A view often propounded by contemporary skeptics is that the deity of Christ is not presented by the gospel of Mark and that the Christology of the gospels evolves from Mark’s gospel (generally thought to be the earliest written), which does not present Jesus as divine, to John’s gospel (generally thought to be the latest written), which does present Jesus as divine. To what extent, however, can this be considered true? Does the gospel of Mark really make no claims concerning Jesus’ divine status as many critics contend? In this article, I will argue for the deity of Christ using Mark’s gospel alone. [Read more…]
In his letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul instructs his readers to “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person,” (Colossians 4:6). I have found this advice to be invaluable in the context of debate, an activity in which many of us in the apologetics community participate.
Recently, I have had the opportunity to be involved in a few radio debates. In such situations, it is so important to always exemplify an attitude of humility and graciousness. Too often, regrettably, I have seen people (believer and unbeliever alike) attempt to disparage people on the other side of the argument. For the Christian, I firmly believe that the purpose behind debating is not simply to win an argument. Let me say that again: The purpose of debating, for the believer, is not simply to win an argument. It is possible that one successfully win an argument while failing to win the audience or one’s interlocutor. There are souls on the line. A message of love should thus be clearly conveyed — through the words we speak, through our conduct and mannerisms, and through our devotion to the message of the cross. It is so easy to let our Christian apologetics be reduced to nothing more than an intellectual pursuit, or a way to bolster one’s own ego. But as the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:2,
If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
This week I engaged in a radio debate with an atheist on Unbelievable on Premier Christian Radio (which you can listen to here). My interlocutor was a British atheist, a retired biology teacher who goes by the pseudonym Elliot George. In his book, Godbuster, George attempts to dismantle theistic belief. I knew when I saw the front cover that the book was unlikely to be particularly professional or intellectually challenging. After all, who writes “Dare you read this?” on the front cover of an intellectually serious piece of work? This initial impression was further compounded when I noticed that the book contains no citations or references, except for the occasional in-text citation to YouTube or Wikipedia. Apparently Elliot George was even reliant upon Wikipedia as his source for the ten commandments (p. 125).
The intellectual content of the book is also confronted with severe problems. The book showed little, if any, engagement or interaction with high-level Christian argumentation. No serious Christian arguments were addressed by the book. Instead, George throughout the book persists in attacking strawmen, even redefining terminology to comport with his position. [Read more…]
“Naturalism or Christian Theism: Where Does the Evidence Point?” TreeSearch Founder Blake Giunta Debates Justin Schieber
I want to draw readers’ attention to a great debate that recently took place at the University of Texas at Dallas, between Blake Giunta, the founder of a recently-developed online apologetics resource called “TreeSearch“, and Justin Schieber, the host of the Reasonable Doubts radio show and podcast. Blake posted a postmortem review of the debate at his website. That, along with a video of the debate itself, can be found here. I highly recommend watching this debate for yourself and reading the summary over at the TreeSearch website. Blake is an up-and-coming apologist and has shown himself to be widely read, thoughtful and reflective, and winsome in his approach. I am sure we will be hearing a lot more of him in the future.
On this blog we have often talked about the same sex marriage controversy and how it poses a threat to both religious liberty and the family unit. However, the elephant in the room that is rarely publicly discussed in evangelical circles is pornography, an evil that arguably poses just as much threat (if not a bigger threat) to the family unit. A 2008 study of 813 college students from six different college campuses participated in a survey . Of young men aged between 18 and 26, a whopping 86% admitted to having viewed pornography in the past year. 48.4% admitted to viewing pornography on a weekly basis. 19.3% admitted to viewing pornography nearly every day. It is a popular myth that pornography is only a guy problem. But, of the young women in the same age range, 31% confessed to having viewed pornography in the last year, and 3.2% confessed to having viewed pornography on a weekly basis. What was particularly striking is that 67% of young men and 49% of young women believed that pornography use is acceptable, which means that many young men (87% of whom were users) were viewing pornography even though they regarded it as an unacceptable practice.
Pornography addiction is a plague upon the modern professing church, and while it is well and good to be criticizing the same sex marriage agenda, evangelicalism would do well to remove the plank from its own eye before removing the speck from another’s. Many within the church are willing to take a stand against the gay agenda, but how many are willing to examine their own hearts and deal with the elephant in the room that is pornography?
But what about church leaders? How are they fairing in keeping their minds pure? According to a 2002 survey of 1351 pastors, conducted by Rick Warren’s website Pastors.com, 54% confessed they had looked at online pornography within the past year and 30% of those had visited within the last 30 days. And that’s just the honest ones!
Many people don’t realize that there are some solid scientific reasons for thinking that the viewing of pornography is harmful to the brain. Pornography is not merely a moral issue, for it hard wires the brain in unhealthy ways. In this blog post, I am not going to present any moral or theological arguments for avoiding pornography — although there are plenty of those. Instead, I am simply going to look at the scientific facts and show why I think the behavior of viewing pornography is harmful, regardless of where you stand on issues of religion and ethics. [Read more…]