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Think Christianly

Think Christianly: May 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Apologetics Videos by Ravi Zacharias on You Tube

Ravi Zacharias is one of the best apologists of our day; enjoy these videos on you tube. (click here to watch).

(H/T to Apologetics 315)

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

How to Understand and Apply the Old Testament

Understanding the Old Testament can be very challenging at times. Here are some helpful guidelines from Scott Duvall and Daniel Hayes:
1. Grasp the text in their town. What did the text mean to the biblical audience?
2. Measure the width of the river to cross. What are the differences between the biblical audience and us?
3. Cross the principilizing bridge. What is the theological principle of this text?
4. Cross into the New Testament. Does the New Testament teaching modify or qualify this principle, and if so, how?
5. Grasp the text in our town. How should individual Christians apply the theological principle in their lives?
See their short book:

and also...

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Living in a Postsecular Culture

C. John Summerville, in his book The Decline of the Secular University, makes an important observation about our society:

America is not "secular, but postsecular, by which I mean a situation in which cultural fashion has replaced intellectual argument."

What this means is that people, politicians, and the media operate according to slogans and what is popular and witty, not what is rationally sound or well documented. Our culture feeds on desires and feelings which leaves precious little time for thinking and evaluating. And this is killing us--both personally and as a society.

What we need is a church and a new generation of Christians who are willing to think for the glory of God (Rom.12:1-2).

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Interracial Marriage and Same-Sex Marriage - Why the analogy fails

As the debate in the public square continues regarding the legal basis of same sex marriage, Francis Beckwith has written an important article that unpacks and argues why racial discrimination is not a good analogy for the same sex marriage debate.

Click here

for a helpful Summary, click here

(H/T Stand to Reason)

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Why Won't God Heal Amputees?

For the Christian, we know full well that we inhabit a broken and fallen world. Things are not the way they ought to be. And, if we are honest, we all have questions that won't be answered this side of heaven. But sometimes skeptics throw this question at Christians to stop them in their tracks or to "disprove" God--Why Won't God Heal Amputees? What would you say?

My friend Brett Kunkle was asked this question and I think he does a great job responding to it:

"“Why won’t God heal amputees?” The question caught me by surprise.

I had just finished my “Why I Am a Christian” talk at Calvary Chapel Chino Valley’s youth conference in April. After talking with a few students and leaders, a young man approached. He challenged me with this question, explaining his atheist friend had asked it earlier in the week. And he had no answer for his friend.

Apparently, it’s a question atheists make a big deal about. There is even an entire website dedicated to it ( The website claims “this is one of the most important questions we can ask about God.” Sometime, somewhere I had heard the objection but had never given it much attention. Now it was staring me right in the face. Immediate attention was required.

I proceeded in usual fashion—by asking clarifying questions. “What conclusion does your atheist friend draw from this question?” I inquired. He responded, “Well, if God doesn’t heal amputees when we pray for them, then He doesn’t exist.” I followed with a few more questions, gathering the gist of the atheist’s argument.

The atheist claims that alleged healings, like the disappearance of a cancerous tumor or diagnosed disease, seem to be ambiguous. Did God supernaturally heal the person or is modern medicine responsible? Both causes could be offered and both could be disputed. But according to the atheist, if an amputee grew back a missing limb after intercessory prayer was offered on his behalf, this would be a clear case of the miraculous and thus proof for God’s existence. On the other hand, no new limb means no God. A fail-proof test, right? Wrong.

First, I pointed out this atheist’s argument is guilty of...(more)

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Worldview, Aliens, and Hope?

We all ask big questions and we all want answers...

Also available on DVD.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How Do I Grow in My Relationship With God? Is Holiness Really Possible?

Can we become more like Jesus? Really? Yes. There is a word for this that the Bible uses often--Holy. Here is a link to the sermon I preached at our church on sunday exploring the often confusing and (guilt producing) idea of becoming more holy--how does it work? what is my part? God's part?

click here to listen

I hope you find it helpful!

For more, see Revolution of Character by Dallas Willard

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Why Sam Harris' Morality Experiment Fails

Philip Goldberg has written an interesting article that raises some helpful questions for new atheist Sam Harris's search for a completely scientific (read from neuroscience) account of ethics (Click Here).

