Another week means another go-round of the web with some great reads for you, dear readers! This week we have a broad array of posts featuring pantheism, apologetics for kids, “male headship,” distractions and dedication to scholarship, and creationism. Let me know what you thought of the links and be sure to let the authors know as well!
Aristotle’s four causes versus pantheism– Can pantheism account for the world we actually observe? Here, prominent Scholastic Philosopher Edward Feser makes an argument that pantheism fails to account for the different kinds of causation we observe in the world.
How to Get Your Kids to Ask More Questions About Their Faith– Natasha Crain offers some thoughts on how to get kids invested in their faith through asking questions. I hope to one day implement some of these ideas into my own home, when my child is maybe a little older :) (he’s 10 months old right now).
Headship Madness: The Headship Litmus Test– How does the notion that male headship is necessary and the biblical view lead to it being a kind of litmus test for theology generally and church practice explicitly? Here’s a post exploring how this view often does lead to headship becoming the test for sound theology.
Terry Mortenson concedes: “Stone Age” tools are a problem for Young Earth Creationism– Here’s an analysis of recent comments from an Answers in Genesis scholar on one argument that has been used against young earth creationism. This is a pretty major problem for trying to fit the timeline of YEC into the evidence we have.
Strive to be the Spiritual Bruce Lee (Comic)- We need to work to avoid the distractions that often get in the way of our spiritual practices and work towards building the kingdom instead of blowing time on such things. That said, we also need to balance some time for doing activities we enjoy and relaxing. Here’s a comic that speaks to the need to beat distractions.
I’m excited to present this week of “Really Recommended Posts” to you, dear readers, because it is a truly extraordinary lineup. I’ve worked ’round the clock (or at least for an hour) to read and bring to you some excellent posts from all over. Our diverse reads today include the latest Pixar movie, “Inside Out,” the necessity of not sharing (or apologizing for) fake news, women in sacramental churches, an exciting new book, and the criminal justice system. As always, let me know what you think! Be sure to let the authors know you appreciated their posts as well.
Inside Out– One of my favorite web sites, Empires and Mangers, takes a look at Pixar’s latest smash hit, “Inside Out.” Anthony Weber looks at the worldview issues raised in the movie, as well as how it might be used to start discussions about some good topics with children. Check out this great reflection.
An Embarassing Week for Christians Sharing Fake News– Here is some advice that we all need to take to heart. Ed Stetzer goes beyond just calling on Christians to check their sources to a real urgency to repenting and admitting wrong when we do share falsities. This is a phenomenal read that deserves to go viral.
Women Leadership in Sacramental Churches– The debate over women’s “role” in the church looks different in those church bodies which are sacramental in nature. I am Lutheran and have experienced the kind of reasoning outlined in this post to try to restrict women’s places in the church firsthand. This is a good read that will not only broaden perspectives about sacramental churches but also make headway in the debate over women in the church.
New Book by James Warner Wallace: “God’s Crime Scene: A Cold Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe– Here is some background on an exciting upcoming release from the author of “Cold Case Christianity,” J. Warner Wallace. It looks like it will be examining arguments like the fine-tuning argument for the existence of God. I wrote a glowing review of Wallace’s previous book, and I look forward to reading this one as well.
Obama frees drug offenders whose terms ‘didn’t fit crimes’– I think that the criminal justice system has turned into a major issue of injustice that we need to address. I think the President’s calling attention to this is a great thing, regardless of what political stance I and others take. There is gross injustice in inequality of sentencing for drug-related crimes, and there is data to back up that much sentencing is racially-biased. We as Christians must speak up for those treated unjustly, and this is an issue worth talking about. What are your thoughts? I’d love to read them here.
My apologies for missing the “Really Recommended Posts” last week, we just moved to Iowa and it was a very hectic week. We’re back in action now with a list of great reads for you. Be sure to let me know what you think, and let the authors know as well!
Dear Ken Ham: About Those Kangaroo Fossils…- Ken Ham’s response to why we don’t find kangaroo fossils from Ararat to Australia is another example of poor reasoning. Here, a response is offered to his argument.
So you think you understand the cosmological argument?– A lot of mistakes are made when evaluating the cosmological argument. Here’s a post by Edward Feser that explains several of these mistakes and answers some criticisms of the argument.
