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Think Christianly

Think Christianly: December 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Is Science Our Only Source of Knowledge?

With the rise and success of modern science (and these advances have been beneficial in many ways), some people have unfortunately come to believe that science, and science alone, offers true knowledge of reality. Famous atheist Bertrand Russell put it this way: “Whatever knowledge is attainable, must be attained by scientific methods; and what science cannot discover, mankind cannot know.” Initially, this sounds sophisticated and intelligent. You will hear variations of this slogan all over the place, and it is implied in most documentaries you see on TV. The only problem is that if it is true, we couldn’t know it to be true. Why? Because the state-ment itself is not testable by the scientific method and is therefore by its own stan- dard unable to be known! It’s self-refuting. It’s a statement that commits suicide.

Contrary to what you may have been lead to believe, science is not capable of providing comprehensive knowledge of reality. It does great with bacteria, supernovas, genes, and gravity, but it falters when trying to discuss virtue and vice, souls, free will, moral responsibility, success, joy, love, forgiveness, wisdom, salvation, redemption, hope, purpose, meaning, and beauty (just to name a few!). The scientism espoused by Russell, which is hand in hand with naturalism, must be resisted by Christians if we are to engage our world with the good news of the kingdom of God. We don’t need to be bullied into thinking that if we can’t examine something with a microscope or telescope, then we can’t know it. For this is a self-evidently false statement. 

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

The True Story of Christmas

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:1-14)

Merry Christmas!

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chuck Colson and others on the Theology of Christmas Carols and Other Good Stuff

Don't get me wrong, Frosty has his place. But sometimes we miss out on and forget the richness of truth encoded into the truly great Christmas carols. Listen to a 2-part discussion with Chuck Colson, John Stonestreet, and T.M. Moore (click here to listen).

Also, here is John Mark Reynolds top 10 Christmas songs. Enjoy!

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

(Part 2) Answering the Toughest Questions About Homosexuality with Alan Shlemon

This week's challenge: Is Homosexuality the Worst Sin of All?

This is part 2 of our ongoing series (new posts each wednesday) engaging tough questions about homosexuality with guest blogger Alan Shlemon. If you missed last week's post and to get up to speed on why this series is important, click here.

Is Homosexuality the Worst Sin of All?

Christians define sin as “missing the mark.” It almost sounds cute. Kyle lied so he missed the mark…Oops. Katy gossiped...Shucks, that was wrong. Randy was prideful…Yikes, better stop that.

But homosexuality? Whoa! That’s more than missing the mark. That’s an abomination! Homosexuals aren’t just sinners. They’re revelers consummating their reprobate mind. Someone please cite one of the Levitical prohibitions against homosexuality (preferably Leviticus 20:13 since it includes the death penalty) and say it in the King James Version for rhetorical effect.

And Christians don’t just think homosexuality is the worst sin. We act like it too. Christians who rarely cite scripture suddenly invoke Bible verses when the topic comes up. We get uneasy when gay men come to church, but we gladly welcome post-abortive women.  We’ll move a lesbian who sits next to other females at youth group, but we won’t separate girls who gossip.

It’s no wonder the culture thinks Christians hate homosexuals. We give their behavior a unique status: the worst sin of all. And because homosexuals are committing the supreme evil, we treat them like pariahs.

As a result, not only do homosexuals think their sin is the worst, but they are the worst. They’re the chief of all sinners. That’s why our verbal antidotes like, “God hates the sin, but loves the sinner” are so ineffective. They only hear the word, “hate.”

We shouldn’t be surprised, then, when homosexuals get anxious around Christians. It shouldn’t shock us that they start their own denominations. These men and women still have spiritual yearnings, but because Christians keep them at arm’s length, they have no choice but to turn to churches with pro-gay theology that accept them.

Don’t get me wrong: homosexual behavior is a serious sin. I’m not trying to downplay the gravity of what they do. But the Bible doesn’t elevate its status above all other sins.

Although homosexual behavior was a capital crime under the Mosaic Law, so were blasphemy, false prophecy, adultery, bestiality, and many other sins. Under today’s New Testament teaching, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 places homosexuals among other sinners like thieves, drunks, swindlers, and fornicators. And 1 Timothy 1:8-11 lists them among liars, rebels, slave traders, and other sinners. There’s no special designation for any of these sins (although sexual sins are grouped together since they are sins “against the body” in 1 Corinthians 6:16-20).

