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Is Free Will Illusory If Persons Are Fundamentally Material?

For more resources visit: http://www.reasonablefaith.org On Friday, February 21st, 2014, philosopher and theologian, Dr William Lane Craig, was invited by th...

Frank Macchia on the Prosperity Gospel

I found this video from Jeff Clarke's blog. You should check out the other posts on his blog.

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1
Ask Anything: Weekend Edition 04-05-14

1) How should we think about slavery in the Bible? Why was it allowed?

2
RELEVANT Podcast: Warpaint

This week we talk to one of our favorite indie bands, Warpaint. Plus, our producer Chad is on vacation so the inmates run the asylum, we bring the week's news and entertainment, your feedback and much more ...

3
Christians form human shield around church in 'China's Jerusalem' after demolition threat - Telegraph

Christians have flocked to defend a church in eastern China after Communist Party officials claimed it was an "illegal construction" and announced plans to demolish it

4
7 Ways to Stop Being Cynical About Church

So we are supposed to act like we are an ostrich with our head stuck in the ground pretending like nothing is happening? I get the point... remain focused on "love God, love people" and avoid too much debate. But if everyone is ignoring the issues then there can not possibly be any true spiritual growth. Christianity is the only religion which discourages speaking openly or else be accused of heresy. There is change which needs to happen and it's not going to occur by the "Spirit of God" magically making things happen. Faith without works is dead right?

5
10 Unexpected Benefits of Real Community

There’s no denying that we are men and women who crave love. We were made to, by a relational God who longs for us to be in relationship with Him. But even more amazing, is that God gives us the gift of each other as a way to meet our earthly needs for love. This brotherly love (phileo) that we’re given is a beautiful representation of the greatest Friend who laid down His life for us. We’re also called to love each other in this beautiful way.

6
What Mozilla Means | First Thoughts | First Things

You can bet it’s not just Mozilla. Now that the bullies have Eich’s head as a trophy on their wall, they will put the heat on every other corporation and major employer. They will pressure them to refuse employment to those who decline to conform their views to the new orthodoxy. And you can also bet that it won’t end with same-sex marriage. Next, it will be support for the pro-life cause that will be treated as moral turpitude in the same way that support for marriage is treated. Do you believe in protecting unborn babies from being slain in the womb? Why, then: “You are a misogynist. You are a hater of women. You are a bigot. We can’t have a person like you working for our company.” And there will be other political and moral issues, too, that will be treated as litmus tests for eligibility for employment. The defenestration of Eich by people at Mozilla for dissenting from the new orthodoxy on marriage is just the beginning.

7 Grace to You Radio

Below is a listing of the resources we've offered free of charge on our radio broadcast recently. For more information and to request your free item, click the button below.

8
Noah’s Co-Writer Explains the Film’s Controversial Theology

A: I would say this: We set out very purposefully to upset expectations and change expectations people had about this story. We had expectations when we came to it—Darren [director, Darren Aronofsky] and I, we read Genesis as kids and young adults—but what we had in our minds was a Playmobil ark and as for animals, pet stores. And that’s the way the Noah story has gone into the pop consciousness. It’s a very, very, very different story than what we saw when we opened Genesis again as middle-aged men and thought seriously about what’s there. To get people to grapple with it and to see it fresh, we wanted to break expectations. Some of them we wanted to break that are just incorrect—like the idea of what the ark looked like. It was purposeful.

9
D3 Youth Conference

D3 Youth Conference will be a summer experience full of learning and growing opportunities for high school students serious about following Christ. Designed to develop students’ understanding of leadership, worldview and missions, D3 will equip students on the campus of Southern Seminary and Boyce College in Louisville, Ky.

10
Out Among the Stars

This week we talk to one of our favorite indie bands, Warpaint. Plus, our producer Chad is on vacation so the inmates run the asylum, we bring the week's news and entertainment, your feedback and much more ...

11
Grace to You

Our Lord’s point here in the sermon, however, is that we must not annul—by ignoring, modifying, or disobeying—even the smallest aspect of God’s law. Some commands might be greater than others, but none should be disregarded. Paul did not pick and choose what he would teach. He did emphasize some issues more than others, but he omitted nothing (Acts 20:27). And we certainly must not teach others to disregard or disobey any portion of the law. To do so shows that our disobedience is conscious and intentional.