Think the “Billy Graham Rule” would have saved Tullian? Think again– There has been much commentary on the sexual infidelity of a fairly prominent church leader, Tullian Tchividjian. A lot of it has focused on how he should have stayed separate from women in general and avoided being along with women, as the “Billy Graham Rule” argues. But what does this say about women and men? Read on. My thanks to a friend on Facebook for sharing this.
Sci fi, free will, and the problem of evil– what might the resonating themes about free will in science fiction have to say about reality? Here, Clay Jones analyzes several aspects of science fiction with an eye for a greater metanarrative. My thanks to a friend on Facebook for sharing this.
Review: Unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity… and Why it Mattes by David Kinnaman– This is a book I really enjoyed, though I share some of the concerns raised in this review. It’s worth reading the review to get an overview of the book’s content and some of the issues it raises. If I may be permitted a somewhat brief story here:
This was actually a pretty formative book for me when I read it some time ago (6+ years?). I remember finishing the book and feling supercharged to try to spread the truth of Christianity in a winsome manner. And quite seriously minutes after I finished and felt this supercharge of missional energy, a man showed up at the door of the house I was staying at at the time (a pastor’s house) and said he needed spiritual help. He entered the house right when I cracked open the door and kept saying he needed prayers.
I prayed with him and then thought he was going to leave, but he would not. He kept looking at the cat and saying he wouldn’t hurt a cat, and that he’d tried to kill himself a couple times that night by speeding and going through stop signs. I kept a short distance between he and I because he seemed clearly disturbed in some way.
Finally he did leave, answering the prayer I was saying over and over in my mind to God to protect me. I called the police but nothing ever came of it that I know of.
I’m still not sure how or why that happened, and I’m hoping I made an impact, but I don’t think I’ll know until the hereafter.
But I can’t help but think on it once in a while and wonder if what I did made a difference; if somehow that was God leading someone who needed help to where they needed to be.
Another week, another round of excellent reading from around the web for you, dear readers. We have analysis of creationist scholarship, a look at an exciting new book, historical apologetics, pro-life method, and analysis of a meme that attacks Christianity. As always let me know what you think, and let the authors know you enjoyed their posts as well!
The Dangers of Poor Scholarship: A Creationist’s Take on Feathered Dinosaurs– How do Young Earth Creationists often interact with science stories? Is there method consistent? Here, there is an analysis of creationist methodology when it comes not only to feathered dinosaurs but also to how the evaluate faulty arguments and lack consistency.
Malestrom: Swept up in the Currents of a Changing World (Review)– Color me delighted to see a book like this coming out. Our perceptions of what it means to be masculine are deeply embedded in our cultural norms. I have often engaged with complementarians who inform me of exactly what they think men ought to do or what men are “at their core.” But this they do without even acknowledging that even today there are cultures with differing understandings of what is masculine. How might we separate the good from the bad when it comes to talking about masculinity? This book seems to offer a way forward.
William Warburton’s 18th Century Defense of Christianity– It’s amazing how many historical defenses of Christianity are effectively lost in our time. The study of historical apologists is a continually fruitful one that yields great rewards for those who pursue it. Here, Doug Geivett highlights how even arguments that seem tied to their own time periods may provide us with new insights into controversies of our day.
John Reasnor Fails to Show that Incrementalism is Unbiblical– Clinton Wilcox engages in a debate over method when it comes to pro-life reasoning. Some have been arguing that we must do pro-life activism in such a way that only those laws or methods that ban all abortion may be supported. Is this reasonable? Wilcox analyzes the argument. I have provided a lengthy overview of and review of a debate on the same topic.
Will Your Murderer Be In Heaven?– Nick Peters offers an analysis of a meme floating around recently that attacks the goodness of Christianity because one’s own murderer might be in heaven. How does this attack hold up under scrutiny?
Sorry I’m a bit late today folks. I was on vacation and still catching up to some stuff after a beautiful cruise in Alaska! Anyway, this week I still got some diverse reads for you, dear friends! We have reads ranging from Luther on the Lord’s Supper to science fiction creatures, from Paley to Thomism, and even a comic! Check them out and let me know what you think!
