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Think Christianly

Think Christianly: October 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Craig vs Atkins on the Limits of Science

Gotta love the old school look of this video, and the fact that the voice is not in sync makes the "intellectual smack down" that Craig gives Atkins on the limits of science that much more fun to watch. Of course Craig is gracious, but his argument that science can't tell us everything about reality is pretty forceful. Enjoy.

(HT/ Between Two Worlds)

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Handling Social Media With Your Kids

I came across this article and it has some helpful suggestions. I am not an alarmist and am not arguing we return to the carrier pigeon--though there are days when it would probably be faster and more effective--but we do need to be wise. And children and teenagers lack one very essential ingredient for living well--experience. And the only way to get it is by living longer and/or trusting that your parents have acquired some wisdom along the way. These aren't the 10 commandments or anything, but if you are currently allowing unlimited /unmonitored access to your children in the area of social media, then you should reevaluate if this is truly wise course of action.

So here is some of the article by Jim Burns, PH.D...

"Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past few years, you're aware of the rise in popularity of social media with teens. From texting on cell phones to websites such as Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube, today's kids are engaging in social media at an ever-increasing rate.

I probably don't have to say this, but the reality is: Social media is not a fad, and has become part of the fabric of American youth culture. It's estimated that during this year (2009), 15.5 million teen Internet users (75%) will use social networking websites. Facebook alone is said to have 300 million active users worldwide. and is the third most-visited website on the Internet, behind Google and Yahoo! In the course of a month, some 24% of all Internet users visit Facebook. And, two other social media sites, YouTube and MySpace hold the fourth and fifth spots as most visited websites in the U.S. Still, parents have to make choices about whether they will allow their adolescent kids to use these websites. And, if they allow their kids access to these sites, parents must provide both boundaries and oversight to their usage.

Talking to your kids about social media should be a top priority. Here are some of my thoughts on handling social media in your home." (More...)

For the adults on facebook, here is a recent post about the possibility of facebook addiction and wisdom by Mark Roberts. Click here

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What is a Worldview?

Ronald Nash helpfully defines a worldview as “a conceptual scheme by which we consciously or unconsciously place or fit everything we believe and by which we interpret and judge reality.” Everyone has one--whether we have thought about very much or not is a different question.

So What is your worldview? How would you begin to answer these questions? What are you basing these answers on?

Why are you here?
What is real?
How do you know things and what can be known?
What is good? Who is really well off?
Is there anything beyond the grave or is this life all there is?

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Only One Issue and Making the Case for Life

If you want to make a clear and compelling philosophical and scientific case for the pro-life position, then look no further than the website case fore life. Here is a brief sampling of what you can expect from Scott Klusendorf...

"The abortion controversy is not a debate between those who are pro-choice and those who are anti-choice. It's not about privacy or trusting women. To the contrary, the debate turns on one key question.

What is the Unborn?
Pro-life advocates contend that elective abortion unjustly takes the life of a defenseless human being. This simplifies the abortion controversy by focusing on just one question: Is the unborn a member of the human family? If so, killing him or her to benefit others is a serious moral wrong. It treats the distinct human being, with his or her own intrinsic worth, as nothing more than a disposable instrument. Conversely, if the unborn are not human, elective abortion requires no more justification than having a tooth pulled. As Gregory Koukl points out, "If the unborn are not human, no justification for elective abortion in necessary. But if the unborn are human, no justification for elective abortion is adequate." (Koukl, Precious Unborn Human Persons, p. 7)

This is not to say that abortion is easy for most women. To the contrary, a decision to have one may be psychologically complex and perhaps even agonizing for some. But the topic today is not psychology, but morality: Can we know what's right even if our emotions are conflicted?

Everyone agrees that abortion kills something that's alive. After all, dead things don't grow! But whether it's right to take the life of any living being depends entirely on the question: What kind of being is it?" (for more click here)

This is the best book on the topic.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Prayer that Works...

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.—Ephesians 3:14-21 (NLT)

These words have given and continue to give me hope in the power of God.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Sometimes we can get so busy that we don't stop and think...

Fossil hailed as Man's ancestor is 'not even close relative'

Remember Ida? The Missing Link? All the hype? (the book, the show, the press, the flash) Well, it turns out that conclusions were far too hasty.

