Faith & Self Defense

Building Confidence Through Evidence

Archive for the tag “Deity of Christ”

A Reading Plan for Christian Apologists – Part 3.22

Alexandria, Egypt was a major center for Christianity in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. Coptic Christians believe that John Mark (author of the Gospel of Mark) was the first to preach the Gospel in Egypt. The Catechetical School of Alexandria was started by Pantaenus toward the end of the 2nd century and many believe it to be the oldest Christian catechetical school. Clement of Alexandria became head of the school after Pantaenus’ death in about 200 AD. One of Clement’s prominent students was Origen.

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Convince Me There’s A God: Lessons From Classical and Evidential Apologetics

I began this exciting journey more than five years ago (October 2012). The journey is explaining what convinced me to leave atheism for theism (Christianity).

Here’s how I began the conversation:

“So, you don’t believe there’s a God. I understand. I didn’t believe in God either, until May of 1971. Most atheists I’ve talked with about the existence of God during the last 40 years have expressed their concern for me in one way or another. Some have asked if I was ill and on heavy medication at the time of my conversion. Others said I must have been a very poor atheist because good atheists don’t believe in God. I was not ill or on medication at the time and people who knew me said I was a ‘good’ atheist. Something happened that led me to look at various arguments for the existence of God, and once I looked I found something I had never seen before.”

The series, Convince Me There’s A God, currently has 44 articles and there are many more to come. Why? Someone has said of the evidence for the existence of God, the historical reliability of the Bible, and the reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that it is an “embarrassment of riches.” There is so much evidence available to investigate.

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Life of an Apologist – On the Importance of Love

A Christian who determines to spend their life as an ‘apologist’ is committing to a life-long ‘defense’ of the Christian worldview. That includes the existence of God, reliability of Scripture, and the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Life of an ApologistThe attacks on Christianity have increased tremendously since I left atheism for theism and Christianity almost 47 years ago. Some of that is because of increased online communication (e.g. email, posted comments, social media) with atheists and other non-Christians, but there is also a growing hostility toward the Christian worldview at a societal level.

How should Christian apologists respond to the hostility day after day, month after month, year after year? There is a secret to ‘defending’ the Faith longterm and we learn that secret from the greatest ‘faith defender’ of all history.

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Book Review: The Story of Reality

    I love the title!

The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important that Happens in Between (Zondervan, 2017).

Greg Koukl is already well known for writing Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted In Mid-Air (with Francis Beckwith – Baker Books, 1998) and Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions (Zondervan, 2009), speaking on scores of university campuses, hosting a radio show for almost 30 years, serving as an adjunct professor of Christian apologetics at Biola University, and being Founder/President of Stand to Reason. So, why a book about reality and why now? 

“The first question any of us learns to ask about anything—and we usually learn to ask it quite early in life—is ‘Why?’ … There are answers to life’s most basic questions, though, and in this book I want to give them to you. I know the answers not because I am especially clever and figured them out on my own. Of course, some things you can safely conclude if you think carefully about the cause … But the best way to get accurate insight into any story is to let the author tell you himself. Yes, life is a kind of story and this Story has an Author. This is one thing that’s fairly easy to figure out from the clues. In this book I want to tell you that story—the Story of reality—and help you see your place in it.” Preface, p 17-18

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A Reading Plan for Christian Apologists – Part 3.19

We are looking at Christian apologists of the 3rd century. In our last study, we looked at Hippolytus of Rome, who is probably best known for writing ten books that refuted heresies of the early part of the 3rd century.

The Egyptian city of Alexandria was an early center of Christianity. Church historian Eusebius of Caesarea, who lived during the 3rd and 4th centuries, wrote that John Mark (who wrote the Gospel of Mark) preached the Gospel in Egypt and established churches in Alexandria during the 1st century (Ecclesiastic History,  Book II, Chapter 16).

Three prominent Christian apologists in Alexandria during the 3rd century were ClementAmmonius  and Origen. We will look at some of their writings to learn more about what heresies they and other Egyptian Christians faced at that time.

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Book Review: Know Why, What and Who You Believe

I usually review new or recent books in this ongoing series recommending writings for Christian apologists to read. However, it’s also good to remember some of the good apologetics books from the 19th and 20th centuries that are still in print and available for purchase. Some of the older books might use the term “evangelistic” to describe their purpose. That’s not surprising since apologetics is a tool of evangelism and making disciples.