The Lord’s Supper – Martin Luther’s Journey to the Bible– Martin Luther’s theology of the sacraments is central to his view of Christianity and the Christian life. Here’s an extended blog post looking at how he developed his doctrine of the Lord’s Supper.
I’m a Theology Nerd (Comic)- Yep, pretty much this. I am a huge theology nerd, in case anyone didn’t notice. This comic captures some of the reasoning behind that pretty well: if you really think there is a transcendent, loving, creator of the universe, how could we not love to learn more and more about that being?
Crossing the Heath with William Paley (1743-1805)– Doug Geivett continues his fascinating series on historical Christian apologists with one of the most famous to have ever lived: William Paley. He especially emphasizes Paley’s design argument, with a nod towards his historical arguments as well. I have written on Paley myself, and interested readers should check out my posts in the linked text.
Neo-Scholastic Essays– Edward Feser has a new book out that collects many of his essays together for your reading pleasure. Why care about Edward Feser? He is, in my opinion, the clearest thinker on Thomistic philosophy writing today. And he writes a lot. Check out his blog and be sure to look into his books as well. I’ve written on some things from Feser before.
Treecats Climb Into Children’s Hearts– David Weber is my favorite science fiction author. He’s got all kinds of awesome military sci-fi out there that you should read! Here’s a post that should warm your hearts too about his going to classrooms to share the love of literature with kids! I had the chance to meet Weber not too long ago, and I’ve written on his portrayal of women and religion in science fiction as well.
Another week, another round of Really Recommended Posts! Here we have posts on “celebrity books,” a pro-life debate, young earth creationism, what it means to be a man, and Zen Buddhism. Check ’em out, let me know what you think, and let the authors know as well!
When We Evaluate Zen Buddhism by Its Own Standards– What happens when you evaluate a religion like Zen Buddhism by its own standards of truth and the like? Check out this post to find out.
A Response to John Piper: What does it mean to be a man?– Frequently, Christians who have specific views of what gender “roles” are supposed to be package their cultural notions of what these roles ought to be in as well. Thus, it is claimed that men like cars, but women like shoes. Often, these claims are made straight-faced as if they apply to all women and men in all times and places. I have seen this time and again. Here is a response to John Piper on this very topic.
Celebrity Books– People don’t always read books unless they are “celebrity” authors. Do you often just buy books because of the author on the front? I know I do. To be fair–this often works out well. Here’s a post looking at some of the downside of this.
Is It Wrong to Pass Incremental Pro-Life Laws?– Here is a snippet of a debate on pro-life method with the question of whether we should pass incremental legislation. I summarized this debate here and analyzed the debate here.
My Response to a Young-Earth Critique of “Navigating Genesis”– Hugh Ross responds to a critique of his recent book on Genesis. The specific challenge raised is the location of Eden.
Hello folks, it’s another week and that means another round of Really Recommended Posts! Here we have a pretty solid lineup which includes a discussion of whether Muhammad or Jesus was prophesied in the Bible, an accidental flight to North Korea as a sermon illustration, Kierkegaard, the Resurrection, and setting an example for your kids.
A Prophet like Moses: Jesus or Muhammad?– It has often been alleged by Muslim apologists that Deuteronomy 18:18 references a prophecy of Muhammad. How strong is this claim? What about Jesus?
Apologetic Sermon Illustration: Why doctrinal details matter and the case of Kenyan accidental flight to North Korea– Based on a real news story in which a Kenyan made a nightmarish mistake: he flew to Pyongyang, North Korea instead of Pyeongchang, South Korea. In his own words: “…who could tell the difference?” This post is worth reading for the news story alone, but the use of it as an apologetics illustration as well was a great idea. The author used it to discuss religious or doctrinal pluralism.
The Great Dane: Remembering Kierkegaard– A brief snippet on Kierkegaard’s impact and life.
If Jesus did not really rise from the dead (Comic)- Here’s a great illustration of why it is important to realize what relevance the sincere belief of the disciples had regarding evidence for the resurrection.
Why Setting a Good Example for your Kids is Overrated– We need to avoid making our instruction of our children law-oriented and on behavior rather than on the truth of Christianity and the grace of God. Here’s a discussion of how we might do that.