12
The Pastors.com Daily

13
How to love people well

If we are going to produce a change in culture, we have to continually preach the gospel to each other. We cannot will ourselves or church into a cultural change. If we want to have a church that loves people well, we have to rely on the person and work of Jesus Christ to change our hearts and others.

14
Hollywood Hates Humans | Web Exclusives | Daily Writings From Our Top Writers | First Things

But the earth proved uninhabitable, and the robots are abandoned. One surviving Wall-E becomes sentient and falls in love with a female robot. Eventually, through a series of adventures, they induce the humans—who all have become morbidly obese and so lazy they don’t even walk—to return to devastated earth and plant a tree. The planet is saved! Humankind has learned its lesson: From then on, we will live simple and green.

15
Stephen King and God

Last week, National Public Radio interviewed Mr. King, and he was asked about his beliefs in God. King asserts, “If you say, ‘Well, OK, I don’t believe in God. There’s no evidence of God,’ then you’re missing the stars in the sky and you’re missing the sunrises and sunsets and you’re missing the fact that bees pollinate all these crops and keep us alive and the way that everything seems to work together. Everything is sort of built in a way that to me suggests intelligent design.” Here, he waxes both theological and philosophical. King echoes the thoughts of Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher, who once said, “The order of the motion of the stars, and of all things under the dominion of mind which ordered the universe” often leads men to believe in God. The Apostle Paul also makes his case in

16
Parents Are Still the First Line of Defense

After a recent presentation at a large church here in Southern California, a woman approached me at the book table and eagerly asked me to sign a copy of Cold-Case Christianity for her daughter. She asked me to write something compelling on the title page in an effort to encourage her daughter to read the text and reconsider her decision to walk away from Christianity. This mom’s story was all too familiar. She raised her family in the church and did her best to connect her daughter to the church’s youth leadership. She drove her to church events, prayed with her and did her best to model the Christian life. But after her daughter’s first semester at a California university, she came home with a number of questions her mom simply could not answer. At the end of her first year at college , the daughter announced that she was no longer a believer. Her mom was heartbroken.

17
No, Scientists in Darwin's Day Did Not Grasp the Complexity of the Cell; Not Even Close

Recently a reader of ENV wrote to me asking whether it's true that in Darwin's day, scientists thought that the cell had a simple structure. The reader had argued on an Internet forum that back then, scientists vastly underappreciated the complexity of the cell -- especially compared to what we know today. Some Darwin-defenders responded to him by claiming that Darwin believed the cell was indeed "complex," and quoted Darwin as saying :

18
Believing for No Reason

I’ve been surprised time and again to run right up against this way of thinking in recent years. At first I was caught so off guard by it that I wasn’t sure what to say in response. It was so foreign to me that a blank stare was my only reaction. But I’ve been trying to learn just how I can begin to demonstrate how utterly wrong-headed it is for people to hold beliefs for no substantive reasons at all. So permit me here to say some things about it, starting with those who profess to be Christians who think along these lines, and then moving on to the larger context of society in general.

19
Does Atheism Require Faith?

In discussions about belief in God, there is a lot of confusion about the word ‘faith’. Atheists sometimes take faith to mean belief without evidence; Christians reject this notion of faith because biblical faith is never ‘blind’. Rather confusingly, though, sometimes you’ll hear Christians say that it takes more faith to be an atheist than it does to believe in God. Of course, what they mean is that atheism requires a blind, uncritical belief , but setting this issue aside, does the atheist need to have faith in a similar way to the Christian?

20
Expository ministry: A comprehensive vision

When God speaks, creation obeys. When he spoke the universe into existence, it happened (Gen 1:3-26). When he speaks into the cold, dead hearts of sinners, a new creation appears (2 Cor 5:17). When preachers exposit the Word of God and announce that Jesus is the Christ, the church is built (Matt 16:16-18). Whenever God’s Word is proclaimed, something comes into existence that wasn’t there before.