InterVarsity Press (IVP) has done a good thing by keeping the writings of Paul Little available for people to purchase. Know Why You Believe and Know What You Believe were first published by Scripture Press Publications, Inc. (1967 & 1970) and were based on Little’s ministry to students on college campuses. I remember them from my early years as a Christian. Vision House published Know Who You Believe under the original title of Faith Is For People in 1976.  IVP published revised editions of the books – with the latest revisions dating from 2008. The first two books contain a section on Study Questions at the back that you may find helpful for getting the most out of every chapter.

Paul Little and his wife, Marie, worked for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for 25 years. Little was also associate professor of evangelism at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School until his death in an auto accident in 1975.

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A Reading Plan for Christian Apologists – Part 3.14

“For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.” Acts 20:29-30

“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.” 2 Peter 2:1

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1

The Apostles of Jesus Christ warned Christians in the 1st century AD that false teachers would come at them from both inside and outside the Church. They would secretly bring in destructive heresies and draw away the disciples after themselves. Those were prophetic words because it happened in the 1st century and continues today in the 21st century.

We are currently looking in this series at some of the Christian apologists from the early centuries of Church history to see how they addressed attacks on Christians and Christianity.

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A Reading Plan for Christian Apologists – Part 3.13

Christians should be thinkers and thinkers should be readers. Christian apologists should be critical thinkers and should read critically. That’s the purpose for this special series.

As we have seen so far in our series about A Reading Plan for Christian Apologists, the writings of Christ’s Apostles are vital to sound doctrine; the writings of the disciples of the apostles and the disciples of the disciples of the apostles are important to understanding how they defended the teaching of Christ and His Apostles. Christian apologetics is by definition a “defense” of the Christian faith.

We continue now with our look at some of the leading Christian apologists of the 2nd century. Next up is Tertullian.

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A Reading Plan for Christian Apologists – Part 3.8

The men who followed the Apostolic Fathers in the 2nd, 3rd and early 4th centuries fought many important battles for orthodox Christianity as passed to them from Jesus Christ through the apostles and the apostolic fathers. The writings of these brave men are important for modern Christian apologists to read because the battles they fought are similar to what we fight today. Plus, we can learn from the deep devotion they presented in both their lives and ministries.

In our last study we began looking at what Irenaeus of Lyons is known best for – his multi-book series, Against Heresies. We now turn to Book II.

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Arguments for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Part 9

In our last post we heard from Dr. John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics (emeritus) at the University of Oxford and Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College, Oxford. Dr. Lennox is also an Associate Fellow of the Said Business School, Oxford University, and teaches for the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme. He is an Adjunct Lecturer at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University, and at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, as well as being a Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum.

In this post we will hear from Ravi Zacharias and members of his RZIM team. Ravi Zacharias is Founder and President of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM). Zacharias is one of the best-known Christian apologists in the world today and has written or edited more than 25 books. Some of his RZIM team members include John Lennox, Abdu Murray, Stuart McAllister, Vince Vitale, Os Guinness, Michael Ramsden, Amy Orr-Ewing, and John Njoroge.

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Arguments for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Part 8

In our last post we heard from father and son, Josh McDowell and Dr. Sean McDowell. Josh has been in ministry (Josh McDowell Ministry) for more than 50 years. His son, Sean, is an Assistant Professor in the Christian Apologetics program at Biola University. Both men are International speakers on the subjects of Christianity and apologetics.

In this post we will hear from Dr. John Lennox, who is Professor of Mathematics (emeritus) at the University of Oxford and Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College, Oxford. Dr. Lennox is also an Associate Fellow of the Said Business School, Oxford University, and teaches for the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme. He is an Adjunct Lecturer at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University, and at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, as well as being a Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum.

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Arguments for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Part 7

In our last post we heard from Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ and more than 20 other books about evidence for Christianity. Strobel is a former atheist and award-winning legal editor for The Chicago Tribune and has spent more than 25 years sharing evidence that supports the truth of Christianity.

In this post we will hear from Josh McDowell and Dr. Sean McDowell. One of the first books about apologetics that I read as a young Christian was Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands A Verdict. Josh has been in ministry (Josh McDowell Ministry) for more than 50 years. His son, Sean, is an Assistant Professor in the Christian Apologetics program at Biola University. Both men are International speakers on the subjects of Christianity and apologetics.

 

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Arguments for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Part 6

In our last post about Christ’s resurrection, we heard from Jonathan McLatchie. Jonathan is a Christian writer, international speaker and debater on multiple topics.