Here is a short passage:

"Harris begins with the proposition that "human beings seek to maximize something we choose to call 'well-being.'" Fair enough. But the premise that follows is: "The amount of well-being in a single person is a function of what is happening in that person's brain, or at least in their body as a whole." Is it? Can we be sure of that? Harris continues, "That function can in principle be empirically measured." Can it? In principle, perhaps, but in reality?

I wonder if this isn't an example of seeing everything as nails because your only tool is a hammer. As a neuroscientist, does Harris assume that his discipline can develop a body of knowledge about "well-being" that is so complete that we could extrapolate a coherent system of ethics and morality from it? Is that a reasonable assumption? If he proceeds on that basis, what would be left out? While neuroscience has already accomplished awe-inspiring feats, the discipline is in its infancy, and every discovery seems to generate a new universe of unanswered questions. Can we assume that it will one day explain everything we need to know about the mind and emotions? Perhaps Harris's project will teach us as much about the limitations of science as it will about the shortcomings of religious codes."

But the major problem has been pointed out long ago by David Hume--you can't get "an ought to" from an "is."

Science is descriptive of what occurs in the physical realm--that is it. Harris may find some interesting and even helpful correlations along the way, but a science of morality will remain elusive.

BTW-Far from Jesus' ethical teaching having shortcomings, it is the best way to live and we can know this to be the case. See Dallas Willard's Knowing Christ Today for more.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Spiritual Formation and Overcoming Pornography by Dallas Willard

Here is the transcript / article of a talk that Dallas Willard gave at Biola university. Very helpful as he applies the VIM pattern (Vision, Intention, and Means) to how to overcome sexual temptation in the area of pornography.

an excerpt:

"The use of pornography is rooted in the fundamental role of desire in human life. Desire, on the biblical understanding, is not in itself bad, but it is dangerous because it has the tendency to take over one’s life. Desire must be subordinated to what is good, and it is the role of the will to see to it that it is subordinated to what is good. But the will can do this only if it understands what is good and is strongly oriented toward it. This is definitely not the case with those unaligned with God. In them the will falls captive to desire: they live to do what they want. Their condition is repeatedly addressed in the scriptures.

The general condition of fallen humanity is carefully laid out by Paul in Ephesians 4:17-19 and Romans 7:15-23. The will is, in the fallen personality, enslaved by desire, and so "I am doing the very thing I hate." (vs. 15) This is a precise picture of the person in some degree of bondage to pornography.

We really must pay attention to desire ("lust," "longing," επιθυμία) if we are to understand spiritual formation. The primary role of desire in human life is to impel us to action. If action were solely under the direction of thought, we would never survive infancy, and life would be an intolerable burden in which much that is good would not be realized. Lusting itself gives pleasure, because it thrusts us in a direction and makes us feel alive. We are "moved," hence we speak of "passion." Thus we get pleasure from desiring itself, and desire to desire. The gratification of desire gives us a sense of completeness and power—for a moment or so. A depressed person is typically one who has little or no desire and "doesn’t want anything."

Thus we do many things just to excite desire." (MORE)

"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust."-- 2 Peter 1:3-4

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Think Christianly Celebrates 500 Posts!

Wow, it is hard to believe! Today marks our 500th post. I thought it fitting to highlight one of the quotes that helped provide the vision for Think Christianly. Nancy Pearcey, in her book Total Truth, observes:

"…our lives are often fractured and fragmented, with our faith firmly locked into the private realm of the church and family, where it rarely has a chance to inform our life and work in the public realm. The aura of worship dissipates after Sunday, and we unconsciously absorb secular attitudes the rest of the week. We inhabit two separate “worlds,” navigating a sharp divide between our religious life and ordinary life."
Luke 10:27 - informs us that there should be no such separation.

Thanks so much for inviting us along and please link to our blog and invite others to check it out. Also, graduation is coming up, have you ordered your copy of Welcome to College yet? It makes an ideal graduation gift!

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bart Ehrman and the New Testament Text--is he Right?

Skeptical New Testament Textual Critic, Bart Ehrman, is a media darling. After all, what could be more provocative than a former evangelical, self-proclaimed "born again" Christian, who seeks to undermine people's confidence in the Bible's reliability. Is Ehrman Right?