21
The Four Miracles of Atheism

For the purposes of this discussion, we will define a miracle as an event which occurs outside of the natural order and cannot be repeated or explained by the scientific process. Consider the following four miracles which must be accepted by the atheist in spite of scientific evidence to the contrary:

22
Why God Gives Us More Than We Can Handle

The next time someone says that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, point them to Judges chapter seven. God instructing Gideon to take on over 100,000 enemy soldiers with just 300 fits in the “more than you can handle” category. Imagine how Gideon and his servant, Purah, must have felt trying to come to grips with a humanly impossible assignment.

23
Does Science Lead To Atheism?

For the past few decades atheists have pushed the notion that the scientific worldview requires atheism. Much of this was based on a 1998 survey conducted by the National Academy of Sciences in which they reported “…conventional religious beliefs were quite rare among the members of that body [the National Academy of Sciences]” - Leading Scientists Still Reject God , Nature 394, no. 6691 (1998): 313.

24
Would Jesus Argue with People on Facebook? How Christians Should Handle Criticism, Arguments, Debate, etc.

When we read through Mark 12:13-43 we see Jesus facing three of his most ardent opponents in front of hundreds or possibly thousands of people.  In verses 13-17, the Pharisees try to trap Jesus with the question of whether or not to pay taxes to Rome.  It is important to remember that the Israelites were occupied by a foreign power and generally hated them for it, so this was a political question with several landmines.  Jesus deftly escaped their ploy by pointing out that Caesar’s image is stamped on coins, so they belong to him.  This implies of course that a thing belongs to whatever image it bears and, of course, everyone, including Jews and Romans, are stamped with the image and likeness of God.

25
No God, No Good or Evil

Skeptics generally counter the argument in one of two ways. First, some try and deny that objective moral values and duties exist. However, unless one doesn’t object to babies being tortured for fun or with children being sexually abused, this assertion dies a mercifully short death.

26
Naturalism is a Strange Belief

I understand there is a kind of symmetry here: naturalists think Christianity is a strange belief. On one level I have to agree: we take it as true that everything in all history turns on the life of a wandering teacher and miracle worker who lived two thousand years ago. If it weren't for a confluence of completely unique and remarkable facts about Jesus Christ, the whole idea would be quite unbelievable.

27
Ses Apologetics

bakslashr: That is the argument that Dr. Richards puts forth here. Nobody makes something moral bc they "say it is." Morality is not created by humans, it is merely recognized. Jay Richards points out that all people recognize morality regardless of their theistic or atheistic world view. Having considered that, does atheism or theism suit to explain that fact best? Jay Richards thinks (and we do as well) that atheism falls fatally short. Theism is the best explanation.

28
Love to the Uttermost

Love to the Uttermost: Devotional Readings for Holy Week is designed for Lent 2014. The readings begin on Palm Sunday, end on Easter Sunday, and aim to focus our attention on Jesus he displays his love to the uttermost (John 13:1). These meditations on the self-giving love of Christ are all excerpted from the preaching and writing ministry of John Piper.

29
The simple truth for all of us who are raising kids in the church

As parents, we are the folks who will have the most repeated contact with our children; we are the ones who can have the most impact (good or bad). This is the simple truth for all of us who are raising kids in the church. We have to become the best Christian Case Makers our kids know so we can respond quickly to their

30
Crisis Leadership

You will face crisis as a leader. But your response will reveal what kind of leader you are. Unfortunately, it is far more common to see leaders collapse under the crisis rather than conquer. If you’re truly a rugged leader, you will withstand the crisis.

31
What Starbucks can tell us about America, in 1 map

Starbucks’ analysts looked at hundreds of millions of transactions at the chain’s coffee shops across the US, and they shared some of the trends they observed with Quartz. Unsurprisingly, the most popular drinks across the board were simple brewed coffee and lattes. Looking solely at volume, every region, state, and city would essentially have the same exact top preferences, with regular coffee by far the most common order, and lattes a distant second.