In the article Fossil hailed as Man's ancestor is 'not even close relative' there are some interesting statements:

Erik Seiffert, of Stony Brook University in New York state, who led the study, said: “Our analysis provides no support for the claim that Darwinius is a link in the origin of higher primates, and instead indicates that, if anything, Darwinius is more relevant for our understanding of the origin of lemurs and lorises — which are our most distant primate relatives.”
Dr Seiffert said: “The PR hype surrounding the Darwinius description was very confusing. The uninformed observer watching the associated documentary certainly must have come away with a very different view — specifically that Darwinius truly was a critically important link in the origin of higher primates, if not the origin of apes or even humans. “Documentaries are extremely important for public understanding of science, so scientists and the media need to work together to make sure that they have their facts straight, and that they are portraying a balanced view of the evidence. I think that the most responsible approach would be to create documentaries well after publication of scientific results.”
Moral of the story. Next time you see a discovery that will change the world headline about Evolution or Jesus...just give it time. It seems marketing and solid information are becoming harder to distinguish these days--and the publicity is just too tempting.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

How To Be a Good Parent - Resources From A Christian Perspective

Anybody got parenting all figured out? I don't. But I am getting some good input these days. The good thing is that there is wisdom available. There are principles, questions, and relationships that can help us along the way.

I have put together a parenting resource page over at under the card catalog section (there are links to videos, websites, DVD's and Books). Check it out and pass it along. No one is perfect--including the authors and teachers I recommend; but they can be helpful to your journey as a parent.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Is Naturalism Rational?

“It is only through trusting our own minds that we have come to know Nature herself. If Nature, when fully known, seems to teach us (that is, if the sciences teach us) that our own minds are chance arrangements of atoms, then the sciences themselves would be chance arrangements of atoms and we should have no reason for believing them.”—C.S. Lewis

See Alvin Plantinga's formulation of this in "Naturalism Defeated"

See a full length book treatment of this argument by Victor Reppert:

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Does the New Testament Give Us Reliable History?

New Testament scholar R.T. France observes, “At the level of their literary and historical character we have good reasons to treat the Gospels seriously as a source of information on the life and teaching of Jesus, and thus on the historical origins of Christianity….Beyond that point, the decision as to how far a scholar is willing to accept the record they offer is likely to be influenced more by his openness to a supernaturalist world-view than by strictly historical considerations.”

The real question is whether someone is going to reject miracles a priori or whether they will be open to actually examining the evidence on a case by case basis.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Value of Wisdom

"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."--Proverbs 24:3-4

Pursuing wisdom is always worth the effort.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Greed Is Not Good, and It’s Not Capitalism

Here is recent article by Dr. Jay Richards clearing up a misconception that capitalism is based on greed. The reason why we post on economics here is not for a particular political ideology. It is because economics effects a lot of people...especially the poor. If America catches a cold, then many places in the world come down with pneumonia or worse.

"Capitalism doesn’t need greed. What capitalism does need is human creativity and initiative. After months of hearing the media and pundits pronounce the untimely death of capitalism, it did my heart good to see a recent Newsweek cover story challenge the familiar trope. The author, Fareed Zakaria, noted that this pessimistic pronouncement gets air time in the wake of every financial downturn. But in reality, capitalism, over the long haul, has succeeded far beyond any other economic arrangement in human history. If worldwide communism couldn’t destroy capitalism, why are we so quick to believe that some bad fiscal and government policies in real estate will do it? Unfortunately,(more...)"

Richard's book, Money, Greed, and God is thought provoking and important:

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

What is Biblical Inerrancy?

What does it mean to say that the Bible is without error? This can be a pretty confusing topic. Here is a helpful definition of biblical inerrancy: “The Bible (in its original writings) properly interpreted in light of which culture and communication means had developed by the time of its composition will be completely true (and therefore not false) in all that affirms, to the degree of precision intended by the author, in all matters relating to God and His creation.” [from David S. Dockery, Christian Scripture: An Evangelical Perspective on Inspiration, Authority, and Interpretation (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1995), 64.]

Click here for a link to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy

Click here for a helpful article on how Christians should think about the doctrine of Inerrancy in relation to other doctrines by Dr. Dan Wallace

Wallace also talks about this in his interview in The Case for the Real Jesus by Lee Strobel.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”—2 Timothy 3:16-17

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I am Second: faith and football when the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns Play on Saturday

Well it is time once again for the Red River Rivalry. But more important to each starting quarterback, Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy, is their faith in Jesus Christ and the influence for him that they can have.

Here is a video of them sharing their story at I am Second. Like Tim Tebow of Florida, these guys are trying to live their lives for Christ in the unique spotlight of elite college football. My hats off to them all for trying to think Christianly about the opportunities and challenges they find themselves with. (click here)

oh yea, I almost forgot...BOOMER SOONER :)

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What is Emotional Doubt?

Os Guinness perceptively puts to words what man y of us feel adn then mistake for intellectual objections or doubts to faith: “The problem is not that reason attacks faith but that emotions overwhelm reason as well as faith, and it is impossible for reason to dissuade them….[this kind of] doubt comes just at the point where the believer’s emotions (vivid imagination, changing moods, erratic feelings, intense reactions) rise up and overpower the understanding of faith. Out-voted, out gunned, faith is pressed back and hemmed in by the unruly mob of raging emotions that only a while earlier were quiet, orderly citizens of the personality. Reason is cut down, obedience is thrown out, and for a while the rule of emotions is as sovereign as it is violent. The coup d’etat is complete."