Here's a critique by William Lane Craig (listen)

Bart was on the Colbert Report (here)

Jesus Interrupted reviewed and critiqued by Ben Witherington (here)

See Dan Wallace's refutation of Bart's Misquoting Jesus: "How Badly Did the Early Scribes Corrupt the New Testament? An Examination of Bart Ehrman's Claims" by Daniel B. Wallace in:

also, here

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Isolation is Very Unwise

He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom. - Proverbs 18:11

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Monday, May 10, 2010

The Bible, the Old Testament Law, and the Christian

Interpreting the Old Testament can be challenging. Here is some sound advice from Greg Koukl. Enjoy this short video.

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Should I Set Moral Boundaries?


“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.”—1 Cor. 6:18

"We all would do anything (even extreme things) to undo bad choices we have made morally. So why not be extreme now in our personal standards and boundaries so that we don’t have to face those painful consequences?"- Andy Stanley

What are my boundaries in dating? With my conversations and relationships with the opposite sex (if married / if single)? With what and when I watch TV and use the Internet?

Remember....Someone will set your standards if you don’t.

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Science and the Rationality of the Universe

"Science is based on the assumption that the universe is thoroughly rational and logical at every level. Atheists claim that the laws [of nature] exist reasonlessly and that universe is ultimately absurd. As a scientist, I find this hard to accept. There must be an unchanging rational ground in which the logical, orderly, nature of the universe is rooted"--Paul Davies

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

What is Truth?

Here is a helpful article on the nature of truth by Philosopher Doug Groothuis:

"Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." Jesus Christ made this statement after Pontius Pilate had interrogated him prior to the crucifixion (John 18:37, NIV). Pilate then famously replied, "What is truth?" and left the scene.

As philosopher Francis Bacon wrote in his essay "On Truth":

"What is truth?" said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer.

Although Jesus made no reply to Pilate, Christians affirm that Pilate was staring truth in the face, for Jesus had earlier said to his disciple Thomas, "I am the way and the truth and the life" (John 14:6).

This historic exchange raises the perennial question of the very nature of truth itself. What does it mean for a statement to be true? Or, to put it another way: What does it take for a statement to achieve truthfulness? (more)

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

To Know and Love God

Theology is very important. What we really think about God is the most important thing about us.

"The study of theology is considered by many to be dry, boring, irrelevant, and complicated. But for those who want to know God, the study of theology is indispensable. The word “theology” comes from two Greek words, theos (“God”) and logos (“word”). The study of theology is an effort to make definitive statements about God and his implications in an accurate, coherent, relevant way, based on God's self-revelations. Doctrine equips people to fulfill their primary purpose, which is to glorify and delight in God through a deep personal knowledge of him. Meaningful relationship with God is dependent on correct knowledge of him.

Any theological system that distinguishes between “rational propositions about God” and “a personal relationship with God” fails to see this necessary connection between love and knowledge. The capacity to love, enjoy, and tell others about a person is increased by greater knowledge of that person. Love and knowledge go hand in hand. Good lovers are students of the beloved. Knowledge of God is the goal of theology."--Erik Thoenness

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Monday, May 3, 2010

The Gulf of Mexico and the Care of Creation by Russell Moore

Here is a thoughtful, Christian perspective by Russell Moore:

"As I type this, I am looking out at the Gulf of Mexico. You could have seen a similar sight out the window of the hospital where I was born, just a few miles down the road here on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Now, though, those waters I grew up with, gently lapping against the sand, are threatening to bring with them millions of gallons of oil, spewing up from an exploded rig out in the Gulf. Five years after Hurricane Katrina leveled this hometown of mine, it is bracing for the worst environmental disaster in the history of the United States.

Some conservatives, and some conservative evangelicals, act as though “environmentalism” is by definition “liberal” or even just downright silly. Witness a lot of the evangelical rhetoric across social media on Earth Day a while back: mostly Al Gore jokes and wisecracks about cutting down trees or eating endangered species as a means of celebration.

Do some environmentalists reject the dignity of humanity? Yes. Do some replace the reverence for creation with that due the Creator? Of course. This happens in the same way some do the same thing with reverence for economic profit or any other finite thing." (Read the rest...)

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Every Opportunity is Unique

“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward ​outsiders, ​​making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be ​​with grace, as though seasoned with ​salt, so that you will know how you should ​respond to each person.”—Col. 4:5-6

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