God’s Not Dead Conference Speaker Profiles: Nick Peters

Nick Peters will be arguing for the bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. The evidence for the Resurrection is grounded in historical facts. Nick spices his historical expertise with insights on the honor-shame culture at the time of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry. Come to the God’s Not Dead Conference at 6pm on September 26th at Freedom House Church to hear Nick’s case for the Resurrection.

Nick has a well established apologetics ministry in Knoxville, TN. He has been involved in apologetics ministry about fifteen years and currently runs his own ministry called Deeper Waters. Deeper Waters includes a blog where Nick posts five times a week and a podcast done once a week where Nick interacts with top shelf Christian apologists and scholars. His main focus is on the historical Jesus with an emphasis on the Resurrection and on the Thomistic arguments for God’s existence.

Nick is a graduate of Johnson Bible College and is currently working on his Master’s in NT long distance at North West University in South Africa. He is diagnosed with Aspergers as is his wife of four years, Allie. He and Allie live in Corryton, TN with their cat Shiro.

The God’s Not Dead Conference will be held at Freedom House Church of God in Knoxville, TN on September 26th at 6pm. The conference will be held downstairs in the youth room.

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God’s Not Dead Conference Speaker Profiles: Ken Smith

In anticipation of the upcoming God’s Not Dead Conference at Freedom House Church of God, I would like to introduce the speakers.

Ken Smith will be presenting an Introduction to Apologetics. If you are wondering what apologetics is, or why it is important, you do not want to miss Ken’s presentation.

Ken serves as Chapter Director for Ratio Christi at UT-Knoxville and serves as the Minister of Discipleship at Marble Hill Baptist Church in Friendsville. His ministry work includes the education and training of Christian lay persons in the subjects of apologetics, worldviews, theology, world religions, pseudo-Christian cults, and interpreting & teaching the Bible. He has a Bachelor’ degree in Science from UT, a Master’s degree in Public Health from UT, and a Master’s degree in Apologetics & Counter-Cults from Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC.

The God’s Not Dead Conference will be held at Freedom House Church of God in Knoxville, TN on September 26th at 6pm.

God’s Not Dead Conference Announcement

Hello everyone! 

I haven’t blogged in a while,  and I apologize for that. I will make an effort to post more often, and I may begin podcasting as well.

I want to announce that we will be holding a God’s Not Dead Conference at my local church, Freedom House Church of God in Knoxville, TN. This is actually the third God’s Not Dead Conference that has been held recently in the area through the efforts of Reasonable Faith Knoxville, Reasons to Believe Knoxville Chapter, and area churches. Here is a link to a video of the God’s Not Dead Conference that was held recently at Lighthouse Christian Church in Powell, TN.

The event will be held on September 26th at 6pm. I will be posting further details once they become available, but it looks as though we will have 5 or 6 speakers. I encourage both skeptics and believers to hear evidence for the Christian faith.

Will They Not Say That Ye are Mad?

Christian Scholar vs Muslim. SHOCKING ENDING & Fu…: http://youtu.be/Y0_iluq6uus

I first saw this video on The Dividing Line webcast with James White. I do not want to simply repeat the same points which Dr. White made, so I suggest readers watch or listen to this episode of The Dividing Line for themselves.

Suffice it to say, this video is embarrassing for Daniel. It clearly demonstrates the vital need for Christians to be well versed in apologetics, sound doctrine, and most of all the Bible. I am not sure where Daniel received his religious education, but if they taught him apologetics he either forgot or never caught on. He clearly learned a little church history from somewhere, but fails to use his knowledge to make any cogent rebuttal to the Muslim, Dr. Fazal Rahman, in the video. He gets his theology wrong too. But as I said, this is addressed in greater detail by James White.

The Bible does not merely suggest, but commands Christians to be, “…prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15, ESV). Unfortunately, many Christians would not do any better than Daniel did in this situation. I could stand to be better versed in witnessing to Muslims myself.

I also want to address the end of the video, in which Daniel got rather emotional, and began to preach badly, and (allegedly) speak in tongues. The preaching was bad because Daniel failed to make any coherent point. The biblical passage read seemed to have stirred Daniel up into a passionate frenzy, but he failed to convey any substantive reason for Dr. Rahman to trust in Jesus for his salvation.

I am also not convinced that the tongues were genuine. I do not say this because I believe the gift of tongues ceased at the close of the Apostolic age. I am a Pentecostal, and I believe that tongues and all the other spiritual gifts listed in Scripture are functioning today. I doubt it was genuine because it failed to match any description of tongues described in the New Testament. At best, even if Daniel’s outburst was the manifestation of a true gift of the Spirit, Daniel was out of order.

Writing of the gifts of the Spirit, Paul advised that “…all things should be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40, ESV). This is because tongues, and the other gifts of the Spirit, are not toys to be played with, but tools God has given for specific purposes.