The best book on doubt I know of is God in the dark by Os Guinness (it is well worth your time!)

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Monday, October 12, 2009

What we can expect from God

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."--Ephesians 3:17-21

That is good news and is always available.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Is Ardi Another Missing Link?

It's the biggest find in the history of human kind...except when it isn't. By now in our age of media sensationalism we have learned how things work (especially in controversial areas). Page 1 Headline - the Missing link has been found or find out about the "real historical Jesus" (see the book deal, the movie, and the shiny new website for more details). Then a week or two later when public scrutiny and popular / scholarly peer review take place, things don't seem quite so conclusive or shiny - page 26 retraction /clarification (but who reads page 26 any more?)

This seems to be the case with Ardi. Granted, not quite the media fiasco of Ida, but the dust is starting to settle and the cracks are beginning to show. Melinda Penner of Stand to Reason has an excellent blog post on Ardi - Read "Ardi Reveals More Than They Think"

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Leading Darwinist Richard Dawkins Dodges Debates, Refuses to Defend Evolution as The Greatest Show On Earth

(HT to Evolution News)
"Richard Dawkins, the world’s leading public spokesman for Darwinian evolution and an advocate of the “new atheism,” has refused to debate Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, a prominent advocate of intelligent design and the author of the acclaimed Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design.

“Richard Dawkins claims that the appearance of design in biology is an illusion and claims to have refuted the case for intelligent design,” says Dr. Meyer who received his Ph.D. in the philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge in England.

“But Dawkins assiduously avoids addressing the key evidence for intelligent design and won’t debate its leading proponents,” adds Dr. Meyer. “Dawkins says that there is no evidence for intelligent design in life, and yet he also acknowledges that neither he nor anyone else has an evolutionary explanation for the origin of the first living cell. We know now even the simplest forms of life are chock-full of digital code, complex information processing systems and other exquisite forms of nanotechnology.”

In Signature in the Cell, Dr. Meyer shows that the digital code embedded in DNA points powerfully to a designing intelligence and helps unravel a mystery that Darwin did not address: how did the very first life begin?

Signature in the Cell has just entered its third printing according to publisher HarperOne, an imprint of Harper Collins, and has been endorsed by scientists around the world, including leading British geneticist Dr. Norman Nevin, Alastair Noble, Ph.D. chemistry, formerly Her Majesty’s Inspector of Schools for Science, Scotland, and Dr. Philip Skell, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Meyer challenged Dawkins to a debate when he saw that their speaking tours would cross paths this fall in Seattle and New York. Dawkins declined through his publicists, saying he does not debate “creationists.”

“Dawkins’ response is disingenuous,” said Meyer. “Creationists believe the earth is 10,000 years old and use the Bible as the basis for their views on the origins of life. I don’t think the earth is 10,000 years old and my case for intelligent design is based on scientific evidence.”

According to Discovery Institute, where Dr. Meyer directs the Center for Science & Culture, the debate challenge is a standing invitation for any time and place that is mutually agreeable to both participants."

Dawkins has also avoiding debating William Lane Craig too. That's a shame.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Is Obama the Anti-Christ?

Yesterday I posted about Tattoos. While controversial in some circles, my own view is that it is a matter of conscience and wisdom (as the article yesterday discusses).

To stay with the controversial theme for another day, I thought to myself, we have already talked about religion and recently I posted on politics--why not bring them together in a post? President Obama the Anti-Christ? (insert thunder clap and lightning crash here) Does he fulfill biblical prophecy? The short answer is no and no.

Jay Richards post about it here. (worth reading)

NT Scholar Dan Wallace posts here. (also worth reading)

These kinds of myths being circulated on YouTube and the internet only reinforce the stereotypes people have of Christians as ignorant and intolerant. Don't get me wrong, I passionately disagree with President Obama on the Abortion issue and I also think his economic policy is doing more harm than good (no matter how well intentioned). But as Richards points out, that just makes him wrong...not the anti-Christ.

As Christians we want to be known for what we are for and by our love; not for nonsense like this.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Should Christians Get Tatoos?

Have you had your devotions in the Old Testament book of Leviticus lately? If you hang in there long enough you will discover in 19:28 that tattoos are forbidden. But are they today? This is a subset of a question pertaining to a believer's relationship to the Law of the Old Testament.

Here is very helpful article that explores the ins and outs: UNDER THE NEEDLE: AN ETHICAL EVALUATION OF TATTOOS AND BODY PIERCINGS by Lorne Zelyck

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Class is in Session

“Popular culture systematically teaches and preaches, informing its audience what matters most, fulfilling an educational role once occupied by schools and a spiritual role once filled by religion.”--Dick Staub

Who are you letting teach you about reality these days?