32
Truth, Conviction, and Jesus Are Relevant

Listening to his story I had to remind myself that Phil was an atheist, not a seminary student recalling those who had inspired him to enter the pastorate. As the narrative developed, however, it became clear where things came apart for Phil. During his junior year of high school, the church, in an effort to attract more young people, wanted Jim to teach less and play more. Difference of opinion over this new strategy led to Jim's dismissal. He was replaced by Savannah, an attractive twenty-something who, according to Phil, "didn't know a thing about the Bible." The church got what it wanted: the youth group grew. But it lost Phil.

33
Why The Church Needs Apologetics: A Look at Critics, Seekers, and Doubters

Over the years I have spoken to several people from a variety of backgrounds about the Christian faith. When we started a Ratio Christi apologetics chapter on The Ohio State University in the Fall of 2009, I had been talking to college students about spiritual beliefs for several years. It was during my experience while doing campus outreach that I began to see the need for a stronger apologetics presence on the college campuses. Also, it should be noted that it was a debate between William Lane Craig and skeptic Robert Price in 1998 that really got me interested in apologetics.

34
RELEVANT Q&A: Kari Jobe

This week we talk to one of our favorite indie bands, Warpaint. Plus, our producer Chad is on vacation so the inmates run the asylum, we bring the week's news and entertainment, your feedback and much more ...

35
What is the Emergent Church? What Do They Believe?

The definition of the word emergent might help us to understand what exactly the emergent church is.  The dictionary defines emergent as:  newly appearing, arising, and occurring, especially for the first time.  It could be called arising unexpectedly or suddenly.  Like a plant that is emerging, so also the emergent church has roots below the surface that no one sees.  They have been growing for some time but most people were not aware of them.  Like an emerging plant, it comes up slowly but surely.  Even a tiny plant that emerges in your driveway can damage concrete and cause upheaval in the yard.  So too is the risk of an emergent church in an existing one or one that springs up by itself and independently.

36
Apologetics in the Early Christian Fathers

Frederick Copleston, in the 1960s published a multi-volume work titled A History of Philosophy . Volume II is subtitled, Medieval Philosophy From Augustine to Duns Scotus . However, Copleston doesn’t begin to tackle Augustine until chapter 3. In the second chapter he reviews the patristic period and provides summaries of many well-known and not-so-well-known Church Fathers (Chapter one was the introduction). He states, “The influence of apologetic on the growth of Christian philosophy was clearly due primarily to a cause external to Christianity, namely hostile attack; but there was also another reason for this growth which was internal, independent of attacks from the outside. The more intellectual Christians naturally felt the dessire to penetrate, as far as it was open to them to do so, the data of revelation and also to form a comprehensive view of the world and human life in the light of faith.” [1] His review of the apologetic contributions of Church Fathers is interesting. Below is a brief summary of the Fathers that Copleston contends defended the faith from external attack.

37
A Christian Case Making Strategy for Youth Ministry

I have two grown children and two who are still in high school. I was blessed to be involved in youth ministry during much of their childhood and I pray my efforts to prepare young Christians has had an impact on them (it’s often more difficult to reach your own children than it is to reach strangers). When people ask me about the challenges facing young people in the Church, I do my best to describe both the problem and a possible solution. Here’s what I typically say: “Young Christians are leaving the Church because they no longer believe Christianity is true. For this reason, Christian Case Makers need to make students their priority as we make the decision to stop teaching and start training. This will require youth ministers to embrace a new attitude as they design ‘accessible’ training that challenges young Christians ‘holistically’ and makes the case specifically for students.” I’ve been writing about this lately on my blog , so I thought I would take the opportunity to better explain my response (with links to my blog posts):

38
Jack White to Create the ‘World’s Fastest Released Record' in a Single Day

For those who can’t score tickets, The World’s Fastest Record will be made available for sale from the front of Third Man Records as soon as copies are pressed. Anybody who shows up that day during business hours wanting to purchase a copy will get one. Third Man promises to deliver until all customers are satisfied (one per customer, obviously!)

39
Ravi Zacharias: Unsatisfied hungers continue to scream

For the millions who live out their lives day to day with the pursuit of bread dominating their dreams and actions, life, as it was meant to be, passes them by, and their unsatisfied hungers continue to scream out at them.

