I first became aware of J. Warner Wallace via his guest hosting the Stand To Reason radio show. I welcomed the opportunity to review his new book, Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels, for the simple reason that I have not read many introductory apologetic books. For someone studying apologetics and involved in an apologetics ministry, that is a strange admission. Having dipped my toes into the world of college ministry in the past few months, I have been scrambling to develop a list of books I can recommend that introduce apologetics. While I would recommend Cold-Case Christianity to the apologetics neophyte, it also offers insights and suggests books every seasoned apologist should know about. I could recommend it to skeptics, but its audience should include Christians as well. [Read more…]
A review of Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False by Thomas Nagel
I didn’t expect to write this review. In fact, I didn’t know when I would get around to reading this book. When a book is reviewed by the likes of William Dembski and Alvin Plantinga, what could a poor schlub like myself have to offer? Possibly not much, but to the extent that I might reach readers who don’t read Dembski or Plantinga, I felt compelled because this book is an important read.
Anyone interested in the interface between science and religion should read this book. It is significant because of the critiques Nagel makes of neo-Darwinism. It is also significant in the direction that Nagel’s critiques direct his thinking. True to form of any good communicator, Nagel’s subtitle contains the entire message of the book. One cannot however completely understand the subtitle without reading the entire book. It would be completely wrong to suspect that Nagel has had some sort of Antony Flew conversion. Quite the opposite occurs in this book. Nagel does not reject the neo-Darwinist explanation per se, rather he rejects the reductionism that is inherent in the materialist view of reality. [Read more…]
In this post I want to deal with the third leg of my metaphor for evangelism, knowledge. Again from Stand To Reason’s article on the ambassador model, at a minimum an ambassador “…must know the character, mind, and purposes of his king.” The scope and depth of subjects one could study is, candidly, staggering. Thus in this post I want to look at the knowledge required of a Christian ambassador by looking at Christianity as a worldview in contrast to other worldviews we encounter today.
In this post, I want to describe the second leg of the stool of evangelism, wisdom. As I indicated in the previous post, I learned these concepts from Stand To Reason’s model of a Christian ambassador.
Regarding our knowledge Koukl suggests it “… must be deployed in a skillful way. There’s an element of wisdom, a tactical and artful diplomacy that makes his message persuasive.” This subject is handled in depth in Koukl’s book Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions.
As a Christian apologist I am haunted by the desire to share what I have learned about the Christian worldview. As someone immersed in this field I am also confronted with the observation of Solomon,
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
In other words everything worth saying about the Christian worldview has been said. I will never write like C.S. Lewis or have the intellectual depth of a William Lane Craig, so what fuels this obsession I have had for almost 20 years? The answer is to be a light to those around me. To put it another way, I believe the role of the apologist is to be a conduit to bring the intellectual depth of the Christian worldview back to the Church and society. A modest goal would be to encourage believers and give skeptics something to think about. Apologetics is not just about answers. It is not about refuting skeptics or detecting logical fallacies. Apologetics is a necessary tool for evangelism but it is not sufficient in and of itself.