Many homosexuals have come to Christ. But they didn’t do it because they believed their sin was the worst. Instead, they recognized their sin was an obstacle to fellowship with God. Making homosexuality the worst sin isn’t merely a peculiar theological mistake. It has practical ramifications that alienate men and women engaged in homosexual behavior. And it creates unnecessary offense to the gospel that’s already offensive.

Be sure to read Alan’s post last week that addressed the claim that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality.

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Do All Human Beings Have A Right To Life?

Where do human rights come from? What makes you the same person from conception to natural death? In this video, Jay Watts of makes the case that all human beings have a right to life using critical thinking, logic, and philosophy. For more on the philosophical case click here for more on the scientific case for life click here.


Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Christianity is not just about believing in Jesus

Before you get nervous, the key word in that claim is "just" (not just about getting in to heaven when we die). I'm convinced that if Christianity is actually true (and I think there are good reasons to think this), then it speaks to all of life. Here's a short video where Chuck Colson unpacks this important concept on his weekly two-minute warning at breakpoint.


If you are looking to go deeper in exploring how all of life is connected and how our Christian worldview impacts all of life, then you will really enjoy my new book, Think Christianly: Looking at the Intersection of Faith and Culture. Chuck Colson was kind enough to provide this endorsement:
"As someone who has devoted many years of ministry to teaching Christian worldview. I am thrilled to see dynamic and faithful worldview leaders like Jonathan Morrow stepping to the fore. Think Christianly, in a compelling and accessible way, equips Christians young and old to engage the culture winsomely, intelligently, and with confidence.”
Are you ready to engage?

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

(Part 1) Answering the Toughest Questions About Homosexuality with Alan Shlemon

This week's challenge: “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, so he must not have thought it was a sin.”

From TV sitcoms, politics, and judicial rulings to Facebook conversations, Movies, and the classroom, people have questions about how Christians ought to think about homosexuality and same-sex marriage. What does the Bible actually say? Does making a moral claim on this issue make one a bigot? How do we respond to the tough questions, slogans, and soundbites which can lead to some awkward and uncomfortable conversations?

Many Christians want to have a helpful conversation about what they think is true in this area, but sometimes can't find the words. That's why I'm very excited to announce we will be launching a 12-part guest blog series that will provide brief, but substantive responses to challenges that often leave Christians speechless. (BTW - if you find these responses, please share them on Facebook and twitter so others can benefit).

I've asked my friend and apologist Alan Shlemon to take on these challenges each wednesday. Alan speaks nationally for Stand to Reason on controversial issues like Homosexuality, is the author of the Ambassadors Guide to Islam and contributed a chapter to Apologetics for a New Generation edited by Sean McDowell (if you missed Alan's video responding to Zach Wahls' case for gay marriage you can see it here).

To avoid any potential misunderstanding, let me be very clear from the outset; every human being is made in the image of God and worthy of respect and this includes people who hold different views than our own. Promoting true tolerance is treating others with respect while having candid conversations about questions that really matter. Also, we are all broken by sin and express that brokenness differently and all of us are in need of mercy and grace. So, you will see no self-righteousness here. The Gospel is good news for all of us. The goal of this blog series is to offer clear thinking on a challenging issue that people are passionate about and that has implications for both individuals and our society. Part of loving our neighbor well is caring enough to tell others what we think is true and why. With that said, let's let Alan address this week's challenge:

“Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, so he must not have thought it was a sin.”

I remember driving to a conference about homosexuality and seeing a line of protestors outside the building. A man was holding a large sign that read, “What Jesus said about homosexuality” and the rest was blank. The implication was obvious: since Jesus was silent on homosexuality, he must not have thought it’s wrong. It’s as if Jesus’ silence on the matter trumps all other considerations. Although that sign might have rhetorical power, there are a number of reasons why this argument doesn’t work.

First, it’s not certain that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. The Gospel writers didn’t record everything that Jesus said – only what they thought was important to their audience. Indeed, most of what Jesus said (and did) was never written down. John 21:25 says, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” It’s possible Jesus did talk about homosexuality, but the Gospel writers didn’t feel it was necessary to include it in their accounts.

Second, it’s clear what Jesus would have said about homosexuality if asked. Jesus was an observant Jew who, like all Jews living under the Old Covenant, was bound by the Mosaic Law. That’s why He often referenced it (e.g. Jesus references the two greatest commandments of the Law in Matthew 22:37, 39). Therefore, if He was asked what He thought about homosexuality, He would have cited the Levitical prohibitions (Leviticus 18:20 and 20:13) that unequivocally state that homosexual behavior is a sin.