40
The Pastor’s Home as Paradigm for the Church’s Family Ministry

Far too often, Christian fathers define success according to self-generated standards, forsaking their role as the shepherds of their home in an ambitious pursuit of power or achievement, material possessions or personal acclaim. Other fathers, typically young adults in what has been appropriately dubbed “Generation Me,” 14 simply forsake their role as the family shepherd in the quest for self-pleasure and trivial pursuits. While it is common for evangelical pastors to bemoan the passivity of men in their congregation—passivity exhibited through a lack of paternal leadership in the home—too often the passivity they critique is nurtured by the very leadership model they present to families in the congregation! When the pastor of a church possesses an aggressive mentality in leading his congregation—one in which he will do whatever it takes to cultivate measurable success at the church—but then takes a secondary role in shepherding his own family—as though he is his wife’s helper—his poor example effectively drowns out his homiletic rhetoric. Likewise, when a pastor organizes his life around golf outings and college sporting events in the name of “ministry”—all while his wife raises the children—then the men in the church hear that daily “sermon” delivered with far greater clarity than the one delivered from the pulpit on Sunday.

41
Review: How do we Know God is Really There?

Thomas and his father escape to their backyard tree house most evenings to watch the night sky through a telescope. Thomas is dazzled by what he sees of God’s creation, but he has questions. “Dad, how do we know God is out there?” he asks one night. “I know the Bible says He’s there. But how do we really know that’s true?” Together, Thomas and his father begin to examine the cosmological evidence for God’s existence. This is the first in an exciting new series of picture books designed to introduce kids to important questions of the Christian faith in terms even pre-readers can understand. Read this aloud with your family, and you’ll come away knowing that “the heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1). 

42
Are Theists the Only People Who Have the Burden of Proof?

As an atheist, I rarely found it necessary to defend my position when talking with friends who believed in the existence of God. After all, my Christian friends were the ones who were making a claim about an invisible Being ; certainly the burden of proof belonged to them rather than me . I simply held the “default” position: There’s no need to defend the absence of something that appears to be absent! From my perspective, theists alone were the ones who needed to make a case. My position as an atheist was self-evident. This approach almost always put my Christian friends in a defensive position. They found themselves struggling to assemble the evidence while I simply criticized the validity of each piece of their case. I never stopped to think that I might also need to make a case for what I believed, and my Christian friends were unable to demonstrate my responsibility to do so.

43
Belief in God: It's Just Wishful Thinking

Have you come across some form of this argument? This common objection against faith in God seeks to argue that many people only believe because they want to believe. That is, they do not believe on grounds of good reason. Belief in God, the argument goes, typically occurs as a result of experiencing pain, or worry, or heartache – something negative – to which the person responds by choosing to believe in God to make things better.

44
Weekend Apologetics Hit and Misc: Feeding the Trolls

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

45
The Jesus Myth? A Response to Richard Carrier

On Feb. 21, 2013 I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Richard Carrier, popular author and internet atheist, for the second time at UNC Greensboro. The UNCG Atheists, Agnostics, and Skeptics club invited him to present his case for why the historical Jesus never really existed and is actually only a myth. In Dr. Carrier's defense, I understand that he could not present a solid and complete case for his thesis in an hour long presentation. While much of what Dr. Carrier said sounds completely farfetched, and indeed would not be taken seriously by virtually any scholar in the field, sans those on the very fringes, his ideas still need a response. This particular response will certainly not be the best one you can find or possibly present yourself. Nonetheless, I have been wanting, and promising, to offer my thoughts for a while now. I appreciate those who have studied this area of scholarship in much more detail than myself and who have shared their thoughts, many from which I will be gleaning.

46
A Rational and Reasonable Worldview

I have not discovered in [apologetics] any proofs or demonstrations that would compel all rational people to believe that God exists or that Christianity is true. Instead, I have encountered arguments and evidences that have reassured me that it is at least not irrational to be a Christian and, even more, that the Christian worldview is more reasonable than its competitors.

47
The Gospel According to Bart Ehrman

The Christianpost interview focused on his skepticism of the New Testament, with very predictable results occurring in the reader comments that followed. Atheists and skeptics high-fived each other, reveling in the fact that they had a credible champion who fuels their hope that the Bible cannot be trusted, while some believers cast disparaging remarks at Ehrman saying he’s not worth listening to.

