assurance for Seekers – A Gentle Refresher

Until recently, I had missed the contextual power of Isaiah 55:10-11. Commentator Alec Motyer helped me see the wonder of these verses in a new way. They promise:

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it (ESV).

I had thought of them as primarily a comfort for those who are speaking the gospel; and they are. Often, Christians use this text to encourage a brother who with great trepidation spoke to a non-Christian or in some difficult circumstance. His words may not have been eloquent, but God’s word was spoken, and we take comfort in knowing that they have power. That is not a wrong application, but the context presses us to an higher purpose and even better use for these great promises.

These words of comfort were given to those who were straying and should have been […]