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."--Romans 12:2

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Should Christians Be Involved in Politics?

Religion is controversial. Politics is controversial. Put them together and you have something down right explosive on your hands. Handle with care. But does that mean that Christians should not be engaged in politics? Not at all. Are Christians perceived by many as too political? Without a doubt and sometimes for good reason.

So what should we do? Lots of things. But one thing for sure is recover a sense of "prudence in the public square." And there is a new book, Politics for the Greatest Good that lays out the conceptual framework to do just that:

Product Description
With a level-headed voice, leading policy strategist Clarke Forsythe speaks clearly into the fray of political striving. Here he campaigns for a recovery of a rich understanding of the virtue of prudence, and for its application by policymakers and citizens to contemporary public policy.

As Forsythe explains, prudence, in its classical sense, is the ability to apply wisdom to right action. In this book he explores the importance of applying the principles of prudence--taking account of limitations in a world of constraints and striving to achieve the greatest measure of justice under current circumstances--to the realm of politics, especially that of bioethics.

In particular, Forsythe applies these concepts to the ongoing debate among pro-life advocates regarding gradual versus radical change as the most effective way to achieve political and legislative goals. Drawing on the Bible, philosophy, and the wisdom of historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln and William Wilberforce, he makes a strong case for a strategy of seeking to achieve the maximal change possible at a given time--or political prudence. As such, it has broad implications for political scientists and strategists both within and beyond the pro-life context.

"Clarke Forsythe has written an incisive, admirably balanced analysis of the situation in which Christians now find themselves in the public square. It should serve as an authoritative guide for a long time." --James Hitchcock, professor of history, St. Louis University

"Prudence, especially in the context of politics and the struggle for social reform, is a poorly understood, largely neglected and desperately needed virtue. We have long needed an intellectually coherent and compelling treatment of the subject. Happily, Clarke Forsythe has met the need. Drawing on the wisdom of Aristotle, Wilberforce, Lincoln, and other theorists and practitioners of political prudence, Forsythe has written a book that will both instruct and inspire all who work to protect the weak and vulnerable and to advance the cause of justice." --Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, and director of theJames Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University

"While we eagerly await the promised kingdom of God, here on earth we strive for the better that is far short of the best. This book is both a guide and an encouragement for faithful strivers." --The late Richard John Neuhaus, editor-in-chief, First Things

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Friday, October 2, 2009

How Can Jesus Christ Be the Only Way to God?

The exclusivity of Christ is a Christian doctrine. But it does raise some difficult questions. The following article by William Lane Craig offers a reasonable way of working through them and a possible solution to those who have never heard good news.


I recently spoke at a major Canadian university on the existence of God. After my talk, one slightly irate co-ed wrote on her comment card, “I was with you until you got to the stuff about Jesus. God is not the Christian God!”

This attitude is pervasive in Western culture today. Most people are happy to agree that God exists; but in our pluralistic society it has become politically incorrect to claim that God has revealed Himself decisively in Jesus.

And yet this is exactly what the New Testament clearly teaches. Take the letters of the apostle Paul, for example. He invites his Gentile converts to recall their pre-Christian days: "Remember that at that time you were separated from Christ, aliens to the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world" (Eph 2.12). It is the burden of the opening chapters of his letter to the Romans to show that this desolate condition is the general situation of mankind. Paul explains that God’s power and deity are made known through the created order around us, so that men are without excuse (1.20), and that God has written His moral law upon all men's hearts, so that they are morally responsible before Him (2.15). Although God offers eternal life to all who will respond in an appropriate way to God's general revelation in nature and conscience (2.7), the sad fact is that rather than worship and serve their Creator, people ignore God and flout His moral law (1.21-32). The conclusion: All men are under the power of sin (3.9-12). Worse, Paul goes on to explain that no one can redeem himself by means of righteous living (3.19-20). Fortunately, however, God has provided a means of escape: Jesus Christ has died for the sins of mankind, thereby satisfying the demands of God's justice and enabling reconciliation with God (3.21-6). By means of his atoning death salvation is made available as a gift to be received by faith.

The logic of the New Testament is clear: The universality of sin and uniqueness of Christ's atoning death entail that there is no salvation apart from Christ. As the apostles proclaimed, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4.12).

This particularistic doctrine was just as scandalous in the polytheistic world of the Roman Empire as in contemporary Western culture. Early Christians were therefore often subjected to severe persecution, torture, and death because of their refusal to embrace a pluralistic approach to religions. In time, however (more...)

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ask Us Anything Audio

Recently I had the opportunity to preach and speak at a wonderful church, First Evangelical Memphis. We also did a Sunday night Q & A is the audio. Cole Huffman and I dealt with all sorts of questions from the audience.

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