In the first biblical instance of tongues, when the early Christians were baptized in the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (or Shavu’ot), they supernaturally spoke in the languages of Jews who had traveled from around the world to celebrate the festival. The Galilean followers of Jesus did not know or speak these languages previously (or afterward as far as we know). As a result, thousands of Jews experienced conviction, repented, and put their trust in Jesus Christ.

The unknown tongues referred to by Paul in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14, also had a purpose, and Paul wanted to ensure the gift was used correctly. For starters, when speaking tongues in a public setting, Paul warned the Corinthians of the futility of speaking in an unknown tongue without an interpreter.

1 Corinthians 14:6-13 ESV

Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret.

Since Daniel made no attempt to interpret the language he spoke, according to the Apostle he was pointlessly “speaking into the air.” Some might object that it was not pointless to the extent that Daniel was edifying himself (per 1 Corinthians 14:4). But was Daniel there to edify himself, or defend Christianity and hopefully lead the Muslim to faith in Jesus? Was Daniel’s “tongues” directed at himself or an audience? For the purpose of apologetics and evangelism, Daniel may as well have been responding to the Dr. Rahman in Mandarin Chinese, a Native American tribal language, or Klingon for all the impact it made. Also, as I previously stated, I am not convinced that Daniel was moved in his behavior by the Holy Spirit. I have no good reason to believe Daniel was edifying anybody, including himself.

Paul even warned the Corinthians that unknown tongues spoken without interpretation would only convince non-Christians that Believers were crazy.

1 Corinthians 14:23-25 ESV

If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

The reaction to Daniel’s “tongues” was that Dr. Rahman declared, “It looks like the Muslims have won!” Regrettably, in this instance he was right. It was apparent to Dr. Rahman, as well as the YouTube viewers that Daniel was not equipped to respond to Dr. Rahman’s dawa tactics. When he failed to refute Dr. Rahman, he began to shout and spew meaningless gibberish, ultimately blaming his carnal tantrum on the Holy Spirit. This was compelling evidence that Daniel was not acting according to the leading of God’s Spirit, but according to his own vanity.

Manifestations of the Spirit can be emotional, but never ineffectual. When the Spirit moves, He moves with purpose and is always victorious. Hopefully, Daniel was humbled and learned something from this exchange. At the very least, may it be a lesson for the rest of us.

7 Things Christian Parents Can Learn from the Tim Lambesis Story

http://christianmomthoughts.com/7-things-christian-parents-can-learn-from-the-tim-lambesis-story/

This is an outstanding blog post from Natasha Crain. As a new father, I can’t get enough of these apologetics for parents geared articles.

It also helped me consider my own approach to apologetics study, which has almost entirely been focused on arguments supporting my own views. The only atheist work I have actually read is Sam Harris’ Free Will. I believe it is also important for Christian apologists to be well versed in non-Christian religions–and perhaps many present-day apologetics ministries have an overemphasis on countering atheism and agnosticism. I need to hit the books! But anyway, click on the linked article and follow Natasha’s advice for preparing your children.

Oh That my Words Were Now Written!

Job 19:23-24 (KJV)

Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!

This is (loosely) adapted from a presentation I gave at Reasonable Faith Knoxville entitled “The Importance of Literary Apologetics.”

I am no expert on literary apologetics. I have no advanced degrees in creative writing or apologetics. I am, however, convinced that literary apologetics is just as important as traditional apologetic arguments in winning hearts and minds to the Faith. Since I am no expert, I will allow an expert in the field to define literary apologetics. Holly Ordway defines literary apologetics as, “presenting the truths of the Christian faith through literature.” This might be through short fiction, novels, poetry, or even drama. I will be considering two primary examples of the impact of literary apologetics: the Bible and C.S. Lewis.

First of all, let’s look at the Bible. It is not only the highest authority on Christian doctrine and worship, but is also the greatest work of literary apologetics ever produced. There is some straightforward teaching, and this is not unimportant, but the bulk of the Scriptures are historical narrative, poetry, and parable. Parables were commonly used by Jesus during His earthly ministry.

It is no accident that the most authoritative method of revelation employed by the Creator is a work of literature. Neil Postman makes a compelling observation in Amusing Ourselves to Death:

In studying the Bible as a young man, I found intimations of the idea that forms of media favor particular kinds of content and therefore are capable of taking command of the culture. I refer specifically to the Decalogue, the Second Commandment of which prohibits the Israelites from making concrete images of anything. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water beneath the earth.” I wondered then, as so many others have, as to why the God of these people would have included instructions on how they were to symbolize, or not symbolize, their experience. It is a strange injunction to include as part of an ethical system unless its author assumed a connection between forms of human communication and the quality of a culture. We may hazard a guess that a people who are being asked to embrace an abstract, universal deity would be rendered unfit to do so by the habit of drawing pictures or making statues or depicting their ideas in any concrete, iconographic forms. The God of the Jews was to exist in the Word and through the Word, an unprecedented conception requiring the highest order of abstract thinking.