48
http://www.ligonier.org/rym/broadcasts/audio/pre-evangelism-april-2014/

Dr. Sproul, explains that, even though only the Holy Spirit can change a person’s heart and mind (bring them to repentance), we see the very important dimension of apologetics in what he calls “pre-evangelism” and also what we call “post-evangelism”.

49
Out of the Whirlwind - The Scriptorium Daily

One of the oddest elements of this second puzzle, but perhaps its key, is that God comes to speak to Job out of a whirlwind. If I put myself in Job’s position, I don’t think I’d be pleased to meet God in this way. I imagine what it would be like, feeling pain in every part of my body and spirit, remembering my lost children, being surrounded by friends and a spouse who seem set on testing my resolve rather than bolstering it. If I were in that state, I would want God to come to me in gentleness. But God doesn’t bring comfort to Job, God challenges him.

50
Why Aren't the Bible's Books in Chronological Order?

You may have noticed that the Bible isn’t always in chronological order. Psalms and Proverbs come after Nehemiah and Esther. But much of Psalms and Proverbs is set before Nehemiah and Esther. Skipping to the New Testament, 1 Thessalonians was one of the first books written, but it appears after John, one of the last books written. The examples could go on.

51 Larry Taunton: Sincerity does not trump truth
52 Christian Case Makers: Young People Ought to Be Our Jury
53 Watching What We Eat
54 Why God is Necessary for Morality
55 Cosmos: Episode I Recap and Review
56 God's Not Dead: The Incarnation of Jesus Christ: God in the Flesh
57 Special for no reason
58 The "Unintelligent" Are Not Wanted in Life!
59 Biblical Apologetics and Ministry Today
60 Can we avoid the consequences of speaking truth in love?
61 Faithful Thinkers: Irony In Rejecting Eyewitnesses
62 Unjustified Skepticism: The Reliability of Luke's Testimony
63 http://thegospelcoalition.org/book-reviews/review/whats_your_worldview
64 Making Sweet Gestures as a Chocolatier
65 ‘Noah’ Has Made a Lot of Internet Users Very Curious about Genesis
66 Beyond "Work"
67 Answering Muslims: Pakistan: Christian Couple Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy
68 Everyday Opinions on Apologetics - Pastor Jay Wolf - Tactical Faith
69 Truthbomb Apologetics: The Five Minute Pro-Lifer
70 Faithful Thinkers: Book Review: The Only Wise God
71 Our Top 5 Posts of March
72 What Christians Get Wrong About the Easter Story
73 Faithful Thinkers: Homosexuality, Intolerance, and Firefox
74 Weekend Apologetics Hit and Misc: Feeding the Trolls
75 Americans Barely Use Half of Their Paid Vacation Time
76 Two mentoring posts from Amy Hall and Melissa Cain Travis
77 New study: homeschooled children are more tolerant of political differences
78 Alternative theories to the Resurrection?
79 Movie-like apologetics training hits universities
80 Do Muslims Love Jesus? - Stand to Reason Blog
81 Twitter / MichaelLicona: Look who's on the same flight: ...
82 Burden Of Proof And Atheist Intellectual Responsibility
83 Apologetics Hit and Misc: Come Reason's Apologetics Notes' Series on Science and Faith
84 The Elusive Bird Leptin, Part II: Finding the Missing Bird Hormone
85 Myth, Imagination & Faith: The Enduring Legacy of the Inklings | Open Biola
86 El Tour de Mesa 2014 - James White's 110.7 kilometers bike ride
87 If I Wrote the Bible...
88 The Importance of Biblical Counseling in Missions
89 Apologetics Roundup 03/30- 04/05
90 Why Wouldn't God Want Adam and Eve to Have Knowledge of Good and Evil?
91 Is Jesus the Only Way?
92 Good Case Makers Are Good Care Takers
93 God Does Exist: Applied Apologetics: God's Not Dead: Book Offers Proof
94 The Contributions and Revisions of N. T. Wright
95 How 1 Peter 3:15 Teaches The Deity of Christ