In this post we will hear from Lee Strobel.  He is the author of The Case for Christ and more than 20 other books about evidence for Christianity. Strobel is a former atheist and award-winning legal editor for The Chicago Tribune. He has spent more than 25 years sharing evidence that supports the truth claims of Christianity and equipping Christians to share their beliefs with others.

Strobel is a Professor of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University and travels across the country sharing his testimony, encouraging believers, and challenging skeptics.

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Arguments for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Part 5

In our last post we heard from Dr. Mike Licona, co-author with Dr. Gary Habermas of The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus.

Our next presenter on the subject of Christ’s resurrection is Jonathan McLatchie. Jonathan is a Christian writer, international speaker and debater in areas as diverse as  Darwinian Evolution (Jonathan holds a Bachelor’s degree in forensic biology, a Master’s degree in evolutionary biology, a second Master’s degree in medical and molecular bioscience, and is a PhD student in cell biology), Intelligent Design, Islam and atheism.

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Arguments for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Part 4

In our last post we heard from Dr. Gary Habermas, a leading scholar on the topic of the historical reliability of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. One of his best-known books on the subject is The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, which he wrote with Michael Licona.

Dr. Mike Licona has authored other books about the Resurrection including The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach and Paul Meets Muhammad: A Christian-Muslim Debate on the Resurrection. He is an Associate Professor of Theology at Houston Baptist University and the President of Risen Jesus, Inc.

Dr. Licona is also a well-known speaker and debater on the issue of the Resurrection of Christ and the historical reliability of the Gospel accounts.

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Arguments for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Part 3

Dr. Gary Habermas is one of the world’s leading voices for the historical reliability of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is Distinguished Research Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy at Liberty University Rawlings School of Divinity where he teaches courses about Miracles, Religious Doubt, and the Historical Jesus. He has also been a Visiting or Adjunct Professor at about 15 different graduate schools and seminaries.

Dr. Habermas has written extensively about examining the relevant historical, philosophical, and theological issues surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus. His books include –

Dr. Habermas is also an accomplished speaker and debater.

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Arguments for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Part 1

Christians believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. In fact, the resurrection of Jesus is a MUST for the Christian worldview to be true. If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, then our faith in Him is empty and we are without hope in this world.

“Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

What are some of the best arguments for the resurrection of Jesus Christ? As we approach another celebration of the Resurrection, we will look at some of the strongest arguments for the reality of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.
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A Reading Plan for Christian Apologists – Part 3.7

The men who followed the Apostolic Fathers in the 2nd, 3rd and early 4th centuries fought many important battles for orthodox Christianity as passed to them from Jesus Christ through the apostles and the apostolic fathers. The writings of these brave men are important for modern Christian apologists to read because the battles they fought are similar to what we fight today. Plus, we can learn from the deep devotion they presented in both their lives and ministries.

In our last study we began looking at the apologetic ministry of Irenaeus of Lyons and one of his writings – Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching. In this new study we will look at what Irenaeus is known best for – his multi-book series, Against Heresies.

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A Reading Plan for Christian Apologists – Part 3.6

The men who followed the Apostolic Fathers in the 2nd, 3rd and early 4th centuries fought many important battles for orthodox Christianity as passed to them from Jesus Christ through the apostles and the apostolic fathers. The writings of these brave men are important for modern Christian apologists to read because the battles they fought are similar to what we fight today. Plus, we can learn from the deep devotion they presented in both their lives and ministries.

In our last study we finished looking at the apologetic ministry of Justin Martyr. We move now to the apologetic ministry of Irenaeus of Lyons, a writer Christian apologists should give special attention.

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A Reading Plan for Christian Apologists – Part 3.5

The men who followed the Apostolic Fathers in the 2nd, 3rd and early 4th centuries fought many important battles for the orthodox Christianity passed to them from Jesus Christ through the apostles and the apostolic fathers. The writings of these brave men are important for modern Christian apologists to read because the battles they fought are similar to what we fight today. Plus, we can learn from the deep devotion they presented in both their lives and ministries.

In our last study we began looking at the apologetic ministry of Justin Martyr. Justin was born about 100 AD and died a martyr about 65 years later. Two of Justin’s best-known writings are the Apologies (Defenses). He addressed his First Apology to Emperor Antoninus Pius, the emperor’s sons, and the Roman Senate. Justin argued that Christianity had been grossly misrepresented and that it should be treated as a legal religion. He also argued that Christianity was not a threat to the Roman Empire.

We turn now to Justin’s Second Apology which he addressed to the Roman Senate for the purpose of exposing what was really behind persecution of Christians under Urbicus and the irrationality of the allegations being leveled against Christ’s followers.

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