If God Himself used the written word reveal Himself and His ways, and primarily used stories and poetry to speak to His people, maybe Christian apologists need to take a cue from the One we defend. I am certainly not suggesting that we abandon traditional apologetic methods and arguments. I am suggesting that story, drama, and song should also be used alongside rational arguments. The combination of literary and traditional apologetics is potent.

Simply put, literary apologetics can convey truth in a way that traditional apologetics cannot. In the battle for hearts and minds, traditional apologetics is the equivalent of a direct frontal assault. Literary apologetics is more like special forces, engaging in unconventional warfare, moving stealthily and undetected behind enemy lines. Often unrecognizable as “apologetics,” it often comes ahead of the main force and carries out covert missions which ultimately set the stage for victory. Many of the great works of literature, such as Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment or J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings present distinctly Christian worldviews in such a way that non-Christians unknowingly imbibe Christian concepts, and enjoy it. They do not feel they are being “preached at” and the stories have a way of sticking with them that overt teaching does not. This is one reason why literary apologetics is utilized so often in Scripture. We tend to remember David and Goliath, Daniel in the lion’s den, or the Prodigal Son much more easily than Romans chapter 6.

Some of the best evidence for the power of combining literary and traditional apologetics can be found in observing the life of C.S. Lewis. Lewis was arguably the most influential Christian apologist of the 20th century, and still has a great impact today. He was not a theologian or a philosopher. He was not a biblical scholar or a scientist. He was an English professor and a prolific writer.

Lewis was greatly influenced by literary apologetics himself. As a young Atheist, the writing of G.K. Chesterton and George MacDonald had a role in leading him to become a Christian.

In reading Chesterton, as in reading MacDonald, I did not know what I was letting myself in for. A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere–“Bibles laid open, millions of surprises,” as Herbert says, “fine nets and stratagems.” God is, if I may say, very unscrupulous.
– C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy

Soli Deo Gloria!

C.S. Lewis went on to become a great literary apologist in his own right. He is best known for The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters. He also wrote a science fiction trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength), Till We Have Faces, The Great Divorce, and The Pilgrim’s Regress. Of course, he also wrote some great traditional apologetics books like Mere Christianity, Miracles, The Abolition of Man and The Problem of Pain.

Lewis was a key member of a writing group known as the Inklings, which was a veritable hall of fame of great Christian literary apologists. The Inklings included J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion), Charles Williams (Descent into Hell, War in Heaven, The Place of the Lion), and Dorothy Sayers (the Lord Peter Wimsey mystery series), and others.

I would like to make a few suggestions for Christian apologists. Familiarize yourselves with the literary apologetic writings old and new. The old include the works I’ve mentioned so far by the Inklings, Dostoevsky, Chesterton, MacDonald, John Bunyan, and above all else the Bible. The new include the writings of Theodore Beale–aka Vox Day–(Summa Elvetica: A Casuistry of the Elvish Controversy, A Throne of Bones), and Brian Godawa (Chronicles of the Nephilim series). I have also enjoy the poetry of Tom Graffagnino. I am sure there are others, but I am more familiar with the old than the new. I would also suggest that those who have talent begin writing quality fiction and poetry within a Christian apologetic context. This does not always mean writing with explicit Christian themes. No doubt some of us will be explicit like John Bunyan and others will be implicit like J.R.R. Tolkien. There is no shortage of horrible Christian fiction–just go to any Christian bookstore and you will find all the Amish romance novels you could ever never want to read on the clearance shelf.

Works of traditional apologetics also need to be well written. Even if you do not have the knack for writing fiction or poetry, you can at least learn to write (and/or speak) well. Avoid the bad habit some apologists have of being incredibly dull, and then excusing their lackluster writing by calling it “scholarly.” The purpose of Christian apologetics is to convince skeptics that Christianity is true, not put them to sleep! Literary apologetics can help traditional apologists learn how to stir the heart as well as the intellect.

I truly believe that if we look to the Bible and C.S. Lewis as examples of literary and traditional apologetics working together, we would be more effective in defending the Faith. We need special forces as well as basic infantry and combat support. Don’t forget that the war is already won by Christ, but do your part in the war effort.

Ecclesiastes 7:19 ESV

Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.

Nature of Apologetics, Douglas Groothuis (S.S. Part 1) | Religio-Political Talk (RPT)

http://religiopoliticaltalk.com/nature-of-apologetics-douglas-groothuis-s-s-part-1/

One of these days, I may just post something of my own again! Do you ever reach a place where you realize you need to study more and say less? I feel like I am currently in such a place. For now, please follow the link to a great (Part 1!) post by Sean Giordano, which is actually a breakdown of lectures given by Douglas Groothuis, my favorite Christian philosopher and apologist.

Ecclesiastes 7:19 ESV

Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.