I’m pretty sure we’re not going to get nice weather here in MN for anything more than one 5 hour period at a time. Alas. Anyway, I took the chilled days to find you some more good reading. As always, be sure to let the authors know you appreciated what they wrote and let me know what you think here.
Curiosity Rover Update: Diverse Geological Formations on Mars– Not only does this post have some really beautiful imagery from Mars (seriously, it’s like a science fiction story come true!), but it also discusses how the geology of Mars might pose an interesting problem for young earth creationists.
Self-knockout: A Twitter dialogue with a Hindu against Christian Evangelism– The Nepalese Earthquake led to many Christians praying not just for the physical but also spiritual needs of those impacted. This led to major pushback from many Hindus who argued that Christians are “soul vultures” and should not evangelize. Here’s an interesting look at a dialogue with one of these Hindus who attacked Christians for sharing their faith.
The Biology Professor Who Hated our Outreach Exhibit– Pro-Life advocates continue to show how embryology and related sciences help support the case against abortion. Here’s a post about one biology professor who took issue with the use of scientific evidence against abortion.
How “faith” works in the prosperity gospel (Comic)- A nice flowchart depicting the way faith allegedly works according to the prosperity Gospel.
Upon the Ground of Men– There is a lot of anger (I don’t think this word is to strong) towards those who argue for gender-inclusive translations of the Bible and the like. Here’s a post that looks at some of the difficulties gendered translations face.
Bonus Link: Sam Harris’ performance in a discussion with Noam Chomsky left much to be desired. Sam Harris, one of the “new atheists,” has activated wanton violence against Muslims and other peoples of faith. Here, he had a dialogue with a noted activist against state-sponsored violence. How did it go?
Can we trace rock layers across continents only because of Noah’s Flood?– I personally held to this view for quite some time, and felt that it was strong geological evidence for a global flood. I had been taught that because we find similar rock layers on different continents, this means that they must have been deposited by a global flood. Unfortunately, we do ourselves no credit as Christians when we make claims like this. Here is a geological examination of the claim.
“You’re Only a Christian Because You Were Born in the U.S.” How did I respond?– This is a challenge that is often leveled against believers: the notion that geography limits their belief and somehow discredits it. Here is a look at how to rebut the challenge.
William Beauchamp on the Urgency of Christian Apologetics for Our Time– I was tickled to see Doug Geivett mention William Beauchamp recently. Beauchamp (1772-1824) was one of the historical apologists I’ve read a few things by and enjoyed. Here’s a snippet from one of his writings that remains relevant today.
Is Morality in the Interests of Health and Safety?– An interesting look at balancing public safety with morality.
Reader Discretion: The Horror of Canaanite Children’s “Family Life”– Clay Jones details some of the awful treatment that Canaanite children endured. This was far from an innocent society. Worldviews have consequences. Again, reader discretion is advised as there is some violence outlined in this post.
I’m pretty excited to offer you, dear readers, another round of Really Recommended Posts this week. These should give you some nice diverse topics to explore! As usual, be sure to let me know your thoughts on the links, and let the authors of the posts know themselves!
A Short Defense of Sola Scriptura– Here is some insight into the defense of the doctrine of sola scriptura against those who would allege that there needs to be some authenticating authority for the books that make up Scripture. What do you think of this argument?
“I can’t help you” – What Should Never Be Heard at Church– The way we invite (or don’t) others into the life of the church matters. What ways might we best provide an environment that welcomes others into our community? Here’s an example of how not to do it.
Beware of Prayer–New Apostles and Prophets on the National Day of Prayer– Some insight into the documents that are being passed around by leadership for the National Day of Prayer. I think this is pretty unfortunate. However, I don’t think this needs to interrupt your own participation in said day. For some insight into spiritual warfare (including the view of “warfare prayer” and the like), see my review of Understanding Spiritual Warfare: 4 Views (and the book itself, of course!).
5 Changes Elementary Sunday Schools Need to Make ASAP– How might we better equip our children to engage with the challenges they will face against Christianity? Here are 5 important points for changing Sunday School to set children up for success.
LOL Interwebz: Putin the Memes Away– Here’s a challenging post on the use of memes, what they do for us (and to us) and the relation of free speech and Christianity.