Third, Jesus did not speak about every immoral behavior. Should we infer that drunkenness, child sacrifice, and neglecting the elderly are appropriate since Jesus never said anything about them either? That’s absurd. Jesus addressed moral issues as they arose in conversation with His disciples, the crowds, and his opponents. Since there were no gay pride parades or organizations defending homosexual behavior at the time, it’s reasonable that Jesus wouldn’t be prompted to address the issue. And as mentioned earlier, not every discussion was documented by the Gospel writers.

Fourth, the argument that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality presumes that the words of Jesus are more authoritative than the words of Scripture elsewhere. But it is the Holy Spirit – God Himself – who inspired all of the Bible, including epistles like Romans, 1 Corinthians, and 1 Timothy where homosexuality is addressed. That means the black letters in the Bible are just as authoritative as the red letters. Moreover, Jesus and the Holy Spirit co-exist in the Godhead and have been in perfect and eternal communion from eternity past. Therefore, we can be confident that Jesus agrees with what the Holy Spirit revealed about moral issues in the Bible.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Did Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John Really Write the Gospels? (video)

Dr. Kruger makes a solid historical case that they did...

More from Dr. Kruger:

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Our First Freedom

Everyone thinks. We can't help it. Our thoughts deeply shape the contours of our lives. But often we don't cultivate our minds and ultimately leave a resource God has given us untapped.

Dallas Willard shares a helpful insight in this regard from Renovation of the Heart: "The ultimate freedom we have as human beings is the power to select what we will allow or require our minds to dwell upon."

How is your thought life? What do you find your mind dwells on the most often? What do you want to dwell on? Today, take some time to read and reflect upon Romans 12:1-2.

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Answering Zach Wahls' Case for Same-Sex Marriage to the Iowa House of Representatives (You Tube Video)

This video has received 15 million + views so far and its compelling. But does Zach Wahls succeed in making his case for same-sex marriage based on commitment? Watch his video and then ask yourself how you would respond? Then watch the outstanding response by Alan Shlemon (below) who walks you step by step through Zach's argument / speech in a winsome way and responds with clear thinking.

In the coming weeks Alan, who is an author and national speaker for Stand to Reason, will be guest blogging here at the Think Christianly blog responding to common arguments for homosexuality & same-sex marriage. There will be no hateful rhetoric here--only clear thinking on issues that are really important to our society. Stay tuned and please share this post with your friends and family. We need to engage this issue with clarity and confidence.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Can Natural Selection Acting On Random Mutation Get The Job Done For Richard Dawkins?

In this video clip, Dr. Stephen Meyer explains just how improbable Darwinian Evolution really is:

Check out the Darwin's Dilemma website for more information.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Is the Bible Culturally Outdated? And Other Questions...

Recently on the Janet Mefferd show I was asked how to respond to the charge that the Bible is culturally would you respond? You can listen to how I responded to this and other tough questions in my interview with Janet here.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Sound Bites and Slogans: Intelligent Design is nothing more than an argument from ignorance

“Science will eventually explain the gaps in our current knowledge of the physical universe; Intelligent Design is nothing more than an argument from ignorance.”

First of all, let me affirm that humanity has greatly benefited from ethically practiced science. But in this case I think you have misunderstood the claim that proponents of Intelligent Design (ID) are making. ID is not an argument from what we don’t know, but an inference from what we do know. When it comes to explaining any structure or phenomena in the physical world, we have three basic options: (1) Physical Necessity, (2) Chance, or (3) Design. So, for example, if hikers come across Mt. Rushmore they have a choice to make as to how this curious rock formation occurred. Is this pattern here because of some law of nature (i.e., it had to be this way)? No. Could random forces like wind and erosion produce this given enough time? No. The first two options are ruled out because they are not reasonable inferences to draw. But this rock formation has faces on it that correspond to four American presidents. These rock faces fit an independent pattern and indicate design. Just as it is entirely reasonable for an archeologist to distinguish between a rock and an arrowhead using the process above so to the molecular biologist is justified to infer design when looking at the language and information contained in DNA. Our repeated experience tells us that information is always the product of a mind. So ID is not an argument from ignorance, but an argument from evidence.

*The Design Inference I described above was developed by Dr. William Dembski. You can read more about this and ID in his accesible book Intelligent Design Uncensored: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to the Controversy

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Central Issue in the Pro-Life vs Pro-Choice Debate (Video)

When it comes to the issue of abortion, there is only one question we need to answer. Watch this short video as Jay Watts of The Life Training Institute teaches you how to simplify this debate.

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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